G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Monday, January 19, 2015

चिमणरावांचे स्वैपाघरातील केळी कापायचे मशीन....W Heath Robinson's Innovations

Today January 19 2015 is 123rd birth anniversary of C V Joshi (चिं वि जोशी), one of the greatest Marathi writers of all time


Most people know 'The Billows Feeding Machine'  from  Chalie Chaplin's 'Modern Times', 1936 and its tragicomic usage on Charlie.


But I did not know the existence of banana frittering machine by W Heath Robinson (1872-1944)! 


Wikipedia informs that Robinson was 'best known for drawings of ridiculously complicated machines for achieving simple objectives.'


Frittering a Banana by Electricity

Artist: W. Heath Robinson

Mr. Butler writes about the drawing:

"...Part of the comedy in a Heath Robinson drawing lies in the gap between the crazy elaborateness of the contraption and the modest demands of the task in hand: extracting juice from a lemon, say, or peeling a potato. There’s a simple pleasure in seeing how cogs, wheels, pulleys, levers, tubes, ropes and bits of string might achieve these ends. In one black-and-white picture in the exhibition (above), a cord comes down from a lampshade to a lightbulb that’s fixed at a right-angle to face a banana that’s stuck on an upright fork that itself is turning on a wheel that is attached to a candlestick holder. The title is “Frittering a Banana by Electricity”.
But another part of the appeal of the drawing comes from the three people in the picture—the matronly wife and young maid, both sitting patiently, and the stout middle-aged man (with his apron on) who is standing up doing the cooking. The figures carry the same air of rapt attention as the figures in “The Orrery”. Lookers-on have a central importance in Heath Robinson's work as they allow him to capture a cosy but solemn, largely male, largely bourgeois world of boaters and top hats, stripey pyjamas and eiderdowns, spectacles and turn-ups, tea-pots and hot-water bottles. So often, the machines these men have devised are tackling thoroughly first-world problems: from a self-operating napkin to an apparatus designed to convey green peas to the mouth, to a device for taking a photograph of yourself (the first selfie). These are men who will go to extreme lengths to make life slightly more comfortable for themselves..."


When I looked at the picture, two things struck me-  the matronly wife and the man, who reminded me of C V Joshi's 'Chimanrao' (चिमणराव). 

I don't recall anything written by Joshi to satirise the mania for machines but I can imagine how he could have.

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