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.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

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."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

तो सूर्य पाहिलेला माणूस नव्हताच!.....Was he Socrates at all?


On this blog, I have let known my great displeasure about overrated Marathi play: "सूर्य पाहिलेला माणूस" here and here.


The Death of Socrates (French: La Mort de Socrate) , 1787

 Artist: Jacques-Louis David, 1748-1825

Artist: Paul Noth, The New Yorker, June 2015





Saturday, October 24, 2015

81 Years Aaprt, Solutions for the Parking Problem: R K Laxman, Alfred Fruch

Today October 24 2015 is 94th Birth Anniversary of R K Laxman. His first since his death in January 2015.

लोकसत्ता, ऑक्टोबर 23, 2015: "दसऱ्याच्या मुहूर्तावर अडीच हजार दुचाकी, अकराशे नव्या मोटारी शहराच्या रस्त्यावर...दसऱ्याच्या मुहूर्तावर यंदा शहरात वैयक्तिक वापराच्या वाहनांच्या खरेदीत लक्षणीय वाढ झाली आहे."


As has been pointed out earlier, apart from making them laugh, cartoonists often generate innovative ideas that might be useful to mankind.

Here is an example.



Artist: R K Laxman, The Times of India, 1 September 2007

And here is another.




Artist: Alfred Fruch, The New Yorker, 8 May 1926

Mr. Fruch and Mr. Laxman are so close to the 'aching nerve' and to each other.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Arthur Miller @100

Today October 17 2015 is 100th Birth Anniversary of Arthur Miller

(Most of the the following is from my earlier posts on this blog)



J. M. Tyree:

“What vexed Miller were the stories Americans have told themselves about the power of positive thinking, the instant money and spiritual purity that are sure to follow from unfettered entrepreneurship, the decency of the profit motive, the goodness of the national past, and, when all else fails, the possibility of escape and reinvention in the West. This land is your land: Henry David Thoreau crosses uneasily with Norman Rockwell; the tenets of Ayn Rand crash into the gospel of Jesus Christ; the Book of Mormon reads strangely in parallel with the Bill of Rights; Huckleberry Finn lights out for the territory but never becomes the Marlboro Man, exactly. Above all, Miller responded to a culture that cherished a sanctimonious and noxiously sentimental vision of family life as a beacon of health and wealth.”

ALGIS VALIUNAS:

“The most famous suicide in American theater is that of Willy Loman, in Death of a Salesman (1949). Exhausted by years on the road, his mind going, Willy is suitably beaten down by heartless business forces, so that his killing himself is at once supremely pitiable and supremely noble: He fakes a car accident so his widow and sons can collect the $20,000 insurance payout. Willy's wife admonishes her sons, who despise their father's doddering and weakness and failure, "But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid." Miller's attention is fixed on larger concerns than the fate of one man. For him, the universal tragedy of American life is the fundamental capitalist insistence that business is business. That's exactly what Willy's boss says as he's firing him; Willy agrees reflexively, but then goes on to qualify and plead. The truth is incontestable nevertheless: If you can't make a killing you get murdered.”

Arthur MILLER:

(INTERVIEWER People often come out of Death of a Salesman crying. If you said to them that you’d watched them laughing while in their seats, they would deny it. And yet humor is part of it, isn’t it?)
"The whole thing is very sad, but the fact is I did a lot of laughing when I was writing the play because some of Willy Loman’s ideas are so absurd and self-contradictory that you have to laugh about them; the audience in fact does, but they don’t remember it, thank God! If they remembered it, they wouldn’t be as moved as they are. Basically, it’s the laughter of recognition, I believe."



Artist: George Booth, The New Yorker, December 2 1972

Friday, October 16, 2015

Name Calling

(This post has been borrowed from my own post dated 29 December 2007)

I simply love Lapham's Quarterly's chart on 'Name Calling'.

Read what William Faulkner called Henry James: "One of the nicest old ladies I ever met."  or what Margaret Kendal called Sarah Bernhardt  "A great actress, from the waist down"!

Using extreme profanity in public is not new to India and prominent Indians.

It probably started with Bal Gangadhar Tilak (बाळ गंगाधर टिळक) 1856-1920 and Gopal Ganesh Agarkar (गोपाळ गणेश आगरकर) 1856-1895. In 1893, they fought mother of all wordy duels.

They used terms like leper, dog afflicted with rabies, murderous, rotten brain, arrogant, mean to describe each other.

Agarkar started it.

[Source- “Vyakti aani Vichar”, 1979 by Y D Phadke (“व्यक्ती आणि विचार” य दि फडके)]

 In January 1882, Wikipedia says, telephony was introduced in India but Tilak and Agarkar never spoke to each other on phone. By 1891, 15 years after its invention, more than 5 million of the devices were used in the United States. But none connecting Tilak and Agarkar in 1893.

If there were to to be one...


Artist: Whitney Darrow,Jr.,  The New Yorker,  8 February 1947

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Head Can Go on Living After It Has Been Severed


Lewis Jones, A review of Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found, by Frances Lanson, The Spectator, UK, November 15 2014:



"A severed head, argues Frances Larson in her sprightly new book, is ‘simultaneously a person and a thing… an apparently impossible duality… an intense incongruity’. History is ‘littered’ with such heads. Pilgrims visit them: the heads of St Peter and St Paul, for example, are thought to be in the high altar of the Basilica of St John Lateran. Artists are inspired by them, especially the erotically charged ones in the stories of Salome and Judith. Medical students dissect them, thereby acquiring the ‘necessary inhumanity’ of their profession. And Americans pay $50,000 to have their own heads cut off — cryonicists prefer the term ‘cephalic isolation’ — and preserved in thermos flasks of liquid nitrogen. ‘Could decapitation,’ asks Larson, ‘be just another stage in a person’s life?’..."
 
'David with the Head of Goliath', 1609–1610

Artist:  Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Loksatta (लोकसत्ता), October 10 2015:

"पत्नीचा खून करून शिर हातात घेऊन निघालेल्या नराधमाला कात्रजमध्ये अटक...चारित्र्याच्या संशयावरून पत्नीचा कुऱ्हाडीने खून करून तिचे शिर वेगळे करून ते रस्त्यावरून घेऊन निघालेल्या एका नराधमाला पुणे पोलीसांनी शुक्रवारी सकाळी अटक केली..."

The Times of India, October 10 2015:



"Security guard severs wife's head, walks with it on the road...A dhoti-kurta clad Chavan walked with the axe and the severed head for 500 metres on the busy road in full view of horror-struck residents of housing societies and passers-by near Rajas Society in the Katraj area. Some people took photographs and posted video clips, which soon went viral...”


The place this happened is right behind the residential complex I live. I have seen some gruesome pictures and even video allegedly related to this incident.

It reminded me of the following devastating picture included and commentated upon by Vasant Sarwate (वसंत सरवटे) in his book "Samvad Reshalekhakashi" (संवाद रेखालेखकाशी), 2012.



Artist: Adolf Born 
  

commentary by Vasant Sarwate

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Love of Geometry or Food?...Achilles Eats Hector's Moussaka!

Martin Amis, The New York Times, April 27 2015:

"...In “Deep Readers of the World, Beware!” (1959) he (Saul Bellow) imagines a classroom conversation:

 “Why, sir,” the student wonders, “does Achilles drag the body of Hector around the walls of Troy? . . . Well, you see, sir, the ‘Iliad’ is full of circles — shields, chariot wheels and other round figures. And you know what Plato said about circles. The Greeks were all made for geometry.”

“Bless your crew-cut head,” the professor replies, “for such a beautiful thought. . . . Your approach is both deep and serious. Still, I always believed that Achilles did it because he was so angry.”

Critics should cleave to the human element, and not just laminate the text with additional obscurities. The essential didactic task, Bellow implies, is to instill the readerly habits of enthusiasm, gratitude and awe..."

(Review of  'THERE IS SIMPLY TOO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT', Collected Nonfiction By Saul Bellow)


Artist: J. B. Handelsman (1922-2007), The New Yorker, 19 March 1990

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Can We Trust the Inscriptions on Sulptures?


Ramesses II lived from 1303 BC to 1213 BC- that is more than 3000 years ago....read the following and decide if much has changed in politics under the name of "the requirements of the kingship"...

"Ramesses was a consummate self-publicist, and a completely unscrupulous one. To save time and money he simply changed the inscriptions on pre-existing sculptures so that they bore his name and glorified his achievements."

Can you trust even the inscriptions in stone by the rulers?

Egyptologist Dr Karen Exell, on Ramesses the propagandist:

"...He very much understood that being visible was central to the success of the kingship, so he put up as many colossal statues as he could, very quickly. He built temples to the traditional gods of Egypt, and this kind of activity has been interpreted as being bombastic – showing off and so on – but we really need to see it in the context of the requirements of the kingship. People needed a strong leader, and they understood a strong leader to be a king who was out there campaigning on behalf of Egypt and was very visible within Egypt. We can even look at what we can regard as the ‘spin’ of the records of the battle of Qadesh in his year five, which was a draw. He came back to Egypt and had the record of this battle inscribed on seven temples, and it was presented as an extraordinary success, that he alone had defeated the Hittites. So it was all spin, and he completely understood how to use that..."

('A History of the World in 100 Objects' by Neil MacGregor)
Artist: Richard Taylor, The New Yorker, September 10 1938