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Mors Et Vita Redoubled

(Melancholy, Music, Poetry, The King of Terrors, Videos)

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Charles Gounod -- Judex

“UNDER the roots of the roses,
Down in the dark, rich mould,
The dust of my dear one reposes
Like a spark which night incloses
When the ashes of day are cold.”

“Under the awful wings
Which brood over land and sea,
And whose shadows nor lift nor flee, ---
This is the order of things,
And hath been from of old:
First production,
And last destruction;
So the pendulum swings,
While cradles are rocked and bells are tolled.”

“Not under the roots of the roses,
But under the luminous wings
Of the King of kings
The soul of my love reposes,
With the light of morn in her eyes,
Where the Vision of Life discloses
Life that sleeps not nor dies.”

“Under or over the skies
What is it that never dies ?
Spirit --- if such there be ---
Whom no one hath seen nor heard,
We do not acknowledge thee;
For, spoken or written word,
Thou art but a dream, a breath;
Certain is nothing but Death !”

Richard Henry Stoddard : Mors et Vita


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All Fiction Is Wish-Fulfilment

Sprawled on the car­pet, Jam­ie was nib­bling his lower lip in a thought­ful rap­ture.
Wot’cha doing ?” enquired Paul. Whil­st glad he was actu­ally doing some­thing, and not star­ing inwardly; the ever-active Paul mis­trus­ted the con­tem­plat­ive impulse: not­ing that Jam­ie, unusu­ally for him had been read­ing the Sunday lit­er­ary sup­ple­ments and scrib­bling away for the last hour. His pretty little brother had given up on oth­ers’ crit­ic­al the­ory when he was ten, not just on lit­er­at­ure.

Mak­ing a game..” Jam­ie mur­mured in soft dis­trac­tion; then shak­ing his plat­in­um head explained: “One cre­ates ten titles with synopsis-blurbs for well typ­ic­al mod­ern books  —  fiction’s gon­na be the easi­est ‘The crap we read now’ to be Trol­lopi­an…” not that Jam­ie had hardly read Trollope in his young life… “then lists ten adject­ives com­monly used in such heated minds as write blurbs to describe the prot­ag­on­ist; and ten adject­ives used to encap­su­late such rot. The oth­ers than have to match up the cor­rect two adject­ives to each book to win. Remem­ber: All fic­tion is wish-fulfilment. The skill of the author lies mostly in how they can dis­guise this truth. Mod­ern authors can barely even try; which is why their her­oes and heroines are all bril­liant, multi-skilled, sexy geni­uses.”

After a while he handed Paul his first list, “Knock your­self out.” he said cheer­fully.

I. Miss Jazzy Queen­ing it Down The Gap. — The adven­tures of a mixed race Black/Puerto Ric­an drag-artiste hust­ling in Times Square to fund his sex-change oper­a­tion.

II. The Potting-Shed in Autumn.  — In the garden of a country-house in 1935 an age­ing garden­er, once an Oxford gradu­ate, recalls how he came to the ruin of his dreams and his present status, and con­siders the tapestry of life rep­res­en­ted by the den­iz­ens of Mad­dingleigh Hall from the ser­vants’ quarter to the Osterley-Browns, the wealthy but cor­rupt fam­ily who now own the land.

III. The Gash of Time.  — A Scotswoman’s vig­or­ous fight for self-improvement again­st the oppos­i­tion of fam­ily, friends, chil­dren and all the men­folk she ever meets. Until at last she gains a doc­tor­ate in Coun­cil Stud­ies, makes the largest for­tune in Scot­tish his­tory as a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­wo­man, and finally becomes the first woman first min­ister of Scotland’s Par­lia­ment.

IV. The Seabirds of Yalta.  — Charlie Wern­er, troubled mav­er­ick of the SIS, has five days to stop Wal­ter Schellenburg’s most dar­ing plot of all: to assas­sin­ate the Big Three at their meet­ing in 1945. Facing the sin­ister ex-lawyer Ulrich von Kar­tof­feltopf, now SS Bri­gade­führ­er and con­fid­ante of Himmler, he has only the beau­ti­ful Laris­sa, once sec­ret­ary to Yagoda, only allowed to buy her life by ful­filling the most dan­ger­ous of all mis­sions, and Una, ‘The Lovely Valkyrie’, a Prus­si­an aris­to­crat play­ing a double game, and ‘Dutch’ O’Murphy, a tough wise-cracking US Master-Sergeant, eager and will­ing to pay off old scores. These four are pit­ted again­st Otto Skorzeny and an élite band of assas­sins formed from a com­pany of the sur­viv­ing para­chut­ists of Crete sworn to dark and mys­tic­al oaths which have to do with revenge on trait­ors respons­ible for the near débâcle and the ran­dom recov­ery of ancient objects of great occult power. Can they pro­tect the lead­ers of the Free World, or is there a trait­or in their own ranks ? How will they pair off into bed ? And in what order ?

V. The Bread-and-Butter Pud­ding Club.  — Polly, Gail, Rosie and Miri­am all want their men to settle down and take things ser­i­ously: they form a pact with the rest of the girls in the firm and it’s a side-splitting race to see who becomes preg­nant first.

VI. The End of the Pier.  — July 1914: The Twelve Joeys, a strug­gling party of Pier­rots and Pier­rets work the South Coast dur­ing the splen­did Sum­mer. What will Autumn bring ?

VII. Rid­ing A Rain­bow.  — Dainty vowed nev­er to be depend­ent on any­one after her par­ents split up; now a bril­liant suc­cess as the best mar­ket­ing exec­ut­ive in the tough world of pub­lish­ing ever, she wants a child. But at 26 she has to act fast. Who shall she choose as the father ? Josh, her live-in lov­er of three years, geni­us research sci­ent­ist, but irre­spons­ible and feck­less; Rudy, the sweet gentle impov­er­ished motor­cycle cour­i­er, only 19 but liv­ing in a com­mun­al squat in Brix­ton; or Simon, suave multi-millionaire busi­ness entre­pren­eur who will give her a life of per­fec­tion, but demand mar­riage as the price ? Dainty has to make the most dif­fi­cult decision of her life.

VIII. Dead of Day.  — A seri­al killer is mur­der­ing women, all of whom are young, clev­er and excess­ively attract­ive: can the J9 team, a crack police squad formed to foil these crimes  —  old­ish gaf­fer, young female second-in-command, black male, com­puter geni­us, black female, sev­er­al gays of either sex, ordin­ary plods with com­bat skills  —  work out why he uses these cri­ter­ia in time before he slays another six vic­tims ?

IX. The Holy Ball.  — Latvia in the early four­teenth cen­tury is a grim and dan­ger­ous place, ruled by the cruel Sword-Brethren. Some men fight in rebel­lion, oth­ers knuckle under: but all, ulti­mately are depressed. A group of their wives how­ever refuse to yield, and defy the imper­i­al­ist­ic oppress­ors and their hypo­crit­ic­al Church by invent­ing foot­ball. The infuri­ated rulers must strike back and des­troy the game and all memory of it, or it will spell the end of all their anti-democratic power. Inspir­ingly, after the mas­sacre one girl escapes and, abjur­ing all else, spends every moment of an immensely long and minutely detailed mediæval life trav­el­ling to every coun­try in Europe, Africa, and Asia to secretly spread the know­ledge of this inspir­ing game, with it’s prom­ise of ulti­mate lib­er­a­tion, among­st all dis­af­fected peas­ants.

X. Fresh Meat  — Hor­ror: an espe­cial group of Sûreté invest­ig­at­ors put togeth­er an alarm­ing col­lec­tion of facts. All over the globe, butchers return home to find their fam­il­ies gone: there are no clues, except the abduct­ors left sev­er­al hun­dred kilos of saus­ages sit­ting in each liv­ing room. Mar­vel as the author­it­ies take sev­er­al weeks before some­thing clicks and they call in what saus­ages remain for forensic exam­in­a­tion.

1. Feisty
2. Strong
3. Fiercely-independent
4. Fiercely-intelligent
5. Love­able
6. Tra­gic
7. Ador­able
8. Endur­ing
9. Bright
10. Tough-minded

a) life-enhancing
b) wise
c) gentle-fable
d) bril­liant
e) hil­ari­ous
f) astound­ing
g) amaz­ing
h) witty
i) assured
j) myth­ic

Paul read this in silence. “Some of your sod­ding pre­oc­cu­pa­tions are present;”
Jam­ie smirked.
I wouldn’t talk about ‘Lovely Valkyries’ much if I were you.” he con­tin­ued sourly.
Jam­ie bit him. At least he tried to. Cer­tain sub­jects were taboo.

Child Witch



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Messengers Of Reason

Gorky was devoted to reas­on, know­ledge and sci­ence. He wro­te bit­terly of the impot­ence of reas­on in the old church-dominated Rus­sia, of the “dark abyss” and the “ele­gi­ac sub­missive­ness to fate”. What ini­tially ali­en­ated him from Lenin’s régime was the con­vic­tion that it was sup­press­ing the light of reas­on and per­petu­at­ing in a new form the dark abyss. For Rolland, the authen­tic esprit was above all a ration­al one. Shaw, like the Webbs and like the Welsh Uto­pi­an social­ist Robert Owen, whom the Fabi­ans had lat­terly dis­covered as an intel­lec­tu­al ancest­or, was a fierce ration­al­ist. Like Owen, the Fabi­ans con­demned ignor­ance, waste, dis­lo­ca­tion, booms, slumps and unem­ploy­ment as essen­tially ir­rational. Was racism, Need­ham asked, any­thing but irra­tion­al ? Was not the Sovi­et Uni­on the most determ­ined oppon­ent of racism ? “The sub­ject­ive and irra­tion­al are anti-democratic, they are the instru­ments of tyranny.” Georges Fried­mann described the Sovi­et Uni­on as “the most mag­ni­fi­cent effort towards the ration­al trans­form­a­tion of institu­tions .. . that human­ity has ever attemp­ted”. So here “reas­on” be­comes sim­ul­tan­eously a sys­tem of logic or cereb­ra­tion immacu­lately syn­thes­ized with a set of mor­al val­ues. No one voiced the lib­er­at­ing claims of reas­on more fer­vently or con­sist­ently than Hein­rich Mann with his per­en­ni­al argu­ment that the greatest weapon of the Geist in its struggle with arbit­rary power was reas­on ( Ver­nun­ft ): indeed he pub­lished in 1923 a col­lec­tion of essays col­lect­ively titled Diktatur der Ver­nun­ft. In 1937 he wro­te of the USSR: “At last a state under­takes to make out of men what we have always wanted: a ration­al exist­ence, the col­lect­ive work­ing for the bene­fit of each indi­vidu­al, and out of that indi­vidu­al shall some­thing higher and bet­ter develop with­in a total­ity that fur­ther pre­dicts itself.” But here ration­al­ity is inter­preted as a com­mon her­it­age not a class mono­poly, as a mat­ter of Geist not of Macht: he spoke of the “deep, fun­da­ment­al intel­lec­tu­al­ity of the Revo­lution” and he pleaded that it was “in the last resort no rebel­lion of some again­st oth­ers. Basic­ally it asks for and receives the agree­ment of all.” This was indeed the dream of the Enlight­en­ment. Mann’s friend Feucht­wanger con­tin­ued to regard reas­on as the pre­serve of an enlightened minor­ity, a treas­ure destined to be dis­trib­uted to the popu­lace at large but so far with­held from them in all coun­tries except the Sovi­et Uni­on. “I sym­path­ized inev­it­ably with the exper­i­ment of basing the con­struc­tion of a gigantic State on reas­on alone… .” He stressed the eth­ic­al “Ver­nun­ft­massigkeit” of the Plans, and later he wro­te of his belief in “a slow, slow yet sure growth of human reas­on between the last ice-age and the next”. Sim­il­arly, “reason-through-knowledge” was the for­mu­la recom­men­ded by the Webbs and finally iden­ti­fied by them as oper­a­tion­al in Rus­sia. They were con­vinced that under social­ism the prob­lem of who gives orders to whom would pro­gress­ively dimin­ish since the com­bin­a­tion of what they called “meas­ure­ment with pub­li­city” and the “search­light of pub­lic know­ledge” would burn out unreas­on, ignor­ance and apathy among the pub­lic, free­ing it from its false de­pendence on tra­di­tion­al or arbit­rary power. This had also been Saint-Simon’s belief.

It is of course easy to cri­ti­cize the philo­soph­ic­al naiv­ety of the fellow-travellers. Too blandly did they incor­por­ate sub­ject­ive, eth­ic­al premises into the gen­er­al con­cept of reas­on, and in this respect they were little in advance of Thomas Paine, who described his­tory as a peri­od­ic­ally inter­rup­ted pro­gress from the gov­ern­ment of priests and con­quer­ors to the gov­ern­ment of pure reas­on — this reas­on being defined simply as the anti­thes­is of ignor­ance. When Owen declared: “Train any pop­u­la­tion ration­ally, and they will be ration­al”, he vir­tu­ally spoke for a later gen­er­a­tion sep­ar­ated from him by a hun­dred years. Yet what soun­ded enlightened in 1830 could only be judged as naïve in 1930. When Con­dorcet and Owen argued that idle­ness, pover­ty, crime and pun­ish­ment were merely, in Owen’s words, “the neces­sary con­sequences of ignor­ance”, they could not reas­on­ably be cri­ti­cized for lack­ing a con­cept of ali­en­a­tion or anom­ie, where­as the fellow-travellers turned their backs not only on such con­cepts but blandly ignored a cen­tury of psy­cho­lo­gic­al inquiry. It was time to recog­nize that for­mu­las such as Bentham’s “the greatest hap­pi­ness of the greatest num­ber” had an eth­ic­al rather than a ration­al basis, yet the fellow-travellers con­tin­ued to elect Unit­ary Reas­on to the throne once occu­pied by God, com­plete with all the court ritu­al of the fall, redemp­tion and sal­va­tion. One can at least par­tially sym­path­ize with Marx’s scorn for the endeav­ours of Saint-Simon and Owen to con­vert human­ity, includ­ing the rich and power­ful, to social­ism by means of ration­al per­sua­sion; it was this aspect of their thought rather than the build­ing of mod­el set­tle­ments like New Har­mony which pro­voked him to brand them as “Uto­pi­ans”. Admit­tedly the later fellow-travellers occa­sion­ally acknow­ledged that the knout had become a fre­quent mes­sen­ger of reas­on in Sovi­et Rus­sia, but they refused to draw con­clu­sions about the motiv­a­tion of the knout-wielders, pre­fer­ring to judge them as bene­vol­ent school­mas­ters occa­sion­ally resort­ing to stern­er dis­cip­line out of love for their pupils. Though they were anti-capitalist, and though some of them, like Shaw, recog­nized the neces­sity of for­ce, the fellow-travellers still inhab­ited the men­tal uni­verse of Auguste Comte, with his vis­ion of his­tory as being syn­onym­ous with the pro­gress of the human mind towards the final, ration­al stage of uni­ver­sal pos­it­iv­ism. No doubt the immense upheaval which took place in Rus­sia dur­ing forced col­lect­iv­iz­a­tion was in a sense pos­it­iv­ist­ic­ally inspired; but what appears ruth­lessly ration­al is not neces­sarily reas­on­able, and the fellow-travellers lacked not only Kant’s in­sight into the neces­sity of an inner, mor­al revolu­tion with­in men but also the vital gleam of cau­tion­ary wis­dom offered by Voltaire when he remarked: “Le monde avec len­teur marche vers la sagesse.”

Dav­id Caute : The Fellow-Travellers

One of the finest books ever writ­ten; and by a left­ist, too…

High School Of The Dead



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Walls Of The Deepest Blue


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Death Cab For Cutie -- Your Heart Is An Empty Room


Johann Georg Meyer - Young Woman Window
Johann Georg Meyer -- Young Woman Looking Through A Window


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The Poor Captain Is Very Ill

A great num­ber of books made me  — espe­cially Jur­gen, and A Voy­age to Arctur­us  —  how­ever this reunited volume ( green, dam­aged, about 8.“ x 5.5” x 2.5″ ) Volume I of Dicks’ Eng­lish Lib­rary, John Dicks, 313 Strand, 1856, is part of my child­hood. I can only find one ref­er­ence to the set on the web [ see below ], and that is of a volume half a cen­tury later. Set in a type size of per­haps some­thing like 4.5, Dia­mond, which accounts for a lot of short-sightedness over gen­er­a­tions, it was pro­fusely illus­trated..

The main reas­on I bring it here is because of one par­tic­u­lar plate of Chicot the Jester being exquis­itely funny which haunted my young ima­gin­a­tion, and became part of my men­tal fur­niture. Even today, it’s an excel­lent joke; and forms the first plate below.
[ I may men­tion an oddity: usu­ally one scans B/W draw­ings as grey­scale; due to some pecu­li­ar­ity of this aged paper these were best done as full col­our scans… ]

Har­ris­on Ainsworth is well known here, so needs no detail; M. A. Tit­marsh is even more still read, but under his real name of Thack­er­ay, of course. I rather bar Thack­er­ay, but few authors have the least bit of nobil­ity about them, so one must not be too harsh…

gc = George Cruick­shank; rc= Robert Cruick­shank



Angus B. Reach  — Clem­ent Lor­imer; or, The Book with the Iron Clasps gc

[ Story of a dying old Cor­sic­an begin­ning la Ven­detta in 1610 in Ant­werp  —  without telling any­one, let alone the offens­ive fam­ily, why : “…the black wings of Azrael are above his house, and they may not close while there is life beneath the roof-tree, or fire upon the hearth.”  —  briskly leap­ing over two chapters into 1830s Lon­don with it’s res­ol­u­tion : the final mur­der­er hav­ing mar­ried the last of the unwit­ting enemies is frus­trated in his object of killing her; but still seeks to dis­cov­er the unknown secret of why the feud was begun. Helas, the book was infused with a subtle pois­on that des­troys the wretch, and knock­ing over the lamp in his fall, the Book with the Iron Clasps was con­sumed by fire. Along with the house.

They liked broad brush strokes in the early nine­teenth cen­tury. ]

Élie Ber­thet  —  The Gold Mine

[ Set in the Pyren­ees in the 1720s ]

Samuel Lov­er  —  Short Irish Tales

Ger­ald Griffin  —  Card-Drawing

M. G. Lewis (Monk Lewis)  —  My Uncle’s Gar­ret Win­dow — A Pan­to­mim­ic Tale

Hoff­mann  —  The Won­der­ful Adven­tures of the Stu­dent Anselmus

[ This one is good. As usu­al with Hoff­mann. ]

Douglas Jer­rold  —  The Ring and the Men­dic­ant — A Tale of Frank­fort Fair

Tom Hood  —  Tales and Papers


Alex­an­dre Dumas  —  The Forty-Five Guards­men

Wil­li­am Har­ris­on Ainsworth  —  Sir Lionel Flam­stead and his Friends

Tom Hood  —  Short Tales


Wil­li­am Har­ris­on Ainsworth  —  The Tower of Lon­don  — A His­tor­ic­al Romance gc


L. A. Chamer­ovzow  —  Chron­icles of the Bastile, The Tower of La Ber­taudière rc

[ Tale set in the Regency with a vil­lain­ous chief of police, D’Argenson and one of those tire­some French fra­tern­it­ies of noble rob­bers French authors adore so much. It’s tres dif­fi­cile not to root for the wicked cops in these cir­cum­stances. ]

Albert Smith  —  The Nat­ur­al His­tory of the Gent

Tom Hood  —  An Extraordin­ary Oper­a­tion


Wil­li­am Har­ris­on Ainsworth  —  Car­din­al Pole; or, The Days of Philip and Mary

[Anon]  —  Sprigs of Holly for Christ­mas

M. A. Tit­marsh  —  Mrs. Perkins’s Ball

M. A. Tit­marsh  —  Our Street

Alfred Crowquill  —  Old Heads & Heads of the People

[ a couple of advert­ised fea­tures miss­ing from V. ]


Captain very ill


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Make Ready To Slaughter His Sons For The Guilt Of Their Fathers

This sug­gests the fas­cin­at­ing pos­sib­il­ity that the key for a group intend­ing to turn Europeans again­st them­selves is to trig­ger their strong tend­ency toward altru­ist­ic pun­ish­ment by con­vin­cing them of the mor­al blame­wor­thi­ness of their own people. Because Europeans are indi­vidu­al­ists at heart, they read­ily rise up in mor­al anger again­st their own people once they are seen as free riders and there­fore mor­ally blame­worthy  —  a mani­fest­a­tion of their stronger tend­ency toward altru­ist­ic pun­ish­ment deriv­ing from their evol­u­tion­ary past as hunter gather­ers. In mak­ing judg­ments of altru­ist­ic pun­ish­ment, rel­at­ive genet­ic dis­tance is irrel­ev­ant. Free-riders are seen as strangers in a mar­ket situ­ation; i.e., they have no famili­al or tri­bal con­nec­tion with the altru­ist­ic pun­ish­er.

As a very inter­est­ing and influ­en­tial European group, the Pur­it­ans exem­pli­fied this tend­ency toward altru­ist­ic pun­ish­ment. A defin­ing fea­ture of Pur­it­an­ism was the tend­ency to pur­sue uto­pi­an causes framed as mor­al issues  —  their sus­cept­ib­il­ity to uto­pi­an appeals to a ‘higher law’ and the belief that government’s prin­cip­al pur­pose is mor­al. New England was the most fer­tile ground for “the per­fect­ib­il­ity of man creed,” and the “father of a dozen ‘isms’.” There was a tend­ency to paint polit­ic­al altern­at­ives as starkly con­trast­ing mor­al imper­at­ives, with one side por­trayed as evil incarn­ate  — inspired by the dev­il. Pur­it­an mor­al intens­ity can also be seen in their “pro­found per­son­al piety”  — their intens­ity of com­mit­ment to live not only a holy life, but also a sober and indus­tri­ous life.

Pur­it­ans waged holy war on behalf of mor­al right­eous­ness even again­st their own genet­ic cous­ins. The sug­ges­tion is that this is a form of altru­ist­ic pun­ish­ment found more often among coöper­at­ive hunter-gatherer groups than among groups based on exten­ded kin­ship. For example, whatever the polit­ic­al and eco­nom­ic com­plex­it­ies that led to the Civil War, it was the Yan­kee mor­al con­dem­na­tion of slavery that inspired the rhet­or­ic and rendered the massive carnage of closely related Anglo-Americans on behalf of slaves from Africa jus­ti­fi­able in the minds of Pur­it­ans. Mil­it­ar­ily, the war with the Con­fed­er­acy rendered the heav­iest sac­ri­fice in lives and prop­er­ty ever made by Amer­ic­ans. Pur­it­an mor­al fer­vor and its tend­ency to jus­ti­fy dra­coni­an pun­ish­ment of evil doers can also be seen in the com­ments of “the Con­greg­a­tion­al­ist min­ister at Henry Ward Beecher’s Old Ply­mouth Church in New York [who] went so far as to call for ‘exterm­in­at­ing the Ger­man people … the ster­il­iz­a­tion of 10,000,000 Ger­man sol­diers and the segreg­a­tion of the woman,.”

Thus the cur­rent altru­ist­ic pun­ish­ment so char­ac­ter­ist­ic of con­tem­por­ary West­ern civil­iz­a­tion: Once Europeans were con­vinced that their own people were mor­ally bank­rupt, any and all means of pun­ish­ment should be used again­st their own people. Rather than see oth­er Europeans as part of an encom­passing eth­nic and tri­bal com­munity, fel­low Europeans were seen as mor­ally blame­worthy and the appro­pri­ate tar­get of altru­ist­ic pun­ish­ment. For West­ern­ers, mor­al­ity is indi­vidu­al­ist­ic  —  viol­a­tions of com­mun­al norms by free riders are pun­ished by altru­ist­ic aggres­sion.

Kev­in Mac­don­ald : What Makes West­ern Cul­ture Unique ?

Guilt is rather neces­sary, for we ought to know what we are; but it is also neces­sary to dis­card it as mere vain­glori­ous self-obsession once past fault is recog­nised and sub­sumed. Natür­lich, some of us find it easi­er than oth­ers; but that’s just through rig­or­ous self-training ( or some­thing )  —  which is far less com­pla­cent than the oppos­ite urge to purge another’s guilt. And cer­tainly beats killing or self-killing to sat­is­fy a ridicu­lous mor­al ego…

Whelan Statues



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The Skewed Perspective

(Correctitude, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

Of course, the Greek works that survive are those that the Christian Byzantines choose to preserve for us. Hence they give a very skewed view of what Greek thought was actually like. For instance, we have seen that the medical works of Galen make up a full fifth of the entire surviving classical Greek corpus. Add Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy and the mathematical works and we find that Christians were by far the most keen on copying scientific and medical writings. The papyri from Egypt and epigraphical evidence show that this was not the concern of most Greeks. In other words, we think Greeks were a rational lot because Christians were interested in their rational thought. Hence, the preponderance of Greek science in the surviving corpus tells us that the Christians who preserved it were very interested in science --- not that the classical Greeks were. Oddly, Stoicism, the Greek philosophy that comes closed to Christianity is severely under represented as is Epicurianism and Cynicism. And yet these three schools rejected much of reason and science, concentrating instead on ethical issues. We are left with the strong impression that it was Christians who appreciated Greek science a whole lot more than the Greeks did.

James Hannam Loss and Preservation of Ancient Literature','The Skewed Perspective'

Nice. Though a caveat might be that the Greeks gave us so much more than scientific rationalism that the debt civilisation owes them is beyond measure: cool helmets; the theatre of the angst; and, of course, Democracy buttressed by slaves... * The Greek loving Oscar Wilde confesses in his socialist musings that slavery is inescapable in an ideal democracy --- someone has to actually do the unpleasant bits --- although the obvious conclusion that democracy is fraudulent as a concept from this and a dozen other reasons was naturally eluded. Democracy is the ultimate feel-good ideal; and it's devotees know that however many millions are slaughtered, tortured, enslaved, robbed, lied to, and disappointed, that mankind may enter the miragic City upon a Hill, they are absolved by the moral purity of the mission.

It would be salutory if they would simply look at a single group selected at random in order to examine whether they truly want these exact people to have any say in their own lives. Not necessarily the demonized, such as communists, nazis or scientologists, but a community of ordinary people come together to celebrate anything one likes. At random, I proffer the unspeakable Gor. Google = 94 million results.

Professors of philosophy rarely are going to be productive of anything helpful; yet American ones seem rather less so, and their results positively harmful on occasion --- well, certainly on this occasion... Gorean studies are prominent on the Web, the enthusiasts being mostly women [ It is ironic, therefore, that the largest single group among the creators of webpages, and in the Gor chatrooms are female. ]; the rest being wimps. It can best be summed up by a famous parody, Houseplants of Gor ( The cactus plant next to the spider plant shuddered. It attempted to cover its small form with its small arms and small needles. "I am plant," it said wonderingly. ), and what one really, really, needs to establish is whom exactly, apart from themselves maybe, would select these people as having a valid input into any choice that effects others. And, this is merely one subset of humanity: there is no logical reason why any other selected group would fare any better. To take one party mentioned above: much of the internet gets over-excited about scientologists; accusing them of numberless offences: personally, I think their religion and practices sub-optimal, but nothing to concern my life, yet regarding their entirely legitimate beliefs, which they have every right to hold, I find it offensive that believers in L. Ron's idiocy should have a vote to determine government. However, no more offensive than that anyone should have a vote; including myself.


Virginia Frances Sterrett -- Medea and the Snakes

Here's a blog with a lot of jolly nice dragons. I never cared for the duplicitous Jason, nor St. George either.

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Dark Ambient

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Kanon Wakeshima Still Doll

Hi Miss Alice.
With glass eyes
What kind of a dream
Are you able to have ?
Are you entranced by ?
Again for me
My heart tears apart
And flows out
Pierce into
The mended crevice

Hi Miss Alice.
With a fruitful mouth
To whom are you
Throwing love at ?
Grieving love at ?
I’m already
Spinning words
The warmth of my tongue
Completely cools
And I can’t sing
The song that I adore

Still, you do not answer.


Lancelot Speed Lady of the Lake
Lancelot Speed --- Lady of the Lake



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Lost Property Is One With Nineveh And Tyre

i rock, i cage, i tomb, i Hell mouth.
i tomb of Guido, i tomb of Dido, i bedstead.
viii lances, i pair of stairs for Phæton.
ii steeples, & i chrime of bells, & i beacon.
i heifer for the play of Phæton, the limbs dead.
i globe, & i golden sceptre; iii clubs.
ii marchpanes, & the City of Rome.
i golden fleece; ii rackets; i bay tree.
i wooden hatchet; i leather hatchet.
i wooden canopy; old Mahomet's head.
i lion skin; i bear's skin; & Phæton's limbs & Phæton's chariot; & Argus' head.
Neptune's fork and garland.
i 'crosers' staff; Kent's wooden leg.
Iris head, & rainbow; i little altar.
viii vizards; Tamberlain's bridle; i wooden mattock.
Cupid's bow, & quiver; the cloth of the sun & moon.
i boar's head & Cerberus' iii heads.
i Caduceus; ii moss banks, & i snake.
ii fanes of feathers; Bellendon stable; i tree of golden apples; Tantalus' tree, ix iron targets.
i copper target, & xvii foils.
iiii wooden targets; i greeve armour.
i sign for Mother Redcap; i buckler.
Mercury's wings; Tasso's picture; i helmet with a dragon; i shield, with iii lions; i elm bowl.
i chain of dragons; i gilt spear.
ii coffins; i bull's head; and i 'vylter.'
iii timbrels; i dragon in Faustus.
i lion; ii lion heads; i great horse with his legs; i sackbut.
i wheel and frame in the Siege of London.
i pair of wrought gloves.
i Pope's mitre.
iii Imperial crowns; i plain crown.
i ghost's crown; i crown with a sun.
i frame for the heading in Black Joan.
i black dog.
i cauldron for the Jew.

Complete Inventory of the Properties of The Admiral's Men, 1598.


Crows In Winter --- Unknown source



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Against The Evil Of The Banal

(Correctitude, Manners not Morals, Other Writ, Self Writ, The Enemy)

You are quite right –-- I am not moved by any ‘love’ of this sort, and for two reasons: I have never in my life ‘loved’ any people or collective --– neither the German people, nor the French, nor the American, nor the working class or anything of that sort. I indeed love ‘only’ my friends and the only kind of love I know of and believe in is the love of persons. Secondly, this ‘love of the Jews’ would appear to me, since I am myself Jewish, as something rather suspect. I cannot love myself or anything which I know is part and parcel of my own person. To clarify this, let me tell you of a conversation I had in Israel with a prominent political personality who was defending the – in my opinion disastrous –-- non-separation of religion and state in Israel. What [ she ] said --– I am not sure of the exact words any more – ran something like this: ‘You will understand that, as a socialist, I, of course, do not believe in God; I believe in the Jewish people.’ I found this a shocking statement and, being too shocked, I did not reply at the time. But I could have answered: the greatness of this people was once that it believed in God, and believed in Him in such a way that its trust and love towards Him was greater than its fear. And now this people believes only in itself ? What good can come out of that ? Well, in this sense I do not ‘love’ the Jews, nor do I ‘believe’ in them; I merely belong to them as a matter of course, beyond dispute or argument.

Hannah Arendt

Also... from the same publication, an amusing glance at feel-good morality when it contemplates atrocity by persons it disapproves of, Effing the Ineffable.

Of course, the proponents of the antithetical beerier type of incontinent love of folk are the most apt to promote sacrifice for the religious object of love; group, gods, or even person --- carefully ignoring the fact that no sacrifice except one's individual own can have the faintest value howsoever that value is defined... Only an Imbecile God --- perhaps Azathoth --- can prize the stench of some burnt offering.

'We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war'.

Jephtha's Daughter

Hughes Merle -- Jephtha's Daughter *

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Two weeks ago I hired a van/driver and emptied the garage mentioned earlier to a temporary ( alas ) near location: most of the boxes can be, with some trouble, disposed of without much consideration; but this event does mean that I need never see the far-off town evermore. British cities being what they are, this is excellent. I may detail some of the recovered books later; however this, and some continual intimations of chest trouble --- which susurration ironically has led to an annoying semi-cessation of smoking at the precise time when I have obtained a supply of Marlboros from the Philippines --- has extended a neglect of this minor blog. Even once one has taken Marcus Aurelius on board and recognised the unimportance of nearly everything transient, one still waits upon events, seeking a succession of resolutions... In the longer term, I still have no idea where to move finally even when most of these minor annoyances of storage for that move are fixed...

So, in lieu of an entry, I'll post a few links that have been hanging around in Firefox for weeks waiting for a mention.

I too have never heard of Anders Zorn ( splendid name, though ), and his figures of Scandanavian young womanhood seem slightly robust compared to the more familiar coming-of-age visualisations of the art-photographer David Hamilton later in the century --- I should confess a distaste for styled studio photography --- but I liked this more fugitive piece


Anders Zorn -- Londres


The first Pre-Raphaelites no matter what the skill can also often be too strenuous, however here is the site of the Delaware Art Museum; and here is a site with some of Kate Greenaway's still more delicate works that betray at least a faint influence of Morris.

Kate Greenaway -- Polly

Kate Greenaway -- Book-cover

Here's a stray Lady Gouldian Finch in a blog; and here's a history of Lost Wax Casting by an expert.

Girl Bird



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She Burn’d With Love

Fair is my love, but not so fair as fickle;
Mild as a dove, but neither true nor trusty;
Brighter than glass, and yet, as glass is, brittle;
Softer than wax, and yet, as iron, rusty:
A lily pale, with damask die to grace her,
None fairer, nor none falser to deface her.

Her lips to mine how often hath she join'd,
Between each kiss her oaths of true love swearing!
How many tales to please me hath she coin'd,
Dreading my love, the loss thereof still fearing !
Yet in the midst of all her pure protestings,
Her faith, her oaths, her tears, and all were jestings.

She burn'd with love, as straw with fire flameth;
She burn'd out love, as soon as straw outburneth;
She fram'd the love, and yet she foil'd the framing;
She bade love last, and yet she fell a turning.
Was this a lover, or a lecher whether ?
Bad in the best, though excellent in neither.

William Shakespeare : The Passionate Pilgrim VII

Ayami Kojima - Princess

Ayami Kojima - fr Castlevania



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Is Thy Servant A Dog That He Should Do This Thing ?

(Animals, Correctitude, Manners not Morals, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

The Rightosphere, painstaking as ever to find more stuff to feel delicious frissons of outrage about, and more reasons to be unnecessarily mean to muslims, has got excited over The Case of The Muslim Who Barked In The Night. Basically, a poor feeble-minded member of that faith, member of Dundee City Council and member of the Tayside Police Board, complained that this advert, featuring Rebel, was offensive to some of his sad community.


Rebel Puppy


Now, the Tayside Police had a number of options here, all of which could be combined with just telling him that his advice had been noted and would treated with the importance it deserved:

1/ Contact any christian european/american member of Tehran's City Council, and ask him/her to protest about the depraved muslim drive to destroy pet dogs in Iran, especially in that city.

2/ Set up an urgent Education Policy to explain to the muslim community the especial place dogs have in British and european culture, especially black dogs ( whom Mohammed considered devils --- he doesn't seem to have been entirely sane all the time; still, he liked cats ) who haunt various parts of England, the continent, and even some parts of America, bringing rather more happiness and delight than any elected member of local government ever has, even if they bring instant doom and destruction. Being torn by the hounds of Arawn, The Lord of Winter, is slightly less painful than being torn apart by the self-righteous maenads of political correctness if only because the hounds are less stupid and would not accompany the savagery with boring one with the moral reasoning for the action at the same time.

3/ Engage in a wild hunt of local muslims with vicious packs of rabidly foaming dogs of all shapes and sizes.

4/ Preferably: tell him to go chase his tail around and around until he collapses in a heap.

Naturally, police being wimps, they apologised. Still, who cares ? Such minor things can be ignored until the future culture-clash goes into armed mode...

Slightly more annoying, one can notice that the 0845 prefix to the number means that it is charged at a higher rate which goes back to the called organisation. It now costs money to call the cops ? Not only are they useless, but they charge you for it...


Blasphemer - Black Doggie

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The Breath Of A Buffalo In The Wintertime

"What is life ? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."



By now Americans via Roosevelt II are blamed for both Pearl Habor and Jap internment camps as if horrors right up at the top of the genocide contest; Pilgrim Fathers and white invaders of America are blamed for being immigrants [ in order to defend further unfettered life-changing immigration into the USA now, in a retarded mislogic ] and their successors blamed for having an empire now --- economic and military ruling through satrapies rather than direct rule.

Now, these are some people I severely despise: liberal, and puritan, and homo americanus alike, but... they were doing what they would do; they were acting fairly correctly: you have to do various unpleasant things in war; all land grabbing is founded on Wordsworth's Good Old Rule * -- we are all the sons of slaughter --- and at certain stages in a country's life it will become an empire --- if it is lucky...

FDR's possible sin over allegedly permitting Pearl Harbor was venial compared to the Japanese assaults on humanity during WWII ( I am not blaming the Japanese for making war here ), although incorrect as regards care for his own people: yet even there, after all, a president does not have the mutual obligation of a King to his subjects and should not be held to any high account; as for the nisei camps, they were paralleled by the nazi internment of jewish people as potential traitors ( and in that case worse as an economic slave-force ), but not comparable, although again the same republican defence can be made of the fuhrer: basically, there is no way Americans then could have been expected not to consider that Japanese-Americans would not all automatically refrain from acts meant to aid Japan; if the Americans committed their fair share of war-crimes as usual, they weren't as unpleasant occupiers as were the Japanese Imperial Army, and an easily panicked populace naturally did not want to experience the latter --- a repeat of Nanking in San Francisco or Los Angeles seemed a possibility at the time. Maybe the taking of the continent, and relentless expansion of population by the invaders, was rough on American Indians, but face it: they would not be any better off if the Japanese had invaded in the 16th century instead. And had during the first two centuries of post-columbian America the natives driven the invaders back into the sea they certainly would not be now bemoaning their ancestors' past brutalities and indulging in despicable self-guilt.

One of the troubles with the previous native occupation of the land is that the Native American Indian was an appallingly bad custodian of Mother Earth and had no respect for Nature. He destroyed animal life wantonly and without care for any future: wiping out entire species as efficiently as modern man manages with the far superior tools we have presently **, and set forests ablaze, incinerating the inhabitants, merely to attract meat-bearing animals to the ashy remainder. From the destruction of birds and animals in pre-California researched by Jack M. Broughton, "Depending on when and where you look back in time, native peoples were either living in harmony with nature or eating their way through a vast array of large-sized, attractive prey species." Early California: A Killing Field, to modern-day reservations with uncontrolled hunting rights, "Over the past 25 years Shoshones and Arapahoes, equipped with snowmobiles, ATV's and high-powered rifles, have virtually wiped out elk, deer, moose and bighorns on the 2.2 million-acre Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Repeated motions for modest self-regulation emanating from within the reservation have been defeated by vote of the tribal leaders.... [I]n one confined area 31 dead elk were found. In another, a retired Indian game warden mowed down an entire herd of 14. Meat piled up at local dumps. Antlers were exported to the Orient where antlers and horns are ground to a power and hawked as an aphrodisiac." Dances with Myths, the record of wasteful slaughter is as grim as Chinese bodycounts.

The whites finished the job of destroying the buffalo of course --- ironically in order as primary purpose to destroy the life and freedoms of the Indians who had massacred the buffalo so much --- yet if the mass executions by rifle were hideous, the previous methods were still more vile; particularly the Bison Jumps scattered throughout the continent. A favorite buffalo hunting technique was to stampede huge herds of them over cliffs. Many such Buffalo jump sites have been found in the West, some with remains of as many as 300,000 buffalo. The technique is detailed here.

From wiki, here is one little fellow galloping through the rare art of Eadweard Muybridge: watch him go !

Muybridge sequence

en sequentia...

Muybridge Buffalo Gallop


hungarian bison
Hungarian Bison mixing it [ or perhaps Aurochs ? ]


* "The creatures see of flood and field,
And those that travel on the wind !
With them no strife can last; they live
In peace, and peace of mind."
"For why ? --- because the good old rule
Sufficeth them, the simple plan,
That they should take, who have the power,
And they should keep who can."

William Wordsworth : Rob Roy's Grave

** Investigations into the fossil record and carbon dating techniques have shown that 80% of the North American animal population disappeared within 1000 years of the arrival of man.



Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
This work by Claverhouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
This work by Claverhouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.