February 14, 2006

Each drop of rain is a glass of champagne

Gerhard Richter, Abendstimmung, 1969

* clusterfuck nation. excerpt:

"The major news media's failure is near total, especially at the highest level of the New York Times, which gives more ink to narcissistic blather about gender identity than to the issue of how industrial civilization is going to carry on without its primary resources. The cable news networks have sunk into such mires of craven whorishness that they don't even pretend to broadcast news between eight o'clock and midnight anymore, just tabloid crime spectacles and celebutante melodramas. The Wall Street Journal has resigned from reality in order to DJ the financial sector's dangerous game of musical chairs.

"I haven't heard one college president address the question of how we are going to reform education when it ceases to be a mass consumer activity and the giant campuses of the land-grant diploma mills enter their own waiting crisis of scale.

"Where are the doctors speaking out about the nightmarish swindle that corporate medicine has become? The most conspicuous public doctor, Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, is under investigation precisely for working one angle of that swindle -- insider trading of medical services stock. Isn't it bad enough that hardworking people have to face cancer and mutilating injuries from auto accidents without also shoving them into personal bankruptcy?
"When the public finally discovers how they have been let down or played by these leaders, there will be a convulsion more severe than the one that tore this country apart in 1861."

* 1997 Interview of A.M. Holmes. excerpt:

BR: You've said elsewhere that you're interested in examining American or even contemporary morality. Have you come to any conclusions, preliminary or concrete?

AMH: I am interested in morality, but wouldn't presume to come to any conclusions--let's call it an ongoing investigation.
BR: Do you have to separate yourself from the work at times? Do you have any kind of release from it, or is it something you suffer through to go where you need to go with the novel?

AMH: I don't feel the need to separate myself from the work, but often things happen that pull me away from it for a period of time--other teaching, writing commitments, etc. A work of fiction develops best when the writer is able to spend a lot of time with the characters, the ideas,uninterrupted. It is the creation of a world, of people that never existed before being pulled out of the ether--that's something that takes a lot of time.
BR: What are you reading now? What are some works that have affected you remarkably?

AMH: I am reading non-fiction on the subject of marriage. I am readingthe novels of Richard Yates, of John Cheever and others and studying up on the progress of suburban life. I am also very interested in Russian Literature and read a lot of non-fiction. I love biographies.
BR: Do you approach each story or novel hoping to understand a particular issue or issues? Is each story a commentary of sorts, or do you write whatever comes to mind?

AMH: My ideas tend to come from "non-fiction" concepts, meaning that they occur in response to things going on in the culture. They are often explorations of specific ideas or themes that interest me--although the theme or idea is not necessarily overt in the story.
BR: Art played an especially important part in Appendix A. Do you see a connection between the physical/tangible arts and writing?

AMH: I wouldn't say that there's a connection between making art and writing. But I have found that there are times when one can't find words and the act of painting, the use of gesture, color, abstraction, can be quite liberating. The unfortunate thing is that I often don't allow myself the time to paint--its become a luxury. I've known many artists, writers, and musicians who also work or play in other forms. Creativity seems best served when it isn't limited to a single expression.

* "Walter Benjamin, Primo Levi, Paul Celan committed suicide; De Man and Heidegger went on to prosper. What did the former know that the latter never absorbed? To acknowledge the Second War means to risk suicide and in the process to politicize philosophy; and if we desire to avoid death and evade politics, repression is inevitable." - The Second War And Postmodern Memory, Charles Bernstein


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