Sunday, November 28, 2021

Anthony Powell, The Soldier's Art (1966)

This is book eight, if you're counting.  We're two-thirds done!  The title comes from "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came:"

I shut my eyes and turned them on my heart.

As a man calls for wine before he fights,

I asked one draught of earlier, happier sights,

Ere fitly I could hope to play my part.

Think first, fight afterwards—the soldier's art:

One taste of the old time sets all to rights.

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Thursday, November 25, 2021

I don't think I hit this hard enough in that last post... I just want to emphasize this: I've fantasize about murdering certain people; you can probably guess what sort.  Pretty sure we all have.  But I know myself well enough to realize that, no matter how reprehensible they are and how worthless their existences seem to me, if push came to shove, even if I knew one with one hundred percent certainty that I would get away with it and there would be no unintended political consequences, I would not be able to go through with it--but that if somehow I DID, I would be immediately filled with crushing guilt at the enormity of what I'd done.  I've had nightmares where I've done this and woken up in a cold sweat.  And I don't think this makes me some sort of moral paragon; I kind of think that the only difference between me and most other people in this regard might be that I think more vividly about what my mindset would be like.  Or maybe not; I can't get inside your head.

Or li'l Kyle's.  Who can say what's going in his brain?  Maybe he's had such a catastrophically horrible upbringing and been so deadened by fascist media that he's been able to completely quash any such impulses.  But...I don't know; maybe I'm just naïve, but it's difficult to imagine that a kid his age could really be completely spiritually dead.  But if he's not, then he is just going to be fucked up on a level I can't imagine, and all the photo-ops with T**** in the world will not change that.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Anthony Powell, The Valley of Bones (1964)

The title comes from Ezekiel.  We do start to get into the War in this book, but in spite of what the title might suggest, it's not super-hardcore.  We're still in 1940, prior to the Blitz, and Nick is still state-side (not "state-side!"  He's not in the US!  Jeez!).  He's a lieutenant with a regiment stationed in Wales and later Northern Ireland.  I must say, I know this is how it works, and probably someone who's studied these things could give me a good justification, but the idea of taking in civilians and just making them officers right from the jump seems crazy to me.  But that is neither here nor there.

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The Rittenhouse Review

Remember James Rittenhouse?  He was a liberal blogger in the early days, who sadly died in 2007.  And I wish to Christ he was still around and the one we're thinking more about these days was dead.  That would be so much better.

(RIGHT, I just realized that his name was in fact James Capozzola; it's just his blog that had the word "Rittenhouse" in it.  I apologize for any disrespect that may imply, but my general point stands.)

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Saturday, November 13, 2021

Anthony Powell, The Kindly Ones (1962)

Rarely is the question asked: "is it surprising one is always cuckolded by middlebrows?"  But the non-appearance of the phrase won't be a problem you'll have with this book, I'll tell you that much!

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Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Go ahead and beg the question all you want.

People say "oh, don't say something 'begs the question,' that's a logical fallacy, you should say 'raise the question.'"  People say this!  You will meet them in the streets every day!  But to that, I say two things:

Thing One: have you ever in your life actually used 'begs the question' to mean 'assumes the conclusion in the premise?'  If you're not a philosophy professor, I have my doubts!  But even if you have, it would be very obvious what you meant.  No one would be confused.  This is like when pedants say "oh, you shouldn't use 'decimate' unless you mean kill one out of ten."  When the hell do you have to talk about killing one out of ten people?  You don't, and if for some reason you did, the context would make it clear.  And if the context doesn't do that, then you have to accept that the 'original' meanings has been lost.  The way people use it ninety-nine percent of the time is always gonna win out.  Vox populi!  Language changes!  It's not the end of the world.

Thing Two: "Raise the question" is NOT synonymous with the supposed misuse of "Beg the question." "Raise the question" sounds neutral: there is a question.  That is all.  Whereas "begs the question" means more "DEMANDS that the question be answered."  It's stronger, and it's way more fun to say.  We have few enough fun things to do these days; don't try to take this tiny source of joy away from us!