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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

That was Rather Unpleasant

This hasn't been the worst day evar. But it's definitely in the top ten.

Yesterday I had the first of four wisdom teeth removals. The dentist gave me some antibiotics and various instructions about what to do if X or Y were to happen. Now, I'm not entirely sure it was taking the Advil along with Tylonol-3, or if it was something involving swallowing my own blood in my sleep (I'm suspecting the Advil, for reasons I'll get to in a moment), but I woke up at 3 AM with Godzilla-sized stomach pains and a fever.

When the pain and nausea became too great to manage, I got out of bed and went to kneel before the porcelain idol, only I passed out in the middle of the hallway before I made it there. I woke up again and was quite convinced I was in the process of dying, so I decided to head back to my bedroom to find the closest phone with which to call 911. Didn't make it. Passed out again in front of my bookshelf, which toppled it, sending all of my books (and the entertainment stand, which lies next to the bookshelf) sprawling over my bed and floor. (Luckily, as I discovered when I awoke this morning, only a few books got damaged in the fall. Unluckily, the list of books that were so damaged did not include J. G. Ballard's Crash.)

Came to again, and couldn't find the phone. Also I realized that, despite my fever, I was shivering from the cold... My bed was covered with a television set, VCR, and Playstation 2, so I crawled into the guest room and just managed to pull some blankets over me before passing out for a third time.

That last time I was probably out for a good minute or two, and the pain was subsiding along with the cold sweat. I figured I'd help the process along by taking another advil -- and herein lies my great folly of this early morning, because for some reason that started the stomach pains all over again.


Furthermore, when I got up Socrates was doing very badly. He wasn't responding to the medicine he's been on the past week, and was showing signs of early heart failure (his heart wasn't pumping blood properly, so that his tail and feet weren't getting the blood circulation they needed). He was in a lot of pain; I decided he'd suffered enough in the past few months and wasn't going to get any better, so I took him in to the vet to get euthanized. It was more difficult to do than I was anticipating.

And to add insult to injury, because of the medications I'm on I'm unable to drive, so I had to pay for a cab to the vet and back.

I've gotta say... So far? This year sucks copious amounts of ass.

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 3:46 p.m.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

Mary Shelley

Well, I just finished preparing a presentation for Monday. Which may or may not be due on Monday, thanks to class being cancelled last week. I'm also supposed to write something about her book, Frankenstein, which I was supposed to have read for Monday.

Well, here it's confession time.

See, among the major reasons I decided to take English 3622, besides the fact that it meshed quite well with my schedule, was because many of the books we're going to be dealing with I've already read (or have a strong interest in reading, such as The Handmaid's Tale.) This both saves me money and, in the case of Frankenstein, time.

See, I haven't read Frankenstein this time around. This is because I've read it three times already, once in each previous year of university.

Now, what can be said about the book that hasn't already been said? Not much. I mean, it's considered by many to be the first true work of science-fiction. (Interestingly, Mary Shelley also wrote the first apocalyptic fiction when she wrote The Last Man.) It's inspired over fifty films. It was published in two editions, each very different in tone and theme. The fact that it was written as part of a game by bored artist dilettantes makes it all the more impressive. Also, unlike many other works of the age, her flagship novel seems only to become more relevant as time goes on.

What I didn't know -- and this is something I'll be touching upon in my presentation (whenever I'm supposed to make it -- is just how prolific a writer Mary Shelley was. Everyone with any first-year English courses can talk about Frankenstein in their sleep, but she actually wrote six other novels and a novella, along with a number of essays, biographies and the like. Her first poem was published at the age of ten, although she tended to favour prose.

Also, Percy Bysshe Shelley? Total ass. Not quite as arrogant as Byron, but he was pretty close, and practically destroyed her with his callous attitude toward their children at various points. He's also responsible for the loss of her juvenilia, which was forever lost in Paris when he decided to drag her off to Switzerland.

I won't say much more because if I do I'll be left with nothing to present. However, because it's related, and because I feel like I need filler after more than a week of blog silence, I'll provide this essay (written for another class) comparing the merits of the book with Kenneth Branagh's 1994 adaptation.


Dude, Where’s My Romantic Novel? Kenneth Branagh’s “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” and Where Hollywood Went Wrong

Kenneth Branagh both directs and stars in his film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s famous Romantic novel, Frankenstein, which he entitles “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Presumably, by including the author’s name at the beginning of the movie’s title, this lends the movie’s version a certain authority over previous film adaptations. More specifically, it is a claim of a high degree of authenticity, and of staying true to the original text. Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course, small details in the story are changed for the film’s adaptation, and to list off each of these would not only be unfair, but also extremely time-consuming. Rather, the focus of this essay will be on the major elements of Romanticism within Mary Shelley’s original novel, and how these were either missing entirely or terribly perverted by the Hollywood machine.

One of Romanticism’s most recognizable hallmarks is its connection with and reverence of nature. Throughout Victor’s childhood, and at the moments of his greatest despair, he is always able to turn to nature for emotional revitalization: “These sublime and magnificent scenes [of nature] afforded me the greatest consolation that I was capable of receiving. They elevated me from all littleness of feeling” (Shelley, 122). The text offers many more examples of this aspect of Victor’s personality, and is quite explicit in pointing out that Victor’s crime of creating the creature takes place when he spiritually cut off from nature and unable to appreciate it: “It was a most beautiful season; never did the fields bestow a more plentiful harvest, or the vines yield a more luxuriant vintage: but my eyes were insensible to the charms of nature” (Shelley, 83). Even the creature, whose existence is miserable and whose birth occurs outside the normal boundaries of nature, can still find room for “joy” and “thankfulness” when the “blessed sun” provides him with some comfort (Shelley, 165). This depiction of nature is, however, completely ignored in the film; Kenneth Branagh leaves no room in Victor’s passions for any sort of connection with, much less an appreciation for, nature. Any Romantic depiction of nature seems conspicuously absent in the film.

In fact, some aspects of nature, particularly in terms of life’s cycle (necessarily ending in death), are treated as a monstrous and evil thing in the film. The destruction by lightning of the tree in the film echoes the death occurring within the home at the same time; it becomes a terrible omen and a symbol of the terrible destructiveness of nature, which is completely unlike the event in the book:
The catastrophe of this tree excited my extreme astonishment; and I eagerly inquired of my father the nature and origin of thunder and lightning. He replied, “Electricity,” [and] he made also a kite, with a wire and string, which drew down that fluid from the clouds (Shelley, 70).

Similarly, while having Victor’s mother die of childbirth in Branagh’s version may present an interesting parallel to Victor’s own birth of the creature (subsequently leading to his own demise), it is entirely unlike Caroline Frankenstein’s death to scarlet fever in the novel, where “she died calmly; and her countenance expressed affection even in death” (Shelley, 72). The implications of such thematic changes upon the nature of Frankenstein’s crime are tremendous: in the novel, Frankenstein defies the natural order of things, and in doing so turns his back on the nature that loved him, yet in the movie his crime is more ambiguous since he is actively rebelling against a capricious and cruel natural world. Additionally, Frankenstein develops his unnatural methods on his own, completely without the help of Professor Waldman, who, instead of possessing of a “mild and attractive” disposition, becomes a brooding figure who lays the foundation for Frankenstein’s own sin (Shelley, 76).

Many Romantic novels seek to criticize the injustice inherent in the prevailing social order, and Frankenstein is no exception. Shelley spends a good deal of time exploring the flawed judicial system of her day, the most memorable example of which is the trial of Justine Moritz. This is described not so much a judicial process as a “wretched mockery of justice” during which Justine is “threatened [with] excommunication and hell fire in my last moments, if [she continues] obdurate” (Shelley, 107, 113). Shelley is clearly criticizing common practices of intimidation and prejudice within the court system, things that in this case lead to Justine’s execution for a crime she did not commit. No such judicial criticisms can be found in Kenneth Branagh’s film adaptation, where Justine is killed not by due process, but by an angry mob.

Frankenstein’s creation, commonly referred to as the creature or the monster, obviously plays a large part in any version of the story. Here, Branagh’s adaptation diverges wildly from the original. When Victor and his creature finally speak in the film, Victor seems surprised that the creature can speak. “Yes, I speak…” is the creature’s halting reply, “and read… and think…” Yet, in the novel, the first thing the creature says to Victor is very different in nature:

All men hate the wretched; how then must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. You purpose to kill me. How dare you sport thus with life? Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, I will leave them and you at peace; but if your effuse, I will glut the maw of death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends (Shelley, 125).

Unfortunately, Branagh presumably does not feel the creature deserves to possess such eloquence or clarity of thought. Other differences in relation to the creature also emerge: the film depicts the first actions of the creature to be violent in nature, as he fights off an angry mob, and the most important benefit the creature provides the De Laceys is to throttle their landlord. In the novel, the creature does not resort to violence until he attempts several non-violent ways to achieve a connection with humankind. Branagh’s creature almost entirely lacks this kind of pathos.
This might be forgivable if the narrative structure of the movie had better followed that of the novel, where the creature is given the chance to present his side of the story in his own words, but in the film the audience must interpret the creature’s existence outside Victor’s narrative without the benefit of the creature’s perspective. This divergence from the original narrative structure also fails to properly link the parallels of isolation between Robert Walton (who feels isolated because he has no peers with him), Victor Frankenstein (who forces away the world during his periods of isolation), and Frankenstein’s creature (who is forced away by the world into an unwanted isolation). Because of this, when watching the film, the connection between the three characters becomes far more tenuous than in the novel.

In fact, instead of developing the character of the creature, and presenting him with the pathos he deserves, the film spends a great deal more time trying to provide a pseudo-scientific explanation for Frankenstein’s reanimation process. It all looks impressive when filmed, of course, but the nonsensical combination of Oriental philosophy and electricity hardly adds anything to the story itself. Shelley’s much more elegant and (ironically) believable answer to the problem is to ignore it entirely: rather than go through the motions of attempting to provide an obviously ridiculous process of weird science, she simply writes that “after days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, [Victor] succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life [and became] capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter” (Shelley, 80).

Perhaps the worst offence of all is the film’s dreadful replacement of Romanticism with romance. Throughout the course of the novel, Victor loses a number of friends and family members to the creature’s revenge quest. Victor feels the loss of each of them tremendously, and slowly but surely the void in his life grows. While Elizabeth is certainly dear to him in the novel, she is not so important that her own death overshadows William’s, Justine’s, or his sometimes-protector Henry Clerval (whose murder actually receives more pages of lamentation than Elizabeth’s). In fact, Victor’s strange behaviour twice prompts Elizabeth to ask him whether he desires to be freed from their promise of marriage: “But as brother and sister often entertain a lively affection towards each other, without desiring a more intimate union, may not such also be our case?” (Shelley, 210). Elizabeth wants nothing more than for Victor to be happy and well – a loving relationship, to be sure, but not an overtly erotic one. The film, however, changes all this: Their relationship suddenly becomes highly eroticised, to the point that Victor writes to Elizabeth about how much he misses her lips, her breasts, etc. Rather than offer Victor a release from his promised bonds, or care for his own happiness above all else, Elizabeth spends her times having jealous fits, demanding of him an explanation for his strange behaviour and asking him “Did you ever think of anyone or anything but yourself?” Eventually, the threat of her leaving forces Victor to confess to her the nature of his terrible deeds – this makes her own murder far less tragic than in the novel, since she receives something of a forewarning in the film. Instead of her murder being a final straw, it becomes almost the whole of Victor’s motivation to dedicate himself to the creature’s destruction. The story no longer seems to be about Victor and the creature, but instead about Victor and Elizabeth, making it romantic instead of Romantic.

More details could easily be listed and argued – turning Henry Clerval into a comic relief sidekick rather than a Victor’s stalwart friend and protector, denying Justine Moritz her moment of nobility and courage before her death, etc. – but that goes beyond the scope of this paper, and would be somewhat unfair given the nature of film and the constraints under which it must work. Nevertheless, the above overview presents the biggest aspects of Branagh’s horrible treatment of Shelley’s classic novel, and the way the film utterly rejects some of the novel’s most important themes. While the result may work for Hollywood, it is anything but Romantic. The story becomes a far cry from Mary Shelley’s tale, no matter how the film is entitled.

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 1:08 a.m.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Pentagon Contemplating Death Squads in Iraq

I wish I were joking. Excerpts of the article from

What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon’s latest approach is being called "the Salvador option"—and the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is. "What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are," one senior military officer told NEWSWEEK. "We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing." Last November’s operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking "the back" of the insurgency—as Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the time—than in spreading it out.

Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s.[...]

(Don't you just love how that whole mess is being whitewashed? "Leftist guerrilla insurgency," I guess, somehow includes nuns, priests, civic workers, human rights activists, unionists, farmers, etc. these days...)

Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras.)
Following that model, one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries, officials tell NEWSWEEK.

And a particularly telling section:

Shahwani also said that the U.S. occupation has failed to crack the problem of broad support for the insurgency. The insurgents, he said, "are mostly in the Sunni areas where the population there, almost 200,000, is sympathetic to them." He said most Iraqi people do not actively support the insurgents or provide them with material or logistical help, but at the same time they won’t turn them in. One military source involved in the Pentagon debate agrees that this is the crux of the problem, and he suggests that new offensive operations are needed that would create a fear of aiding the insurgency. "The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving to the terrorists," he said. "From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation."

I'm honestly not surprised that this is being considered as an option; I've long felt that the current American Imperialist regime has always been completely, utterly morally bankrupt. What shocks me is that they're being so open about considering the option. They're even calling it "the Salvador Option," like there still isn't enough bad blood on that one. I mean, to most of Latin America, that's the equivalent of calling something "the Nazi Gas Chamber Option."

I'm going to leave aside the fact that this is morally reprehensible, because that should be obvious to anyone reading this. I'm also going to leave aside the observation that "making population X pay the price for the support they give to group Y" is pretty much your working definition of terrorism. Instead, I'm going to focus entirely on the practical applications of this option, and why it's such a dumb idea that the village idiot of the town of dumbsville is officially laughing his ass off at how mind-numbingly stupid it is.

1. In a situation like this, you need your brutal enforcers to be kept in tight check for it to work, otherwise they just go off and start enforcing their personal grudges rather than doing the dirty work you want them to do.

1a. Since the provisional authority, and even the coalition itself, cannot claim to have any significant hold over Iraq without being sniggered at, there is no such authority to keep them in check.

1b. Therefore, these squads will spend their time killing their enemies, rather than enemies of the government, and possibly setting up protection rackets to boot. I mean, who's to stop them from working on their own agendas and just picking up paychecks from you on occasion?

2. There isn't a single group of insurgents -- it's a number of fractionalized groups, each with its own agenda; sometimes these agendas match up, sometimes they don't. In the face of death squads, though, there's that much more incentive for them to start coordinating.

3. Plenty of the insurgent groups are pretty brutal, and have their own methods of terrorizing the populace into submission. The death squads, one must remember, are DESIGNED TO MAKE THE POPULATION PAY; they don't target insurgents, because if the insurgents could be singled out then conventional military would suffice. Thus, you trap the population between a rock and a hard place.

3a. In this case, the rock's presence is constant. The hard place's presence is intermittent, simply due to the nature of death squads -- they can't operate 24/7.

3b. Thus, the option of providing complete (or at least, more enthusiastic) support to the insurgents becomes the most viable option available to the populace.

3c. This supports one ethnic group over another, since it is a specifically Sunni area that is being targetted. This has a great chance of rallying Sunni elsewhere, out of fear of being next if nothing else. Insurgent recruitment, any way you cut it, will rise rather than fall.

4. It is possible to terrorize a populace into supporting you. Stalin (and Russia)proved that. However, not only does it require extremely brutal tactics, it comes with the implicit guarantee that the moment -- the very moment -- you show weakness, your ass is toast and you've got a revolution on your hands. This is especially true in a culture with a long-standing tradition of blood feuds -- past harms are not forgotten that easily.

I wish I could believe that the U.S. administration is going to see things the way I do and discount this option, particularly given how badly it's going to hurt U.S. credibility on an international scale, but then this is also a regime that has hand-waved torture, and either naively believed in the whole democracy-domino theory, or cynically told the domino-theory as a lie in order to create a perpetual conflict upon which the administration could feed.

Again, though. "The Salvador Option." My God, the gall...

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 5:37 p.m.


Sunday, January 09, 2005

ENGL 3622: The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals

Friday, Jan 7th, 3 PM: Begun reading DW’s Journals. Book has standard -- boring -- Oxford design. Cover ill. not particularly captivating. Opening pages brought feelings of melancholy &c. DW seems to cry a lot, not entirely sure why.

3:15 PM: Noticed half book is notes, timelines, context &c. Actual journals take up little comp. space.

3:30 PM: Distracted by internet. Checked e-mail – noted expected e-mail from Dr. J has arrived. Must remember to add other student blogs to sidebar – later. For now, web comics.

Ethan makes me laugh – also Order of Stick. Neither relevant in least.

4:00 PM: Set book aside; went to McD’s with J. Ate two hamburgers, talked about the Welsh. Snapped at cashier in store for trying to charge $2 for $1 can of pepsi; immediately felt bad for snapping – must be tired.
J. left for DnD. I returned to read more.

5:15 PM: Time goes slowly – only through ten pages. Text so thick – brain threatens to seize, though not nearly as bad as Ch18 of Ulysses. So far, highly uninteresting, though Marxist in me finds John Fisher’s musings on p3 intriguing. Notes at back indicate Fisher was proven right – heartening, in depressing kind of way. Also, journal seems to touch upon poverty often, with beggars & the like – I sense typical 18th C. attitude of irritated condescension toward poor. Also typical in 21st C, but that is neither here nor there.

Moving on – more melancholy & birds &c. DW needs new material.

5:40 PM: As often as not, DW opens each passage with a comment about the weather. She often engages engages in pathetic fallacy, describing the natural world as “solemn” or “melancholy”. Pope (I think it was Pope) would have strung DW out for it, but Pope was a bit of a hard-ass &c. anyway.

Set book aside again. I need some Eugene O’Neill to break monotony. I will begin reading “Emperor Jones.”

8:30 PM: Done O’Neill. Back to DW. I noticed my reading hiccups every time I come across her use of “sate.” Got used to reading Middle Eng.; will get used to this too, no doubt.

DW seems to suffer from headaches very often. Also, I have trouble picturing a “bread pie,” & I’m quite sure my mental picture of a “pot-house” is quite diff. than what DW intended.

9:00 PM: Lots of letter-writing going back & forth. Not surprising to me; already did page on 18th C. Post. Must remember to offer link to said page on blog.

10:10 PM: Last time read journal like this, got to see Pepys bludgeoned to death with own book; wonder if I will get to see same happen to DW.

10:40 PM: Am reminded of scene in Pandaemonium, which follows something like:

DW & WW walking across grassy field under blue sky & next to beach &c. WW swishing cane side to side against grass. WW looks up thoughtfully & muses aloud:

WW: “I wandered lonely as a cow.”
DW: “Perhaps cloud would work better there, dear William.”

I still laugh at that scene each time. Wish this journal were as funny.

11:10 PM: Must give DW credit; she was very attentive to outside world. Also knowledgeable about roots & herbs &c. Looking out window, notice only snow & darkness & lights in other windows. Man walking by with little dog on leash, carrying bag of stuff fr. corner store. Not very interesting. I maybe lack a poet’s perspective, but then urban life very diff. from rural England circa 1800.

Stepped outside briefly; a cold evening.

11:40 PM: Finished reading for now. Tomorrow, will check other student blogs to look for interesting comments. Still only 40 pages in; must redouble my efforts on the morrow.

Saturday, Jan 8th, 3:00 PM: Did internet browsing & downloading this afternoon. Also wrote e-mails to AA & BR. No new e-mails save for a single spam message promising me greater home equity or somesuch nonsense.

Back to reading.

5:20 PM: Cooked myself some supper; had to go to the store to buy some beef & no-name cola, though. Made some curry ramen with garlic beef & eggs. Never tried that mix before; quite filling & tasty, though I’m normally not too crazy about curry. Still, experimentation is important for any would-be cook.

Read a few pages while I cooked.

7:45: Let Soc. out to play; fed him his usual yogurt drop treat.

I am beginning to get the idea that DW was often a mother-figure of sorts for those in her life, particularly WW, Col., &c. Anytime they are sick she makes mention of it & seems to imply that she took care of them somehow. When she is sick, conversely – & this happens often – she never mentions anyone else taking care of her. She pretty much managed Wm’s life for him, & enabled him to live his life as a poet. Especially interesting considering the theories out there that claim DW actually wrote some of Wm’s better poems for him. A very active woman.

10:30 PM: Talked briefly with R on MSN; convinced her to watch Harold & Kumar. My taste in movies is proven exemplary once more.

11:30 PM: Checked out the course & related blogs to look for any comments thus far. Rather slim pickings. Still, might as well use the material given by Dr. J:

Was DW a writer? Yes. However, this journal is not art, & therefore cannot be used to claim any status as artist for her. A journal – unless fictionalized – is an historical anecdote & little else. Interesting as a glimpse into the surrounding culture & offers insight into the life of important figures – possibly even artistic – but lacks any literary merit in & of itself. I doubt she would have tried to claim otherwise herself, anyway, given that she never intended for the journals to be published.

DW might still qualify as an artist – not entirely sure. But if she does it has nothing to do with these journals.

As an aside, it’s obvious when DW gets excited about something she writes, because her normally stilted & condensed prose style suddenly uses more complete sentences – much like this entry here – though the use of dashes is not in any way diminished – as one might expect from a writer just coming out of the 18th C.

12:45 AM: Took a brief break to write a short bit about superhero conventions – a welcome diversion. Growing extremely exhausted, and only reached p96 – may have to do with incomplete reading to allow time for editing this blog entry. Will attempt to read more tomorrow, though I must also read a portion of Butler’s “Gender Trouble,” so it may be difficult. Overall, I must rate this entry as long and not particularly insightful – though, hopefully, it will qualify in some peoples’ minds as somewhat clever.

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 1:13 a.m.


Friday, January 07, 2005

On Hemmingway

An excerpt from a fictional opinion piece that has been on my mind recently:

"Ernest Hemmingway was a man's fucking man.

He could drink more than you, and he often did. He could punch things really hard. He didn't dance around a paragraph when he sat down to write. He ran with the bulls in Pamplona, and if my memory serves correctly, he strangled one with his bare hands before breaking it in half, eating one of the portions and hurling the rest of the carcass to a gaggle of starving urchins. If you gave him any lip, he would take his Bloody Mary glass, crush it in his hand and lacerate you with the shattered remains. He woke up in strange places, head bulbously hungover, and bludgeoned the hostile natives before finding a desk and a typewriter with which he could ply his trade for the day. When everything finally proved too much for him, Papa took a shotgun and removed most of his own head. It's a berserk, macho, romantic fantasy made real, and it lingers in men's memories and libidos, forever a symbol of the ultimate barbarism and tragedy of being a man. Slog through the shit until you just can't take it no more, and then, make a big mess for the people who have to find you. Fuck you, world!"

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 3:02 p.m.


Monday, January 03, 2005

Back to School

It doesn't feel like I had much time off. But I do what I must do. No 8:30 classes this term, which should make things a bit easier, and hopefully I won't have to face quite as many crises this time around.

A warning for my regular readers -- just as this blog started off as a course requirement, a place for me to talk about literature I'm reading, so too is it going to return to such a state for a while. Not entirely, mind you... I'll still be posting about my usual fluff, but at least once a week you should expect to see something relating to my Women's Writing course. There will also, incidentally, be a number of new links to other blogs on the left-hand sidebar, should anyone be interested.

Beyond that, I find I don't have anything relevant to say... And since Socrates needs a bath, I think I'll end this here. Ciao for now.

Jesse R enlightened the masses @ 4:45 p.m.


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