Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Commonplace digest 1

While I was on hiatus I continued posting quotes from books I was reading onto my commonplace blog. Gonna start working on getting them crossed over here, because for some reason I feel like I have to. But there's a massive bunch of them, and I don't want to clog things up, so I'm posting them digested, with links to the original posts.

A.E. van Vogt, from The World of Null-A, on fear and death and on the callousness of legislating acts of war.

William S. Burroughs, from "Proclaim Present Time Over," the nifty, semi-meaningful fragment "concealed wheels spin the world."

Thomas Pynchon, a whole bunch from Gravity's Rainbow. On the banality of evil. On the numbness of repeated trauma and its function of removing us from love. On buying and selling being the real business of war. On fiction and reality, as well as rationality and humanity. On the gleeful brutality of empire. On motherhood in a hierarchy. The Proverbs for Paranoids. On progress as the erosion of freedom as well as that freedom being based upon the erosion of someone else's freedom in the first place. On ghosts, and the rage of the rescued. On the gleeful brutality of empire, again. On the interference patterns of two paranoias. On the scientific violence of civilization. On anthropomorphized Technology itself running things, and the truth and falsehood of this premise. On the gleeful brutality of cops and their opportunism in engaging in it. On ideological interpretations of scientific fact. On a society of trained dogs as a metaphor for guess-what. On the real, eternal War. And on the Man's branch office in our heads.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, from "The Yellow Wallpaper," on one person's rationalism thinking it trumps someone else's lived experience.

The great Shirley Jackson, from "Pillar of Salt," on the runaway but still somehow willful progression to destruction.

Flann O'Brien, from The Third Policeman, on what might be behind the mask and on our limits on truth.

That's probably enough for now. More to come at some point, though of course if you feel like it you can just go there and look at what I've posted since then.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the quotes, ethan, esp. from pynchon. some great stuff there. i tried to slog through gravity's rainbow once, didn't make it very far. might be worth a 2nd gander.

Ethan said...

Glad you like!

GR can be tough, but I at least found it worth it. My strategy was to think, well, if it turns out to be worth it I'll probably be re-reading it at some point in my life, so I don't have to worry about getting every single little thing--I just plowed through, and if I occasionally realized that I'd been lost for the last ten pages, well, I didn't sweat it. Don't know if that'll work for you, but it worked for me.