Friday, June 12, 2009

Bourgeois Surrender Hot(t) Links

Because psychologically I need to keep the site as up to date as possible and bulk up my post totals. To convince myself that I exist. Don't expect much. The more stuff that gets put on the internet, the harder it is to find anything good.

On the theme of people who organize their lives, and their blogs, around completing lists, this guy is reading the entire set of Harvard classics, and, of course, writing about his experience. Considering that he is an editor at Harper's Magazine, and even scored a book deal out of his project, his blog entries don't really strike me as that much more spectacular than my own are, but maybe he saved his A-material for the book, or memoir, as it is billed. His page shows many highly flattering reviews, including one from Heidi Julavits, who was the golden girl of my high school (she graduated two years ahead of me) and was rather always swimming far above the level of such an obviously low life form as myself, so I have even further cause to be jealous of him.

As far as I can tell, no one is stepping up to take on the entire Britannica Great Books set (Syntopicon included), or if they are they are not keeping a blog about it. There are a few people however who at least write about how much they enjoy seeing the set taking up prime real estate on their booksehelves. This guy seems to have even read Plutarch. all the way through. Wait! I found a site that specializes in comments on readings from the series, though it looks like they are picking and choosing choice nuggets rather than barrelling right through from Volume 1 to 54. They are serious though. One of the posts referred to a DVD available featuring "3 hours with Mortimer Adler"; and the author sounds excited at the prospect.

I am pretty sure I am glad that there was no internet for the masses when I was eighteen and nineteen. For people who aren't getting any girls or are in an unfortunate social position where they are hardly allowed even to be near any, the temptation to spend all one's time online trying to find one, or watch intimate videos of ones you'll never be able to get but in former ages would have had no psychic access to must be overwhelming. One of the subgenres I have (completely accidentally, by the way) stumbled upon in this vein is that of girls smoking cigarettes, usually in a bedroom, while wearing lingerie or a bikini, smoking being so bad now that the viewer is more astonished at the brazen puffing than that someone is posting video of themselves in a state of undress that formerly required binoculars and a good hiding spot for most people to ever see, if they ever saw such a thing at all, for all the world free of charge. The mistake most of these videos make is to have the girl start talking, or worse, have the voice of some swarmy guy offscreen asking them lascivious questions about their preferences, bra size, etc, which destroys the illusion that they are possessed of even average intelligence or human sensibility, without which a life wallowing in such vice offers little that is appealing. I do kind of have a crush on this girl though. She is so good at being bad, she really does kind of become good again. It is my firm belief that every properly developed man must, in the course of his youth, be capable of having fairly involved dealings with a creature like this, and of coming through psychologically intact whatever course he chooses to take with her, if he is to attain that completeness of mature manhood that we so admire when we see it, and so lament the lack of in other men.

Still, for all the necessity of our last adventure, one cannot help feeling perhaps a little dirty afterwards. Time to wash off some of that musky afterstench by calling up some less tainted and sweeter friend, such as one of the Lennon sisters from The Lawrence Welk show perhaps. Especially if it's Christmas time.

Due to the unfortunate demise of my local video store, I have become dependent on the library, which doesn't have much that I haven't already seen, and occasional mail order for my classic movie viewing. Consequently I haven't seen much lately. The last thing I saw was the African Queen, which I had always been kind of ambivalent about seeing, even though I like Humphrey Bogart, and Katharine Hepburn is starting to grow on me now that my adherence to a list is forcing me to see some of her movies, which I had avoided before because I thought I didn't like her; however, I was still not sure I wanted to see them together. However, it wasn't bad, well made, a good-looking movie, less grating than I had feared. The danger in it was fairly tame, until the very end, and then the way that was resolved was kind of silly, is certainly better than 95% of the stuff that gets put out, though putting it on lists of the top 100 movies of all time, where I have seen it show up on several occasions, is either wishful or sentimentally blinkered thinking.

1 comment:

R and K said...

Thanks for the link to Liberal Artistry. The selections we're reading and responding to are drawn specifically from the reading list provided in the Great Conversation, the companion volume to the series. It's a ten year reading list but it doesn't feel like we'll be able to keep up with the schedule AND respond. So, we're just taking it one work at a time and see where we end up.

While we'd like to believe that we would have time to actually read everything in the entire collection and respond to it, we're trying to approach the response to each reading with some depth and don't expect to live long enough to do that with all the work offered.

We have a group on Facebook where we bring some of the broad issues addressed in each reading to a larger community and engage in dialogue. You can look us up under...wait for it- Liberal Artistry in the groups section!