Archive for April, 2015
“Don’t worry about being original, she said dismissively. Yes, everything’s been written, but also,…”Thursday, April 30th, 2015
“Don’t worry about being original, she said dismissively. Yes, everything’s been written, but also, the thing you want to write, before you wrote it, was impossible to write. Otherwise it would already exist. You writing it makes it possible.”
Alexander Chee reminisces about studying with the inimitable Annie Dillard, who echoes Mark Twain’s contention that “all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources,” Alexander Graham Bell’s assertion that “our most original compositions are composed exclusively of expressions derived from others,” and young Virginia Woolf’s observation that “all the Arts … imitate as far as they can the one great truth that all can see.” (via explore-blog)
Alexander Chee reminisces about studying with the inimitable Annie Dillard, who echoes Mark Twain’s contention that “all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources,” Alexander Graham Bell’s assertion that “our most original compositions are composed exclusively of expressions derived from others,” and young Virginia Woolf’s observation that “all the Arts … imitate as far as they can the one great truth that all can see.”
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My dad discovers group texting, and I discover the purpose of that crescent moon setting on my phone: An autobiography.
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David Simon is Baltimore’s best-known chronicler of life on the hard streets. He worked for the Baltimore Sun city desk for a dozen years, wrote Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets (1991) and, with former homicide detective Ed Burns, co-wrote The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood (1997), which Simon adapted into an HBO miniseries. He is the creator, executive producer and head writer of the HBO television series The Wire (2002–2008), and a member of The Marshall Project’s advisory board. He spoke with Bill Keller on Tuesday.
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STORYBOOK FASHIONS APRIL 9, 1961
ORIGINAL CAPTION: Passengers on board Disneyland’s new Columbia sailing ship will never get scurvy… especially if handsomely suited in gay tangerine.
We’ve bought annual passes again this year after a few years of not doing so. I’ve never liked the crowds, but with the right attitude I can enjoy the crap out of DL, and having the passes really helps. Because the pressure is off, and eh, we’ll get to it next time. So instead we can focus on little things, new-to-us things, and it’s wonderful.
Our last visit was just a one-day dash on Sunday. High on my list was going on the sailing ship Columbia, which I’d never done. I’ve been bingeing my way through the Patrick O’Brien novels (currently on The Ionian Mission), so I was totally down with exploring an age-of-sail replica.
One unexpected thing for me was how all the rigging is finished off. You can see it in this photo. Basically, the ship has all the masts and shrouds you’d expect, and some (small) sails that are almost always kept furled on the yards. But where you’d expect all the running rigging to be, there’s… nothing. All those belaying pins under the rail in the photo: On a working ship there would be lines going to most of those, coiled halyard falls and the like; basically there’d be rope everywhere. On the Columbia, though, there’s nothing. Nothing at all for the vessel’s thousands of inquisitive visitors to get into trouble with. It’s like being an infant in the most obsessively baby-proofed home ever.
Which totally makes sense, and I shouldn’t have been surprised. Down below is similar: I was excited about seeing the belowdecks museum of life aboard in 1787. But rather than being configured the way it would have been, there’s a big open area in the middle that you walk around, with tiny screened-off cabins on the sides.
All of which was fine, and fun. In effect, the Columbia is a museum piece that faithfully represents not only what an 18th-century sailing ship was like, but also what a mid-20th-century Walt-Disney-imagined amusement park attraction was like.
It’s like with Disney’s version of fairy tales, or the Tomorrowland vision of the future. It’s simplified and sanitized, the rough edges smoothed away in service of an uncluttered, slightly kitschy, middle-America narrative.
Which is cool. Disneyland is what it is, and I love it. Not the way I loved my imagined version of it as a kid, when it was perfect and awesome and it made my stomach hurt just to think about it. But the way you love someone you’ve come to know over decades, having seen them at their best and their worst, until their imperfections become cherished reminders of who they are, of your shared history.
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Nurture Studies by Diana Scherer
With ‘Nurture Studies’ the artist Diana Scherer presents an archive of flowers she has grown from seed over a six-month period. Rather than letting the flowers grow in open soil, she has
forced each plant to develop within the confines of a vase. Only at the
end of the process she removes the plant’s corset, exposing roots that
retain their shape as an evocation of the now absent vase.
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It was easy to get used to having a name that wasn’t mine and had a better sound. The Veronica was supposed to stand for what was classic in my features and the Lake was suppose to suggest the coolness you got when you looked at them. So things got put together. I went down the assembly line. Dressed by Edith Head. Faced by Wally Westmore. Singing voice dubbed by Martha Mears…When the hair was over one eye, I became someone else… I personally have no existence… My real life, the only one that people believe in, is the life of the Veronica Lake character… Has she got a connection with me?… I’m small and suspicious and unsure, and she’s tall and poised and thoroughly experienced. The Army respects her, the Navy adores her, the Marines are nuts about her. No branch of the service recognizes me.
— ” I, Veronica Lake: Constance Ockelman, Late of Brooklyn, Tells How She Became Hollywood’s Cyclops Cinderella,” Life Magazine, May 17, 1943.
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