[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

[<<] June 2005 blog (07) [>>]

blog archives

art - erotica - fiction - film - gallery - history - home - index - lifestyle - links - music - search - theory

WWW jahsonic.com

"Method of this work:
literary montage.
I have nothing to say only to show."
(Passagenwerk (1927 - 1940) - Walter Benjamin)

2005, Jun 16; 23:06 ::: Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824 - 1904)

Allumeuse de Narghilé - Jean-Léon Gérome (1824 - 1904)

Jean-Léon Gérôme (May 11, 1824 - 1904) was a French painter and sculptor who produced many works in a historical, Orientalist style. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Leon_Gerome [Jun 2005]

Pollice Verso (1872) - Jean-Léon Gérôme
photo sourced here.

Gladiator (2000 movie)
Ridley Scott was persuaded to direct the film when DreamWorks head Walter F. Parkes and producer Douglas Wick presented him with a reproduction of the 1872 painting Pollice Verso ("Thumbs Down") by Jean-Leon Gerome, in which a gladiator stands over the opponent he has beaten. On visiting the real Colosseum, Scott remarked to production designer Arthur Max that it was "too small", so they designed an outsized "Rome of the imagination" that was inspired by English and French romantic painters, as well as Nazi architect Albert Speer. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladiator_%282000_movie%29#Trivia [Jun 2005]

Pygmalion and Galatea () - Jean-Léon Gérôme

Pygmalion is a character from the Roman poet Ovid in the tenth book of his Metamorphoses.

It tells a story of a sculptor who falls in love with a statue he has made. Pygmalion, son of Belus, was a lonely sculptor who carved a woman out of ivory. He prayed to Venus, the goddess of beauty and love, who took pity on him and brought the statue to life. Paphos was the product of the union between Pygmalion and the ivory statue.

Later authors give the name of the statue as Galatea or Elise (Goethe), based upon the variants in the story of Dido/Elissa. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_%28mythology%29 [Jun 2005]

The Serpent Charmer (ca. 1870) - Jean-Léon Gérôme

Commercialism in art
Critics may accuse an artist of excess commercialism (colloquially, selling out) if they believe that he has compromised the quality of his work for monetary gain. An independent band that signs a contract with a major record label; a novelist recruited by a major publishing effort; a comic artist who begins merchandising his work may all be accused (depending on the circumstances) of selling out. (For a more detailed discussion of commercialism in contemporary music, see Selling out.)

Slave Auction in Rome () - Jean-Léon Gérôme
Hermitage, St Petersburg
image sourced here.

Conventional wisdom holds that genius is underappreciated in its own time; one might compare Vincent Van Gogh, who struggled for regognition during his life but is now a household word, with his contemporary Jean-Léon Gérôme, whose paintings and reproductions enjoyed immense popularity, but has since faded into relative obscurity. Gérôme has been variously accused of pandering to Orientalist fantasies and essentially peddling highbrow pornography (in essence, painting commercially motivated material instead of "high art"); no one would accuse Van Gogh of pandering to his audience.

Modern examples are aplenty: one might compare Jim Davis, who built a commercial empire around merchandising his comic strip Garfield; the cartoon cat's image appears on everything from Post-it notes to plush dolls, to Bill Watterson, who steadfastly refused to permit any products (save for books of his strips) to be marketed with the characters from Calvin and Hobbes. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercialism [Jun 2005]

Phryné before the Areopagus () - Jean-Léon Gérôme
image sourced here.

Quaerens Quem Devoret (1888) - Jean-Léon Gérôme
image sourced here.

A Moorish Bath - Turkish Woman Bathing, No.2
image sourced here.

Le marché aux esclaves / Slave Market (1866) - Jean-Léon Gérôme

Achat D'Une Esclave / Purchase Of A Slave (1857) - Jean-Léon Gérôme

see also: Orientalism - Jean-Léon Gérôme - 1800s

2005, Jun 16; 22:43 ::: The Sixties : Years of Hope, Days of Rage (1987) Todd Gitlin

The Sixties : Years of Hope, Days of Rage (1987) Todd Gitlin [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The author was elected president of Students for a Democratic Society in 1963, and he brings an insider's perspective to bear on the turbulent whirl of political, social, and sexual rebellion we now call "the sixties." Gitlin does a nice job of integrating his first-person recollections with a broader history that ranges from the roots of 1960s revolt in 1950s affluence and complacency to the movement's apocalyptic collapse in the early 1970s--a victim of its own excesses as well as governmental persecution. His lucid summary of the complex strands that intertwined to form the counterculture is essential basic reading for those who don't know the difference between the Diggers and the Yippies. --Wendy Smith

From Publishers Weekly
Nobody is better equipped to write a definitive history of the extraordinary 1960s than Gitlin. An astute observer of the media (The Whole World Is Watching, Inside Prime Time and Watching Television), he was also at one time president of Students for a Democratic Society and remained prominent in their councils until the excesses of the Weathermen and the student risings that followed the 1970 killings at Kent State combined to bring the end of the New Left. In political terms, it was a period that could not be measured or evaluated by any previous American standards; and the great value of The Sixties is that Gitlin, from his thoughtful insider's position, is able to trace the ebb and flow between new radicals and old party-liners, between the hippies and such arcane groups as the Diggers and the Yippies, between those on the fringes of liberal power in Washington and members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee who worked so hard through the early part of the decade to bring civil rights to the South. No one who wants in future to write a coherent political history of that timeand there is no good reason, after The Sixties, for anyone to try for quite a whilewill be able to do without Gitlin's insights. He makes the agonized thrashings of the period understandable in terms of personal liberation, frustration, idealism and guilt about being born lucky in an unlucky world; he also manages to make it a logical sequel to the comfortable, complacent '50s. The detailed and informed political history is the core of the book, but nothing significant is missed: the music, the clothes, the obsession with drugs, the flowering of the underground press and, of course, the key moments: the assassinations, the demonstrations, the People's Park in Berkeley, the "police riot" at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, the Weathermen Manhattan townhouse blastit's all here, and vividly recorded. And finally, as Gitlin convincingly and elegiacally shows in his concluding chapter, we are still, in many subtle ways, living the legacy of that time, however unlikely that may seem. The Sixties is a triumph of lucidly written popular history.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, a number of centre-leftists criticized Chomsky's immediate response to the attacks, alleging that he showed little sympathy for the victims. In an opinion piece published in The Guardian in September 2001, Todd Gitlin referred to "[s]neering critics like Noam Chomsky, who condemn the executioners of thousands only in passing". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky#Anti-Americanism [Jun 2005]

see also: 1960s

2005, Jun 16; 21:56 ::: Bringing the War Home (2004) - Jeremy Varon

Bringing the War Home : The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies (2004) - Jeremy Varon [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

San Francisco Chronicle
"A rich, well-written and remarkably thorough account of a movement gone wrong."--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description
In this first comprehensive comparison of left-wing violence in the United States and West Germany, Jeremy Varon focuses on America's Weather Underground and Germany's Red Army Faction to consider how and why young, middle-class radicals in prosperous democratic societies turned to armed struggle in efforts to overthrow their states. Based on a wealth of primary material, ranging from interviews to FBI reports, this book reconstructs the motivation and ideology of violent organizations active during the 1960s and 1970s. Varon conveys the intense passions of the era--the heat of moral purpose, the depth of Utopian longing, the sense of danger and despair, and the exhilaration over temporary triumphs. Varon's compelling interpretation of the logic and limits of dissent in democratic societies provides striking insights into the role of militancy in contemporary protest movements and has wide implications for the United States' current "war on terrorism."

Varon explores Weatherman and RAF's strong similarities and the reasons why radicals in different settings developed a shared set of values, languages, and strategies. Addressing the relationship of historical memory to political action, Varon demonstrates how Germany's fascist past influenced the brutal and escalating nature of the West German conflict in the 60s and 70s, as well as the reasons why left-wing violence dropped sharply in the United States during the 1970s. Bringing the War Home is a fascinating account of why violence develops within social movements, how states can respond to radical dissent and forms of terror, how the rational and irrational can combine in political movements, and finally how moral outrage and militancy can play both constructive and destructive roles in efforts at social change. --via Amazon.com

The Weathermen, also known as the Weather Underground Organization, were a US-based, self-described "revolutionary organization of communist men and women" formed by splintered-off members and leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The group, together with two small Maoist groups, was originally known as the Revolutionary Youth Movement. When they split—first from the Maoists, and then from SDS itself—Weathermen advocated the overthrow of the government of the United States and the system of capitalism; toward that end, they carried out a campaign of bombings, jailbreaks, and riots. The Weathermen were active from 1969 to 1976. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weathermen [Jun 2005]

see also: 1960s - 1970s - terrorism

2005, Jun 16; 21:37 ::: Silent Majority

"And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support." --Richard M. Nixon, November 3, 1969

"Silent Majority" is a term used by U.S. President Richard Nixon in a 1969 speech. It refers to the large number of people in a country or group who do not express their opinions publicly. Specifically, when Nixon used it for the first time, it referred to those Americans who did not join in the large demonstrations against the Vietnam War at the time, who did not engage in riots, and who did not join in the Counterculture; who did not loudly thrust their opinions on others through public discourse or the media but expressed their devotion to the conservative conception of the American Way of Life through silently voting for Nixon. The unstated intention was to squelch political dissent that threatened Nixon by casting the dissenters as somewhat un-American. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_majority [jun 2005]

see also: silence - silent - majority

2005, Jun 16; 14:20 ::: High Desert Home - Kendrick Bangs Kellogg

High Desert Home - Kendrick Bangs Kellogg
image sourced here.

2005, Jun 16; 14:20 ::: Palais Bulles (1970) - Antti Lovag

Palais Bulles (1970) - Antti Lovag
image sourced here.

Without obtaining his diploma, architect Antti Lovag (born in Hungary in 1920) defined himself as a "habitologist." Celebrated for the Palais Bulle, a palace facing the bay at Cannes that now belongs to Pierre Cardin, he devised innovative theories regarding the habitat, predicated on the needs of the individual and the notion of self-construction. For Lovag, architecture is a way of life. In the 1960s he was among the first in France to experiment with "organic" architecture, borrowing forms from nature and establishing a close relationship with the natural site. The houses of Antti Lovag, variously described as wombs, caves, caverns and troglodytic dwellings, are both habitable and inhabited; they are also discrete, concealed behind abundant and carefully designed vegetation. For natural integration is one of the architect's credos, accounting for his terracotta colours, which blend unobtrusively into their environment. --http://www.artfifa.com/en/par-titre/view-246.html [Jun 2005]

more organic design here.

Antti Lovag Google gallery

2005, Jun 16; 09:27 ::: Character actor & stereotypes

Peter Lorre, photecredit unidentified

Peter Lorre
Peter Lorre (June 26, 1904 – March 23, 1964) was a Hungarian-American actor known both for playing criminals (particularly psychopaths) and comic roles. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Lorre [Jun 2005]

Character actor
A character actor is an actor who predominantly performs supporting parts, often in similar roles throughout the course of a career. While some actors aspire to leading man or leading lady status, many notable actors have had enduring careers in less prominent, but important and memorable character parts. Character roles run the gamut from bit parts to secondary leads.

What defines a character actor?
Typically, character actors lack some of the stereotypical physical attributes associated with stars. A character actor may be very short or very tall, heavy or thin, balding, or simply unconventional-looking. Many older actors and actresses find their access to lead roles limited by age as well. Similarly, actors of colour were often barred from roles for which they were otherwise suited; some found work perfoming ethnic stereotypes. Foreign actors may be famous in their own countries but find themselves limited in the United States under the strict unofficial guidelines of Hollywood casting; Marcel Dalio, Cantinflas and Jet Li illustrate this. Some character actors have distinctive voices or accents which in the opinion of casting directors limit their suitability for most leading roles; actors such as James Earl Jones, Selma Diamond and Julie Kavner have been able to turn this to their advantage, often in voice-over work. Sometimes character actors have developed careers because they had specific talents that are required in genre films, such as dancing, horsemanship or swimming ability. Many up-and-coming actors simply find themselves typecast in character roles due to an early success with a particular part or in a certain genre.

See stock character and commedia dell'arte for a discussion of theatrical traditions.

Some character actors play essentially the same character over and over, as with Andy Devine's humorous but resourceful sidekick, while other actors, such as Sir Laurence Olivier have the capacity of submerging themselves in any role they play. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_actor [Jun 2005]

Ethnic stereotypes
Ethnic stereotypes in popular culture involve an overly-simplified, stereotypical or false representation of the typical characteristics of a members of an ethnic group in music, literature, print media, film and the performing arts.

In recent years, ethnic stereotypes in popular music have come under fire. This is often associated with Hip Hop culture, but goes back much further; Prince for example was widely criticized for his portrayals of African American women, particularly, in his music videos. Even earlier, The Rolling Stones endured some criticism for their portrayals of African American women in the songs "Brown Sugar" and "Some Girls". Also, the current hip-hop/rap portrayal of African Americans as "gangsta" has contributed to the media pool of misinformation. 50 Cent, for example, tries to live up to this racial stereotype. Also, the current portrayal of women in rap music has drawn a lot of fire recently.

For years, Hollywood's unofficial but de facto casting policy limited actors of color to character roles based on ethnic stereotypes. These roles ranged from bit parts to supporting roles or secondary leads.

One cliché in American war movies depicting United States soldiers in World War II is that they very frequently create self-consciously "diverse" teams of soldiers that end up as ethnic stereotypes themselves. Central casting will assign each featured military unit a Jewish-American, an Irish-American, an Italian-American, and a caucasian with a Southern or rural accent; in more recent films, these units will also be assigned a Latino and an African-American. This tradition lives on in more recent World War II movies such as John Woo's Windtalkers, in which the Native American characters are contrasted against the standard-issue ethnically mixed unit.

In the 1970s, a series of feature films that came to be known as blaxploitation movies brought stereotypical black American culture to the screen. Proponents argued that at least African American actors were getting work in leading roles, opponents believed the perpetuating of stereotypes was more harmful than helpful.

In the 1990s, film director Spike Lee received critism for his portrayals of African-American females based on ethnic stereotype. In the same decade, Quentin Tarantino was castigated for casting Pam Grier in a 'blaxpoitation'-type role (Jackie Brown), particularly by African American male film directors. Feminists rallied to the director's and the actress' defence, countering that the same black male directors did not themselves make a point of providing work for black actresses. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_stereotypes_in_popular_culture [Jun 2005]

Ethnic stereotype
An ethnic stereotype may be either an overly-simplified representation of the typical characteristics of members of an ethnic group or a falsehood that has been repeated so many times that is accepted by many people as generally true. The use of stereotypes often leads to misunderstanding and hurt feelings.

Some stereotypes, based on unbiased observations of actual behavior, can be accurate and useful:

  • East Asians (especially Japanese) often bow when meeting others.
  • Some ethnic groups have a different conception of "personal space" from Westerners. (Latinos and peoples from the Middle East exhibit a similar lack of conscientiousness of the notion of 'personal space'). They often move in close and speak nearly in someone's face. This is often considered offensive among Westerners and Japanese, but in some countries it actually denotes conversational intimacy and respect.
  • Germans (including Austrians & Swiss Germans) are punctilious, particularly about time. It is considered an insult to be even a few minutes late for an appointment.

Ethnic stereotypes are often described as either positive or negative. Negative stereotypes present inaccurate negative generalization of a group and thus are usually viewed as offensive — in many cases, negative stereotypes are expressed in the form of jokes: Perhaps the best example of this phenomenon are the "Polish jokes" that have gained a certain level of proverbiality in American popular culture, virtually all of which characterize Poles or Polish-Americans as either being invariably deficient intellectually, possessed of poor hygenic habits, or both.

Positive stereotypes describe inaccurate positive generalizations of a group. They may also be viewed as offensive as they may be viewed as putting an unfair burden or expectation on the members of the group in question, especially those who do not fit the stereotype.

Examples of positive stereotypes:

  • All Asian people are intelligent (Model minority).
  • All Arabs are good cooks.
  • All Jews are good at handling money.
  • All blacks are good at singing or sports, especially basketball and football (although, due to the fact that athletic ability and intellectual ability are often seen as bearing a zero-sum relationship to one another in the United States, this stereotype can also have negative connotations there).
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_stereotype [Jun 2005]

see also: character - actor - actress - stereotype - ethnicity - stock

2005, Jun 16; 22:43 ::: Georgia Straight

Georgia Straight. Vol.3, no.82, 1969
image sourced here.

Denied access to conventional media such as newspapers or network television, anti-war and counter cultural activists took advantage of technological innovations in printing processes to create media of their own. Beginning with a handful of “underground” newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Free Press, The Berkeley Barb, and The Realist, the underground press rapidly found wide audience, resulting in a proliferation of copies available in virtually every major city and university campus in the country. By 1969, at least four hundred underground newspapers flourished, most united in spirit by opposition to the Vietnam War, and advocating rejection of traditional American values, while embracing rock music, experimentation with drugs, and a breakdown of sexual barriers. --http://www.lib.uconn.edu/%7Eeembardo/voices/introduction.htm [Jun 2005]

Some of the earliest 1960s underground papers were the East Village Other, San Francisco Oracle, Los Angeles Free Press, Berkeley Barb, and The Paper, of East Lansing, Michigan. Sensing the growing importance and readership of the underground press, the editors of these five papers formed the Underground Press Syndicate (UPS), which quickly grew to include other papers. --http://www.lib.uconn.edu/%7Eeembardo/voices/press.htm [Jun 2005]

see also: underground - press - 1969 - USA - drugs

2005, Jun 15; 22:15 ::: East Village Other

East Village Other. Vol.2, no.10, 1967
image sourced here.

The underground press in the United States and Canada
The North American countercultural press of the 1960s drew inspiration from some predecessors that had begun in the 1950s, such as the Village Voice and Paul Krassner's satirical paper The Realist. Arguably, the first underground newspaper of the '60s was the Los Angeles Free Press, founded in 1964 and first published under that name in 1965. By 1967, the cooperative Underground Press Syndicate (UPS) was formed at the instigation of the publisher of another early paper, the East Village Other. The UPS allowed member papers to freely reprint content from any of the other member papers. Other prominent underground papers included the San Francisco Oracle, the Berkeley Barb and Berkeley Tribe (Berkeley, California); Fifth Estate (Detroit), Other Scenes (dispatched from various locations around the world by John Wilcox); The Helix (Seattle); The Chicago Seed; The Great Speckled Bird (Atlanta); Rat (later "Women's LibeRATion") (New York City), and in Canada, Georgia Straight (Vancouver). By 1969, virtually every sizeable city or college town in North America boasted at least one underground newspaper. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underground_press#The_underground_press_in_the_United_States_and_Canada [Jun 2005]

see also: underground press - 1967 - USA - the other

2005, Jun 15; 22:15 ::: Actuel

R. Crumb cover of French magazine Actuel (1990)
image sourced here.

see also: underground - press - Radio Nova - France - Robert Crumb

2005, Jun 15; 21:49 ::: Enchantress

The Enchantress (1878) - Luis Riccardo Faléro
image sourced here.

see also: 1878 - odalisque - orientalism - painting

2005, Jun 15; 20:41 ::: Early eighties mix-cd

Rob Kelley, of alldisco.net, sent me an early eighties mix-cd, tracklisting:

1. Pieces of a Dream - For the Fun of It
2. Barbara Mason - Another Man (instrumental)
3. Bernard Wright - Funky Beat
4. CD III - And You Know That
5. Captain Sensible - Wot
6. Clark Sisters - You Brought the Sunshine (dub) [excerpt]
7. Patti Jo - Make Me Believe in You
8. Love Deluxe - Here Comes That Sound Again [excerpt]
9. Edwin Birdsong - She's Wrapped Too Tight
10. Weeks & Co. - Rock Your World
11. DJ Chuck Chillout & Kool Chip - Rhythm is the Master
12. Dungeon Family - Follow the Light
13. Lady B - To the Beat Ya'll
14. Biz Markie - Let Me Turn You On
15. Kurtis Blow - Rappin' Blow
16. Charanga '76 - Good Times
17. A Taste of Honey - Rescue Me
18. Funky Four - That's the Joint
19. Vaughn Mason & Crew - Roller Skate
20. William deVaughan - Be Thankful For What You Got

Thanks Rob!

see also: 1970s music - 1980s music - electro funk - disco - rap - dance music

2005, Jun 15; 15:22 ::: Roxana (1724) - Daniel Defoe

Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress Or, a History of the Life and Vast Variety of Fortunes of Mademoiselle De Beleau, Afterwards Called the Countess De wintselshei (1724) - Daniel Defoe [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
Roxana (1724), Defoe's last and darkest novel, is the autobiography of a woman who has traded her virtue, at first for survival, and then for fame and fortune. Its narrator tells the story of her own "wicked" life as the mistress of rich and powerful men. Endowed with many seductive skills, she is herself seduced: by money, by dreams of rank, and by the illusion that she can escape her own past. This edition uses the rare first edition text, with a new Introduction, detailed Notes, textual history and a map of contemporary London.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. --via Amazon.com

Defoe returned to the subject of fallen women with an even more salacious Roxanna. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moll_Flanders [Jun 2005]

1. Appealing to or stimulating sexual desire; lascivious.
2. Lustful; bawdy.

2005, Jun 15; 15:04 ::: Prime Cut (1972) - Michael Ritchie

Prime Cut (1972) - Michael Ritchie [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Prime Cut is a 1972 American movie produced by Joe Wizan and directed by Michael Ritchie, with a screenplay written by Robert Dillon. The movie stars Lee Marvin as a mob enforcer from Chicago sent to Kansas to collect a debt from a meatpacker boss played by Gene Hackman. Sissy Spacek appears in her first credited on-screen role as a young orphan sold into prostitution. The movie was considered highly risqué for its time based on its violence, as well as its graphic depiction of white slavery, including a scene depicting the auctioning of young women in the manner of beef cattle. It is also noted for its depiction of the beef slaughtering process, and a famous chase scene involving a combine in an open field. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Cut [Jun 2005]

[...] The next day Devlin and his men find Mary Ann in a barn where Mary Ann is entertaining guests during a white slavery auction. [...] --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_Cut [Jun 2005]

The hooker with a heart of gold
The hooker with a heart of gold (also the whore with a heart of gold or the tart with a heart) is a stock character in which a fallen woman, a prostitute who sells sex for cash or drugs, is in fact a kindly and internally wholesome person. This character is often a pivotal, but peripheral, character in literature and motion pictures, usually giving key advice or serving as a go-between. She is sometimes established in contrast to another female character who is morally perfect but frigid or otherwise unyielding. The stereotype owes a debt to Mary Magdalene.

A variation on the theme, the stripper with a heart of gold, is a tamer version of the character, a stripper and sex worker but not a prostitute. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hooker_with_a_heart_of_gold [Jun 2005]

Mary Magdalene as fallen woman
The Magdalene became a symbol of repentance for the vanities of the world, and Mary Magdalene was the patron of Magdalen College, Oxford and Magdalene College, Cambridge (both pronounced "maudlin", as in weepy penitents). Unfortunately her name was also used for the infamous Magdalen Asylums in Ireland where supposedly fallen women were treated as slaves. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Magdalene#Veneration_of_Mary_Magdalene [Jun 2005]

William Ewart Gladstone and fallen women
In 1848 he also founded the Church Penitentiary Association for the Reclamation of Fallen Women. In May 1849 he began his most active "rescue work" with "fallen women" and met prostitutes late at night either on the street, in his house or in their houses. He wrote their names in his notebook. He aided the House of Mercy at Clewer, near Windsor (which exercised extreme in-house discipline) and spent much time arranging employment for ex-prostitutes. His wife was aware of these activities. There is no evidence he ever actually used their services, although shortly afterwards his diary would sometimes be marked with the small drawing of a whip. It is believed this means he felt tempted, and he is known to have actually whipped himself as a means of repentance. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdalen_Asylum [Jun 2005]

Magdalen Asylum and fallen women
Magdalen Asylums were homes for "fallen" women, most of them operated by different orders of the Roman Catholic Church. It has been estimated that around 30,000 women were admitted during the 150-year history of these institutions, often against their will. The last Magdalen Asylum in Ireland closed on September 25, 1996. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdalen_Asylum [Jun 2005]

2005, Jun 15; 11:54 ::: Escapism

Escapism is the excessive mental diversion by trivial entertainment as an escape from a dull reality or routine.

Escapism has gone on throughout time, although (arguably) the disconnection from the natural inherent in today's urban, technological existence encourages it by removing people from their biologically stable behaviour patterns. Entire industries have sprung up to foster a growing tendency of people to escape modern life. Principal amongst these are television, films, computer games, the internet, and supply of recreational drugs.

Note that it is important to separate the activity from the attitude with which it is carried out, since many activities that are normal parts of a healthy personality (e.g. sexual requirements) can become avenues of escapism when taken to extreme. Although recreation may refer to the same activities, the word 'escapism' carries a negative connotation, suggesting that escapists are frustrated souls, perhaps by their inability to connect meaningfully with the world. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escapism [Jun 2005]

see also: escapism

2005, Jun 15; 11:12 ::: The Decline of the West (1918-1923) - Oswald Spengler

The Decline of the West (1918-1923) - Oswald Spengler [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
Since its first publication in two volumes between 1918-1923, The Decline of the West has ranked as one of the most widely read and most talked about books of our time. In all its various editions, it has sold nearly 100,000 copies. A twentieth-century Cassandra, Oswald Spengler thoroughly probed the origin and "fate" of our civilization, and the result can be (and has been) read as a prophesy of the Nazi regime. His challenging views have led to harsh criticism over the years, but the knowledge and eloquence that went into his sweeping study of Western culture have kept The Decline of the West alive. As the face of Germany and Europe as a whole continues to change each day, The Decline of the West cannot be ignored.

The abridgment, prepared by the German scholar Helmut Werner, with the blessing of the Spengler estate, consists of selections from the original (translated into English by Charles Francis Atkinson) linked by explanatory passages which have been put into English by Arthur Helps. H. Stuart Hughes has written a new introduction for this edition.

In this engrossing and highly controversial philosophy of history, Spengler describes how we have entered into a centuries-long "world-historical" phase comparable to late antiquity. Guided by the philosophies of Goethe and Nietzsche, he rejects linear progression, and instead presents a world view based on the cyclical rise and decline of civilizations. He argues that a culture blossoms from the soil of a definable landscape and dies when it has exhausted all of its possibilities.

Despite Spengler's reputation today as an extreme pessimist, The Decline of the West remains essential reading for anyone interested in the history of civilization. --via Amazon.com

The Decline of the West (German: Der Untergang des Abendlandes) is a two-volume work by Oswald Spengler, the first volume of which was published in the summer of 1918. Spengler revised this volume in 1922 and published the second volume, subtitled Perspectives of World History, in 1923.

The book includes the idea of the Islamics being Magian, Greeks being Apollinian, and the Westerners being Faustian, and according to its theories we are now living in the winter time of the Faustian civilization. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Decline_of_the_West [Jun 2005]

In 1950, Theodor W. Adorno published an essay entitled "Spengler after the Downfall" (in German: Spengler nach dem Untergang) to commemorate what would have been Oswald Spengler's 70th birthday. Adorno reassessed Spengler's thesis three decades after it had been put forth, in light of the catastrophic collapse of Nazi Germany (although Spengler had not meant "Untergang" in a cataclysmic sense, this was how most authors after WWII interpreted it). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Decline_of_the_West#Criticisms [Jun 2005]

see also: civilization - culture - decline - West - pessimism

blog archive - previous blog - other blogs and sites

your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

Managed Hosting by NG Communications