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By the dialectical playa on March 4, 2009
Address Is Approximate by The Theory. While this is a charming short story about a toy who escapes the office that serves as his prison via the only means available to him (i.e. Google Maps Street View and a toy car), the existential yearning for freedom that this video expresses isn't just limited to toys. This is a plea for someone to rescue me from this blog.
I wouldn't wish the Wordpress iPhone app on Nancy Pelosi. That's how much I hate it. So instead I've decided to use tumblr to post pictures, video, and links via the fantastic tumblr app while I'm at work slaving for The Man. I'm using a basic retro theme that appeals to my Mad Men aesthetics, but eventually I'll migrate to something that more accurately reflects my sophistication and inner beauty.
For some reason I forgot about literature. I'm not sure when I forgot it, but like spare change on a dresser or an item inadvertently left off a shopping list, I did. But literature never forgot about me. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol I (I picked up Vol II last week) was my reintroduction to great English literature and a free audio book sample of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms was my reintroduction to great American literature.
We two were talking while the others argued. I had wanted to go to Abruzzi. I had gone to no place where the roads were frozen and hard as iron, where it was clear cold and dry and the snow was dry and powdery and hare-tracks in the snow and the peasants took off their hats and called you Lord and there was good hunting. I had gone to no such place but to the smoke of cafes and nights when the room whirled and you needed to look at the wall to make it stop, nights in bed, drunk, when you knew that that was all there was, and the strange excitement of waking and not knowing who it was with you, and the world all unreal in the dark and so exciting that you must resume again unknowing and not caring.
That is my favorite quote from a litany of favorite quotes from the book. I can see a lot of myself in the main character, Lt. Henry. But I suppose that's the point of a great story: you can put yourself in it and imagine yourself as having all the virtues and none of the vices of a hero, and of being great even when you really aren't. But a great work can inspire you into striving to live up to that standard you imagine for yourself and that society should expect from you. But that's all a topic for another day. We live in a contemporary culture that considers Dan Brown a literary titan and his wretched The Lost Symbol a tome of worth and importance, it's nice to actually discover writing and a writer that lives up to the acclaim.
More than anyone, Mark Steyn is the man responsible for raising awareness in the West of Europe's impending, but not inevitable, collapse. He assigned blame for the Old Continent's precipitous decline on Social Democracy in general and the infantilization of Europeans through the Nanny State in particular. The self-absorbed carpe diem mentality exhibited by its citizens since the 1960s has resulted in societal collapse, demographic decline, and unsustainable levels of taxation, spending, and debt contrived solely to fund the welfare state. Aware of the future economic catastrophe that would be caused by the lack of children who were ostensibly supposed to one day pay for the gilded lifestyles of their grandparents, European governments imported millions of Muslims to be the children Europeans couldn't be bothered to have. Unfortunately for Europe's ruling class, their unprecedented experiment in social engineering coincided with the revival of "Political Islam". As the number of Muslims immigrating to Europe grew larger, so did their condescension and disdain for their hosts until they viewed their arrival less as a benefit for Europe's legions of retirees and more as an invasion against their traditional enemy: Christendom. The irony is that Europe had effectively ceased to be Christian by the end of the 19th century. Steyn wrote America Alone with a clear eye and sharp wit for the ramifications of demographic decline and Islamic immigration for an exhausted Europe. Christopher Caldwell's book, however, is simply exhausting in its relentless, and convincing, pessimism. Where Steyn viewed Europe as salvageable provided it regains its confidence and faith, Caldwell says it's over and politely asks the last Europeans leaving Europe to turn off the lights as the continent devolves into a new Dark Age. This is a must read for anyone who wants to learn what the real consequences of multiculturalism are for a civilization.
Iwas admittedly getting burned out on politics. How some people can find the nuances of daily poll numbers to be either significant or interesting is beyond me. This doesn't mean I was losing my political ardor, far from it. But even the most stouthearted gets tired of the daily failures and incompetence of the American business and political class over the last twenty years. Several weeks ago, while scouring for images, I stumbled across Curse of the Drinking Class and it quickly became one of my favorite sites. What numerous bloggers have done for politics, they are doing for literature: stripping away the esoterica and pretension thereby making it accessible for everyone. Reinvigorating my long forgotten love for literature, they suggested that I ease back into it with this magisterial book: The Norton Anthology of English Literature. It's a mammoth two-volume set (I have Volume 1 and will be purchasing Volume 2 next month), but - like I tell those lucky women who experience my "dialectical playa" for the first time - don't be intimidated by the size. The format and selections are fantastic (earning it two Playa thumbs way up) and I personally recommend it as the starting point for anyone desiring to read great literature.
Obviously I haven't seen that many movies this year, but that's because most of them sucked. I hope to see True Grit soon, but I'm playing that by ear as the ass clowns I work for stumble through their year-end work scheduling. So as part of my New Year's Playa Rockin' Eve celebration, I'm going to party like it's 1999, get my drunk on with a bottle of tequila, and then go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'll have a more comprehensive review after tomorrow. Suffice it to say, Toy Story 3 is the pinnacle of movie series finales and I suspect I'll be more relieved than saddened that Deathly Hallows represents the end of this 10-year series that began with hammy child acting and culminated in teen angst.