The Marquis de Sade’s Wickedly Accurate Condemnation

The Marquis de Sade isn’t much of a writer; his descriptions are tedious, his dialogue static, his narrative almost non-existent and his prose little more than a mask for his sadistic tendencies. The Marquis de Sade's Wickedly Accurate CondemnationHis perverse point of view however can be surprisingly accurate, in spite of his delight in the suffering of others, and is relentlessly damning.

Justine, the eponymous character of his novel, never gives up on her fight for virtue, this despite being subjected to the starling perversions of libertines across France – systematic rape, torture, blood-letting and auto-strangulation – and their passionate arguments. The Marquis de Sade's Wickedly Accurate CondemnationStates the Compte de Gernande: The happiness that the two sexes may find in each other can be found by one through blind obedience and by the other through the greatest possible domination. If it were not Nature’s intention that one of the sexes should tyrannize the other, would she not have created them of equal strength? (176) The Marquis de Sade's Wickedly Accurate CondemnationSays Monsieur Roland: The poor are part of Nature’s plan. In creating men of unequal strength, she has convinced us of her wish that this inequality should be preserved despite the changes our civilization would bring her laws. It would be going against Nature’s wishes to disturb the equilibrium that is the basis of her sublime organization, to work towards an equality that would be dangerous for society, to encourage indolence and sloth, to teach the poor to steal from the rich when the rich refuse to help. (216) The Marquis de Sade's Wickedly Accurate CondemnationSays Baroness Dubois: Our laws wish in vain to restore order and bring men back to virtue. Too unjust to achieve this, too inadequate to succeed, they will take people off the beaten track for a moment, but they will never get them to leave it. When it is in the general interest for men to be corrupt, anyone who is unwilling to become so with the rest will therefore be pushing against the general interest. (220)The Marquis de Sade's Wickedly Accurate Condemnation

Monsieur Saint-Florent concludes: The weak must give in to the desires of the strongest or else fall victim to their wickedness. (248)

The Myth of Kerrivan’s Men

A small group led by Peter Kerrivan walked out of a settlement in Newfoundland some 200 years ago and vanished into the barrens. They were never heard from again, transforming them into myth. It’s an image I use near the end of my bad side.Newfoundlabrador2010 075The streetlights came in above the band, Kerrivan’s Men, the green and red light across the fishing nets and buoys, onto the pews in the back. Fitz returned with our drinks.

“Who’s Kerrivan?” I asked. 

“Kerrivan led a group of fellahs off with him into the barrens,” he explained. “This was some 200 years back. Didn’t like how he was being treated by the Royal Navy – the English always hated the Irish, yeah? – and up they went into the barrens, lived off the land. Called themselves the Masterless Men.”

“Never seen again,” Tommy added.Phone 192

“Charlie swears he’s in the line, his great great granddad the man himself.”

“Probably another great in there at that.”

“Maybe another one, yeah.”

“What do you mean they lived in the middle of nowhere?” I asked.

“Down there on the peninsula, in the rocks and bog, nothing but low trees and wind.”Newfoundlabrador2010 028“For how long?”

“No one knows,” Tommy replied. “Generations.”

“Maybe they died,” I replied.

“Some would say that. The English would. Not me. I think they waited to be forgotten and then came back in.”

“Yeah,” Fitz agreed. “That’s what they did.”

Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild”

Cheryl Strayed’s auto-biography Wild is a painfully honest account of how she processed the death of her mother and confronted her own shattered sense of self. Cheryl Strayed's "Wild"Using her remarkable solo hike on the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) as the central image, she confronts her fears, loss and short-comings with a relentlessly detailed and direct manner. I dreamed of my mother incessantly. In the dreams I was always with her when she died…I tied her to a tree in our front yard and poured gasoline over her head, then lit her on fire.

Cheryl Strayed's "Wild"Strayed’s honesty is striking, tearing herself apart, not only reflecting on her loss but also her isolation and her sexuality. My hands running slowly up into his curly hair and down to his brawny back, holding his gorgeous male body against mine. There hasn’t been a time that I’ve done that that I haven’t remembered all over again how much I love men. Cheryl Strayed's "Wild"Because of the consistently self-reflective approach, Strayed’s book does read long, conveying the relentless aspect of the trail she hiked and the problems she faced with perhaps excessive detail.

For a glimpse into the unforgiving style – and soul – of Ms. Strayed, her autobiographical essay, The Love of My Life is a stunning piece.

Also of note, Reese Witherspoon has optioned Wild, aiming to use it as a vehicle for herself one day. We’ll see.Cheryl Strayed's "Wild"

How I Have Written

Many years ago, I was keen to pursue creative writing at the graduate level. I had been out of college for a few years and just completed the first draft of a novel, The Sacred Whore. IMAG2334The genesis of the book had come to me in a flash – a gang of prostitutes kidnap a basketball team so that they can air their views on the declining morality of America – and one of the characters, Chantal, had fought against being removed from the narrative after I had done exactly that. HitchcockI went back and realized the story was all about her; she was an epiphany. Flawed as it was, the book did have moments – to say nothing of Chantal – and I was enthusiastic at the prospect of work-shopping my prose.

And then I met Ben, a friend of a friend, who was registered in such a program. IMAG3730Ben waxed not-so-eloquently about his attempt to re-invent the novel and went on and on about that. I couldn’t get away from him fast and far enough and promised myself I would never be stuck in such conversations again.

And so instead of pursuing my work in school, I planted trees in northern British Columbia, bicycled across France and Spain, edited closed captions for sitcoms and soft-core porn, did the biking again, coached pee-wee hockey, taught high school English, started a film festival and wrote copy about toilets, all of that to buy time to write. 2012-10-13 15.02.29And write I did – in Paris, Dublin, Toronto, Vancouver and New York, in apartments and houses, notes in the post office, on menus and tickets, in transit, in journals, on computer after computer, saving copies, emailing myself additions to text – putting everything together, always in isolation. Newfoundlabrador2010 064I have a clear sense of who I am as I write. It’s just me and the words coming out of my head, a long wavering stream that I sometimes catch and can feel crystalline within, almost exactly like that. My writing grants me understanding, gives moments where life isn’t just chaos and missteps. IMAG1183It allows me to consider and process, search through thoughts and events, my reactions and those of others, their expressions, and find the words that make some sense. The book is my focal point – the concept, the research, the going back and starting again, a character suddenly there, the honing and culling, the letting go and bringing to an end.

Aspiring to the Enigmatic: Five Film Scenes

Advertisers want to give us answers, all of our confusion beaten into sell-able pulp.

Christian Dior sells the bag, not the question.

Christian Dior selling purses.

Movie trailers are the same.

Luhrman's "The Great Gatsby"

Baz Luhrman’s “The Great Gatsby”

All of it so simple and pornographically direct. Screenshot (208)The failure is in their intent, attempting to answer everything, give our lives a clear, cohesive narrative, when it is just the opposite.

Being John Malkovich

Spike Jonze’s “Being John Malkovich”

Real questions don’t do well under the spotlight; they wilt and are never clear. Sudden and enigmatic, they only offer a glimpse, making us stop and think, “Wait. What was that?”

5. Being There (1979, Hal Ashby) Chance watches cartoons in a limousine.Screenshot (262)4. The Thin Red Line (1998, Terrence Malick): American soldiers walk by a local in Guadalcanal.

Screenshot (277)3. Punch Drunk Love (2002, Paul Thomas Anderson): A car crashes in an empty street.Punch Drunk (3)2. The Graduate (1967, Mike Nichols): True love is realized…and then what?the_graduate_ending_shot_elaine_and_benjamin_on_bus1. Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972, Werner Herzog): In the end, only monkeys are left for the revolution.600x1000px-LL-89d5a674_aguirre

Who is with me?

The Crack Pipe Media

The people of Newtown, Connecticut are mad.1204-VULTURE-MEDIA-NEWTOWN-CONNECTICUT-911-SANDY-HOOK-SHOOTING_full_600It’s almost as if they expect the media to address issues like gun control instead of mainlining our catharsis.NY-CB544_MORN_G_20121216181118

More importantly, what’s this “media vultures” spin? Is the media supposed to be something alien? Do they live in a shadowy compound?StarChamberDon’t the people of Newtown understand that we can only read so much about lobbying for gun control? I mean, it’s just like all of this talk about my privacy being invaded. Instead of going on about what this guy Snowden thinks, can’t TMZ just catch him drunk in Red Square? 1105_cheerleader2_ex-1

In  the meantime, the people of Newtown need to stay focused on news that matters:

Rob Ford Breaking News!

                             Rob Ford Breaking News!


And remember Edward R. Murrow’s famous words: “Television isn’t the classroom of the world; it’s the marketplace.” Edward_R_MurrowThat wasn’t a bad guess for a guy who had never posted or sexted, not understanding our basic need for the simple things.tumblr_m24qolhwfk1qevo0qo1_500_largeLife, liberty and the pursuit of more soma.

Basinski & offthesky: Music to Get Unstuck By

Often I get stuck. Basinski & offthesky: Music to Get Unstuck ByI don’t know how the room is – the stairway or carpet, the door – or what a character sees – the wallpaper, the light from the kitchen – or what she thinks – a dull pain in her calf, a memory of a first-grade teacher – and sit and stare, trying to think it through. Basinski & offthesky: Music to Get Unstuck ByMusic gets me out. William Basinski and offthesky never fail. Basinski & offthesky: Music to Get Unstuck ByWilliam Basinki’s Disintegration Loops – literally the sound of a loop of electronic music slowly disintegrating into other sounds – rises and falls, thick like an ocean.

The front door has been left open, only just, the chain casting a long jeweled shadow on the trim.There is an old wooden banister on the stairs; a narrow carpet runs up it, rolling vines and roots, worn blue, a corner of it bunched at the bottom. The third-last step squeaks. Basinski & offthesky: Music to Get Unstuck By Jason Corder’s musical project offthesky is more immediate, starting engines and building long tenuous chords, moving relentlessly to the precipice.

She has her keys, holding them low in her hand. She has forgotten something. She waits but can’t remember. She opened the door. Yes, she just did that. And she came in. She needed to…she can’t remember. She goes up the stairs slowly, pausing on the third step.Basinski & offthesky: Music to Get Unstuck ByAnd remembered, the moment, only ten minutes ago, that she had stepped off the pavement, her feet on the cracked dirt, the leaves and her shadow there, all of the water now gone, from the river, the path and benches immersed, the stillness, and now back. And she was here. She had liked that.Basinski & offthesky: Music to Get Unstuck By*This blog written to William Basinski’s dlp 1.1 & offthesky’s lossless

‘G’ Newfoundlander Words

A few ‘g’ words from the Newfoundlander dictionary:

Gallnippers (n): Mosquitoes.

Gatcher (n): One who swaggers.Businessman-Green-Forest-Environment-10003200045[1]Gommel (n): A simpleton.

Griny (n): Dirty

Gulching (v): Having sex outdoors. woodwalkwm

And so…The griny gatcher was more of a gommel as he swiped at the galnippers instead of gulching like he’d planned. cloud-of-mosquitos-

The Credo of Thanksgiving: Buy More

This just in: America’s great holiday is a sham.pilgrims_color_631While the advertising world spins Thanksgiving as a holiday of generosity and love, it has devolved into something else.

Wednesday: Go home. hero_EB20001112REVIEWS0811120301AR

Thursday: Eat too much and then eat more. fat-guy-eating-a-lot-of-food.1Friday: Get up incredibly early and engage in contact shopping. black-friday-shoppersSaturday: Look at your things. ewaste_recycle076_5aSunday: Go home with your new things.Grinching Out

Monday: Buy more things on-line.Screenshot (215)

Tuesday: Give loose change to someone with nothing.bp14

Or not.0_0_0_0_485_232_csupload_50888854

The Quest for Tartufo

Although they say it is not a good year for tartufo, and it is late in the season, we nevertheless decided that we would have them this weekend.IMAG4277Tartufo (truffles) are the fruiting body of a subterranean fungus in northern Italy and they are very expensive because they are hard to find. IMAG4270Thinly sliced onto fresh pasta with butter or a fried egg, they have a pungent odor and a taste that lingers.IMAG4244And there was a restaurant beside a castle, outside the town of Alba, which offered them.

IMAG4233But then the chef appeared and offered his profound apologies, which I found out later were most insincere. It was all a masquerade. They were trufffe-less. We would have to look elsewhere.IMAG4185We continued into the hills the next morning, where the weather began to change.IMAG4262We found a market in Alba, and although concerned about the quality of the produce, negotiated and purchased. IMAG4248 IMAG4252We drove through the storm back home to Milan.IMAG4286Preparations were made. IMAG4297IMAG4307And distractions avoided.IMAG4290At long last the tartufo was ready.IMAG4314 IMAG4313And it was very good.