Brother Likeness [Flash Fiction]

I’m halfway through reading Big Sur. Can’t say anything but Love it, Began it on a journey to Land’s End, the south side of the south fork all the way at the tip, the Point, again, The End, Long Island, New York.

Brother Ti Jean. I’ve been to Lowell, Massachusetts. Walked by the Merrimack River seeing visions of Jack. I had gotten halfway through it once before, the novel, Big Sur. I think I lost it. Don’t recall. Maybe it was the same copy, the same physical copy and not another copy of the same edition. Does that even need to be said.

The ocean seawater in waves at night the sound of the surf over the dunes out back looking from our patio  . . . the videos I’ve taken; the photos shot . . . our traditional walk to Ditch Plains . . . we are revived by Montauk; resurrection has valence. Hyperbole is my friend.

Kerouac would have loved Land’s End. I read his poem placed at the end of the novel Big Sur and I know what he would have said. I am sure of this.

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It is I [Flash Fiction]

It is I or it is meit’s me is okay. What is this It is I shit. The French say, c’est moi; they do not say c’est je. Understand? C’est moi; It’s me. 

I am a staff of one. I am everyone and everything herein. I am the whole review, all of it, all of what goes into it, every word, every revision, every choice and decision. This review, it is I. It is I much the way Flaubert announced in a French court that Madame Bovary, c’est moi. 

Now, obscenity for Madame Bovary, the novel . . . c’est l’absurde.

Yes, I am a people of one; I am we, again here, as I am we always, as I have been we before, as I have always been we since when? Since birth? I could agree.

The many selves Self finds it easy to operate under many hats. Once more, I am The Review, The Review, c’est moi.

 

 

 

 

Historicity and Hysteria [Flash Fiction]

Is it true that philosophy is not a tradition of theories, but a tradition of the literary, and do we call them fictions, otherly formed fictions? Is that what I imply by calling this a fictional essay? If it is a fictional essay, then the essay form is being employed in the service of fiction, so then how do we read it, what relationship does the author and the expositor have to the readers, to the text, to the ideas presented? How then are the statements to be taken, received–mistakes are even different, are they not? if this were not a fictional essay, then this preface would not be necessary–I am not even sure it is necessary now, although it makes sense to say what is being said herein here. If this essay, a literary one at that–personal more than philosophical–yes, if it were a non-fiction essay, we might not be as willing to hear what the expositor says–and there is an expositor that must not be confused for the author anymore than a narrator should be, even if the essay is non-fiction. It is not only fiction that privileges the author; non-fiction does as well. Anyone who has ever written a journal knows that the author has privileges and that there is a journalistic narrator or expositor or explicator in the text quite distinct from the human flesh and blood author, no? 

There is no horror from the past we cannot aggrandize in our cultural blindness. I’m not here to insist that Americans are the only blind people in the world. However, knowing that blindness is a pan human condition regardless of the sightedness or lack thereof in any person of any people does not lessen the effects of said blindness. Is there anything knew anywhere; has there ever been at any time in any past, whatever history we examine–really historiography. I’m of the mind that history happens irrespective of who writes the historiography. One is not the other.

I’m not with Hegel entirely. I don’t avoid Hegel because of his subsequent use by Marx and Marxists. I, in fact, avoid entertaining Marx too seriously because of Hegel’s historicism, particularly his making any Constitution an extension of the State rather than that of the people, the latter the one institution that can oppose or counterpose the State, the one institution with enough weight? density? to counterbalance that weight/force the State imposes on the people. States can do this in a number of ways, but the most effective way is for the State to transform the people into a public, many times this by choice of the people, often times through means of systematic under-education, pedagogies of failure in the matters of literacy (what it is, how it is and what it can accomplish) and rhetoric (devaluing the heights of rhetorical acumen and strategizing, most surely propagandized as something elitist and contrary to democracy) . . . . The State manages choices, making abdication of one’s people-ness, each and every one’s personhood, for the slightly more secure or lucrative membership as one of the public a virtual necessity.

I am not one to believe that the Social Sciences are or can be made like the hard sciences; sociology, political science or the discipline of history is not chemistry or Astrophysics, no matter how deluded practitioners become about how their methodologies are scientific and not artistic. Positivism, for instance is an assertion by philosophers that Philosophy should become more like these social sciences that had convinced themselves they should become more like the hard sciences. This, as I have asserted, is absurd to begin with, but to have been continued and asserted as if true is even more grandiose than the 19th century intellectual declaring the death of religion or that Western Civilization is no longer Christian. Denying the metaphysical hegemony of Christianity, I think, was premature, as premature or immature as declaring the possibility of turning the arts and humanities into sciences.

This belief in the possibility of making philosophy more like science, or to make it a science, is part of the 20th century’s intellectual orgy in anti-humanism–a feeding frenzy by the sharks of cultural iconoclasm? And we do have to see the great currents of anti-humanism along with anti-Christian philosophies on the rise in the twentieth century continuing into the current one –and to better understand where I am getting this notion, let me say that in Italy, for instance, when a man chooses to become/be an Atheist, he becomes one in only the way a former Catholic could be, and to look at Italian communism and how it stood in opposition to Soviet Russian communism, Soviet Communism much more savage in its nihilism and anti-Christian atheism, is to understand how the traditional metaphysics of Catholicism permeates Italian mentality  into the minds of political radicals, even in the minds of her criminals. Yes, even the evil in Italy is Catholic. Could this be why I assert that Catholicism is a civilization? of course, this is so. With all a civilization’s multiplicity and complexity, both of them exerting influence on behavior, Catholicism is a civilization . . . .

We have to understand how disingenuous the Logical Positivists were, or so I have assumed . . . and Wittgenstein applauding Kierkegaard is ironic, because the Great Dane would have abhorred him, or so I imagine–and why I do I am not going to dicuss. Philosophy and political science are as close to science as fucking a groundhog is to forecast the weather. The loss of faith in Humanism and the arts has left us with a dearth of incomprehensible social science even in literature departments; it has also left our human lives at the mercy of one mechanization of living, not in the sense that there are technologies at our disposal or that machines are made to help us, but in helping to shape the mentality of people in their attitudes and behavior toward people. Anti-humanism is hand in hand with totalitarian slaughter, totalitarian order, control, brutality, management, ideology . . . what else have we to express just where the over sociologizing of society’s management and administration has left us with here in this once democratic America.

Who Does Not Prefer Snow to Rain? Or, How Black and White Photography Helped Me Form a Renewed Idea about Truth

Black and White Film

[Fiction]

Who wouldn’t prefer snow to rain? I ask rhetorically, secure in the notion that snow must be universally preferable to rain. I know it is for me in December. I prefer 28 degrees Fahrenheit with snow to 38 degrees Fahrenheit with rain. Yes, I would prefer 30F with snow to 34F with rain. Who would not? Everyone would, no? Preferences for weather are often determined by mood, mood determined sometimes by weather; there are times when these are not mutual, nor reciprocal. There are times when it is exactly this mutually, a mood determined by weather and the preference for weather in my mood.

Gray, gray and more gray for several days is always interminable–terminal gray I said when we were in Paris one February for ten of the most charcoal drawn days of my life. Who goes to Paris in February? I did–we did–it was still beautiful. I was impressed by Saint Denis as much as I was by Notre Dame.

Weather reflects my mood, I used to be sure and oftentimes said. Yes, my mood, the weather–I am the storm that blows, the sun that shines, the rain that falls, the night that comes, the waves and the wind and the clouds, the salt spray, the sea gulls squawking at each other over a barely together crab, and so on and so on . . .

Yes, there are many, many things–happenings–that are and so on, but what this has to do with the world in monochrome–it does not, does it? No! Of course it doesn’t.

I am certain that shooting the human body naked or nude in color is more pornographic than if it were done in black and white, in monochrome. You do not agree? I cannot for the life of me figure why. Monochrome and color–yes, pornography is in technicolor, no? It certainly is.

I do impose my preferences on my judgements of the world. But snow would make the graying of the day less intense, less grayed. Night photos with snow around are always clearer than when there is no snow and thus no intensifying of whatever light is around the scene shot. I remember having learned how long ago I cannot tell that black and white photography is an arrangement of shades of gray–yes, we will not be able to escape the movie for a while–but this monochrome scale does and does not have everything to do with the film by the title inferred by Monochrome. Is there no real black and no real white? I’m asking.

Waiting for a response–En Attendant Pour Une Response–could be the title here. I have not examined very closely why I prefer black and white photography more than I  do color photography–I did watch an awful lot of black and white cinema when I was a boy–Toland’s work in Wuthering Heights, in Welles’s Citizen Cane, and his work with Lang in and Metropolis would have been enough, but I had so much, much more to impress me. Yes, that is Greg Toland–you should Google his name and examnie his body of work. There are others who will come up. There are other photographers whose work will be referenced in these posts. Look for other entries entitled Monochrome. I will continue them, simply enumerating them.

Nonetheless, I have been told that in any black and white movie there is no black and there is no white–for sure. There are how many shades of gray in our optics? How many in the black and white films I watched when I was a boy. What is it that I do see on the borders of the film in Fritz Lang’s M? The same circumambient dark I see in De La Tour’s “Penitent Magdalene” at the Met, surrounded in her room by the dark, a pitch black perimeter? Baroque chiaroscuro? Certainly. I have you examined the cinematography in Ford’s The Grape’s of Wrath?

The baroque use of light was in the contrasts of light and dark; they were the first to truly master the painting of light, but this meant the painting of shadow and not merely the suggestion of shadow–theirs was also low-light representation. German Expressionism in film was the height of art photography in early black and white cinema–examine representative examples.

Monochrome film handles low light photography better than color? I am not always so sure,  but I have a great number of representative shots in low light on monochrome film that I adore. Any photographer has to love something in his work–something worthy of loving should be loved even if it is in one’s self.

Again, look for more on Monochrome upcoming.

Look at Me, I Can Spell My Name [short fiction]

To be literate or to be alphabetic is a question that should be posed by any society that sees itself in conflict over just what the society is or should be or where it is going or where it has been, has come from. Being alphabetic, what is sometimes referred to by me as having dexterity with the alphabet, is not in itself literacy. I have said this before, or I am saying this again, depending on which essay you read first. Literacy has to be more, has to be bigger, deeper, more penetrating than what is allowed by alphabetics, by what has ben sponsored in our public education over the last thirty to thirty-five years. It is no irony that education in my estimation has declined since the days of Regan. Obama in the seventies would have been a moderate republican, with no change in his attitudes, his opinions, his thoughts, his rhetoric.

The fact that someone can spell his name cannot be the way we judge if a person is literate or not; we have vitually come to this if we have not yet actually arrived there. It can be a measure of just how alphabetic he is, which is also the assessment of how well someone fills out bureaucratic forms or reads the tabloid press, never meant to do anything but inform–although this informing is just that, putting people unable tot think In Form.

Never the twain, alphabetics and literacy, should meet. They must be kept apart in our appraisal. What I can do with the alphabet is always set against what a monkey cannot do with the alphabet, unless we give a group of them typewriters and infinite time, then, presumably, the monkeys will by accident type out the script of Hamlet. I am still puzzled as to what kind of critique this is, having heard back in grad school this argument on the periphery of critiques of Shakespeare as the center of what had come under attack for being too overtly political and politicized in favor of ruling elites, the Canon of literary achievement. I understand the necessity for Canon revision, or broader inclusion, but never have understood the iconoclastic response, or worse, the same response the mob in Alexandria had with torches at the Library of Alexandria. Not so very different, I had understood; I still understand.

The study of literature is sometimes called the study of Letters, but spelling one’s name correctly is not what I had in mind when I would say someone is literate. yes, you have to be alphabetic in this culture to become literate, but to be literate or to be literary or to read and write literature (the order is happenstance)–these are other than reading tabloid newspapers, other than filling out correctly a deposit slip at the bank.

I am safe in assuming that my to-do list is not what I would call literature, although the aesthetics of this to-do list could be employed in the service of the literary. No? Of course it could. I am not saying that what we understand to be literary forms could only have been fixed by writing. There are a number of what have come to know as literary forms, forms of literature, that were fixed, that lost their plasticity, if they ever had any, in antiquity, in a time before writing, or at the dawn of it when societies like Ancient Greece were residually oral. I do insist, though, that a great deal of re-reading is necessary for any kind of advancement in stages of higher and higher literacy. Also, engaging in writing because no one actually reads at a level considerably higher than the one at which he writes or could write if he engaged in the practice. The same is true and reciprocally so for reading on writing.

We are though mistaken about orality, what it is, where it is, how it functions, when it functioned, and how it stands in contrast to literacy, and how ours is not an oral culture no matter how many songs you listen to or how many Youtube videos you watch to learn something rather than read. We can only become illiterate not non-literate. The possibility of becoming a non-literate culture is virtually impossible.

C’est Moi, The Review; or, A Blogger Blogs about His Literary Blog [Flash Fiction]

This critical journal, this literary review, with its pages of Essays and its blog, where some of the essays are initially worked out, expresses the views of its author, Thomas Sarebbononnato, who is also the Publishing Editor, sometimes referred to as the Editor-in-Chief. The essays are all of them literary in form, and many are social and political in commentary, although not primarily or ultimately. There are also critiques of culture, of language, of art, of music, of history, of historiography, of philosophy, of religion, of media, of film, of people, of behavior, of psychology, of pedagogy, of bureaucracy, of ethnicity, of love, desire, reason, knowledge, literacy . . . what else should I include? Maybe I should include everything–everything? Everything is always troublesome; there is no thing closer to nothing than everything. Whenever government administrators say they are going to do something for everyone, they have no one in mind, no one in their sights, no one in their rhetoric, no one is no one is no one. I will not include everything. One could not include everything herein, but in attempting toward everything–and the toward here is important to note–the journal achieves its perpetuation, realizes its purpose. In perpetuity is the desire of its editorial staff, whether that be many or one. All criticism levied against this review must of course fall in my lap–on me–and so, here at present, this review is one, myself. Yes, The Review, c’est moi, I could say, do say so here, what means what anyone says in whatever voice he uses in his blog; there would have be many inflections in voice, many ways to express what gets said in exposition herein, the many voiced voice, the many authored author . . . theme in variation throughout my writing,my works, what makes them mine, what makes me the authority . . . onions have layers Shrek says to Donkey. It’s true; the writer, the author, the narrator, the expositor, who am I who are they; I am we inside me; what am I in the text, where am I in the text? Does it matter now to you the reader when you read what you are reading now about what I write how I write, at least some of it, what then must you do when I do what I must with and for the text . . . three hundred and some odd words, nearly four hundred?

Ma Plume est Mon Droit

There is only the writing here. What else should there be? My only answer to the questions that plague us, hound us, haunt us, hunt us . . .is the writing, what I write when I write in response from my conscience.

Each of my simple responses . . . my sword and my shield are pen and paper. Is this childish naivety or metaphysical veracity? I leave it to you to chose your answer. Everything is subservient to this idea that the pen is stronger than the sword, the word on the virtual page a shield against hate, a shield against power’s greed and money’s influence, a cache of authority.