Saturday, May 28, 2016

When Ophelia appears onstage in Act IV, scene V, singing little songs and handing out imaginary flowers, she temporarily upsets the entire power dynamic of the Elsinore court. When I picture that scene, I always imagine Gertrude, Claudius, Laertes, and Horatio sharing a stunned look, all of them thinking the same thing: “We fucked up. We fucked up bad.” It might be the only moment of group self-awareness in the whole play. Not even the grossest old Victorian dinosaur of a critic tries to pretend that Ophelia is making a big deal out of nothing. Her madness and death is plainly the direct result of the alternating tyranny and neglect of the men in her life. She’s proof that adolescent girls don’t just go out of their minds for the fun of it. They’re driven there by people in their lives who should have known better. I think Shakespeare probably understood that better than most people do today.

- B.N. Harrison

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I'm a chronic depressive and I can't be unhappy when I hear this

I'm in love
what's that song?
I'm in love
with that song


The 'mats had the best anti-video videos:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

books read in May 2016

Fiction is in red. Date of first publication in (parentheses).

17. Alligator Candy, David Kushner (2016)
18. The Long Goodbye, Meghan O'Rourke (2011)
19. David Koresh Superstar: An Unfilmable Screenplay, Simon Indelicate (2014)
20. Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction, Sue Townsend (2004) (reread)
21. Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years, Sue Townsend (2009) (reread)
22. A Long Time Dead, A.J. Orde (1994) (reread)
23. My Life and Hard Times, James Thurber (1933) (reread)
24. Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (2016)
25. Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? Paul Cornell (2016)

all 2016 booklist posts
I miss her hands, which I shall never see again, for we have burned her body into fine, charcoal ash and small white bone fragments, and that is what is now left of her voice and her eyes and her fingers. That loss is not recuperable, regardless of what one believes about the afterlife.

 - Meghan O'Rourke

 ....I am certain that [the dogs] thought that, as I was returned, my Sisters were not far behind -- but here my Sisters will come no more. Keeper may still visit Emily's little bed-room -- as he still does day by day -- and Flossy may look wistfully round for Anne -- they will never see them again -- nor shall I -- at least the human part of me.

 - Charlotte Bronte

Sunday, May 8, 2016


CALL MOM” said a sign the other day, and something inside me clenched. In my inbox, at work, an e-mail waited from the New York Times: a limited offer to “treat Mom” to a free gift. It’s nothing, I tell myself. A day for advertisers. So I shrug off the sales and the offers, the cards and the flowers. I press delete. Still, I now mark Mother’s Day on my private calendar of grief. Anyone who has experienced a loss must have one of those. There’s August 29th, my mother’s birthday—forever stopped at sixty-four. September 17th, my parents’ anniversary—a day on which I now make a point of calling my father, and we both make a point of talking about anything but. There’s June 6th, the day she was diagnosed—when a cough that she had told us was “annoying” her and a leg that she had been dragging, thinking she must have pulled a muscle, turned out to be symptoms of Stage IV lung cancer. And then there’s October 16th: the day she died, four months and ten days after the diagnosis. The year becomes a landscape filled with little mines.

There’s a word in Hebrew—malkosh—that means “last rain.” It’s a word that only means something in places like Israel, where there’s a clear distinction between winter and the long, dry stretch of summer. It’s a word, too, that can only be applied in retrospect. When it’s raining, you have no way of knowing that the falling drops would be the last ones of the year. But then time goes by, the clouds clear, and you realize that that rain shower was the one.

-- Ruth Margalit

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

'as if I had been born in a mood as some are born in a caul'

My most pervasive memory of young childhood, however, is of being in ‘a mood’, which really consisted of just the one mood in several shades of monochrome: a spectrum that ranged from a comforting solitary dreaminess inside a softly enclosing gentle shadow at one end to, at the far side of the continuum, the grimmest darkness in a hard-frozen, fractured icescape. Always it was me on the inside, them out there, beyond my enclosure, unable to reach in. And me, sometimes not wanting, sometimes not able, to reach out.

- Jenny Diski