United Artists – when inmates took over the asylum

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Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and D. W. Griffith in 1919

Founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks, the studio was premised on allowing actors to control their own interests, rather than being dependent upon commercial studios.

…Pickford, Chaplin, Fairbanks, and Griffith incorporated UA as a joint venture on February 5, 1919. Each held a 25 percent stake in the preferred shares and a 20 percent stake in the common shares of the joint venture, with the remaining 20 percent of common shares held by lawyer and advisor William Gibbs McAdoo. The idea for the venture originated with Fairbanks, Chaplin, Pickford and cowboy star William S. Hart a year earlier. Already Hollywood veterans, the four stars talked of forming their own company to better control their own work.

They were spurred on by established Hollywood producers and distributors who were tightening their control over actor salaries and creative decisions, a process that evolved into the studio system. With the addition of Griffith, planning began, but Hart bowed out before anything was formalized. When he heard about their scheme, Richard A. Rowland, head of Metro Pictures, apparently said, “The inmates are taking over the asylum.”

via wikipedia

Vermeer – The Little Street

Johannes_Vermeer_-_Gezicht_op_huizen_in_Delft,_bekend_als_'Het_straatje'_-_Google_Art_Project

While generally agreed to depict a contemporary street scene in 17th-century Delft, where Vermeer lived and worked, the exact location of the scene Vermeer painted has long been a topic of research and discussion, with studies arguing for the Voldersgracht, where the Vermeer Centre is located, or the Nieuwe Langendijk at the present-day numbers 22 to 26.

via wikipedia

Sonder / Copenhagen


All those people in their cozy little apartments from CozyPlaces

via reddit

sonder
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

Rereading, the key to

Let’s reread Nabokov on rereading. On first approach to a novel, Nabokov claimed, we are overwhelmed with too much information and fatigued by the effort of scanning the lines. Only later, on successive encounters with the text, will we begin to see and appreciate it as a whole, as we do with a painting. So, paradoxically, then, “there is no reading, only rereading.”

When we perceive something new for the first time we cannot really perceive it because we lack the appropriate structure that allows us to perceive it. Our brain is like a lock maker that makes a lock whenever a key is deemed interesting enough. But when a key—for example, a new poem, or a new species of animal—is first met, there is no lock yet ready for such a key. Or to be precise, the key is not even a key since it does not open anything yet. It is a potential key. However, the encounter between the brain and this potential key triggers the making of a lock. The next time we meet or perceive the object/key it will open the lock prepared for it in the brain.

It’s an elaborate theory and in fact the reader turns out to be the philosopher and psychologist Riccardo Manzotti. Intriguing above all is the reversal of the usual key/lock analogy. The mind is not devising a key to decipher the text, it is disposing itself in such a way as to allow the text to become a key that unlocks sensation and “meaning” in the mind.
Is Manzotti right? And if so, what does it tell us about reading?

The Key to Rereading, Tim Parks
https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2015/07/11/rereading-unlocking-the-mind/

A Christmas Carol – Jacob Marley visits Ebenezer Scrooge

Scrooge fell upon his knees, and clasped his hands before his face.
“Mercy!” he said, “Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?”
“Man of the worldly mind!” replied the Ghost, “do you believe in me or not?”
“I do,” said Scrooge. “I must. But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?”
“It is required of every man,” the Ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world—oh, woe is me!—and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!”
The spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.
“You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?”
“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?”
Scrooge trembled more and more. Continue reading “A Christmas Carol – Jacob Marley visits Ebenezer Scrooge”

Winter Light

Winter-Light-1962-3

Like Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light describes God as a “spider-god,” with Winter Light explaining the metaphor when Tomas relates the spider-god to suffering, as opposed to his previous ideas of a God of love that provides comfort. The ending may mean Tomas has decided God does not exist, or that Tomas learns he must keep his faith because all Christians, including Jesus, grapple with God’s silence. In Bergman’s view, Winter Light represents the end of his study on whether God exists, after which human love became his main concern.

via wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_Light

Revelation, by Flannery O’Connor – beautiful clock

The short story, Revelation, by Flannery O’Connor, starts off with a Mrs Turpin in a doctor’s waiting room with her husband Claud…

“That’s a beautiful clock,” she said and nodded to her right. It was a big wall clock, the face encased in a brass sunburst.

“Yes, it’s very pretty,” the stylish lady said agreeably. “And right on the dot too,” she added, glancing at her watch.

The ugly girl beside her cast an eye upward at the clock, smirked, then looked directly at Mrs. Turpin and smirked again. Then she returned her eyes to her book. She was obviously the lady’s daughter because, although they didn’t look anything alike as to disposition, they both had the same shape of face and the same blue eyes. On the lady they sparkled pleasantly but in the girl’s seared face they appeared alternately to smolder and to blaze.

This is what I imagined, more or less, based on clocks I had seen in real life, or on TV. I think there was a vogue for this sort of thing in the 60’s and 70’s.

Revelation Clock --vintage-clocks-antique-clocks

To my mind it is kind of loud and garish. Does Mrs. Turpin really think it’s beautiful or is she just making conversation? Where’s her head at?

Mark Winegardner references this scene in the essay – Learning to Lie: An Exercise in Details, which was in the book Naming the World and other Exercises for the Creative Writer.

Most practical thing – Chesterton quote

In the preface to that admirable collection of essays of his called ‘Heretics,’ Mr. Chesterton writes these words: “There are some people–and I am one of them–who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether, in the long run, anything else affects them.”

I think with Mr. Chesterton in this matter. I know that you, ladies and gentlemen, have a philosophy, each and all of you, and that the most interesting and important thing about you is the way in which it determines the perspective in your several worlds. You know the same of me.

Pragmatism, A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking – William James

Olivier gets a lesson from Tyrone Guthrie

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“Something significant happened to me a short time before I played Richard. I was in Manchester playing Sergius in Arms and the Man. One night, Tyrone Guthrie came to see it, and after the show he and I began walking back to the hotel together. I remember the spot vividly: we were under the canopy at the front of the opera house. I still think of it whenever I’m in Manchester, walking to the studio from the Midland Hotel. He stopped and said, “Liked you very much.”
And I said, “Thank you. Thanks very much.”
Hearing my tone, he asked, “What’s the matter Don’t you like the part?”
To which I replied, “Really, Tony, if you weren’t so tall I’d hit you.”
He then asked me, “Don’t you love Sergius?”
I replied, “Are you out of your mind? How can you love a ridiculous fool of a man like that?”
At which he observed, “Well, of course, if you can’t love him, you’ll never be any good as him, will you?” Words of wisdom. I hadn’t looked at it in that way before. It taught me a great lesson.”

On Acting, Laurence Olivier

Alternative Housing – Dorms, for non students

Instead, Starcity residents get a bedroom of 130 square feet to 220 square feet. Many of the buildings will feature some units with a private bath for a higher rent. But Jon Dishotsky, Starcity’s co-founder and chief executive, said a ratio of one bathroom for every two to three bedrooms makes the most sense for large-scale affordability. The average one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco rents for $3,300 a month, but Starcity rooms go for $1,400 to $2,400 a month fully furnished, with utilities and Wi-Fi included.

via nytimes

Big Ideas – the podcast

I think this was a Canadian Broadcasting show and it’s now off the air. (Could be wrong though.) Anyway, good stuff. Go forth and be intellectually stimulated.

Big Ideas offers lectures on a variety of thought-provoking topics which range across politics, culture, economics, art history, science…. By nature of its lecture format, pacing and inquisitive approach, it is the antithesis of the prevailing sound-bite television norm. The simple, bold concept is a victory of substance over style.

Here’e one I was digging today:

Paul Stevens from the English department at the University of Toronto St. George delivers his competition lecture entitled “Milton’s Satan”.

vids
https://tvo.org/archive-programs/big-ideas
audio
http://feeds.tvo.org/tvobigideas
itunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/big-ideas-audio/id129166905?mt=2

Dreams – how do they work? Kenneth Tynan ponders

Whenever we solve the problem of dreams, we shall not be far from solving the root problems of human identity and creativity. Has anyone noticed the really inexplicable thing about our nightly narrative tapes? They have suspense. This occurred to me last night, when I was involved in a Hitchcock-type chase dream—in which, I suddenly realized, I did not know what was going to happen next. I did not know who would be lurking behind the next door; and I wanted desperately to know. What part of one’s mind is it that harbours secrets unknown even to the unconscious?  (For in dreams we are surely privy to the unconscious in full flood.) The theory that in dreams we tap a source of energy outside the individual psyche is powerfully reinforced by the presence of suspense.

Diaries, Kenneth Tynan

more Tynan –
Tynan on the true nature of a car wash

Herzog looks back on his youth

My ancient times. Remoter than Egypt. No dawn, the foggy winters. In darkness the bulb was lit. The stove was cold. Papa shook the grates, and raised an ashen dust…

Napoleon Street, rotten, toylike, crazy and filthy, riddled, flogged with harsh weather – the bootlegger’s boys reciting ancient prayers. To this Moses’s heart was attached with great power. Here was a wider range of human feelings than he had ever again been able to find.

Herzog, Saul Bellow

Pluralistic Ignorance and The Beatles

I felt I wasn’t playing great, and I also felt that the other three were really happy and I was an outsider.

I went to see John, who had been living in my apartment in Montague Square with Yoko since he moved out of Kenwood. I said, “I’m leaving the group because I’m not playing well and I feel unloved and out of it, and you three are really close.” And John said, “I thought it was you three!”

So then I went over to Paul’s and knocked on his door. I said the same thing: “I’m leaving the band. I feel you three guys are really close and I’m out of it.” And Paul said, “I thought it was you three!”

Ringo Starr, recalls in Anthology.

see also Pluralistic Ignorance and Theranos