Saturday, April 24, 2010

I watched Quiz Show awhile ago, a favourite movie of mine from the past.

I was surprised how much literary content surrounded the film with regards to Charles Van Doren and his family (it's been years since I saw it last). He mentions that he wrote a novel about patricide, has a PhD in Literature (and a Masters in Astrophysics), teaches literature, and his father is a renowned poet and professor.

With this sort of background, I had to wonder what the film was trying to say about the strength of literature affecting our beliefs and decisions. Van Doren's well-read, yet still makes the wrong decision and chooses to receive the answers to the quiz show Twenty-One based on the allure of money and fame. Is this to say that all the wisdom and wit passed down from all the literature one can be immersed in won't be able to instill and maintan fundamental lessons about right and wrong?

Rest in peace Guru.

Like other rappers Guru's lyrics seemed egotistical at times, but it never mattered much. His wordplay, intelligent lyrics and flow more than made up for it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Google Books Settlement Pt. 1

The GBS has been on my mind for some time. At first I believed it was going to allow readers to immediately download books as soon as they became available without paying for them, and then read them on e-book readers which eventually abolish printed books, adding to the idea that in the future the arts will become entirely free to all...for better or worse.

Whether this will actually be the case is anyone's guess. I've only read these three articles regarding the matter, so there might be loopholes that I haven't noticed.
Of course there are other issues besides allowing a new book to be downloaded for free instead of paying the artist their due. Notably the issues of how e-books could possibly pervert the author's vision of their work with advertisments, which is something I noticed in the Canadian article, as well as Google possibly censoring and rewriting certain works which is absolutely wrong.
There are issues that don't apply to me but I still want them to have their proper consideration, such as Google copyrighting and e-releasing books that have gone out of print, and Quebec authors not getting their due.
A saving grace of the GBS is that authors can freely null different options of it by filling out a form and sending it to Google. But even so, the deal extends to their publishing house as well which can overrule the author's wishes of not being a part of the GBS.

Personally, at this point in time I wouldn't mind Google taking sections of the books I write, for example a couple of chapters, and putting them online for free dissemination. You could liken it to downloading a song from an album to spark interest in a singer (although not in the case of a one-hit wonder. And even with file sharing and Youtube videos, there's still certain songs and shows that are kept from being enjoyed free of charge). Or it could be compared to a library carrying a couple copies of the book. It would allow for quicker access to my work, which is always beneficial. As long as they pay me for whatever advertisments they use my work in.

Eveybody's talking about the future of the printed book, and how reading will change. I would much rather prefer reading a book instead of reading a screen, but at the same time I'm not averse to technological changes. I mean, when it comes to literature I'm always reading a book. I've never listened to a book on tape or CD. I haven't tested a Kindle or any other e-book reader. But technology doesn't have to be detrimental to the reading process, nor does it have to reformat our attention spans/memories (although as I've mentioned earlier Socrates said reading in general degrades our memories so we may as well step on the gas?). That's why I hope that the GBS doesn't take away any money from authors or diminsh the meaning and quality of their works.
It's still disturbing how reading is fundamentally changing in my lifetime. And of course this adds to my many levels of stress about my future in literature. Yet no matter what happens, the quality of the work always comes foremost.

These are my initial thoughts on the subject, anyways. I'm sure I'll have more posts about it as new developments arrive.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Two long, epic songs. The visual imagery doesn't do them justice.

But even so I've lost touch with them.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sherwood Anderson.

With his second wife, Elizabeth Prall. Sublime photo.

I was first introduced to Sherwood Anderson through a poem by Charles Bukowski entitled One for Sherwood Anderson. And for the time he wrote in, I expected him to hold typically racist views about minorities. But when I read the two books above I didn't find any racist sentiment involved. These two books were very refreshing due to their clear, direct writing style mixed with the complexity of the content that they discussed. It was surprising to see how direct and concise his writing was at the time it was published, the early 20th century.

But my one reservation with Caucasian writers during the early to mid-20th century is that they're explicitly racist towards one minority. I don't have any desire to read Hamsun or Pound (yes), for example. And I looked for racist overtones in Anderson's writing.
Autonomy is important to me, both as a writer and a reader.
From what I've studied, I couldn't find any racial bias towards African-Americans, or Semitic people, or any others in Anderson's writing.
From what I've studied he wrote in racist voices (the 15 year old in I Want to Know Why, which parallels Huck Finn) but he rallied against racism even in those times, which is documented here. Did he think the segregated school system in 1928 was wrong and spoke out against it? I would say so. But maybe I'm wrong, and my whole outlook on Sherwood Anderson and my acceptance of his style and literary efforts are all for naught. No matter how much I appreciate his work, no matter how painful it may be the truth is more appreciated. The sublime photo will turn ugly as a result. And the world will grow dark yet again. I'll be reminded why I haven't done a post on any Arabic authors (which is coming) again. And I am thinking of it, and researching it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Title Photo.

I've got money in the bank again after years on end. And once again I'm devising ways to spend it without considering the bigger picture. The title photo above alludes to this in how I have an overwhelming desire to buy a vehicle and go traveling. I haven't owned a vehicle in seven years and this time I'm much wiser in going about it.
But there's still a level of compromise that I don't want to think about, namely either buying a model that doesn't appeal to me or simply just waiting for another year. I don't plan on buying a vehicle until the end of this year, which is a long time in itself to wait...

It's been so often wherein I've dreamed of going on long road trips to places I've always wanted to visit in North America. The vehicle has to be a convertible. Going with a partner, listening to music loudly, her long hair flying around in the air (not during the winter, though). You know, the old romanticism.

I know this isn't subversive and provoking, qualities that a writer needs to have, and as a result this website might seem too self-ingratiating.
But I would much rather dwell upon issues like this than say, for example, American right-wing conservatives who make openly racist comments and try to hide them under the guise of humour. I don't feel the need to name them and thereby give them more exposure. People will say that we need to continuously be challenged and offended to keep each other sharp and aware, but sometimes it feel like that thought process has been fostered too often for there to be progress. But that's worth a week of posts in itself.