The Good Soldier of Cinema

Herzog on Ebert:

The good soldier of cinema. I kept calling him that and he kept calling me that. He saw in me a good soldier in cinema. I said you are even more. He was a wounded soldier. He was ill and struggled and was still plowing on relentlessly. And that was completely and utterly admirable and I love him for that.

Unrequited glove

A walk anywhere during winter will discover single, lost gloves, sometimes impaled upon iron railing spikes, more often lying forlorn and trampled on pavements, in gutters. There are so many on these streets, torn black leather, rainbow-striped wool, a tiny Hello Kittty mitten, all bruised with mud, all longing to be reunited with their long gone twin. I wonder what happened that they now lie lost and hopeless in the rain. They look so sad, so lifeless.

I will take a piece of white chalk on my walk tomorrow. It will join the smooth pebble in my pocket and the tiny silver hoop earring (itself an orphaned twin), my constant walking companions, and when I see my next lost glove I will dig the chalk from my coat pocket and with fingers red from the cold and white from the chalk, I’ll crouch down and trace a white line carefully around the fallen thing, across the wrist, up the thumb, down and up and down and up just so. Then I’ll walk on, leaving the glove with its own chalk outline to show that someone noticed its passing and will be back with the forensics kit. One day.

An entry from friend of clusterflock Justine Kilkerr’s tumblr Discombobulated.

Faint Praise

Your hair is as healthy and shiny as any I’ve ever seen, although it’s true that scruffy, dull locks suit many people, too, and total baldness implies toughness or sophistication.
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Zizek on Zizek in the Guardian at more length than necessary but still, in part, amusing:

“For me, the idea of hell is the American type of parties. Or, when they ask me to give a talk, and they say something like, ‘After the talk there will just be a small reception’ – I know this is hell. This means all the frustrated idiots, who are not able to ask you a question at the end of the talk, come to you and, usually, they start: ‘Professor Žižek, I know you must be tired, but …’ Well, fuck you. If you know that I am tired, why are you asking me? I’m really more and more becoming Stalinist. Liberals always say about totalitarians that they like humanity, as such, but they have no empathy for concrete people, no? OK, that fits me perfectly. Humanity? Yes, it’s OK – some great talks, some great arts. Concrete people? No, 99% are boring idiots.”

Most of all, he can’t stand students. “Absolutely. I was shocked, for example, once, a student approached me in the US, when I was still teaching a class – which I will never do again – and he told me: ‘You know, professor, it interested me what you were saying yesterday, and I thought, I don’t know what my paper should be about. Could you please give me some more thoughts and then maybe some idea will pop up.’ Fuck him! Who I am to do that?”

Žižek has had to quit most of his teaching posts in Europe and America, to get away from these intolerable students. “I especially hate when they come to me with personal problems. My standard line is: ‘Look at me, look at my tics, don’t you see that I’m mad? How can you even think about asking a mad man like me to help you in personal problems, no?'”

smoke signals

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In Defense of the Diaeresis

The New Yorker‘s Mary Norris responded to criticism about the diaeresis, recently maligned repeatedly by The Atlantic.

Which side are you on, boys? (and girls)

from the comments

Joel Bernstein:

All my characters have enormous penises.

Small Penis Rule

The small penis rule is a strategy used by authors to evade…

from the comments

Rick Neece:

When I think of pianos or organs, big or small, or any other instrument (writing fits in this thought, or any one collection of things one gathers to put together) I think of them as animals to “tame” to bend them to convey the expression one wants to convey. One rarely knows in the beginning what one is after.

Whatever else is going on, make sure that you keep buying typewriter ribbon.

In the February issue of The Believer there’s a fantastic interview conversation. Neko Case shares an exchange she had with Sherman Alexie “a couple of winters ago.”

SA: I tell them, “I write this shit for you!” But a lot of writers won’t admit to that, a lot of artists won’t admit to that. They’ll get artistic, or pretentious, or, you know, talk about some “higher calling.” The fact is, I want to move rooms full of people. I want to move someone sitting alone under a reading lamp. I want to move someone sitting on a beach. I want to make them laugh and cry. I want them to see me and come running up to me and tell me how the books made them feel. I love that!

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