Saturday, December 31, 2011

Retiring the Blog

Greetings to any of you who are skillful enough with your fingertips to have some sort of feed of new entries to this blog, something which I wish I knew how to manage for my own reading convenience. I am retiring Like Newborn Babes, as it has been about a year since I've last used it. My interests have been more directed towards looking at and thinking about art and photography, and another location seems more fitting for such a thing. If anyone is interested, this new place can be found at michaeljoeserra.tumblr.com. It is most likely that this will primarily be a place for keeping track of images and artworks that I want to return to, as well as recommending some art by friends for others to see. I will also eventually provide some links to news articles, essays, and other forms of written discourse, that are important to share in this format.

All the Best,

Michael

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Ballad of English Literature by Terry Eagleton

[Sung to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory]

Chaucer was a class traitor
Shakespeare hated the mob
Donne sold out a bit later
Sidney was a nob

Marlowe was an elitist
Ben Johnson was much the same
Bunyan was a defeatist
Dryden played the game

There's a sniff of reaction
About Alexander Pope
Sam Johnson was a Tory
And Walter Scott a dope

Coleridge was a right winger
Keats was lower middle class
Wordsworth was a cringer
But William Blake was a gas

Dickens was a reformist
Tennyson was a blue
Disraeli was mostly pissed
And nothing that Trollope said was true

Willy Yeats was a fascist
So were Eliot and Pound
Lawrence was a sexist
Virginia Woolf was unsound

There are only three names
To be plucked from this dismal set
Milton Blake and Shelley
Will smash the ruling class yet

Milton Blake and Shelley
Will smash the ruling class yet.

--

in Against the Grain, Essays by Terry Eagleton, Verso Books.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mark Twain on Watermelons

"I know how a prize watermelon looks when it is sunning its fat rotundity among pumpkin vines and 'simblins;' I know how to tell when its ripe without 'plugging' it; I know how inviting it looks when its cooling itself in a tub of water under the bed, waiting; I know how it looks when it lies on the table in the sheltered great floor-space between house and kitchen, and the children gathered for the sacrifice and their mouths watering; I know the crackling sound it makes when the carving knife enters its end, and I can see the split fly along in front of the blade as the knife cleaves its way to the other end; I can see the halves fall apart and display the rich red meat and the black seeds, and the heart standing up, a luxury fit for the elect; I know how a boy looks, behind a yard long slice of that melon, and I know how he feels for I have been there. I know the watermelon which has been honestly come by and I know the taste of the watermelon which has been acquired by art. Both taste good, but the experienced know which tastes best."

- The Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume One, University of California Press, 2010.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Perhaps the terrifying thing about the new media for most of us is their inevitable evocation of irrational response. The irrational has become the major dimension of experience in our world. And yet, this is a byproduct of the instantaneous character in communication. It can be brought under rational control. It is the perfection of the means which has so far defeated the end, and removed the time necessary for assimilation and reflection. We are now compelled to develop new techniques of perception and judgment, new ways of reading the languages of our environment with its multiplicity of cultures and disciplines. And these needs are not just desperate remedies but roads to unimagined cultural enrichment."

- Marshall McLuhan, Culture Without Literacy

----

"To think in the midst of the sciences, is to pass near them without disdaining them."

- Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology
"Technology is making gestures precise and brutal, and with them men. It expels from movements all hesitation, deliberation, civility. It subjects them to the implacable, as it were ahistorical demands of objects. Thus the ability is lost, for example, to close a door quietly and discreetly, yet firmly. Those of cars and refrigerators have to be slammed, others have the tendency to snap shut by themselves, imposing on those entering the bad manners of not looking behind them, not shielding the interior of the house, which receives them. The new human type cannot be properly understood without awareness of what he is continuously exposed to from the world of things about him, even in his most secret innervations. What does it mean for the subject that there are no more casements windows to open, but only sliding frames to shove, not gentle latches but turntable handles, no forecourt, no doorstep before the street, no wall around the garden? And which driver is not tempted, merely by the power of his engine, to wipe out the vermin of the street, pedestrians, children and cyclists? The movements machines demand of their users already have the violent, hard-hitting, resting jerkiness of Fascist movement."

- Theodore Adorno, Minima Moralia

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Robert Bresson's Mouchette and the Atlanta of Mark Steinmetz



1.) Robert Bresson's Mouchette (1967)
2.) an image from South Central by Mark Steinmetz (-)
3.) Robert Bresson's Mouchette (1967)
4.) an image from South East by Mark Steinmetz (-)