Monday, June 28, 2010

Watching England lose

Okay I'm sucked in. And that goal/no-goal... broke my heart a little, but not Roddy Doyle's.

My Mom by Max Layton

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bonne Fête Nationale !


O John if only you knew how your name
is twisted into daggered fleurs de lys
how they baptize this jabbering city
annually in bannering blue flames.
You would cover your bearded chin in shame
would regret how your eccentricity
has changed by some ancestral alchemy
to the pyrite of political fame.
Once fed through the machine of history
Saint-Jean becomes saint gens, Gens du pays
an anthem crackling from parched ember lips
brewing thirst inside a tribal ellipse,
distrust rises like vapour, a halo
for Mount-Royal as Le Peuple swoons below.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Saint-Yann the Defender

I may not have been crazy about his novel, but I am definitely a fan of Yann Martel, the person. He strikes me as a thoughtful, caring, earnest individual. One who is trying to rescue his artform from cultural oblivion. Saint-Yann the defender facing off against the dragon of multimedia technology. This is the only reasonable explanation I can come up with for choosing the Holocaust as his subject matter. It was not, as he has said in interview after interview, that he wanted to preserve the legacy and lessons of the Holocaust for future generations through new forms of storytelling. Rather, I believe it was to rescue the literary arts (fiction, allegory, theatre, drama, etc.) as relevant forms of storytelling. It's a laudable gesture, if somewhat misguided. I fear that his misfire has backfired badly; we hear people concluding that he was foolhardy to try (probably true) and that hubris played a role (probably true). Also, they are saying that he is not as good a writer as we all thought (maybe true but only because Pi was overhyped, and one reviewer calling him 'not very bright' is just plain wrong) and finally that his novel is proof that the Holocaust should never be touched in fiction and that the literary arts deserve to be marginal. After writing my review of the novel I was left with the desire to sit down to lunch with Yann. Not to ask him about his book exactly, but about the future of the book in the face of new and exciting ways of telling stories, multimedia technology etc. After the fallout, I would ask him how he felt about the possibility that his novel has backfired so badly as to actually discredit the very artform he was trying to save.

Oh, and while were at it, one more on the cultural marginalization of literature.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Diary of Samuel Pepys

I have lately played the fool much with our Nell, in playing with her breasts.

A fascinating window opened on the daily life of a 17th c. British gentleman (and depending on how salacious the entries get - we can hope - I reserve the right to use the term 'gentleman' guardedly.) This must be the closest we will ever get to hopping in the 'wayback' machine and traveling 400 years back in time. The internet is quickly becoming the universal brain of humanity, a vast and dynamic neural storehouse of memory, information, and opinion.

Friday, June 11, 2010

BIG news...

from the World Cup

South Africa 1
Mexico 1

France 0
Uruguay 0

okay, so I'm already experiencing hockey withdrawal...
(October can't come soon enough.)