Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Conformist – Bernardo Bertolucci (1970)

1960s: Days of Rage


The Conformist (Italian: Il conformista) is a 1970 political drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, whose screenplay is based on the 1951 novel The Conformist by Alberto Moravia. The film stars Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin, Enzo Tarascio, Fosco Giachetti, José Quaglio, Dominique Sanda and Pierre Clémenti. The film was a co-production of Italian, French, and West German film companies. Bertolucci makes use of the 1930s art and decor associated with the Fascist era: the middle-class drawing rooms and the huge halls of the ruling elite. In Paris, Marcello Clerici finalizes his preparations in assassinating his former college professor, Luca Quadri. It frequently returns to the interior of a car driven by Manganiello as the two of them pursue the professor and his wife. Through a series of flashbacks, he is seen discussing…

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‘The Hill We Climb’ – Poetry Returns to the Presidential Inauguration

Flowers For Socrates

Second inauguration of President Barack Obama

There have been five poems delivered by their poets at inaugurations of U.S. presidents, all of them Democrats.

It began when John F. Kennedy asked Robert Frost to read his poem “The Gift Outright” in 1961.

There was a long gap after that, and then in 1993 Bill Clinton asked Maya Angelou to present a poem at his first inauguration, and this time, it was written for the occasion, “On the Pulse of Morning.”


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Defeat Trump

Nan's Notebook

Just came across this writer (via Zoe) and overwhelmingly felt his words needed to be shared.

Defeat Trump on Every Front

Warning: The post is long but well worth your time. It was written on January 12 and, as is common in today’s world, events continue to evolve. But I believe his points are extremely relevant to what is happening –and needs to happen– within the U.S. political world.

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Of Grammatology – Jacques Derrida (1967)

1960s: Days of Rage


Of Grammatology (French: De la grammatologie) is a 1967 book by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, in which the author discusses writers such as Claude Lévi-Strauss, Ferdinand de Saussure, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Étienne Condillac, Louis Hjelmslev, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Roman Jakobson, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, André Leroi-Gourhan, and William Warburton. The book has been called a foundational text for deconstructive criticism. … Derrida argues that throughout the Western philosophical tradition, writing has been considered as merely a derivative form of speech, and thus as a ‘fall’ from the ‘full presence’ of speech. In the course of the work he deconstructs this position as it appears in the work of several writers, showing the myriad aporias and ellipses to which this leads them. Derrida does not claim to be giving a critique of the work…

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Feminism in Fiction

Dave Astor on Literature

This look at feminism in post-1900 literature has two timely inspirations: Margaret Atwood and…Donald Trump.

I just read The Testaments, Ms. Atwood’s excellent 2019 sequel to 1985’s The Handmaid’s Tale. And sore loser Trump is about to (hopefully) leave the White House this Wednesday, January 20.

Trump has been rightly criticized for many things during his dumpster fire of a presidency. The lies, the criminality, the incompetence, the cruelty, the blatant racism, the homophobia, and more. So, it can get a bit lost just how misogynist Trump and his ilk have also been.

There are the more than 20 credible pre-presidency rape and other sexual misconduct allegations against Trump, the crudely sexist remarks, the pathetically few women he named to top administration positions, etc. Of course, amid Trump’s toxic machismo, the females in Trump’s mostly male orbit have been awful in their own right — including wife Melania…

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Alternative Bookstores

A Celebration of Reading

I wrote of my favorite bookstore in Los Angeles when I lived there in the ’60s, Papa Bach. I still have a bookmark from the store that I cherish but periodically misplace in some obscure book I never finished, but Papa Bach has not been around for many years. In 1994 a similar local alternative bookstore in the L. A. area was nearing the end and an article in the LA Times reported this in a rather poignant way. At least we still have City Lights and Gotham (although Gotham is much more literary and less avant-garde).

For our historical reference, here is the article about the Chatterton bookstore in its last days:

Don’t Write Chatterton’s Finale Yet : Landmarks: The bookstore may have fallen on hard times, but fans and employees refuse to give up.
July 29, 1994|LYNELL GEORGE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

At its zenith, it was dubbed…

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GRUBERG: The Papa Bach Story 1

tarnmoor

Original (1960s) Bookmark from Papa Bach Books

It was early 1967: I was still exploring my new Los Angeles home on foot and by bus. (It was to be almost twenty years before I began to drive.) On the north side of Santa Monica Boulevard, just west of Sawtelle, sat a big bookstore with a sign that said Papa Bach Paperbacks. Even at that early juncture, I was a bookstore aficionado of long standing, a habitué of Schroeder’s on Public Square in Cleveland and the Dartmouth College Bookstore in Hanover, New Hampshire.

I still have the books I bought that day: It was a two-volume set, the Vintage Turgenev comprising seven of the Russian author’s novels: Smoke, Fathers and Sons, First Love (in Volume 1), On the Eve, Rudin, A Quiet Spot, and Diary of a Superfluous Man (in Volume 2). The two books cost…

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TCS: Thank You Day – The Slant of Hope

Flowers For Socrates

. .Good Morning!

______________________________

Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

______________________________

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.

 – Gertrude Stein

 

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writing argument – it’s not (always) a contest

patter

We all know the word argument. By argument, we usually mean that people have some kind of quarrel. People take opposing positions about something and then each proceeds to try to convince the other(s) that they are right. When arguments are heated, participants aim to demolish all objections and perhaps even the people who make them.

This kind of antagonistic positioning is not what we mean when we talk about academic argument. When an argument is academic, we generally mean something much more reasoned. Something which proceeds logically. Something which produces supporting evidence for both claims and conclusions.

But academic argument can – and often does – proceed with the same kind of conquer and destroy mind-set as the non-academic argument. An academic writer may see the purpose of their argument as converting others to their point of view. They think that they have to “prove” their thesis by anticipating…

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