Mythologies – Roland Barthes (1957 )

1960s: Days of Rage

Mythologies is a 1957 book by Roland Barthes. It is a collection of essays taken from Les Lettres nouvelles, examining the tendency of contemporary social value systems to create modern myths. Barthes also looks at the semiology of the process of myth creation, updating Ferdinand de Saussure‘s system of sign analysis by adding a second level where signs are elevated to the level of myth. Mythologies is split into two: Mythologies and Myth Today, the first section consisting of a collection of essays on selected modern myths and the second further and general analysis of the concept. The first section of Mythologies describes a selection of modern cultural phenomena, chosen for their status as modern myths and for the added meaning that has been conferred upon them. Each short chapter analyses one such myth, ranging from Einstein’s Brain to Soap Powders and Detergents. They…

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1960s: Days of Rage

Russian samizdat and photo negatives of unofficial literature

Samizdat (Russian: самиздат, lit.‘self-publishing’) was a form of dissident activity across the socialist Eastern Bloc in which individuals reproduced censored and underground makeshift publications, often by hand, and passed the documents from reader to reader. The practice of manual reproduction was widespread, because most typewriters and printing devices required official registration and permission to access. This was a grassroots practice used to evade official Soviet censorship. Etymologically, the word samizdat derives from sam (сам, ‘self, by oneself’) and izdat (издат, an abbreviation of издательство, izdatel’stvo, ‘publishing house’), and thus means ‘self-published’. The Ukrainian language has a similar term: samvydav (самвидав), from sam, “self”, and vydavnytstvo, ‘publishing house’. … The techniques used to reproduce these forbidden texts varied. Several copies might be made using carbon paper, either by hand or…

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After Black Power, Women’s Liberation By Gloria Steinem (April 1969)

1960s: Days of Rage

“Once upon a time—say, ten or even five years ago—a Liberated Woman was somebody who had sex before marriage and a job afterward. Once upon the same time, a Liberated Zone was any foreign place lucky enough to have an American army in it. Both ideas seem antiquated now, and for pretty much the same reason: Liberation isn’t exposure to the American values of Mom-and-apple-pie anymore (not even if Mom is allowed to work in an office and vote once in a while); it’s the escape from them. For instance: Barnard girls move quietly, unlasciviously into the men’s dorms at Columbia; a student sleep-in to protest the absence of ‘rational communities’—co-ed dorms like those already springing up at other universities. Wives and mothers march around the Hudson Street alimony jail with posters announcing they don’t want alimony. A coven of 13 members of WITCH (The Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from…

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The dark legacy of Carlos Castaneda

1960s: Days of Rage

“For fans of the literary con, it’s been a great few years. Currently, we have Richard Gere starring as Clifford Irving in ‘The Hoax,’ a film about the ’70s novelist who penned a faux autobiography of Howard Hughes. … Much has been written about the slippery boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, the publishing industry’s responsibility for distinguishing between the two, and the potential damage to readers. There’s been, however, hardly a mention of the 20th century’s most successful literary trickster: Carlos Castaneda. If this name draws a blank for readers under 30, all they have to do is ask their parents. Deemed by Time magazine the ‘Godfather of the New Age,’ Castaneda was the literary embodiment of the Woodstock era. His 12 books, supposedly based on meetings with a mysterious Indian shaman, don Juan, made the author, a graduate student in anthropology, a worldwide celebrity. Admirers included John Lennon, William…

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Samuel Beckett: Film (1965), Notfilm (2015)

1960s: Days of Rage

“In 1964, the great playwright and novelist Samuel Beckett began his only venture into cinema. The twenty-two-minute Film, as it was eventually titled, was a collaborative effort of formidable talents. Directed by Alan Schneider, the premiere American interpreter of Beckett’s plays, it starred silent comedian Buster Keaton, was photographed by On the Waterfront (1954) cinematographer Boris Kaufman, and produced by Barney Rosset, legendary founder of Grove Press, the first US publisher of Beckett and such other figures of the European avant-garde as Genet and Ionesco. … Problems with conception and execution aside, the great comic himself is utterly out of his element—and I don’t mean that philosophically. The world of Film, its restless moving camera and play with point-of-view notwithstanding, is curiously static—in fact, not filmic, the only realm in which Keaton’s poker face and physical dynamics work. But if Film’s reputation has not improved with time…

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Jorge Amado’s Influence on Brazilian Culture

1960s: Days of Rage

“When Jorge Amado died in 2001, people were already talking about him as Brazil’s cultural ambassador to the world. His novels, translated into nearly 50 languages, made many in the West suddenly familiar with the largest Latin American nation. … Amado’s emphasis on regional dialect, empowered female characters, anti-racism, folk culture, and the dignity of the worker offer a rich and politically-charged vision of Brazilian life. The author himself declared he had done more to introduce the world to Brazil than any institution, any government effort, did. Comparing himself to the Brazilian government isn’t entirely fair, however. In Amado’s time, the government wasn’t much of a constant or predictable institution. Born in 1912, Amado witnessed the Brazilian Revolution of 1930, marking the end of the Old Republic and initiating a dictatorship. This regime, called the Vargas Era, lasted until 1946, when a leader was once again elected to rule over…

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Introduction to Found Poetry

1960s: Days of Rage

A piece of blackout poetry, created by blocking out words from a found piece of newsprintW – Found poetry, W – Erasure (artform)

“Poetry is everywhere, and it hides in plain view. Everyday writing like catalogs and tax forms can contain the ingredients for a ‘found poem.’ Writers of found poetry pull words and phrases from various sources, including news articles, shopping lists, graffiti, historic documents, and even other works of literature. The original language is reformatted to create the found poem. … Instead, the poet engages with the text and offers a new context, a contrary view, a fresh insight, or lyrical and evocative writing. Just as plastic bottles can be recycled to make a chair, the source text is transformed into something completely different. Traditionally, a found poem uses only words from the original source. However, poets have developed many ways to work with found…

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The Moderns: An Anthology of New Writing in America edited by LeRoi Jones

1960s: Days of Rage

“An anthology called The Moderns had better, one thinks, be good. If it isn’t, it will be difficult for it to avoid appearing pretentious, which, I am afraid, is how Mr. Jones’s collection strikes me. His Introduction does not help me to feel otherwise. It has its perceptive moments, but on the whole it is too arcane for my understanding; and I wish he could have spelt out his assumptions and his principles of selection more simply and with expanded references. What he means by ‘modern’ seems clear enough: The possibility of a ‘new American poetry’ meant, of course, that there was equally to be sought out, a new or fresher American prose. The concerns that made the poetry seem so new were merely that the writers who were identified with this recent poetic renaissance were continuing the tradition of twentieth century modernism that had been initiated in the early…

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TCS: U.S. Poets Laureate of the 21st Century, Part THREE – ‘A Spark of Kindness’

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.

How many answers shall be found
in the developing world of my Poem?
I don’t know. Nevertheless I put my Poem,

which is my life, into your hands, where it will do the best it can.

– Gwendolyn Brooks (U.S. Poet Laureate, 1985-1986)

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Bob Shepherd: Hillsdale College’s 1776 Curriculum: Comic Book History

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bob Shepherd is a regular reader and commenter who has been an assessment developer, a textbook writer and editor, and a teacher, among other things.

In the following post, he reviews the Hillsdale College “1776 Curriculum,” which took its name from Donald Trump’s short-lived “1776 Commission.”

He writes:

According to the Nashville Tennessean, Governor Bill Lee, a proponent of charter schools, is planning a partnership with fundamentalist Christian Hillsdale College to open 50 new charter schools in the state. These would use the Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum. Hillsdale bills itself as promoting Classical education.

I’ve just been reading through this stuff from Hillsdale, which is supposed to be a combination American History and Civics curriculum. It’s basically a guide to fundamentalist, nationalist indoctrination.

The first thing to notice about this curriculum, in comparison to existing K-12 American History and Civics programs, is that it is quite short. You can read through…

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