January 21st, 2008


Stranger in a Strange Land

i've had copies of this book for ever
in fact
i had two copies of this when i unpacked my books in my new apartment

so i carried one with me to Puerto Rico and never cracked the cover
but as soon as i got back to the city i got seriously engrossed in it
(on the ride back from the airport, actually)
i finished it on the plane ride to LA

besides the odd homophobia in it
it was a brilliant book

i always find something offensive about Heinlein
but i still love him... so i pushed through it

for anyone who hasn't groked it
go pick up a copy for a buck at some used store and give it a read
it was a wonderful reminder of many absurd and important things in my life

here are some excerpts:

"Fallen Caryatid Carrying Her Stone"
- from Robert A. Heinlein's
Stranger In A Strange Land:

"This poor little caryatid has fallen under the load. She's a good girl - look at her face. Serious, unhappy at her failure, not blaming anyone, not even the gods... and still trying to shoulder her load, after she's crumpled under it.

But she's more than just good art denouncing bad art; she's a symbol for every woman who ever shouldered a load too heavy. But not alone women - this symbol means every man and woman who ever sweated out life in uncomplaining fortitude until they crumpled under their loads. It's courage... and victory.

Victory in defeat, there is none higher. She didn't give up... she's still trying to lift that stone after it has crushed her... she's all the unsung heroes who couldn't make it but never quit."

( ganked from here )


from the page before..

Anybody can see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl she used to be. A great artist can look at an old woman, portray here exactly as she is . . . and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be . . . more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo see that this lovely young girl is still alive, prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart . . . no matter what the merciless hours have done. -- Look at her. Growing old doesn't matter to you and me -- but it does to her. Look at her!


from the page after

" Abstract design is all right -- for wallpaper or linoleum. But art is the process of evoking pity and terror. What modern artist do is pseudo-intellectual masturbation. Creative art is intercourse, in which the artist renders emotional his audiance. These laddies who won't deign to do that -- or can't -- lost the public. The ordinary block will not buy "art" that leavs him unmoved. If he does pay, the money is connec out of him, by taxes or such."

"MMM, one does have to learn to look at art. But it's up to the artist to use language that can be understood. MOst of these jokers don't want to use language you and I can learn; they would rather sneer because we 'fail' to see what they are driving at. If anything. Obscurity is the refuge of incompetence."