Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thoughts Passing in the Night

This Wylie Coyote Eats Roadrunner for Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper
This man of wolf or wolf of man, depends on your point of advantage, was a pup during a generation I think of as the "Forgotten Generation," though in retrospect I think that's a misnomer--my generation's more like the "Ignored Generation." But my most kind critics say I write contemptuously of everything and everybody because I'm basically professionally jealous of the scumbags posing as saints I usually come down on the hardest. Screwballs that I think are harmful to my pursuit of happiness, by God, and I'm determined, that's the wolfman in me, to catch my happiness before I die, and, without the help of a god or of anybody's imagination; right now I'm a happy man and would be a happy wolf, too, if that aspect of my personality took total control of my Id--I mean I'd bring in the best baby elk kill, belly up and ready for communal dining; and my fur would be the silveriest--(the word "silver" suddenly reminding me of reading one time, I think it was when I was a kid and it was from a Mutt and Jeff comic strip and it was about words that are impossible to rhyme and "silver" was one of those words... and then I got sidetracked and told myself to stop right in the middle of this parenthetical aside and say something about my feeling about English; yes, folks, English; and I can jest (read: joust) with the best of the politically correct and say, "Oh god--just like white folks are becoming the lowest form of human being in the evolution of our cultures, so is English, identified as the official language of the true White Folks, those of Anglo-Saxon origin, becoming the lowest form of language in that evolution." But, I would say in private, I can only speak what I call American; yes, it's basically the "King's" (James, right?) English, but it's gone through many evolutions and has accepted so many bastard words, idioms, etc., into its accumulative voice--so many so that H.L. Mencken wrote a classic book about what I speak and write, The American Language, and it was required reading for me in Sociology 102 when I was being hypnotized by the American school system into believing what I was taught--I've never been easily hypnotized (almost once by the great hypnotist-entertainer Polgar)--and all the linguists, who are basically sociologists (originally encyclopaedists--diarists), knew that book inside out--I mean what a work of American art!--any writer should be totally proud of such a tome--and an amazing compiling and then writing feat--and this old curmudgeon wrote a column (blog) every day and then wrote essays and other books and managed a magazine one time--so anyway, I just thought I throw that in--and adding also then again that also members of both my mother and father's families spoke a lot of bastardized languages, especially Scottish, Elizbethan English, Spanish (both Catalonian and Mexican and Tex-Mex (an Uncle Bill who ran a grocery store in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas (on the Rio Grande River (read: Rio Bravo)), Italian (one of my aunts married a New Orleanian Italian), Dutch (just south of my hometown is the town of Lowake and everyone in Lowake when I went there all the time was Dutch and spoke Dutch, whether Rotterdam Dutch, High Land Dutch, or Goddam Dutch, I don't know), German (my dad's brother married a Texas German woman from Goldwaithe, Texas, and my mother's brother had a movie theater in New Braunsfel, Texas, where the newspaper was printed in a German and English edition), Cajun (Arcadian French) (my mother's sister's husband was a Texas-Cajun, who, by the bye, took me for my first-ever meal of real barbecue (even in those days it was called "old-fashioned" barbecue); I had a platter of ribs and a complete ham dinner in one sitting, down on Railroad Avenue on the wrong side of the tracks in Beaumont, Texas, my mother's hometown), and French (one of my dad's brothers, not a very educated man who spoke deep country American (like Elizabethan English), had learned a decent French while serving in the trenches with the French forces in WWI, the war to end all wars)--close parens!) Which brings me to Freud.

Freud ends his essay entitled, Reflections Upon War and Death, with:

"We remember the old saying: Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you desire peace, prepare for war.

"It would be timely thus to paraphrase it: Si vis vitam, para mortem. If you would endure life, be prepared for death."

And Now For a Little Wisdom From Philip Wylie

"Is it more valuable to cling to their myth of human divinity than to find out what manner of animal we are so that our behavior may itself become somewhat divine?" An Essay on Morals,
page 21.

I read the word "fear-forms" in the same book--Wylie gives as an example of fear-forms: "repugnance and shock."

"People don't hold human life sacred; only their creeds."

"Science, which had enjoyed its century of light and truth, was locked up and made military." Page 8 of EOM.

"Fear is the mother of all gods."

"Those who believed in force alone had to believe in instinctual man, in irresistible impulse, in evolution by aggression, in pecking orders, in tyranny set over tyrannies." Page 13 of EOM.

Religious nutjobs, says Wylie, accept the science they need (locomotives/light bulbs), but they refuse "to take advantage of the fact there was no God, no Heaven, no Hearafter for their bodies or their souls, no Holy Ghost, Atman, Virgin, saint or apostle, that all these were the inventions of animals...." Page 15 of EOM.

for The Daily Growler

The Following Is a Review of Philip Wylie's Famous Book Gladiator

Readers of superhero fiction will find this 1930 novel hauntingly familiar.

Philip Wylie's Gladiator is often cited as the inspiration behind Superman. The parallels are obvious: Both Hugo Danner and Clark Kent grow up in rural small-town America, possessing powers far beyond the common mortal; both are imbued, from an early age, with a profound sense of fairness and justice; and they hide their respective secrets from the world at large. The resemblance is even more obvious when you consider the original 1930s conception of Superman. Their powers are the same: great strength, skin so tough that it can withstand just about anything short of an explosive artillery shell, and the ability to jump so high and so far that it almost gives the impression of flight. And both, despite their superhuman status, espouse a political philosophy that celebrates the common human being over capitalist elites.

In Gladiator, readers will find the roots of other superheroic icons. Hugo Danner's scientific creation and upbringing by a scientist father recall Doc Savage's origins. And rarely mentioned are Gladiator's links to Spider-Man. The prototype for the famous scene in which the fledgling Spider-Man defeats a hulking wrestler to make money is found in Wylie's novel; Hugo's bout in the ring is eerily similar to Spider-Man's as seen in 1962's Amazing Fantasy #15 (a scene later filmed by Sam Raimi in 2002's Spider-Man). Even Spider-Man's famous motto—"With great power comes great responsibility"—is touched upon during Hugo's many ruminations about his place in the world. At one point, in this novel from the pre-superhero era, Hugo even considers using his powers as a vigilante crime fighter!

Gladiator is a brave novel that unflinchingly portrays people at their ugliest and pettiest, all the while reflecting on the better worlds that could be were it not for humanity's relentless failings.

The above review comes from a sci-fi blog whose address we failed to note.

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