Thursday, February 12, 2009

W. H. Auden

Dante
Was utterly enchanté
When Beatrice cried in tones that were peachy:
Noi siamo amici.


from "Academic Graffiti"

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sublimity now!

An Inside Catholic column by Eve Tushnet. It speaks to me, because, in part, it deals with the difference between a beauty that is merely cutesy-pie (a beauty that one can master) and a Beauty that is as "terrible as an army with banners" (a Beauty that masters one).

About six years ago, on this blog, I tried to categorize the different types of beauty, and came up with four "beauties": the Awesome, the Pretty, the Gorgeous, and the Cute. I blush to recall the absolute silliness of my attempt at being, what? serious? philosophical?, but I think I might have hit on something akin to the Sublime when I was writing about the Awesome. (The Gorgeous, if I remember correctly, was also a kind of beauty that masters one, but it lacked the element of holiness or purity that the Awesome possessed.)

I don't know if there was a difference, or can't remember what the difference was, between the Pretty and the Cute. But it seems that both of those beauties were of the type that one could possess or master. It was a beauty that delighted and charmed, not a beauty that terrified or thrilled or caused one to seek divine help to keep from fainting.

Anyway, go read Eve's column, as it will edify far beyond anything I have to say.

Understatement

Being reborn in Jesus is not rapid for many of us.

Jean Vanier, via February's Magnificat, p. 119

5.43 am

Last night I read nearly half of David Sedaris's Me Talk Pretty One Day. Literary junk food. Uproariously funny. Occasionally the sarcasm becomes wearisome, as in the chapter about performance art and drug use (although it's good to be sarcastic about performance art, I suppose), but oftener than not I'm laughing out loud, whether it's guitar lessons or speech therapy or his vulgar-mouthed younger brother he's writing about.

:: :: :: :: ::

The Boston mayor's race is getting crowded. The sixty-something thick-tongued incumbent, Thomas Menino, may run for a fifth term. But there's a moderately progressive former city council president, 39-year-old Michael Flaherty, and an ultraprogressive city councilor at large, thirty-something Sam Yoon, who'll be opposing the mayor. I say good on both of them. Although Menino is still fairly popular and (depending on who you talk to) effective, I'm not sure a twenty-year mayoralty is something desirable for anyone other than the mayor. Menino's immediate predecessor, Ray Flynn, served nearly ten years, and Kevin White, before Flynn, served sixteen. So Boston has had only three mayors since 1967, when Lyndon Johnson was president.

If I were still living within the city limits of Boston, I'd probably vote for Flaherty.

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There was a crane collapse near the beloved Brattle Book Shop. One man was killed. The crane landed in the discount book lot next to the bookstore, the $1 to $5 shelves. Customers were browsing the outdoor shelves at the time (I think), but no one on the ground was injured. A lot of inexpensive books were destroyed, but of course, that's of no consequence compared to the loss of a human life.

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My favorite morning news reporter is back from vacation! Let there be sung Non nobis and Te Deum! A half-hour ago she wasn't wearing a hat. Now she is.

It's 28 degrees in Boston, a bit of a cooldown after yesterday's relative warmth. It hit fifty but stayed quite breezy, so there was something of a wind chill. The wind made one's eyes water as one was walking from the church to the pharmacy.

But the point is, I don't blame her for putting the hat on.

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I've never met a Methodist I didn't like. (More on this later, maybe.)

:: :: :: :: ::

Dentist tomorrow to get a filling "re-done." They never give me enough Novocaine; I always feel the drill. This time, I will be politely emphatic in my request for enough Novocaine.

:: :: :: :: ::

Time to start the coffee, methinks.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Poetry question : Vernon Watkins

Maybe readers from the UK can help. I have an imperfectly remembered poem going through my mind. I'm certain the author is Vernon Watkins (1906-67). Can someone provide the title, or maybe even the rest of the poem?

Wits that learn from mother-wit are keenest
Nor is there nobility of style
Till the proud man kneels to help the meanest
Those who justify themselves are vile