A Confederacy of Dunces: quotes (30)

Another working day is ended, gentle reader. As I told you before, I have succeeded in laying a patina, as it were, over the turbulence and mania of our office. All non-essential activities in the office are slowly being curtailed. At the moment I am busily decorating our throbbing hive of white-collared bees (three). The analogy of the three bees brings to mind three b‘s which describe most aptly my actions as an office worker: banish, benefit, beautify. There are also three b‘s which describe most aptly the actions of our buffoon of an office manager: bait, beg, blight, blunder, bore, boss, bother, bungle, burden, buzz. (In this case, I am afraid that the list gets somewhat out of hand.) I have come to the conclusion that our office manager serves no purpose other than one of obfuscation and hinderance. Were it not for him, the other clerical worker (La Dama del Comercio) and I would be quite peaceful and content, attending to our duties in an atmosphere of mutual consideration.

Zappa Documentary

Zappa is available to purchase or rent from today, and apparently, it will also be released as a DVD with material that didn’t make the film. As a primer, this documentary would complement Barry Miles’ biography reviewed by Camille Paglia and Zappa’s very own The Real Frank Zappa Book. Here are some reviews of the documentary that are not paywalled. 

Los Angeles Times — Zappa’s trademark bluntness of speech seems to have permeated his entire circle, his own radical honesty creating a safe space for everyone to speak as freely as possible. 

The Patriot Ledger — There’s also not nearly enough of Zappa’s later years when political advocacy became part of his repertoire, particularly attempts by Congress to censor artists like himself.

Variety — “Zappa” kicks off with the last concert appearance in which he ever played the guitar — in 1991, at the Sports Hall in Prague, where he came to share the celebration of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the Czech Republic. He was greeted like a messiah, because Zappa’s music, to many Czechs, was the incarnation of freedom.

The Wrap — Zappa, who was ailing at the time but also had a message to deliver to the Czech audience: “As you confront the changes that will take place, please try to keep your country unique.”

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (29)

Never again, neither before nor after, was I able to feel in that way the beauty of that music born from those four strings like a Michelangelo angel from a block of marble. Only my state of mind was new to me, and it led me to look up, ecstatic, as if at something totally new. Yet I struggled to keep that music distant from me. I never ceased thinking: “Careful! The violin is a siren and its player can produce tears even without possessing a hero’s heart!” I was assailed by that music, which gripped me. It seemed to speak of my illness and my sufferings with indulgence, alleviating them with smiles and caresses.

MISHIMA: 50 years on

November 25th marks the date of Mishima’s death fifty years ago. See these articles: The Importance of Being Mishima YukioYukio Mishima’s enduring, unexpected influence — Yukio Mishima’s dark fantasies of imperial JapanMishima in the World: 50 Years Later — Mishima: Historical Visionary

“Was I ignorant, then, when I was seventeen? I think not. I knew everything. A quarter-century’s experience of life since then has added nothing to what I knew. The one difference is that at seventeen I had no ‘realism’.”
“Young people get the foolish idea that what is new for them must be new for everybody else too. No matter how unconventional they get, they’re just repeating what others before them have done.”
A samurai is a total human being, whereas a man who is completely absorbed in his technical skill has degenerated into a ‘function’, one cog in a machine”.
“I am one who has always been interested only in the edges of the body and the spirit, the outlying regions of the body and the outlying regions of the spirit. The depths hold no interest for me; I leave them to others, for they are shallow, commonplace. What is there, then, at the outer most edge? Nothing, perhaps, save a few ribbons, dangling down into the void.”

See photographer Hosoe Eikō’s collaboration with Mishima here and here. See also Kishin Shinoyama’s collaboration here.
“The highest point at which human life and art meet is in the ordinary. To look down on the ordinary is to despise what you can’t have. Show me a man who fears being ordinary, and I’ll show you a man who is not yet a man”.
“The special quality of hell is to see everything clearly down to the last detail.”

A Confederacy of Dunces: quotes (29)

By one-thirty the cross was almost finished. It lacked only the little gold leaf letters that spelled GOD AND COMMERCE which Ignatius had ready to apply across the bottom of the cross . . . “Now to the filing,” Ignatius said busily. “Then off to the factory. I cannot tolerate social injustice.” . . . Ignatius went behind the filing cabinets, picked up the accumulated and unfiled material, and threw it in the wastebasket.

A Confederacy of Dunces: quotes (28)

He was four workers in one. In Mr. Reilly’s competent hands, the filing seemed to disappear. He was also kind to Miss Trixie; there was hardly any friction in the office. Mr. Gonzalez was touched by what he had seen the previous afternoon – Mr. Reilly on his knees changing Miss Trixie’s socks. Mr. Reilly was all heart. Of course, he was part valve, too. But the constant conversation about the valve could be accepted. It was the only drawback.