Steve Pollock

Since 1963.

Category: Quotable (Page 2 of 3)

This is Our Reality Now

This is our reality … (another in a series):

Posted by Steve Pollock on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This is Our Reality, Teachers

[Yeah, it's long and snarky. Yes, again. Read and think or move along.]
A teacher's perspective:
This is our reality,…

Posted by Steve Pollock on Friday, February 16, 2018

Roy Moore's Gotterdammerung

“Antonio: ‘Mark you this, Bassanio,
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
Oh, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!’”
Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Scene 3, Page 5.

We thank thee, Alabama; verily we doeth, for recognizing an ancient truth, as it applieth to Roy Moore. Congratulations, Senator Doug Jones!

Fiery Marble

And I always knew I loved Maureen O'hara. Now I know why, thanks to this clipping from 1945. So, the only thing new…

Posted by Steve Pollock on Sunday, November 5, 2017

Fiery Marble (FB 2017)

And I always knew I loved Maureen O'hara. Now I know why, thanks to this clipping from 1945. So, the only thing new…

Posted by Steve Pollock on Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Dawn of Childish Just Me

William Bradley’s ‘The Dawn of ‘Just Me’: Zack Snyder’s Neoliberal Superheroes’, just published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, contains a telling paragraph, the first part of which exactly sums up someone I personally know. I suppose it’s true of Zack Snyder, the person and the director, as well. Seems bang on:

‘In the end, I don’t know that Zack Snyder’s Superh2. man films demonstrate a coherent philosophy. They seem to be the reflections of a guy who read a lot of superhero comic books as a child, made his action figures fight each other, saw a lot of special effects–driven blockbusters, read some Ayn Rand, got stoned, listened to some Rush, and then, as an adult, was loaned copies of Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and The Dark Knight Returns and came to believe that the entertainment of his childhood could be made acceptable for an adult audience if it was just made a little bloodier.’
—William Bradley, The Los Angeles Review of Books

This paragraph also captures an aspect of this kind of persona rather well:

‘Or the scene toward the beginning of Watchmen (2009), during the weekly “beer session” shared between Dan and Hollis. Note how Dan announces that he needs to get going, despite the fact that he still has about two-thirds of his beer left. Imagine you had a guest over, and that guest opened a beer while you were talking, and then promptly set the beer down and announced, “I must leave now.” You would assume that you had said something offensive to prompt such an abrupt exit. That, or your guest is an android who does not yet properly understand human protocol surrounding conversations over drinks.’
Ibid.

Mr. Bradley appears to have met some of the same people I’ve met.

Piranha Club, Bang On

From longtime favorite strip, "Piranha Club," (still known as "Ernie" in Scandinavia), a 'toon from October 1999 that I…

Posted by Steve Pollock on Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sassoon and Gaza: A Hundred Years, An Unchanged Mankind

In Palestine

“On the rock-strewn hills I heard
The anger of guns that shook
Echoes along the glen.
In my heart was the song of a bird,
And the sorrowless tale of the brook,
And scorn for the deeds of men.”
—Siegfried Sassoon, 30-Mar-1918

An interesting story of the month Siegfried Sassoon spent in Palestine is in the Los Angeles Review of Books currently. Nina Martyris in «Siegfried Sassoon and Palestine» notes that Sassoon “wrote [the words above] not on the Somme but in Palestine, where he was posted for a little over a month in the spring of 1918. He could easily be talking about the vicious war raging across Israel and Gaza’s rocket-strewn hills today.” She continues:

“To read Sassoon on war is to read about Israel and Gaza today. After he left Palestine, he wrote a tightly crafted sonnet called “Ancient History” on the fratricidal nature of war, told through the allegory of Cain and Abel. Ironically, that same story of brotherly murder provided the name of Israel’s Operation Brother’s Keeper, launched to search the West Bank for the three Israeli teenagers whose abduction and murder sparked the ongoing clash. In Sassoon’s scorching parable, Adam stands in for the cynical old politicians who watch their young kill one another.

“What makes this poem a moral grenade is its self-awareness. Sassoon knew that there were bits of Cain and Abel tussling inside him. At the start of the war, he had been a soldier filled with bloodlust, and made quite a reputation for himself for his revenge killings of Germans. But he had also sickened of the slaughter and campaigned for it to stop. In Sassoon’s case, Abel finally won, but the current war, with its far more ancient and complex metabolism, is inevitably stamped with the mark of Cain.
“The Gaza war has been fought as much with rocket fire and rhetoric as with cameras that have smote the world’s conscience with streams of pictures of Palestinian families half-buried under rubble. During the First World War, press coverage of the front was strictly monitored, and only photographs of dead Germans were allowed to be published in the British newspapers. In the absence of cameras there were war poems.”
LA Review of Books

Fascinating reading, even if it is pretty depressing.

The Old Lie (2018 Memorial Day)

On Remembrance Day … remember. War and the military should never be “celebrated.” Remembered with solemnity and an understanding of the brutality and savagery and destruction. But never “honored” or “celebrated” or as an opportunity for “sales.”

Died of Wounds
His wet, white face & miserable eyes
Brought nurses to him more than groans & sighs,
But hoarse and low and rapid rose & fell
His troubled voice: he did the business well.
The Ward grew dark; but he was still complaining,
And calling out for ‘Dickie’. ‘Curse the Wood!
‘It’s time to go: O God, & what’s the good? ___
‘We’ll never take it; & it’s always raining.’
I wondered where he’d been; then heard him shout,
‘They snipe like hell! O Dickie, don’t go out!’ …
I fell asleep: next morning he was dead;
And some Slight Wound lay smiling on his bed.
—Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)

A Mystic as Soldier
I lived my days apart,
Dreaming fair songs for God.
By the glory in my heart
Covered & crowned and shod.
Now God is in the strife,
And I must seek him there,
Where death outnumbers life,
And fury smites the air.

I walk the secret way
With anger in my brain.
O music thro’ my clay,
When will you sound again?
—Siegfried Sassoon

(Documents from « The First World War Poetry Digital Archive », University of Oxford; University of Oxford.)

Dulce et Decorum Est
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! — An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’‘ring like a man in fire or lime …
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: “Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.”
—Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

Anthem for Doomed Youth
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, —
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
—Wilfred Owen

The Old Lie

On Remembrance Day … remember. War and the military should never be “celebrated.” Remembered with solemnity and an understanding of the brutality and savagery and destruction. But never “honored” or “celebrated” or as an opportunity for “sales.”

Died of Wounds
His wet, white face & miserable eyes
Brought nurses to him more than groans & sighs,
But hoarse and low and rapid rose & fell
His troubled voice: he did the business well.
The Ward grew dark; but he was still complaining,
And calling out for ‘Dickie’. ‘Curse the Wood!
‘It’s time to go: O God, & what’s the good? ___
‘We’ll never take it; & it’s always raining.’
I wondered where he’d been; then heard him shout,
‘They snipe like hell! O Dickie, don’t go out!’ …
I fell asleep: next morning he was dead;
And some Slight Wound lay smiling on his bed.
—Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)

A Mystic as Soldier
I lived my days apart,
Dreaming fair songs for God.
By the glory in my heart
Covered & crowned and shod.
Now God is in the strife,
And I must seek him there,
Where death outnumbers life,
And fury smites the air.

I walk the secret way
With anger in my brain.
O music thro’ my clay,
When will you sound again?
—Siegfried Sassoon

(Documents from « The First World War Poetry Digital Archive », University of Oxford; University of Oxford.)

Dulce et Decorum Est
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! — An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’‘ring like a man in fire or lime …
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: “Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.”
—Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

Anthem for Doomed Youth
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, —
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
—Wilfred Owen

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