A Movie Log

A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

Monday, November 23, 2009

Palin Meets the Press

Matt Taibbi on media groupthink and Sarah Palin.

The press corps that is bashing her skull in right now is the same one that hyped that WMD horseshit for like four solid years and pom-pommed America to war with Iraq over the screeching objections of the entire planet. It’s the same press corps that rolled out the red carpet for someone very nearly as abjectly stupid as Sarah Palin to win not one but two terms in the White House. If there was any kind of consensus support for Palin inside the beltway, the criticism of her, bet on it, would be almost totally confined to chortling east coast smartasses like me and Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan.

The Proust Project, Day 6

Where this began
Day 5


Swann's Way (translated by Lydia Davis), pp. 60-73.

Sundays in Combray, starting with the narrator and his parents going to Mass, and with Proust's rhapsodic description of Saint-Hilaire. The passages describing the church are not only a tour de force, but they also serve a thematic purpose. The church becomes "an edifice occupying a space with, so to speak, four dimensions -- the fourth being Time -- extending over the centuries its nave which, from bay to bay, from chapel to chapel, seemed to vanquish and penetrate not only a few yards but epoch after epoch from which it emerged victorious." Saint-Hilaire is time recaptured itself, so that later, glimpsing "some hospital belfry, some convent steeple" in Paris reminiscent of the church in Combray, the narrator will "remain there in front of the steeple for hours, motionless, trying to remember, feeling deep in myself lands recovered from oblivion draining and rebuilding themselves."

The narrator's grandmother, she who found the gardener's paths "too symmetrically aligned," has her own take on the church:
Without really knowing why, my grandmother found in the steeple of Saint-Hilaire that absence of vulgarity, of pretension, of meanness, which made her love and believe rich in beneficent influence not only nature, when the hand of man had not, as had my great-aunt's gardener, shrunk and reduced it, but also works of genius.... I believe above all that, confusedly, my grandmother found in the steeple of Combray what for her had the highest value in the world, an air of naturalness and an air of distinction.
In these pages we also meet M. Legrandin, the engineer-poet who spends his weekend in Combray, and whom the narrator's family regards as "the epitome of the superior man, approaching life in the noblest and most delicate way." The grandmother has reservations, of course. She
reproached him only for speaking a little too well, a little too much like a book, for not having the same naturalness in his language as in his loosely knotted lavalier bow ties, in his short, straight, almost schoolboy coat. She was also surprised by the fiery tirades he often launched against the aristocracy, ... going so far as to reproach the Revolution for not having had them all guillotined.

And we learn a little more about Aunt Léonie, who has banished all visitors but Eulalie, a former servant to Mme. de la Bretonnerie. Eulalie has the tact to avoid falling into either of the categories of people Léonie detests.
One group, the worst, whom she had got rid of first, were the ones who advised her not to "coddle" herself.... The other category was made up of the people who seemed to believe she was more seriously ill than she thought, that she was as seriously ill as she said she was.... In short, my aunt required that her visitors at the same time commen her on her regimen, commiserate with her for her sufferings, and encourage her as to her future.