A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poem of the Day: George Gordon, Lord Byron

Written After Swimming From Sestos to Abydos 

If, in the month of dark December, 
     Leander, who was nightly wont 
(What maid will not the tale remember?) 
     To cross thy stream, broad Hellespont!
If, when the wintry tempest roared, 
     He sped to Hero, nothing loath, 
And thus of old thy current poured, 
     Fair Venus! how I pity both!

For me, degenerate modern wretch, 
     Though in the genial month of May, 
My dripping limbs I faintly stretch, 
     And think I've done a feat today.

But since he crossed the rapid tide, 
     According to the doubtful story, 
To woo -- and -- Lord knows what beside, 
     And swam for Love, as I for Glory; 

'Twere hard to say who fared the best:
     Sad mortals! thus the gods still plague you!
He lost his labor, I my jest; 
     For he was drowned, and I've the ague.
--George Gordon, Lord Byron

Byron may have been the first postmodern poet: the first to achieve self-glorification through ironic self-deprecation.