not-so-pulp prose

Robert E. Howard, from "The Tower of the Elephant," 1933:

[Conan's] gods were simple and understandable; Crom was their chief, and he lived on a great mountain, whence he sent forth dooms and death. It was useless to call on Crom, because he was a gloomy, savage god, and he hated weaklings. But he gave a man courage at birth, and the will and might to kill his enemies, which, in the Cimmerian's mind, was all any god should be expected to do.

Attack of the Clones: Nam Jun Paik Film Deterioration

In back to back posts Rhizome.org notes two similar riffs on Paik's "zen movie" from the early '60s. Paik's film consisted of clear celluloid projecting a white image for its entire run time. The two contemporary riffers both do takes on the dust and scratches that inevitably accumulate on the film: one actual (a re-filming of an old Paik with much dust on it) and the other virtual (iMovie fake dust and scratches). File under art eating itself.

In the late '80s or early '90s there was a painting series being shown around that might be described as "Rymans with cracks." It wasn't officially couched that way but viewers were free to do so (among other possible interpretations). The crack-making process and tangible result intrigued more than any unpacking-the-famous-elders narrative.

We need to move on from these canonical artists from 35 years ago. There are interesting things happening right now that don't depend on a textbook avant gardist for sex appeal.

Vague Asian Mission

Dear President Obama,
"The task of securing Afghanistan and Pakistan from Al Qaeda influence," as you described it on Face the Nation, is a seriously poorly defined mission.
And invoking "al Qaeda" that way is so George Bush. Is it the same "al Qaeda" that was operating in Iraq all those years?
Afghanistan/Pakistan will be your Vietnam--correction, ours--if you keep this up.
Please bring those troops home and use the money to employ people in the homeless camps springing up in the US.
Your friend,
Tom