Egon Friedell on Stefan George

The Viennese polymath Egon Friedell once said of the poet Stefan George, “Schaut aus wie eine alte Frau, die wie ein alter Mann ausschaut.” (“He looks like an old woman who looks like an old man.”)

Superlatively witty, moreover I’m inclined to agree. LJ

Stefan George [1868 - 1933], Deutscher Lyriker


UN says Facebook helped fuel Rohingya ethnic cleansing

Damning, if true. Social media will have a lot to answer for in due course, I fear. They clearly assist populism, by their very nature, whether this be that of the right or of the left, the latter being of greater immediate concern in the UK. People should stay at home and read Dickens, in particular Barnaby Rudge, in which the development of the Gordon Riots from a mere innocuous folly to acts of widespread arson in contempt of the rule of law are eloquently demonstrated to be imputable to the necessarily headless nature of the mob. Therefore, beware all mobs. Social media, notwithstanding benevolent intentions and doomed regulatory initiatives, engender mob behaviour. This may start in mere intellectual vacuity, through the false association of democratic freedom with the claim that self-expression, be it ever so ugly, ignoble or base, is legitimised, but what is held in store has the character of an enduring menace. LJ

The United Nations has accused Facebook of playing a “determining role” in stirring up hatred against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma.
— Read on

Une orque refuse de laisser couler son nourrisson mort-né et le pousse pendant 17 jours – LCI

Situation très troublante. Il est temps d’agir pour protéger cette population menacée par notre arrogance myope. LJ

Actualités INTERNATIONAL: NATURE – Une femelle orque a poussé le cadavre de son bébé mort-né sur près de 2000 kilomètres, pendant dix-sept jours, refusant de le laisser. Un drame qui alerte sur le déclin de la population des cétacés. Menacés par le manque de nourriture, aucun bébé n’a survécu depuis trois ans dans son groupe d’orques.
— Read on

Studenten bezwijken psychisch onder prestatiedruk

Interesting, but “prestatiedruk”? Mon cul!

“Soms gaat dat gepaard met verslaving aan alcohol, drugs, of internet (excessief gamen of porno).” QED

Surprise, surprise! Stop looking at social media, don’t do drugs, ignore the tattoo parlour, think for yourselves and do some disciplined studying. This will greatly relieve your conscience and enable you to sleep soundly and to greet each morning for the miracle it is, whatever duties it may herald. LJ

Morning Song, from Ariel, a collection of poems by Sylvia Plath, published posthumously in 1965

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

A passable insight into this work may be found here. LJ

La ratatouille provençale

I love this dish, but only when it is prepared perfectly, for botched approximations are invariably grotesque parodies and an offence to the palate. I have never eaten a good one outside France and I have yet to be served a good one in a restaurant. The best I have ever had was with a wonderful family who welcomed me when I was hitch-hiking as a student. They had fought with the resistance in the mountains near Grenoble during the war and I was greatly privileged to be shown the location of their operations and to join them at the ceremony commemorating the massacre at the Massif du Vercors. They were amongst friends there and the poignancy of the enduring solidarity between them was palpable. LJ

“L’art de préparer une vraie ratatouille provençale” :

I’m not quite sure how convincing this is. It concerns a scientific analysis of the conflicting claims of Lennon and McCartney to authorship of certain songs that will soon have sunk into oblivion. Who finances this research?

It is difficult to imagine that such research can attract financial support, given the competition for funds from far more worthwhile fields of human endeavour. It can only be imputable to a kind of infatuation, I infer, notwithstanding the ephemeral charm of certain of their songs. LJ