Serviceable sentences, 55/10,000

No striving with supreme powers.
—Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1638/1651)

(This is the grimmer lesson to be gleaned from today’s introduction of the 17th President & and the new First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Spenser W. Kimball, 12th President, explains:

There have been some eighty apostles so endowed since Joseph Smith, though only eleven have occupied the place of the President of the Church, death having intervened; and since the death of his servants is in the power and control of the Lord, he permits to come to the first place only the one who is destined to take that leadership. Death and life become the controlling factors.
—Spencer W. Kimball, “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” (6 October 1972)

[My emphasis.] The succession of LDS leadership is Darwinian; death—natural process & index from the Outside—is the selection mechanism.)

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Serviceable sentences, 54/10,000

This malady [clinical lycanthropy], said Avicenna, troubleth men most in February, and is nowadays frequent in Bohemia and Hungary, according to Heurnius.
—Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1638/1651)

(Cf. Nabi Banazadeh, Ali Kheradmand, & Mansoureh Nasirian, “Rare Variant of Lycanthropy and Ecstasy,” Addict Health 1:1 [2009, Summer]:

Patient was a 28-year-old, unemployed, married male living in Kerman province, Iran. His education level was 5th grade and was brought to Beheshti Psychiatry Hospital in Kerman for his aggressiveness and restlessness. The patient complained of people who were observing him with an intention to harm.

The patient believed that his father had changed to a boar and frequently attacked him, his brother had changed to a horse and sometimes kicked him, and his mother changed to a donkey and continuously brayed. He said that his soul sometimes left his body and went to various places with these animals and found what others do in their houses. He also stated that there was an angel protecting him and he could hear some people talking to him about his daily activities. He believed that there was a chicken in his head capturing his body and pushing his brain with thoughts that were not his. He believed that his wife was wearing a ring and by moving it puts more stress on his brain and more unpleasant feeling and for this reason had asked his wife to move out.

It was found in his history that following taking many ecstasy pills for opium cessation in an unofficial opium cessation center, he developed some delusional symptoms. He had been under physician’s observation for several months and after relative recovery, he stopped his medications and the symptoms aggravated again. There was no history of mental problems before taking ecstasy. He had persecutory delusions, depersonalization, passivity, loss of ego boundary, out of body experience, synesthesia, lycanthropy, thought insertion delusions and auditory and visual hallucinations. His time, place and person orientation and memory were intact. His neurological exam showed no important point. He had normal brain CT scan and MRI. Based on his history and diagnostic criteria of DSM-IV-TR, the patient was admitted with schizophrenia diagnosis and received 15 mg olanzapine daily. His lycanthropic symptoms stopped after two weeks of treatment and other symptoms improved gradually after second month of admission.

My emphasis. Happy Wolf Moon!)

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Serviceable sentences, 53/10,000

“What has *being informed* done for you?”
—@Logo-Daedalus, “[944271308413599744]” (22 December 2017)

(Inform, the transitive verb, means “to give form or shape to; to give vital organizing power to; to give life to; to imbue and actuate with vitality; to animate; to mold; to figure; to fashion.” Antithetically, inform, the adjective, means “without regular form; shapeless; ugly; deformed” (my emphasis); its root is “not + form.”

The whole tweet & its thread is excellent, a contemporary variant of this caustic paragraph from Thoreau’s “Life Without Principle“:

Just so hollow and ineffectual, for the most part, is our ordinary conversation. Surface meets surface. When our life ceases to be inward and private, conversation degenerates into mere gossip. We rarely meet a man who can tell us any news which he has not read in a newspaper, or been told by his neighbor; and, for the most part, the only difference between us and our fellow is that he has seen the newspaper, or been out to tea, and we have not. In proportion as our inward life fails, we go more constantly and desperately to the post-office. You may depend on it, that the poor fellow who walks away with the greatest number of letters, proud of his extensive correspondence, has not heard from himself this long while.

[My emphasis.] Save your minds.)

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Serviceable sentences, 52/10,000

Why have we none [no grace] for books, those spiritual repasts; a grace before Milton, a grace before Shakespeare, a devotional exercise proper to be said before reading the Fairy Queen?
—Charles Lamb, “Grace Before Meat” (1823)

(Lamb cedes this extension of “the solitary ceremony of manducation” to “the use of a certain snug congregation of Utopian Rabelæsian Christians,” which is a double shame, first that we don’t specific devotional exercises for specific authors & acts of reading, and second that there isn’t an actual congregation of Utopian Rabelæsian Christians.)

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Serviceable sentences, 51/10,000

The one man who has ever made me wish I had a penis is Norman Mailer.
—Alex Mar, “A Female Author’s Love for the Proudly Sexist Norman Mailer,” The Aesthete (undated)

(Not a bad sentence with which to start an essay on a subject as torturous as the sexual politics of reading Mailer. The title is bad, but I assume that’s an editorial imposition and that the much better “My Norman Mailer, Myself” of the article’s URL is Mar’s chosen title. Her penis envy, Mar clarifies, is figurative*: “I wanted a dick like his to swing around—you know, in the literary sense.” Unfortunately, I didn’t get that far because the second of three intervening sentences—”I was just out of college and starting a new life, living a few blocks from the paper he founded …, in an East Village studio so lopsided anything you dropped would roll across the floor”—hoops the mind with panniers of such self-satisfaction that the only sane response is to close the tab immediately.

*This is a disappointment. Imagine a literal legion of Mailer-steeped transmen marching through Provincetown, maniples hefting their synthetic man-poles in salute to a fellow prisoner of sex.)

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Serviceable sentences, 50/10,000

His [Samuel Johnson’s] was a hungry man’s hard-hearted view of life, more like Merle Haggard’s conservatism than like his later friend Edmund Burke’s.
—Adam Gopnik, “Man of Fetters,” The New Yorker (8 December 2017)

(The comparison is unnecessary—and grossly inaccurate if you imagine New Yorker readers taking it as gospel—but the affinity between all three holds: a political or social orientation that moralizes yet [mostly] eschews complaint & guards against its own transformation into universalist aggression. How many times have you seen Johnson, Burke, or Merle Haggard lyrics* used as a rhetorical bludgeon?

*”Fightin’ Side of Me” &”Okie from Muskogee” don’t count. Hell, the latter was so plasticized with irony—well-nigh Chaucerian levels—that the Hag could never consistently articulate what he was doing with that song in interviews.)

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Serviceable sentences, 49/10,000

Intimacy should be off-putting; it’s someone else’s private space we’re barging into.
—Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, “Sometimes, the staying power of horror has nothing to do with fear,” A.V. Club (28 July 2017)

(Off-putting in the sense of “uninviting” [from the Latin inuitare, which Skeat says is of uncertain origin]. Cf. the pornographic invitation recognized by the Mormon anti-porn PSA mentioned in Ss-48/10,000: “Just because you saw pornography, and just because it made you curious or interested, doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.”)

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Serviceable sentences, 48/10,000

Love was mortally wounded when the video camera was first pointed at a hard dick.
—NishikiPrestige, “Trads for Feminism. Trad Feminism. TRADBRO FEMINAZISM” (27 August 2017)

(In Mary Poppins [1964], Mary—on her verse towards the end of “Jolly Holiday”—thanks Bert for not being rapey. The wound is deep, & the Minivan Annihilationist has a way with words. It’s like Andrea Dworkin drunk driving past every “Porn Kills Love” billboard in the Bay Area while texting. Much more effective than the peppy platitudes of LDS anti-porn material my fellow Mormons bombard me with. Compare:

Mormon anti-porn PSA: “‘Pornography’ means bad pictures of people with little or no clothes on. […] Just because you saw pornography, and just because it made you curious or interested, doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.”

NishikiPrestige: “You fucking piece of shit. You like porn? WOW. So does half of the human race. ‘human’ being a kind word for the crawling lusting filth that is YOU. FUCK[. //] An army of men are jerking off to the worst pain we could possibly come up with. Ruined women fuck on film for you. GREAT. You aren’t into that, are you ? Wow. What happened?”

If you’re not already reading NishikiPrestige, start. Start with the post quoted above. Then read this. Then mourn your misfortune that “Doomed Mutants At the Precipice” [formerly “Genetic Load and the Death of the West”] is no longer available.)

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Serviceable sentences, 47/10,000

Sundays, not for church, were for Shakespeare.
—Adam Plunkett, “Keats and King Lear,” Poetry (11 February 2015)

(Even more interesting, Shakespeare’s work served as a medium for Keats’s [proposed*] experiments with telepathic communion:

Keats imagined an afterlife with “direct communication of spirit” like that which he felt as he wrote to George and felt he could begin to approach by their reading “a passage of Shakespeare every Sunday at ten o’clock” on either side of the Atlantic. “And we shall be as near each other as blind bodies can be in the same room.”

*I do not know if he & George followed through on this.)

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