My son is dying, dark eyes fever-flared, He bravely smiles as we await his fate. 72 virginal houri abide Visage veiled but vaginas revealed Or 28 pre-pubescent puerile pearls If such preferred, as promised by Hadith. The vest bears down its weight and cumbrous heft On fading heart of this my blessed scion Compressing tread-marks of his final steps On venerated path through ancient dust. I watch now from this place to the bazaar Where wretches beg and fallen angels profit. Honour will be paid to me for loss; Tribute will be brought and I will feast; His act speeds my path when my time comes. A muffled Holy rumbling roar of rage. Still-twitching parts from those of lesser worth Fragment and reek of vile impurity. Clouded in blood-mist their blackened meat Stains every desert star to crescent moon. Lacerated limbs lance wall and roof Mangling men reviled like scorpions loathed; Unearthed rats bleed blinded by the flames From Paradise, as porcine stench befouls The gentle desert khamseen’s blessed breeze Bearing joy to this most fortunate of men.
Thanks to Scriptor Obscura for recommending this reflective accompaniment, ‘Mazaar”. Sung here by Niyaz this old Afghani folksong is sung in Dari, a Persian dialect. The song includes a plea for all human beings to end suffering.
My TV channel count is gone up to a much-duplicated 55 but 8 are actually radio channels. “WTF is SBS Radio doing thinking it’s a TV station?” asks Melbourne comedian Dave Hughes in his raucous new live stand-up act. And he’s right! Slyly infiltrating my Electronic Program Guide (EPG) using an alias like ABC Dig exceeds the duplicity of the pirate radio station I was once part of way back in the North Sea radio heydays when I fancied myself as their landlubbing prosopopoeia. But this is legal – though it seems somewhat incestuous. Or at the very least a bit bi.
Imagine all those poor, what…viewers? listeners? – the ‘populi bewilderus’ who just sit there listening to watching the music and waiting for a phantom TV show to start with the patience of Ratzinger’s gay admirer. Continue reading →
Rand’s mind was conditioned in pre-revolutionary Russia and honed in the USA. Having been witness to the bloody birth of Communism, then migrating to the most capitalistic country on Earth, it is no great leap to understand how her mind works; in a nutshell – Socialist bad, Capitalist good. She built an empirical philosophy based on this (which even enjoyed some popular support for a time) but the obvious flaw to her idealistic cause was its undemocratic core (it favours Meritocracy). Even in plutocratic America such radical thought finds little long-lasting purchase. With the dilution of Communism that has taken place worldwide since the book was published in 1957 her dogma could be considered simplistic, idealistic and impractical. That said, Rand does successfully draw attention to some of the flaws that persist in liberal and socialistic thinking and her arguments towards the acceptance of personal responsibility, self-sufficiency and a high work ethic, are commonly accepted and adopted today.
The setting is a dystopian USA where an undefined event has caused changes that result in a communist-style government. Orwellian pigs govern from Washington and citizens are brainwashed to become almost drone-like. Continue reading →
Translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Finishing the last page of Dostoyevsky’s last book can be regarded as a personal milestone. You are entitled to congratulate yourself for having had the courage to tackle it in the first place (no such kudos for finishing though – that’s a given). In attempting to write a review however, the milestone becomes a millstone. Many have shared their opinions before you – Kafka liked it and Hemingway did not; atheists and Popes have applauded it antithetically; historians and ethicists have polarised and galvanised opinions while many persons of universally accepted wisdom have referred to it has the greatest book ever written.
Descriptions of the story abound so I will not retell it – it is merely the pinhead on which Dostoyevsky’s angels dance. The plot is only the portent of the themes and these are exposed by the players. To convey what he seeks to deliver, Dostoyevsky uses his exceptional gift for characterisation to portray the contradictions of the human condition. Continue reading →