April 10, 2014
"Auden was harsh on what he considered attention-seeking. Once when a friend referred to a public occasion when Robert Frost had forgotten his lines, Auden was satirical: Frost hadn’t forgotten his lines — he was just trying to steal the scene. Auden said to me, “If you’ve only just written a poem, you don’t forget the lines.”"

A voice of his own. The occasion was JFK’s inaugural, where Frost did not exactly forget his lines but seemed to have trouble reading what he had written (though if he needed to read them then he had indeed forgotten a poem he had just composed). He proceeded to recite, instead of his inaugural poem, “The Gift Outright.”

I’m inclined to think that Auden was right, though. Maybe Frost disliked the new poem and preferred the old one. Maybe he liked playing the visually compromised old poet. In any case, the moment provoked a wonderful poem by Richard Wilbur which I’ll post here if I can find it.

(via ayjay)

Auden was the man.

April 10, 2014
putthison:

Putting on (H)airs
The Appendix has a great story about Abraham Lincoln’s famous beard (or “whiskers,” as writers of that time would say). He grew it a few weeks before his inauguration, supposedly on the advice of Grace Bedell, an eleven year old girl who wrote him a letter during his campaign. An excerpt from the article:

Rather, Lincoln’s whiskers were meant to signify urbanity and refinement. Adopting a fashionable style of grooming—the wreath of whiskers that had been a fixture of men’s fashion for decades—Lincoln offered a visual counterpoint to persistent barbs about his rough manners, rural upbringing, and rustic sense of humor. Holzer, then, was at least partly right about the meaning of Lincoln’s whiskers. He was, in fact, shedding the campaign image of the frontier railsplitter. But instead of adopting the look of a firm patriarch (or even a stern sexton), he was cultivating the appearance of a man of the world: a person of humble origins but hard-earned cultural capital.
He had good reason to do so. Since assuming the national stage, Lincoln had been dogged by doubts about his social graces. An article from the Columbus, Ohio Crisis, for instance, lampooned his ignorance of classical languages, while informing polite readers that Lincoln had only recently “abstained from facetiously designating hotel napkins as towels.” And one contemporary, recalling an encounter between the former Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft and Lincoln noted a “most striking” contrast between the two: “the one courtly and precise in his every word and gesture, with the air of a trans-Atlantic statesman; the other bluff and awkward, his every utterance an apology for his ignorance of metropolitan manners and customs.” Eager to dispel these aspersions—especially in light of unfavorable comparisons between himself and the stately Jefferson Davis—Lincoln grew fashionable whiskers, not a patriarchal beard.
What does this story tell us about Old Abe Lincoln? Besides the obvious—that the “most famous beard in American history” was not a beard at all—it reveals something about the nature of power in Civil War-era America. Taking command of a sinking ship of state and confronted with dire questions about his fitness for office, Abraham Lincoln chose a set of symbols that emphasized urbanity over more obvious emblems of authority. Calling on an old set of ideas about gentility and power, the president-elect claimed, in effect, that the right to rule hinged as much on politeness as on patriarchal strength or the imprimatur of the people. It’s a strange story, to be sure. But it reminds us of the extraordinary currency of symbols like these: that faced with national dissolution and civil war, Lincoln sought the urbane sophistication required for his job in, of all places, his hair.

You can read the full story at The Appendix.
(Story found via IQ Fashion)

putthison:

Putting on (H)airs

The Appendix has a great story about Abraham Lincoln’s famous beard (or “whiskers,” as writers of that time would say). He grew it a few weeks before his inauguration, supposedly on the advice of Grace Bedell, an eleven year old girl who wrote him a letter during his campaign. An excerpt from the article:

Rather, Lincoln’s whiskers were meant to signify urbanity and refinement. Adopting a fashionable style of grooming—the wreath of whiskers that had been a fixture of men’s fashion for decades—Lincoln offered a visual counterpoint to persistent barbs about his rough manners, rural upbringing, and rustic sense of humor. Holzer, then, was at least partly right about the meaning of Lincoln’s whiskers. He was, in fact, shedding the campaign image of the frontier railsplitter. But instead of adopting the look of a firm patriarch (or even a stern sexton), he was cultivating the appearance of a man of the world: a person of humble origins but hard-earned cultural capital.

He had good reason to do so. Since assuming the national stage, Lincoln had been dogged by doubts about his social graces. An article from the Columbus, Ohio Crisis, for instance, lampooned his ignorance of classical languages, while informing polite readers that Lincoln had only recently “abstained from facetiously designating hotel napkins as towels.” And one contemporary, recalling an encounter between the former Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft and Lincoln noted a “most striking” contrast between the two: “the one courtly and precise in his every word and gesture, with the air of a trans-Atlantic statesman; the other bluff and awkward, his every utterance an apology for his ignorance of metropolitan manners and customs.” Eager to dispel these aspersions—especially in light of unfavorable comparisons between himself and the stately Jefferson Davis—Lincoln grew fashionable whiskers, not a patriarchal beard.

What does this story tell us about Old Abe Lincoln? Besides the obvious—that the “most famous beard in American history” was not a beard at all—it reveals something about the nature of power in Civil War-era America. Taking command of a sinking ship of state and confronted with dire questions about his fitness for office, Abraham Lincoln chose a set of symbols that emphasized urbanity over more obvious emblems of authority. Calling on an old set of ideas about gentility and power, the president-elect claimed, in effect, that the right to rule hinged as much on politeness as on patriarchal strength or the imprimatur of the people. It’s a strange story, to be sure. But it reminds us of the extraordinary currency of symbols like these: that faced with national dissolution and civil war, Lincoln sought the urbane sophistication required for his job in, of all places, his hair.

You can read the full story at The Appendix.

(Story found via IQ Fashion)

April 6, 2014
"No. It’s a mystery. A man’s at odds to know his mind cause his mind is aught he has to know it with. He can know his heart, but he don’t want to. Rightly so. Best not to look in there. It aint the heart of a creature that is bound in the way that God has set for it. You can find meanness in the least of creatures, but when God made man the devil was at his elbow. A creature that can do anything. Make a machine. And a machine to make the machine. And evil that can run itself a thousand years, no need to tend it. You believe that?"

— hermit to the kid, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian p.19

April 5, 2014

industrialdesigners:

Kyoto Sideboard by Colonel

(Source: moncolonel.fr , via architectura)

April 5, 2014
countryandtown:

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

countryandtown:

Five Easy Pieces (1970)

(Source: culturopoing.com)

April 5, 2014
"

We have gone long enough without raising the question of whether reading makes you a better person. The short answer to that question is No. It doesn’t. And the long answer doesn’t differ too dramatically from the short one….

Responding to the claim that not just reading but “high culture” in general is morally improving, Terry Eagleton points out that, during World War II, “many people were indeed deep in high culture, but … this had not prevented some of them from engaging in such activities as superintending the murder of Jews in central Europe.” If reading really was supposed to “make you a better person,” then “when the Allied troops moved into the concentration camps … to arrest commandants who had whiled away their leisure hours with a volume of Goethe, it appeared that someone had some explaining to do.”

There’s simply nothing about reading, or listening to Mozart sonatas, or viewing paintings by Raphael, that necessarily transforms or even improves someone’s character. As the eighteenth-century scientist G. C. Lichtenberg once wrote, “A book is like a mirror: if an ass looks in, you can’t expect an apostle to look out.” Nevertheless, I am going to argue, from time to time throughout the course of this book, that if you really want to become a better person, there are ways in which reading can help. But the degree to which that happens will depend not just on what you read … but also why and how. So consider yourself either warned or promised, according to your feelings about moralistic exhortation.

"

— That’s me, from my book The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. Leo Robson could have quoted it rather than writing his recent review-essay on why reading doesn’t make you a better person. (via ayjay)

April 4, 2014

snickr:

laughingsquid:

A Tour of the British Isles in Accents

That was fun.

(via danforth)

April 2, 2014

really-shit:

Hazukashi House is a dual-storey family residence designed by Japanese firm Alts Design OfficeBecause of it’s disproportionately tall ceiling, architects included house-like doorways, shelving and windows, drawing away from the narrow width of the house, whilst adding to the character and charm of this stunning Kyoto residence.

(via architectura)

April 1, 2014
viedomestique:

Jacques Tati par Yale Joel, 1958.


Me in 30 years.

viedomestique:

Jacques Tati par Yale Joel, 1958.

Me in 30 years.

(via thingsorganizedneatly)

March 30, 2014
ayjay:

Auden’s handwritten draft of “Musee des Beaux Arts”. He rarely wrote nearly this legibly.

ayjay:

Auden’s handwritten draft of “Musee des Beaux Arts”. He rarely wrote nearly this legibly.

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