Friday, March 2, 2007

Friday March 2, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:00 AM
Today’s birthdays:

Jennifer Jones,
film star and arts patron;

Tom Wolfe, author of
The Painted Word.

“Hunt for the best.”
Norton Simon 

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Cover detail,
soundtrack recording
of the Jennifer Jones film
“Angel, Angel, Down We Go”

The girl’s left eye in the above
portrait illustrates a remark
  in yesterday’s New York Times
on a figure in a painting:

“His head recedes into shadow, so you barely see his face. But a tiny fleck of white in his eye, a light that kindles his reawakening, brings him to life. It’s what Roland Barthes, the French critic, liked to call a punctum, the spot, marking time, that burns an image into memory.”

 (This remark, by Michael Kimmelman,
comes with a headline–

Lights! Darks! Action! Cut!  
Maestro of Mise-en-Scène

— that seems to have been inspired
by Tom Wolfe’s prose style.)

For further details, see
Barthes’s Punctum,
by Michael Fried.

Sunday, March 2, 2003

Sunday March 2, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:20 PM

7:20 PM CALI Time

The Bus and the Bead Game:
The Communion of Saints as
 the Association of Ideas

On this date in 1955, “Bus Stop,” a play by William Inge, opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York City.

“I seemed to be standing in a bus queue by the side of a long, mean street.”

— C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, opening sentence

Today’s birthdays:

Sam Houston
Dr. Seuss
Kurt Weill
Mikhail Gorbachev
Tom Wolfe
Desi Arnaz
Jennifer Jones
Karen Carpenter

and many others.

Today is the feast day of  

St. Randolph Scott
St. Sandy Dennis
St. D. H. Lawrence, and
St. Charlie Christian.

“Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear…”

— Karen Carpenter singing “Superstar

“And if I find me a good man,
 I won’t be back at all.”

C. C. Rider lyrics

See (and hear) also “Seven Come Eleven,” played by St. Charlie Christian.

One might (disregarding separation in time and space — never major hindrances to the saints) imagine C. S. Lewis in Heaven listening to a conversation among the four saints listed above.  For more on the communion of saints, see my entry “State of the Communion” of Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2003.  This entry, quoting an old spiritual, concluded with “Now hear the word of the Lord”  — followed by this notation: 

 7:11 PM.

See also the N.Y. Times obituary of John P. Thompson of Dallas, former 7-Eleven chairman, who died, as it happened, on that very day (Jan. 28).  See also Karen Carpenter’s “first take luck.”

The sort of association of ideas described in the “Communion” entry is not unrelated to the Glasperlenspiel, or Glass Bead Game, of Hermann Hesse.  For a somewhat different approach to the Game, see

The Glass Bead Game,”

by John S. Wilson, group theorist and head of the Pure Mathematics Group at the University of Birmingham in England. Wilson is “not convinced that Hesse’s… game is only a metaphor.” Neither am I.

For the association-of-ideas approach, see the page cited in my “Communion” entry,

A Game Designer’s Holy Grail,”

and (if you can find a copy) one of the greatest forgotten books of the twentieth century,

The Third Word War,

by Ian Lee (A&W Publishers, Inc., New York, 1978).  As Lee remarks concerning the communion of saints and the association of ideas,

“The association is the idea.”

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