An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for October 24, 2018
- The Last Days of New Paris: A Novel by China Miéville
“A thriller of war that never was—of survival in an impossible city—of surreal cataclysm. In The Last Days of New Paris, China Miéville entwines true historical events and people with his daring, uniquely imaginative brand of fiction, reconfiguring history and art into something new.
“Beauty will be convulsive. . . .”
1941. In the chaos of wartime Marseille, American engineer—and occult disciple—Jack Parsons stumbles onto a clandestine anti-Nazi group, including Surrealist theorist André Breton. In the strange games of the dissident diplomats, exiled revolutionaries, and avant-garde artists, Parsons finds and channels hope. But what he unwittingly unleashes is the power of dreams and nightmares, changing the war and the world forever.
1950. A lone Surrealist fighter, Thibaut, walks a new, hallucinogenic Paris, where Nazis and the Resistance are trapped in unending conflict, and the streets are stalked by living images and texts—and by the forces of Hell. To escape the city, he must join forces with Sam, an American photographer intent on recording the ruins, and make common cause with a powerful, enigmatic figure of chance and rebellion: the exquisite corpse.
But Sam is being hunted. And new secrets will emerge that will test all their loyalties—to each other, to Paris old and new, and to reality itself.”
- “Serge Arnoux, Surrealism and William Blake” — Robert Campbell Henderson, Finding Blake
“It’s not so easy to find or write something new about William Blake. Hopefully, this might just be an exception. A few weeks ago I made a visit to a scrap metal yard in Sarlat, France, looking for material for my printmaking. Boy did I get lucky! I bought some copper plate destined for the furnace and it turns out I’d bought 27 etched copper plates by deceased French artist Serge Arnoux, based on some of the ‘Proverbs of Hell’ from Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell from 1790.”
- Surrealism, Occultism and Politics: In Search of the Marvellous, edited by Tessel M. Bauduin, Victoria Ferentinou, and Daniel Zamani, from Routledge
“This volume examines the relationship between occultism and Surrealism, specifically exploring the reception and appropriation of occult thought, motifs, tropes and techniques by Surrealist artists and writers in Europe and the Americas, from the 1920s through the 1960s. Its central focus is the specific use of occultism as a site of political and social resistance, ideological contestation, subversion and revolution. Additional focus is placed on the ways occultism was implicated in Surrealist discourses on identity, gender, sexuality, utopianism and radicalism.”
- Jack Parsons: The Devil and the Divine, Lore s02e06
“In 1922 only one person, Jack Parsons, believed that we could send a rocket into space and conjure a demon. By 1952 he had done both. But all he cared about was the Scarlet Woman he had both summoned, and lost, Marjorie Cameron.”
- “The evolution of the medieval witch – and why she’s usually a woman” — Heritage Daily; from the DEPT dept. [HT who]
“Flying through the skies on a broomstick, the popular image of a witch is as a predominantly female figure – so much so that the costume has become the go-to Halloween outfit for women and girls alike.
But where did this gendered stereotype come from? Part of the answer comes from medieval attitudes towards magic, and the particular behaviours attributed to men and women within the “crime” of witchcraft.”
- “The Witchcraft, Devilry, and Fun, Feminist Fury in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” — Wm.™ Steven Humphrey, The Stranger
“There’s something to be said for consorting with the devil.
The perks include nearly unlimited power, awesome opportunities for revenge, and lots of sexy times. However, the downsides are just as lousy as one might experience in other fundamentalist religions.”
- “A Look Inside NYC’s Mysterious Masonic Hall” — Claire Lampen, Gothamist
“I have always wondered what in the heck goes on inside Masonic lodges: The secrets of Freemasonry are not for women to know—not for anyone but Freemasons to know, really—which makes me inherently suspicious of the entire operation. What do men get up to in there, and why can’t they breathe a word of it to anyone outside the brotherhood? What is so incriminating, or so stigmatizing, or so singularly valuable that it warrants such a heavy cloak of silence?
Last week, Joseph Patzner, a librarian at the Chancellor Joseph R. Livingston Masonic Library, situated on the 14th floor of the Masonic Hall in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, agreed to sit down with me and discuss the mystery, along with a bit of the Hall’s history. This peek behind the curtain did not illuminate the full extent of the Masons’ cloistered activity, but it did provide a festive backdrop against which my imagination now runs wild.”
- “Monty Python Icon John Cleese Has 2 Brutal Questions For Evangelical Trump Fans. The comedy legend called the president “a sleazy, corrupt, egotistical and mendacious sociopath.” — Ed Mazza, Huffpost
“Have they not read the New Testament ? Or do they think it’s not meant to be taken literally ?”
- “The Profound Grief of The Haunting of Hill House” — Lindsey Romain, Vulture
“Netflix’s new ten-episode horror series, The Haunting of Hill House, uses Shirley Jackson’s famous novel as a road map to explore this house-as-body metaphor, and it does so with a profound and precise tenderness. Creator and director Mike Flanagan crafts a wholly unique haunted-house fable — abandoning the book’s paranormal investigation plot — using the hollow halls of a disordered mansion to tell the story of the disordered family who lives there. The hidden ghosts of Hill House aren’t nameless spooks trapped between spiritual realms; they are personal manifestations for the people they haunt, visual aids for the truths they must accept and vanquish. It’s not a paranormal story so much as a meditation on the distinct way grief and trauma maim the living. And it’s scary as hell”
- “We’re Thrilled to Inform You Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s Salem the Cat Is Red Carpet Trained” — Devon Ivie, Vulture
“As alerted to us by IndieWire, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s iconic Salem the Cat — rudely only identified as “cat” by Getty Images — must actually possess some kind of satanic power, as that’s the only reasonable explanation why this handsome fella walked the red carpet at the show’s premiere with zero instances of bad behavior.”
- “Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s New Power Is Being a Woke Feminist” — Frida Garza, Jezebel
“But as Shipka explained at the series premiere in Los Angeles on Friday night, the Netflix adaptation is also more explicitly feminist, pitting an enterprising Sabrina against the male-dominated world of witches. “She’s a woke witch,” Shipka said.
Sabrina, who is half-mortal, half-witch, is reluctant to leave the real world behind for the patriarchal magical world. Per Variety: “I think that [premise] in and of itself is very feminist and she’s a strong independent woman and she stands up for herself and does what she thinks is right,” Shipka said.”
“Will Sabrina’s cat decide to speak up against the pitfalls of toxic masculinity, too? Only time will tell.”
- “This simple productivity tip nudges the easily distracted—ever so gently” — Lila MacLellan, Quartz; about ideas in Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction by Chris Bailey
“Your mind will always wander, so consider how that might present an opportunity to assess how you’re feeling and then to set a path for what to do next,” he writes in the just-published book.
One way he has trained his mind to keep its finite amount of attention on whatever task he has designated for it is through an “awareness chime.” Using any number of apps, you can set up your computer or laptop to chime hourly. That gentle, pleasing sound will nudge you to take a second and ask yourself, “Am I doing the thing I’m supposed to be doing right now?”
Bailey actually suggests posing many other questions, including one about the quality of your attentional flow, distractions you might be able to remove from your environment, and whether you’re ignoring something that is more important than what you’re doing, even if you’re technically on schedule.
- “5 Tiny Tweaks to Your Daily Routine That Will Double Your Energy and Productivity. In a productivity-obsessed world, these 5 tiny habits will make all the difference.” — Julian Hayes II, Inc.
“But at its root core, productivity comes down to your energy and flow state (or being “in the zone” as some call it).
Without those two core elements, it’s impossible to be your most productive self. To get those two elements firing on all cylinders doesn’t need to complicated. In fact, implementing these five tiny tweaks to your daily routine will set you on the right path.
1. Start and end your day like Benjamin Franklin.”
“2. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time.”
“3. Quality food and water before coffee.”
“4. Schedule and name your work sessions.”
“5. Take breaks to re-energize yourself.”
- “Ritual to Hex Kavanaugh Is So Popular That Witches Organized Another One. After more than 10,000 people expressed interest in the ritual to hex Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Facebook, creators of the event are giving witches everywhere another opportunity.” — Sara David, Broadly
“Bracciale describes the hex on Kavanaugh as an act of ‘spiritual solidarity and sociopolitical resistance.'”
“‘It strikes fear into the heart of Christian fundamentalists,’ Bracciale says of the backlash. ‘That’s one of the reasons that we do it. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. We don’t subscribe to this bullshit, pacifist, love and light, everybody just get along thing. If you want to hijack the country; if you want to steal the election; if you want to overturn Roe v. Wade; if you want to harm people who are queer; well guess what: We’re not doing civility. If you’re going to be these awful bullies, you have to understand someone is going to punch you back and it might as well be a bunch of witches from Brooklyn.'”
- “Catholic Exorcist Prays For Brett Kavanaugh In Response To Witches’ Planned Hex. The Rev. Gary Thomas said those targeting the Supreme Court justice are ‘real evil people.'” — Carol Kuruvilla, Huffpost
“The Rev. Gary Thomas is a Vatican-educated exorcist who is currently authorized by the Bishop of San Jose to perform exorcisms. In Catholicism, this complex set of rites and prayers is used only by specially trained priests to battle with perceived demonic forces.
For Thomas, the news that dozens of witches would assemble at an occult bookstore in Brooklyn to target Kavanaugh is no joke. The priest said he’s witnessed people who weren’t in a “state of grace” experience real physical and spiritual harm as a result of curses.”
- “How an abduction by the mysterious Freemasons led to a third political party — the nation’s first. The bizarre history of the Anti-Masonic Party” — Robert Mitchell, The Washington Post
“The mysterious fate of Morgan animated an uneasy alliance of cranks and ambitious politicians and formed the basis of the first third party in the United States. The Anti-Masonic Party flourished in the late 1820s and early 1830s, before the partisan divisions of the antebellum era solidified into Democrats versus Whigs.”