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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Josephine Baker - Kees van Dongen, 1925

Josephine Baker – Kees van Dongen, 1925

I saw her a year before she died. She was greeting people at the Rainbow Sign in Berkeley, California. Ntozake Shange, a poet and playwright, coaxed me into the receiving line because I was shy. And when it came my turn I presented her with a copy of [Mumbo Jumbo,] the novel on whose cover I had used an old photo of her to represent two sides of the Vodoun goddess Erzulie. And she flashed that famous smile and squinted those famous eyes and she said, ‘Do you know the young man who wrote this book?’ I was so awestruck, I said, ‘Yes, ma’am, I knows him,’ forgetting that that young man was me. That was Josephine Baker. Such a divine presence she made you forget yourself.

– Ishmael Reed in the New York Times Book Review, December 12, 1976

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the-leper-lazarus-clep-1631.jpg!Blog

The Leper – Rembrandt, 1631

 

I had tried to be fair. It is the one single thing no one will forgive you for, neither the communists nor the fascists, the rightists nor the leftists, the white racists nor the black racists… One will make more enemies by trying to be fair (marked by impartiality and honesty) than trying to tell the truth– no one believes it is possible to tell the truth anyway– but it is just possible that you might be fair.

Chester Himes, The Quality of Hurt
(quoted in Ishmael Reed’s essay “Chester Himes: Writer”)

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A Stroke of Luck - Rene Magritte, 1948

A Stroke of Luck – Rene Magritte, 1948

‘If you know a man is wrong, I mean, if you know he did somethin’ bad but you don’t turn him in to the law because he’s your friend, do you think that’s right?

‘All you got is your friends, Easy.’

‘But then what if you know somebody else who did something wrong but not so bad as the first man, but you turn this other guy in?’

‘I guess you figure that that other guy got ahold of some bad luck.’

We laughed for a long time.

Walter Mosley, Devil In a Blue Dress

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Snakes - M.C. Escher, 1969

Snakes – M.C. Escher, 1969

…consider a final parable, which comes from Aleister Crowley’s Magick in Theory and Practice and is said by him to contain the whole secret of practical occultism:

Two passengers are sharing a railway carriage. One notices that the other has a box with holes in it, of the sort used to transport animals, and asks what animal his companion is carrying. “A mongoose,” says the other. The first passenger naturally asks why this eccentric chap want[s] to transport a mongoose around England.

“It’s because of my brother,” says the second man. “You see, he drinks perhaps more than is good for him, and sometimes he sees snakes. The mongoose is [to] kill the snakes.”

“But those are bleeding imaginary snakes,” says the first man.

“That’s as may be,” says the other placidly. “But this is an imaginary mongoose.”

Robert Anton Wilson, Ishtar Rising

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Fake Picasso?

Fake Picasso?

An art dealer once went to Picasso and said, “I have a bunch of ‘Picasso’ canvasses that I was thinking of buying. Would you look them over and tell me which are real and which are forgeries?” Picasso obligingly began sorting the paintings into two piles. Then, as the Great Man added one particular picture to the fake pile, the dealer cried, “Wait a minute, Pablo. That’s no forgery. I was visiting the weekend you painted it.” Picasso replied imperturbably, “No matter. I can fake a Picasso as well as any thief in Europe.”

Robert Anton Wilson, Ishtar Rising

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billy-joel-didnt-start-the-fire

Press play & sing along.

Barack ObamaBeyoncé,
Matthew McConaughey,
Lena Dunham, Boko Haram,
Bill deBlasio

Polar Vortex, Richard Sherman,
True Detective, Immigration,
Pete Seeger, Derek Jeter,
Maya Angelou

Neil deGrasse Tyson,
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Battle in the Ukraine,
and Malaysia’s missing plane

Colorado’s legal weed,
Daft Punk’s got a Grammy,
Malala Yousafzai,
Donald Sterling, goodbye!

 

(more…)

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s1e1-crime-sceneIf 2014 was anything, it had to have spawned from the savage, swampy, pseudo-Satanic loins of True Detective. In this Golden Age of TV Geek-Outs, I’m not sure we’ve ever geeked-out this hard over a TV show (LOST included). But besides being the TV Event Of The Year, True Detective was also a grim omen of how the rest of 2014 would unfurl: Just when we thought we were making progress, the Flat Circle of Time turned, history repeated itself, the perverted power of the privileged once again pressed its boot to the face of the oppressed and dared us not to lose our minds, Rust Cohle-style, into the abyss of cosmic Lovecraftian horror. At its worst, this year hurtled over us like an uninterrupted tracking shot of chaos, corruption, and police brutality.

As the year ends, it seems like the dark still has more territory, but let’s not forget Rust’s parting words: The light is winning.

2013 Was The Climb, Time After Time

2012 Was Louis C.K.’s Foolish Flailing

2011 Was Walter White’s Mad Cackle

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