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Posts Tagged ‘Walt Whitman

“Patriotism is supporting your country all of the time, and your government when it deserves it”*…

 

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Patriotism raises questions of the sort philosophers characteristically discuss: How is patriotism to be defined? How is it related to similar attitudes, such as nationalism? What is its moral standing: is it morally valuable or perhaps even mandatory, or is it rather a stance we should avoid? Yet until a few decades ago, philosophers used to show next to no interest in the subject. The article on patriotism in the Historical Dictionary of Philosophy, reviewing the use of the term from the 16th century to our own times, gives numerous references, but they are mostly to authors who were not philosophers. Moreover, of the few well known philosophers cited, only one, J. G. Fichte, gave the subject more than a passing reference – and most of what Fichte had to say actually pertains to nationalism, rather than patriotism (see Busch and Dierse 1989).

This changed in the 1980s. The change was due, in part, to the revival of communitarianism, which came in response to the individualistic, liberal political and moral philosophy epitomized by John Rawls’ Theory of Justice (1971); but it was also due to the resurgence of nationalism in several parts of the world…

On this day of national celebration, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Patriotism (a little wonky, but eminently worthy of reading in full).

For other important (and more vernacular) takes: W. Kamau Bell, ESPN’s Scoop Jackson… and “Big patriotism is poisoning America,” the article from which the image above was sourced.

* Mark Twain

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As we astutely allocate allegiance, we might recall that it was on this date in 1855 that Walt Whitman anonymously self-published the first edition of Leaves of Grass (it carried his picture but not his name). Whitman employed a new verse form, one with which he had been experimenting, revolutionary at the time– one free of a regular rhythm or rhyme scheme, that has come to be known as “free verse.”  The content of Leaves of Grass was every bit as revolutionary, celebrating the human body and the common man.  Whitman spent the rest of his life revising and enlarging Leaves of Grass; the ninth edition appeared in 1892, the year of his death.

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Walt Whitman, age 35, frontispiece to Leaves of Grass. Steel engraving by Samuel Hollyer from a lost daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison

source

 

Written by LW

July 4, 2018 at 1:01 am

“Police Squad! was cancelled because the viewer had to watch it in order to appreciate it”*…

 

Police Squad! hit the air in the fall of 1982, thirty-minute comedy on ABC created by Zucker Abrahams and Zucker, who’d had enormous success two years earlier with Airplane!.  A broad parody of television crime shows (perhaps especially, of Lee Marvin and M Squad), Police Squad! ran for only four episodes before it was jerked by the network– for reasons explained in the quote that titles this post.  The two further episodes that had been produced were aired off the following summer.

In retrospect, it seems clear that Police Squad!‘s only crime was timing.  As Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, said in 2010:

If Police Squad! had been made twenty years later, it would have been a smash. It was before its time. In 1982 your average viewer was unable to cope with its pace, its quick-fire jokes. But these days they’d have no problems keeping up, I think we’ve proved that.

Indeed, six years later Zucker Abrahams and Zucker took Police Squad! star Leslie Nielsen– along with the concept and the approach– back to the big screen with The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, which was both both a critical and a box office success.  It was followed by The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear and Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult.

Readers can see for themselves– all six episodes of Police Squad! are now available on You Tube.  Happy 4th of July Weekend!

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Special Holiday Weekend bonus:  Stream 14 films that Roger Ebert loved and hated.

* Tony Thomopoulos, President of ABC Entertainment

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As we do our best to restrain ourselves, we might recall that it was on this date in 1855 that Walt Whitman anonymously self-published the first edition of Leaves of Grass (it carried his picture but not his name).  Whitman employed a new verse form, one with which he had been experimenting, revolutionary at the time– one free of a regular rhythm or rhyme scheme, that has come to be known as “free verse.”  The content of Leaves of Grass was every bit as revolutionary, celebrating the human body and the common man.   Whitman spent the rest of his life revising and enlarging Leaves of Grass; the ninth edition appeared in 1892, the year of his death.

Walt Whitman, age 37, frontispiece to Leaves of Grass. Steel engraving by Samuel Hollyer from a lost daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison.

source

 

Written by LW

July 4, 2014 at 1:01 am

The Master meets the Godfather…

“From high art to low trash, and back again!”– Media Funhouse has been dishing it out on Manhattan cable access and on its blog for over a decade-and-a-half.  The work of Ed Grant (editor of The Motion Picture Guide and Movies on TV), it’s a continuous stream of appreciations, oddities… an enthusiast’s delight.

Consider, for example, this recent episode:

A Deceased Artiste tribute to three very talented individuals. This time out, it’s three individuals who took a powder at the very end of last year. First up, I salute Eartha Kitt with her sexy performances from the stilted but invaluable musical New Faces (1954). Then it’s on to an auteur who was known as a specialist in “Southern children” pictures and portraits of moon-eyed horny teenagers, Robert Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Summer of ’42). My favorite film by Mulligan, featured here, is the underrated, low-key neo-noir The Nickel Ride (1975) starring Jason Miller. From Mulligan’s doomed noir hero, we move on to the man whose plays were landmarks in English (and world) theater, the master of modern mis-communication and strategically-placed silence, Harold Pinter. Despite his stylization, Pinter’s confrontations are as raw – although not as verbally violent – as those of his successor, David Mamet. The Deceased Artiste department of the Funhouse is one of the few places these folks could meet, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

That said, there were other places that unlikely folks met.  Consider The Mike Douglas Show:

The show was 90 minutes long and on five days a week, so the guests had to be stacked up like cordwood, and very often they had nothing whatsoever in common with the week-long “cohost”…  [the clip below] features a [1969] daytime talkshow appearance by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Hitch has nominally come on to promote what might be his worst American film Topaz, and gets to shake hands with the three guests who are already on the panel: bestselling poet and songwriter Rod McKuen (“Seasons in the Sun,” Listen to the Warm), Joan Rivers (when she was a mousy housewife comedian you could look at without wincing), and the One and Only James Brown. Yes, the two legends from completely different disciplines were on the same stage, just because the bookers decided that was the best day to get ’em both on the air.

More wonderful weirdness– essays, clips, podcasts– at Media Funhouse.  [TotH to @jessedylan]

As we Say it Loud! I’m Fat and I’m Proud!, we might refrain from mowing the lawn in birthday tribute to Walt Whitman; he was born on this date in 1819.  Whitman grew up in Brooklyn, where over time he moved from printing to teaching to journalism, becoming the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1846.  He began experimenting with a new form of poetry, revolutionary at the time, free of a regular rhythm or rhyme scheme, that has come to be known as “free verse.”  In 1855, Whitman published, anonymously and at his own expense, the first edition of Leaves of Grass— which was revolutionary too in its content, celebrating the human body and the common man.  Whitman spent the rest of his life revising and enlarging Leaves of Grass; the ninth edition appeared in 1892, the year of his death.

Whitman and the Butterfly, from the 1889 edition of Leaves of Grass (source: Library of Congress)

Doodle-doodle-do…

Sometimes in moments of distraction; sometimes, idleness…  we all do it: doodle.  Lest one feel at all self-conscious about it, our friends at Flavorwire have collected “Idle Doodles by Famous Authors“…

Notes on tango, Jorge Luis Borges (via  Notre Dame University)

Borges’ self-portrait (after he went blind)

Readers can find the casual jottings of Sylvia Plath, Kurt Vonnegut, Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabakov, David Foster Wallace, and others at “Idle Doodles by Famous Authors.”

As we refill our pens, we might recall that it was on this date in 1888 that Walt Whitman put marginalia to a different use: he sent a sheet of inked emendations to the editors of The Riverside Literature Series No. 32 calling attention to mistakes in their recently-printed version of his poem, “O Captain! My Captain!” “Somehow you have got a couple of bad perversions in ‘O Captain,'” he wrote. “I send you a corrected sheet.”

source: Library of Congress

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