Monday, July 30th, 2007
Chapter 26 is hilariously funny, the satire much broader and more self-evident. (Until the last page anyway; I'm not totally sure what is happening there but Pamuk seems to be pulling back from the humor.) Ka is poking dry fun at Blue and at himself, and he has been given permission to do so -- Kadife tells him, "You're a dervish; Blue says so. He believes God has graced you with lifelong innocence."
The days in this story seem extraordinarily long -- this is only the afternoon of the second full day Ka has been in Kars.
Sunday, July 29th, 2007
(Or, the Creeping Hegemony of Robyn Hitchcock)
I was listening to The Last Waltz on my computer this evening and I suddenly thought, why don't I see what happens if I use the "shuffle" feature in iTunes?
- "Weary Day" by the Delmore Brothers, performed by John Miller. This is on a compilation called String Theory, that I got as a pledge premium from WFMU, and it is without question the best thing I have ever gotten from a public radio station in return for a contribution.
- "This is How it Feels" by Robyn Hitchcock, from "Moss Elixir". Funny -- this is the last song on the record and I haven't really noticed it before.
- "Muleskinner Blues" performed by Old & In The Way, from "Breakdown".
- intersong chat from Robyn Hitchcock's July 1st concert at Three Kings Pub -- including the line, "no amount of moon landings could compensate for the Beatles breaking up."
- "Railway Shoes" by Robyn Hitchcock, from "Live at the Cambridge Folk Festival". Hmm...
- "Let's Go Thundering" by Robyn Hitchcock, from the March 14, 1997 show at the Knitting Factory. A very nice performance.
- A track whose title I do not know, from the end of a Taj Mahal compilation Janis gave me.
- "Lonesome Blues" by Henry Williams and Eddy Anthony, from the compilation "Violin, Sing the Blues to Me". This is one of the best records around.
- "She Belongs to Me" by Bob Dylan, performed by Robyn Hitchcock, from the November 14, 2004 show at Maxwell's. I'm not generally a big fan of Hitchcock's Dylan covers but this one has some nice moments.
- "Ñawi (Kichwa)" by Yarina, from "Ñawi". Yarina performed at Sylvia's school last year, and I bought their CD. Fantastic rhythms.
- "Opus 57" by the David Grisman Quintet, from the October 3, 1997 show at Somerville Theater. A long piece that starts out kind of dull but gets a lot more interesting.
I turned the shuffle feature off a couple of songs later, when it got to the Carter Family, which I'm listening to now.
Saturday, July 28th, 2007
Chapter 23 of Snow contains the most detailed and almost-sympathetic presentation yet of a (bloodthirsty) Turkish nationalist viewpoint. I am not sure what to make of how familiar it sounds to me: it reads almost exactly like thousands of American conservative/hawkish opinion pieces -- ok, more eloquent than 99% of those pieces, but not different in kind.
But where do I go with this? Some possibities:
- The Turkish context is a huge factor which I am missing totally because I am not Turkish. Pamuk is writing for a Turkish audience.
- Pamuk is writing for a western audience and is eliding over distinctions that exist between our nationalists and their nationalists.
- They really are exactly the same.
What else?... Ka's ironic distance is making sense here as the only way to keep himself clear of Sunay's nationalism. If I'm understanding correctly his cosmopolitanism means the presumption is that his sympathies are with the nationalist in a dispute with fundamentalists -- my own sympathies would certainly default that way.
Thursday, July 26th, 2007
Tonight's open mic at Here's to the Arts turned out really nice when Michael introduced me to William Hart Strecker. I played four songs with him, and starting at the second one I was really digging the music. The third song, Things Don't Always Turn Out Like You Planned, was really beautiful and I think the violin part I came up with added a lot to it. Nice feeling.
Heebie-Geebie has given me the idea: a mashup of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf with Married With Children. Specifically, the season Peggy was pregnant, as a prequel to WAoVW. I think it would be fantastic.
Wednesday, July 25th, 2007
The two most recent records on my car stereo were Key to the Highway and The Last Waltz; and the lyric that has been running through my head all morning is:
Ashes to ashes, mama,
Dust to dust;
Show me a woman that a man can trust, like
Where have you gone?
Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
Just now I walked into my company's break room and saw that the receptionist had brought in a box of cookies, and found myself exclaiming, out loud, "Cookies! Hooray!"
Monday, July 23rd, 2007
...And as of chapter 22, I'm back to despising Ka for his narcissism, and myself for sympathizing with it. The lack of awareness he demonstrates for the violence around him (and/or his maintaining ironic distance from it) is really troubling, and is seeming to have real-world repercussions for people not as privileged as he is, for instance the people in the tea house after curfew when he stops in with his police escort, or the Georgian migrant workers whom they pursue.
The violence seemed to me like a farce at first reading, only gradually sinking in how serious were the events being described, and I sort of think this was Ka's reaction as well -- he is so caught up in his constructed reality that he is experiencing the world around him as scripted. And maybe he is in shock? That is the only way I can explain his demeanor at the veterinary college in a way that allows me to remain sympathetic to him.
Sunday, July 22nd, 2007
The events in chapter 17 of Snow have totally knocked me for a loop. The confident grasp of the book's plot and structure that I was feeling in 15 and 16 is out the window. I sort of had an idea what was going to happen based on the spoileriffic back cover blurb; that idea was completely wrong.
Saturday, July 21st, 2007
I'm really intrigued by Ka's drunkenness -- I am dying to figure out what Pamuk means here. More to say about this but I haven't figured out what, yet.
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