Recently Read, Watched

Across the universe of the reading internet a void exists where one might find personal sites devoted to the various books and films that we consume.

To be a denizen of the twenty-first century is to be a consumer of diverse cultural products. My own roots in the 20th century and my intellectual formation in literary modernity privilege books and films. And I simply don’t know how to write about music … or art.

The books and films read and watched recently . . .

11/1-4
— Now I know you’re thinking, “what, you didn’t consume anything for four entire days!?” Okay, there were probably more than a few Seinfeld episodes (recently added to Netflix’s dwindling online menu). But also, it’s been a busy time. Lu’s birthday was on the 11/2. He’s 11.
Also, I probably read a few comic books here and there. Idle pleasures. Nothing to write the blog about, really.

11/5
— Newton,Philosophical Writings: “Correspondence with Robert Boyle” (28 February 1678/9). Aether. Newton’s answer to diffraction and … gravity. What I do not understand is how it effects higher densities in the proximity of objects. That is required in order to explain diffraction, right?

11/6
— Newton, Philosophical Writings: “De Gravitatione” (1685), 20 pp. Flows of aether explain gravity.

11/7
— Ozick, 15 pp.
Narcos: Mexico, 2.4-5 Jumped the shark or not, bad television is like an addiction. And this is still much better than reality tv, which is crack for the brain—both damaging and habit-forming.

Photograph of Isaac Newton's copy of the Principia, taken by Andrew Dunn, 5 November 2004.
Website: http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/
Sir Isaac Newton‘s own first edition copy of his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica with his handwritten corrections for the second edition. Taken by Andrew Dunn, 5 November 2004.
Website: http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/

11/8
— Ozick, 15 pp.

11/10
Casino Royale (2006), 60 minutes. The things that used to give me joy about the beginning of this movie, aren’t so much. It is a remarkably psychological movie, I think, and that is interesting given that it’s basically an action film from a very tired franchise. But CR is unique among all of the Bond films. Most of them are tripe, including later Daniel Craig-Bond films.
— Newton, “De Gravitatione” (1685) Newton takes on Descartes. Reading this, you see what Nietzsche meant in his critique of the will to knowledge. Mendacity, to use a Nietzschean term (in translation—not sure what the German was).
Read Gleick’s short biography of Newton a few years ago, and it led me to believe that Newton was—to quote an erstwhile friend—a quirky person that no one probably liked (my friend, a philosopher in New Mexico—I actually know a bunch down there—described the Greeks this way [she is/was philosopher specializing in contemporary and feminist philosophy. I miss her]).
Regardless, I have to admit my approval for Newton’s anti-Trinitarianism … even if I admire the Trinity as an aesthetic doctrine. Yes, I just wrote those words. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it for a while.
Last thing, Newton’s account of aether has been making me think of Bernoulli’s principle. The latter has been a sort of conceptual problem that my brain has puzzled over for years, to be honest. Apparently one of Daniel Bernoulli’s forebears wrote about gravity with reference to aether … which may be apropos of nothing, I admit.

USS New Jersey, starboard side, Camden, New Jersey, United States. Taken by Brian M Schaller, 23 April 2018
A636, USS New Jersey, starboard side, Camden, New Jersey, United States. Taken by Brian M Schaller, 23 April 2018. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Brian_W._Schaller/Attribution

11/11
— Ozick, 15 pp. A rather annoying exchange between our narrator and Enoch. Perhaps one of the first times that we’ve really had a sense of what character the narrator, to this point mainly a mask, may have.
But the weight of the Holocaust is palpable. And the narrator seems ignorant in an inexcusable sense.
— Tour of turret two of the U.S.S. New Jersey.
My son Lucian is going through that phase where all things related to WWII warcraft are fascinating. Or, the clean, unreal parts of warcraft. He’s never seen Saving Private Ryan, which for all of its faults—and it does have a few very serious faults, not least of which is the story’s framing—provides what I can only suppose (having no such experience) is a more accurate representations of the horrors of war.
Being a movie it is incapable (no Chantal Akerman was available … okay, partially a joke, but the boredom of Jeanne Diehlmann was both necessary and magisterial) of presenting war’s boredom.
So Lucian is fascinated by battleships, these hulking vestiges of a past never to be present again. The U.S.S. New Jersey is docked just across the river from Philadelphia in Camden, New Jersey. I’d known about this for probably more than a decade but as I’d grown out of Lucian’s present fascination, never had the inclination to visit.


Curious what I read/watched in October?