Saturday, November 26, 2011

Three Pages from Bento's Sketchbook

Just finished reading John Berger's latest book, "Bento's Sketchbook: How does the impulse to draw something begin?"

As so often with Berger, this is a series of short meditations, loosely drawn together by Berger's reading of Spinoza (Bento short for Benedict) and his sketches in a book dedicated to Spinoza.

Tyranny is the subject of two of the pages I scanned, a topic I've been thinking about while working on Handke's "Voyage by Dugout" and while reading an advance copy of Brian Evenson's novel "Immobility." "You know what word I never want to hear again," a character says in Handke's play: "neighbor. Fuck the neighbor. Death to the neighbor." Evenson's book is about forced community, a post-catastrophe world in which the authorities artificially lame an especially talented person to get him to do their bidding.

Berger writes about today's global tyranny in which differences between rich and poor are institutionalized. Handke writes about Marscorporations that use international events to forge soi disant community by vilifying some group, in this case the Serbs. All three texts echo messages of the Occupy Movement.

1 comment:

michael morrow said...

ya know scott,,,you always take me into plaque laden recesses where stale breath hashes and rehashes insecurities, contradictions ,...especially questions about human capacity to inflict pain and confusion...

the good news is that I am finding some sort of personal resolution as I continue to harness personal, deeply inherited propensities for such choices and actions of my own.

One of the most important emotional knots education has assisted in unraveling, is that as I study these kinds of questions as presented through literature, I am able to release such tendencies to overreact
in heated moments, especially when frustrated out of my mind at confusion propagated, perpetrated and pissed out by those in charge.