Friday, October 02, 2009

Oh, get your minds out of the gutter and respect the classics. It's Lafcadio Hearn, for goodness' sakes.

So I've been checking out what about Hearn's writings makes him worthy of having a cult founded in his name. I started off with Chita and am now in the middle of a book of his selected writings which actually begins where he ended up: in Japan, with the unusual tales he recorded in his unique prose near the turn of the twentieth century. I am now in the part of the book that presents some examples of his writing from where he began - in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a newspaperman, when being a reporter was socially only a teensy bit above being a stevedore working along the levees, the sort of fellow that Hearn wrote about quite a bit before he moved on to New Orleans, its culture and its people. For whatever reason, his reporting on a "Violent Cremation" read like a precursor to the pulps that a certain Shecky I know is so fond of: not only does Hearn report extensively on the facts of the grisly deed and on its alleged perpetrators, he starts to try to solve the murder as he goes along with the tale. The folks who came up with the particular collection I'm reading seem to dismiss the earlier writings of Hearn's when he is in America, but that is an omission of a grave order, from what I have read so far. The man seemed to write like a chameleon, taking on the most florid of styles for the papers in Cincinnati and New Orleans and the sparest and choicest words for the tales of ghosts, deities, goblins, and ancestors returned from the dead originating in China and in his adopted home of Japan - but he always had a yen for a good yarn.

Makes me wonder how he'd spin some more recent bits of straw into gold...

We are a people who are supposedly big on sensational headlines these days. Recent ones have been feeding us tales of kittens thrown to their deaths on a local highway, of Ted Williams' head being treated less than reverently in its cryogenic state, of too many Kardashians behaving like Cardassians. When it comes to what matters most, however, we can't afford to keep our eyes off the ball.

For example, the state in which I live is keeping on with its experiment in making our children suffer further effects from the urine in the education pool introduced by the idiotic loophole that is the Louisiana Science Education Act. (thanks to Madame Dangerblond)
Don’t be misled into thinking that Louisiana is a small, hopelessly backward state, and what happens there is of no importance elsewhere. That state is being used as a testing ground for a nationwide theocratic effort to literally undo the Enlightenment. If the creationists’ schemes to reverse the progress of the last ten generations are successful in Louisiana, they’ll be deployed elsewhere. So pay attention.
Another thing to pay attention to is to watch it when folks such as Diaper Dave decide to throw stones from their transparent and fragile houses. Adrastos tells it like it is over at his virtual cafe and at First Draft, where he's been burning up their XML with the 'tude we all know and love so much in these parts.

I mean, the freaking senator needs to quit with these righteous crusades, as it is waaaay too easy for others to poke him full of holes when it comes to his illegal act of having paid for sex. Just resign, man, before we actually feel sorry for your sorry ass for getting yourself on the road to being disbarred.

At least the Saints are doing well, Drew Brees' cleats will be going pink this coming Sunday for breast cancer awareness, and defensive captain Scott Fujita has expressed support of marriage equality for all, no matter what one's sexual orientation is. It's so nice to be proud of the home team, no matter what sort of punters or tossers they might actually be.

ANYway, I'll be sticking my nose back into some more of Lafcadio's words, who wasn't into the sensational titles so much as the sensational stories. Hmmm, if Hearn were a blogger...

...he'd probably never get a post out but once in a while or so. He reportedly was in constant torment concerning his endless searches for just the right words. His kids would be appalled at the way he'd moan and pace about the room shortly before he'd sit down to write.

But oh, such sweet torment...

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