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Nearly Relevant
Nonsense, Fiction, and Miscellaneous Things

Nonsense and Some No-Nonsense

     One of the great leaders of the Roman empire was Julius Caesar Salad.

     I'm thinking of sending this advertisement tagline to Timex®;  "Most of the Timex®, life is good."

I've joined a dating website.  The basic, free membership allows us to send canned messages to other members, one of which is; 'Let's cut right to the quick.  I'm a scam profile. Please send $1,000 for whatever reason, just send $1,000.'

     I'm thinking of starting a Kickstarter© project.  The project goal is to get myself into the Guinness Book of World Records© as one of the world's richest men. I can accomplish the basic requirements myself; That of opening a bank account.  I'll need your donations to help fund the rest of the project.  

                                                                                                                 8 November                        
     Everything is promised my classmates and me, most of all the future.  We accept the outrageous assurances without blinking.1 - Donald Barthelme, Sixty Stories

     This blogpost won't stay in the hole I dug for it. 
I even used a blog-post hole digger.

1Sixty Stories, Donald Barthelme ©1982, Published by Penguin Group of Penguin Books Ltd., London, England, pg. 25

'The Cannibal', John Hawkes
     A big part of the reason for my choosing to read this book was that it is considered a part of those books which transition from modernism to post-modernism.  The transition seems to take place in the decade of the 40's, mostly post-World War II.  I wanted to read something in that time period and exampling that transition.
     Well, it didn't take long for me to love The Cannibal
© by John Hawkes.  Bleak, disturbing, and most of all aesthetically selective in attempting an evocativeness of familiar, and somewhat well-worn, emotions.
     "Arms and armies and silver blades were gone, the black had come out of the realm of kings, and butterflies and grass were left for children.  Freight trains were hit and burned and no more came, and the keys of all machines were welded together.  'Wohin gehen sie?', [Where to go?]"1
      The dispirited tone pervades much of the novel; I'm not sure more than 2 or 3 days exist within the setting which are actually somewhat sunny days without fog, darkness, muddled, bombed out roads and ruins, etc.  Eventually, even the dispirit devolves.
  The population - once civil and mannered than dispirited and resigned -  becomes base, surreally so [Evidence the title, The Cannibal];  Individual nihilism and communal callousness are all that seems to remain.
     To transition poorly, on another note:

"Cromwell was a fool."2

     This is a simple declarative sentence of English vernacular. One might find such sentences comprising the entirety of other books.  Here it stands out like a sore thumb. [Compare the second quote to the first quote.]  The character saying it is the German narrator, who has not much affinity for the allies, American or British.  This explains the disdain, yet - almost certainly -  there is nowhere else in the book of such a blatant positioning of a particular example of English idiom, disdainful or otherwise. I think the declaration is an example.  One, placed by Hawkes himself, of the kind of story-telling which Hawkes is trying to avoid.   It stands out and for no other reason than the skill of the author.

     Also, there are a couple of pieces of metafiction within the book which are interesting in themselves, their purpose seeming a way for Hawkes to admit being an author with fallible understanding.  The metafiction doesn't, at all, come across as self-indulgent.      
     The themes of the book - war, it's destruction of property and souls - are familiar and the book suffers a little because of it. 
The novels of modernism and it's predecessors  can seem at times to be - like packaged milk - approaching an expiration date;  The evocativeness of familiar themes taking on a slight but growing sourness of the customary.  However, Hawkes - his other theme of self-delusion - and the magnificent aesthetical attempts far surpass the familiar. 
     I think it is a really great book which is a little too disregarded because of it's aesthetic, an aesthetic which is part of the beginnings of post-modernism.
1The Cannibal, John Hawkes, ©1949, 1962, New Directions Publishing Corp., pgs. 10-11

2 Ibid, pg. 56
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