- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Ainulindale: The Music of the Ainur
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Sunday, September 28, 2014
When Mark Twain died, in 1910, one of the magnificos who paid public tribute to him was William H. Taft, then President of the United States. "Mark Twain," said Dr. Taft, "gave real intellectual enjoyment to millions, and his works will continue to give such pleasure to millions yet to come. He never wrote a line that a father could not read to a daughter."
The usual polite flubdub and not to be exposed, perhaps, to critical analysis. But it was, in a sense, typical of the general view at that time, and so it deserves to be remembered for the fatuous inaccuracy of the judgment in it. For Mark Twain dead is beginning to show far different and more brilliant colors than those he seemed to wear during life, and the one thing no sane critic would say of him to-day is that he was the harmless fireside jester, the mellow chautauquan, the amiable old grandpa of letters that he was once so widely thought to be.
The truth is that Mark was almost exactly the reverse. Instead of being a mere entertainer of the mob, he was in fact a literary artist of the very highest skill and sophistication, and, in all save his superficial aspect, quite unintelligible to Dr. Taft's millions. And instead of being a sort of Dr. Frank Crane in cap and bells, laboriously devoted to the obvious and the uplifting, he was a destructive satirist of the utmost pungency and relentlessness, and the most bitter critic of American platitude and delusion, whether social, political or religious, that ever lived.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
- Emma Goldman, from Made for America (1897)
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Friday, May 16, 2014
Sunday, May 4, 2014
[Source: 1914: How the Bloodletting Began.]
Visit the International Communist Current web site.
"Marxism is not a dogma, nor a fixed theory based on unchanging positions; on the contrary it is a living theory. If it is to be an effective weapon of the proletarian struggle for emancipation, the theory and method of Marxism must be constantly tested against the development of historical reality."
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014
The selfish for that happiness denied
To aught but virtue! Blind and hardened, they,
Who hope for peace amid the storms of care,
Who covet power they know not how to use,
And sigh for pleasure they refuse to give, -
Madly they frustrate still their own designs;
And, where they hope that quiet to enjoy
Which virtue pictures, bitterness of soul,
Pining regrets, and vain repentances,
Disease, disgust and lassitude pervade
Their valueless and miserable lives.
"But hoary-headed selfishness has felt
Its death-blow and is tottering to the grave;
A brighter morn awaits the human day,
When every transfer of earth’s natural gifts
Shall be a commerce of good words and works;
When poverty and wealth, the thirst of fame,
The fear of infamy, disease and woe,
War with its million horrors, and fierce hell,
Shall live but in the memory of time,
Who, like a penitent libertine, shall start,
Look back, and shudder at his younger years."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Someone of low status who becomes a neighbor of a man of power, even when he has cause to be very happy, cannot celebrate loudly, or if his sorrow is severe, his lamentation and weeping must be muted. His conduct is controlled by anxiety, for in any situation he is as fearful as a sparrow caught in a hawk's nest. Poor people, living as neighbors to the rich, morning and evening are embarrassed by their poorly dressed appearance, even as they go into and leave the house, seeing their neighbor's flattering condescension. The wife and children envy the neighbor's servants, who look down on them with haughty expression, provoking bad feelings. They can never have peace of mind.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Nothing is more wonderful than sympathy — in a man of course, but also in a woman. It may be only some passing remark, it may not be anything particularly deeply felt, but to hear that someone has said of a sad situation, ‘How sad for her’, or of some touching circumstance, ‘I do wonder how she must be feeling’, makes you much gladder than hearing it said directly face to face. I always long to find a way to let such a person know that I’ve learned of their sympathetic response. You don’t feel particularly surprised and moved, of course, in the case of someone whom you can rely on to feel for you or visit you at such times. But if someone unexpected responds to the tale of your sorrows with reassuring words, it fills you with pleasure. It’s such a simple thing to do, yet so rare....