Things remembered: two footnotes

* Era

Bounded by soft dusty curtains on either side of their narrow screen, the characters in a 1940s movie modify daylight in a 1940s way. On its 1940s emulsion, daylight’s world is an office where light is split by venetian blinds into shards of black and white. It is all hard. It is the seen, only. It is unequivocal. But at night, in night’s club, other senses join sight and uncase their equivocation equipment: saxophones, voices habited in clouds of cigarette smoke, the single combined smell of smoke and whiskey and the memory name of Kreml hair tonic.

 

* Trophy

Men seeking memories walked into the forest of the animals, who cannot know a past. Once they were present among the unspeaking animals they went silent, raised their rifles to their shoulders, and blasted the animals to death. Then they picked up the dead, had them formaldehyded, carried them into their dwellings, and hung them on interior walls. The idea was that the men’s sons would look at them in later years, speak of them, and in that way bring their fathers’ memories back to life.

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