News from the twentieth century: topless is fine as long as you aren’t Allen Ginsberg

It also helps not to be unwhite.

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For several days after this story broke, the reading was front-page news in the Star. The Star’s analysis two days later (March 4, pages 1 and 4) explained:

The_Indianapolis_Star_Fri__Mar_4__1966_4 clip

In all that time, the poet’s name never sullied the whiteness of the Star’s newsprint. On March 11, page 21, a reader complained:

The_Indianapolis_Star_Fri__Mar_11__1966_ clip

Ginsberg’s own record of the event is the poem “Auto Poesy: On the Lam from Bloomington,” collected in his 1972 City Lights volume The Fall of America: Poems of These States 1965-1971. It mentions the “tower walls” of the Eli Lilly & Co. plant in Greenfield where I read the Star’s coverage in a break room,

and figured out the poet’s name,

and came with a sinking feeling to the realization that I was the only person in the complex who would know or care. About that, a line from Hart Crane’s The Bridge may have the grammatical distinction of being the only factually incorrect imperative ever written:

Come back to Indiana — not too late!

It is not possible to set foot too late in Indiana.

 

 

Bulletin: Robert Frost was a rentier

Says the poetry of Frost’s “Two Tramps in Mud Time,”

Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.

Says prose, “Delicate muscles and nerves.” Says prose, “Your employer expects.” The prose words are embellished with a frieze of women’s faces in chiaroscuro. All of the women are what used to be called beauties, with a single descriptive adjective replacing the unmentioned names that their bodies bear outside the office. In the office, the copy spoken on behalf of their beauty says, “They are all enthusiastic,” but the collective expression on their faces seems not to.

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Where this language prevails, who can afford to entertain the thought that need may enter into a marriage of equality with love? Only a poet; only a man to whom the thought of lightening the task of words would be experienced with a pang of loss, like a missed dividend.

Source: http://oldadvertising.tumblr.com/post/178962126368/the-red-book-magazine-april-1922. Post-processed to compensate for discoloration.

Too obvious to be interesting: decor has an ideology

The New York Times article about a California man arrested for making death threats against employees of the Boston Globe:

A page from the FBI affidavit in support of an arrest warrant:

full.pdf

https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/208-fbi-boston-globe/5c72a97e953539a55fb2/optimized/full.pdf#page=1

Photoshopped only for contrast and color balance, an image of the suspect’s home:

17513 Califa St - Google Maps A

The bars on the door. The spiked fence. On a grassy street, the yard seeded with sharp-needled cactus.

There really is no need to quote Robert Frost, is there?

Nature morte: the view from the faculty lounge

David Brooks’s New York Times column for May 23, 2017 (print edition page A25) begins with a medley of David’s Greatest Hits, harmonized so beautifully that it brought back a beautiful memory. Reader, stroll with me down Fifth Avenue that summer day in 1996 as my wife and I find ourselves passing the Mother Store of Tiffany’s.

* * *

“I HAVE! to go in here!” cried my wife, and in we went. My wife looked at the jewels in the front of the store and I walked on back and looked at the watches. One in particular caught my eye: a gold watch with a brown leather strap, a little larger than most watches but plain and simple and not at all ostentatious. What it was, though, was beautifully proportioned: a really handsome accessory. The brand was one that, in those days, meant nothing to me: Patek Philippe. So I asked the clerk how much it was.

“Seventy-eight thousand five hundred,” replied the clerk.

And my wife and I left Tiffany’s and continued on down the avenue.

But every once in a while, even now, somebody or something reminds me of M. Philippe and the relationship I never established with his métier. Today, for instance, the somebody was Mr. Brooks and the something was his magnanimously inclusive word we, as in

We have a college educated elite that has found ingenious ways to make everybody else feel invisible, that has managed to transfer wealth upward to itself, that crashes the hammer of political correctness down on anybody who does not have faculty lounge views.

Thank you for that, Mr. Brooks. You’ve made me feel Tiffany-worthy at last. As a token of my gratitude, what you see below is small and not nearly adequate to express what I feel, but here anyway is an authentic view from within the faculty lounge. Think of it as an allegorical still life illustrating the sound old saying “Time is money.” The watch is the one I actually wear when I leave the lounge and go forth to propagate its unsound new views.

Can you make out the brand? Here’s a hint: it’s a brand that a lot of us professors wear. Here’s another hint: it contains the word time and a suffix meaning quondam.