KombuchaBot t1_j7wi9c8 wrote

I would add to the other explanations here that it was partly an imitation of a convention of pamphlets produced by satirical writers who would circulate gossip in a literary format.

Not exactly gossip as we would associate it now with magazines and tabloid journalism; highly regarded writers (then, as now) such as Dryden and Pope would write about a character whose name was Lady ------- or Mr -------- and the reader would be expected to fill it in from their knowledge of current events or the whispers of other readers.

I think the intention on the part of writers such as Austen or Mary Shelley, who weren't setting up as satirists, was to imply a sort of knowing reference and emphasise the contemporaneity of their story.

It also saved them from having to specifically mention a town (or as in one case in Austen, a specific military regiment) so that those belonging to it would have no cause to say "Excuse me! that sort of thing doesn't go on in my town/regiment etc" or, possbly more embarrassingly "you are obviously writing about me/Mr George Barker of that town/regiment but just changed the name"


KombuchaBot t1_j6h51jz wrote

Yeah but it was an important case because some Feds and some of the NYPD and the DA's office actually overcame their prejudices to help some gay men rather than victimising them and it happened before Stonewall.

Which is not to say it was an unmitigated success for justice.


KombuchaBot t1_j6h2wgt wrote

Marjane Satrapi's newly weds dick joke in Persepolis was better. You have to read the comic though, it's a visual one.

The whole thing is worth a read anyway


KombuchaBot t1_iv1tt9s wrote

I think that a crucial element is that Italy is extremely diverse culturally; the language known as Italian is based on the Florentine dialect, which was selected for reasons of soft cultural power after unification.

The language of every country has different dialects which may rise to the level of languages, but Italian has 34 very distinct "dialects" which are really so diverse that they count as languages to the point of mutual intelligibility. I don't know about Germany (I am British) but I know that while a Shetlander and a Geordie (for example) may misunderstand one another, with good will they can make themselves understood.

But if they don't speak the official Italian and only have their own native dialect, a Barese and a Piedmontese, or a Sicilian and a Tuscan will not have a clue what the other is going on about. These days most people in Italy speak Italian (ie the official dialect) as well as their own, but it has taken time to get there.


KombuchaBot t1_iugwyay wrote

Not really a fan of Emily, I prefer Charlotte, but I bestow upon you blessings in the shape of the glorious Kate Beaton 's illustrations,

caution, spoiler alerts, these are spoofs of the story in cartoon form

part one and two

parts three, four and five, and six

As an extra treat, something that you can enjoy before you finish the novel is Dude Watchin' With The Bronte Sisters


KombuchaBot t1_iugu9ky wrote

I tried I, Claudius and found it unreadably mannered and pretentious. I think perhaps I may have been unfair to it, but it was such a letdown after Goodbye To All That, which is a genuinely extraordinary work and beautifully written.

The prose of Goodbye To All That is poetic, clear and immediate in how it anchors us in a vivid impression of time and place. It is also frequently funny.


>"Nor had I any illusions about Algernon Charles Swinburne, who often used to stop my perambulator when he met it on Nurses' Walk,at the edge of Wimbledon Common, and pat me on the head and kiss me; he was an inveterate pram-stopper and kisser. Nurses' Walk lay between The Pines, Putney (where he lived with Watts-Dunton) and the Rose and Crown public house, where he went for his daily pint of beer; Watts-Dunton allowed him tuppence for it and no more. I did not know Swinburne was a poet, but I knew he was a public menace."


KombuchaBot t1_iucqj2z wrote

I think that real happiness requires freedom. Orwell's famous final line of 1984 seems on the surface to indicate that Winston has accepted his slavery with all his heart, but what it really shows is that he has been broken, he is no longer capable of freedom even in his soul.

Orwell knew that real brainwashing isn't a matter of telling people what to think, it is about getting them to self censor at source; not spying on them, but getting them to spy on themselves and each other. That's what the novel is about.

In the GDR, about 2% of the population were full time informants and about 15% informed on each other part time. That was a pretty successful controlled society for a long time, but I doubt very much that it was happy.


KombuchaBot t1_iucpgut wrote

The relentless wisecracking IMO is best thought of as a combination of self-defence in an insane situation (that gets progressively more insane) and as a sort of dissociation. There is an element of humanity in it "I laugh that I do not weep" and also a philosophical sense that a sense of humour is the final sense of proportion that can remain to us, to maintain our sense of order in a world filled with chaos.

There is a very unfunny central narrative involving Yossarian's attempts to get out of the Air Force and a crucial PTSD incident that his brain keeps revolving around, that is only gradually revealed, and hence hangs around forever, as the cause of his irrational behaviour.

Paradoxically, it's morally a very serious novel. It's very anti-war, even anti-patriotic. There is a scene in which Yossarian is raging against the witless moralistic patriotism of one of his co-officers who is talking about "the enemy" and Yossarian tells him that the US generals are the enemy, that "the enemy is anyone who is trying to get you killed". It was quite a bleak view of human nature, but it was also humane.

I think it's useful to remember that although it is set in WW2, the ethos it is describing is one informed by events from 1953 when he started writing it, to 1961 when he got it published.

It isn't really about fighting the Nazis, it's about a cult of inhumane behaviour justified by the idea of protecting the nation from Evil; it's about McCarthyism, it's about pointless battles for personal prestige and enrichment being fought by mediocre little men. It's about disillusionment.


KombuchaBot t1_iucnda6 wrote

It's both hilarious and horrifying. If you don't find the humour funny though, then you are likely to find it hardgoing, all you are left with is cognitive dissonance, bureaucracy and incompetence.

Joseph Heller cultivated a brash persona, he got some real character assassination pieces written about him like Lynne Barber's though she did credit him with some good lines


>When people tell him he has never written another novel as good as Catch-22, he replies, jovially, 'Who has?'


KombuchaBot t1_ir4hky9 wrote

Here is a photo of April Dawn Lacey who was identified after they had done reconstruction, alongside a pencil sketch based on their conclusions

It's pretty good, I think; the eyes aren't quite right (it looks as if hers are just a fraction more deepset), and her eyebrows arched a bit more than they accounted for, but the nose, mouth and shape of the face generally are on point