“Oh Lord Most High, Creator of the Cosmos, Spinner of Galaxies, Soul of Electromagnetic Waves, Inhaler and Exhaler of Inconceivable Volumes of Vacuum, Spitter of Fire and Rock, Trifler with Millennia — what could we do for Thee that Thou couldst not do for Thyself one octillion times better? Nothing. What could we do or say that could possibly interest Thee? Nothing. Oh, Mankind, rejoice in the apathy of our Creator, for it makes us free and truthful and dignified at last. No longer can a fool point to a ridiculous accident of good luck and say, ‘Somebody up there likes me.’ And no longer can a tyrant say, ‘God wants this or that to happen, and anyone who doesn’t help this or that to happen is against God.’ O Lord Most High, what a glorious weapon is Thy Apathy, for we have unsheathed it, have thrust and slashed mightily with it, and the claptrap that has so often enslaved us or driven us into the madhouse lies slain!” -The prayer of the Reverend C. Horner Redwine”
― Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
The story concerns a quiet insurance agent and Vietnam War veteran named Bobby Thompson (Tim O’Kelly) who murders his young wife, his mother and a grocery delivery boy at home and then initiates an afternoon shooting rampage from atop a Los Angeles area oil refinery. Several motorists and passengers are wounded or killed on the nearby freeway. When the police respond and start to close in on him he flees and resumes his shootings at a Reseda drive-in theater where an aging horror film icon, Byron Orlok (Boris Karloff) is making a final promotional appearance before retirement. Orlok slaps the murderer into submission and the police arrive and affect an arrest. Thompson wonders aloud about the exact number of victims.
Newsom was born and raised in the small town of Nevada City, California. Her mother, Christine (née Mueller), is an internist, and her father, William Newsom, is also a doctor. Her parents were “progressive-minded professionals” who previously lived in the Bay Area. Newsom’s family includes her brother, Pete, a fellow musician, and sister, Emily, who inspired her song “Emily” (and contributed backing vocals). She is the second cousin, twice removed, of Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom of California.
As a child, Newsom was not allowed to watch television or listen to the radio because she was raised by parents who she described as, “kind of idealists when it came to hoping they could protect us from bad influences, like violent movies, or stupid stuff”. She was exposed to music from a young age. Her father played the guitar and her mother was a classically trained pianist who played the hammered dulcimer, the autoharp and conga drums. Newsom attended a Waldorf school where she studied theater and learned to memorize and recite long poems. This skill helps her to remember lyrics while on tour.
At the age of five, Newsom asked her parents if she could play the harp. Her parents eventually agreed to sign her up for harp lessons, but the local harp instructor did not want to take on such a young student and suggested she learn to play the piano first. Starting at the age of four she began playing the piano. Only later did she move on to the harp, which she, “loved from the first lesson onward.” From her instructor, Joanna learned composition and improvisation. She first played on a smaller Celtic harps until her parents bought her a full-size pedal harp in the seventh grade. During her teens, she and the instrument became inseparable, and she describes her relationship with the harp as similar to “an artificial limb or a wheelchair. It’s almost part of me, but more to the point, it serves a purpose, and if it wasn’t there I would wonder what was supposed to fit in its place.”
The Bell Jar is American writer and poet Sylvia Plath’s only novel, which was originally published under the pseudonym “Victoria Lucas” in 1963. The novel is semi-autobiographical with the names of places and people changed. The book is often regarded as a roman à clef, with the protagonist’s descent into mental illness paralleling Plath’s own experiences with what may have been clinical depression. Plath committed suicide a month after its first UK publication. The novel was published under Plath’s name for the first time in 1967 and was not published in the United States until 1971, pursuant to the wishes of Plath’s mother and her husband Ted Hughes.
The Bell Jar addresses the question of socially acceptable identity. It examines Esther Greenwood, a young woman from the suburbs of Boston’s, “quest to forge her own identity, to be herself rather than what others expect her to be”. Esther is expected to become a housewife, and a self-sufficient woman, without the options to achieve independence. Esther feels she is a prisoner to domestic duties and she fears the loss of her inner self. The Bell Jar sets out to highlight the problems with oppressive patriarchal society in mid-20th Century America. The men in Esther’s life are all oppressive, whether it is in a physical manner or an emotional one.
In Buddhism, all objects, or in other words, color and matter are another word for space and space is another word for color. All objects can become one according to the concept of “all matter is emptiness” and the process of breaking down is called “emptiness is form.” In particular, Hua-yen Buddhism’s teachings of “one is all, all is one” is a physical analysis of how points build to space and space breaks down to a point. Buddhism’s “all matter is emptiness” does not mean a lack. I will use my work as an example.
New York (2008) Indala Series A photographic portrait of New York using 10,000 images.
My ON-AIR Project’s Indala Series (Indala is another word for Indra’s net, which refers to the concept of the interconnectedness of all things in the universe. New York, Washington, Moscow, Tokyo, Paris, London, Venice, Berlin, Athens, Seoul, Delhi, and others, comprise the 14 cities that are a part of this project). For the project, I took 10,000 photographs of New York and superimposed them to create one final picture.
The completed picture appears to be nothing but a blurry, gray image, but there are physically 10,000 photographs within it. Those 10,000 photographs of New York streets, buildings, people, and events were vividly captured over the course of several years, lovingly, with proper photographic technique. I’m not Buddhist and I didn’t do this project with the intention of explaining the concept of “all is emptiness,” but this is similar to that concept of emptiness. If one penetrates into the gray image (as in Heidegger’s concept of entwurf, or the mental process of absorption in something), one is able to meet again the countless events and identities melted into the 10,000 cuts. This process of disassembly is “emptiness is everything.” If one physically dismantles an analog picture, one is left with the particles that make up analog film; in a digital process, only the pixels are left. In the final gray image of the Indala project, those 10,000 photographs have become one and each has lost its function but their identity is not gone. Just like how my DNA contains all of humanity’s genes, identity does not disappear. This is similar to how the point’s identity is inherent in space. Ironically though, the final gray picture of one city composed of 10,000 different superimposed photographs is digitized and has no mass or volume; it only has form when it comes out.
“The Swimmer” a short story by American author John Cheever, was originally published in The New Yorker on July 18, 1964, and then in the 1964 short story collection, The Brigadier and the Golf Widow. Originally conceived as a novel and pared down from over 150 pages of notes, it is probably Cheever’s most famous and frequently anthologized story. At one point Cheever wanted to parallel the tale of Narcissus, a character in Greek mythology who died while staring at his own reflection in a pool of water, which Cheever dismissed as too restrictive. As published, the story is highly praised for its blend of realism and surrealism, the thematic exploration of suburban America, especially the relationship between wealth and happiness, as well as his use of myth and symbolism.
In 1968, “The Swimmer” was adapted into a film with the same name, starring Burt Lancaster.
The story begins with Neddy Merrill and his wife lounging at a friend’s pool on a mid-summer’s day. On a whim, Neddy decides to get home by swimming across all the pools in the county, and starts off enthusiastically and full of youthful energy. In the early stops on his journey, he is enthusiastically greeted by friends, who welcome him with drinks. It is readily apparent that he is well-regarded and from an upper-class social standing.
Midway through his journey, things gradually take on a darker and ultimately surreal tone. Despite everything taking place over just one afternoon, it becomes unclear how much time has passed. At the beginning of the story, it was clearly mid-summer, but by the end all natural signs point to the season being autumn. Different people Neddy encounters mention misfortune and money troubles he doesn’t remember, and he is outright unwelcome at several houses which should’ve certainly been beneath him. His earlier, youthful energy leaves him, and it becomes increasingly painful and difficult for him to swim on. Finally, he staggers back home, only to find his house decrepit, empty, and abandoned.
The first episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone, broadcast on Friday October 2, 1959.
A man finds himself alone walking towards a diner. Inside he finds a jukebox playing loudly, and coffee hot on the stove, but no one else. He inquires for some breakfast, but no chef or waitress is to be found. He is dressed in an Air Force flight suit, but he does not remember who he is or how he got there.
Shock Corridor is a 1963 film, directed and written by Samuel Fuller. The film tells the story of a journalist who gets himself committed to a mental hospital in order to track an unsolved murder.
Peter Breck plays journalist Johnny Barrett, who thinks the quickest way to a Pulitzer Prize is to uncover the facts behind a murder at a mental hospital. So, he pretends to go insane and is locked up in the institution. While pursuing his investigation, he is sidetracked by the behavior of his fellow inmates. The three witnesses to the murder have all become insane owing to the stress of confronting American bigotry and war. After a hospital riot, Barrett is straitjacketed and subjected to shock treatment. Barrett begins imagining that his exotic-dancer girlfriend (Constance Towers) is his sister, and experiences many other symptoms of mental breakdown. He learns the identity of the killer, and writes his story, but the damage to his mind is irreparable, and he never leaves the hospital.
The Last Detail is a 1973 American comedy-drama film directed by Hal Ashby and starring Jack Nicholson, with a screenplay adapted by Robert Towne from a novel of the same name by Daryl Ponicsan. The film became known for its frequent use of profanity. It was nominated for three Academy Awards.
Stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, U.S. Navy sailors, Billy “Badass” Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and “Mule” Mulhall (Otis Young) are assigned shore patrol detail to escort young sailor Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid) to Portsmouth Naval Prison near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Meadows has drawn a stiff eight-year sentence for a petty crime: trying to steal $40 from a mite box of the C.O.’s wife’s favorite charity. During their train trip up the northeast corridor, the oddly likeable Meadows begins to grow on the two Navy “lifers”; they know the grim reality of the Marine guards at Portsmouth, and feel sorry he’ll miss his youth serving his sentence. They decide to show him a good time before delivering him to the brig.
With several days to spare before they are due in Portsmouth, the trio detrains at the major cities along the route to provide bon-voyage adventures for Meadows. In Washington they take him to a bar to have a beer, but are denied because Meadows is too young. Buddusky gets a few six packs and a hotel room, and the three get drunk. In Philadelphia they seek out Meadows’s mother, only to find her away for the day and the house cluttered with empty whiskey bottles. In New York, they take him ice skating at Rockefeller Center and then in Boston, to a brothel to lose his virginity. In between, they brawl with Marines in a public restroom, dine on “the world’s finest” Italian sausage sandwich, chant with Nichiren Shōshū Buddhists and open intimate windows for each other in swaying train coaches. Meadows pronounces his several days with Badass and Mule to be the best of his whole life.
When they finally arrive in frozen Portsmouth, Meadows has a final request – a picnic – so they buy some hot dogs and attempt a frigid picnic in the crunching snow. Docile Meadows walks along the park, seemingly ready to head to prison. He suddenly bolts, though, in a last-ditch effort to run away. Buddusky runs after him, catches him, and pistol-whips him fiercely. Mulhall and Buddusky then brusquely take Meadows to the prison, execute the Navy paperwork, and after being released from their detail, they stride away angrily, berating the marines they have encountered at the prison – and about how hopefully their orders will come through when they get back to Norfolk.