I’m reaching here, for a useful and accurate definition of the human being. I found one, an interesting one, in the middle of a 1939 novel entitled After Many a Summer Dies the Swan.
That one-sentence definition, tied in my own mind to a recent study of Fritz Lang’s movie from 1929 entitled Woman in the Moon, proved fruitful — fruitful in understanding our old devil Ego, and why ‘he’/'she’ works the way ‘he’/'she’ does.
As They sang once, before a giant forum of human history, “I’m going up the country, baby don’t you want to go.”
Will you come with me, not, this time, to take a “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”; but rather, because “I’m going to some place, where I’ve never been before.” To put it another way, let’s play a round of ‘Kick the Can’ !
At Christmas one generally finds oneself getting a little touchy about the exclusion of the Reason for the Season. It’s almost as if one has to lie, in most places, about the reason you’re getting ready. You can barely “keep the main thing the main thing” when you’re not allowed to.
This podcast looks at two cases of artists who insisted they were at odds with the religious Reason for the Season, yet kept writing as if they were under some compulsion to import it back.
One of these artists was Nigel Kneale, who at the age of 73 shattered a conventional British “middle-brow’ television program with his importation of Gothic religious themes. Kneale’s “persistence of vision” so completely takes over, in his much reviled episode of the popular “Sharpe” series, entitled “Sharpe’s Gold” (1995), that the episode becomes a sterling example of the endurance of religious themes within the mind of an artist.
The second artist is James Gould Cozzens, but this time in the last of his unacknowledged or “orphan” novels, his 1929 The Son of Perdition. For someone so hostile to religion, the Episcopalian Cozzens can’t seem to keep his hands off the subject. “Son” is all about religion.
When the world takes ‘Christ’ out of “Christmas”, the world is falsifying reality. In this podcast, the reality comes crashing back, as it invariably finally does, but through the back door.