The rafts of the unwelcoming print journos

Le Radeau de la Méduse

Le Radeau de la Méduse

When in July of 1816 a crude raft, constructed in haste, was found floating off the coast of Mauritania in West Africa, a terrible story began to emerge, piece by grisly piece. A French frigate, the Méduse, had run aground. Of the four hundred-odd people sailing on it, a hundred and forty-seven were squeezed out of the lifeboats by a lack of space. Food and water on the raft ran out almost immediately. Some, if not all fifteen of its famished and deranged survivors became transitional cannibals before a rescue ship arrived.

Delinquent authority was blamed both for the wreck and for the mismanagement of its consequences. The Wikipedia notes:

The event became an international scandal, in part because its cause was widely attributed to the incompetence of the French captain acting under the authority of the recently restored French monarchy.

The saga sprang to mind some weeks after an actual human embodiment of one of this blog’s tutelary spirits introduced me – for an unrelated reason — to The Raft of the Medusa, as the painting by Théodore Géricault is known in the Anglo-Saxon world. It was reproduced in the segment of Julian BarnesA History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters (1989) that coolly dissects the tragedy.

Possibly because of a passing remark by the journalist Tina Brown ‘No one eats their young (or themselves) more hungrily than journalists,’ — one portion of Barnes’ account of the wreck’s aftermath read, to me, like a foreshadowing of bloggers castigating print media for failing to prepare for electronic publishing’s consequences:

Savigny and Corréard, survivors and co-authors of the first account of the shipwreck, petitioned the government, seeking compensation for the victims and punishment for the guilty officers. Rebuffed by institutional justice, they appealed to the wider courts of public opinion with their book. Corréard subsequently set up as a publisher and pamphleteer with a shop called At the Wreck of the Medusa; it became a meeting-place for political malcontents.

Somewhere in his meditation on Géricault’s tableau, Barnes suggests that one figure, the muscular old man (holding the pale boy) who, he imagines, has concluded that the ship barely discernible on the horizon will not save them – ‘incites us to read [the picture] as an image of hope being mocked.’

False hope struck me as another parallel between the painting and some print journalists’ reactions to watching natural selection at work in the evolution of communication tools. Last January, for instance, Simon Jenkins wrote with supremely ill-advised confidence in a column titled ‘Old is New’ about print staging a triumphant comeback supposedly in the form of printed blogs (think handwritten newspaper):

As for the Jeremiahs who tell me that I and my medium are doomed to litter the fish-shop gutter, I have news. In San Francisco, capital of Silicon Valley and boom town of the internet, innovators have devised the latest in computerised technodazzle. They claim to be able to gather the best writing from the internet, download it and reproduce it
They are using “paper”.
This sensation from the cradle of the electronic revolution is called The Printed Blog.
The ghost of Gutenberg has returned to live in San Francisco, only to die laughing. I repeat, old is new. Prepare to meet thy past.

How Jenkins felt entitled to overripe sarcasm, apparently without any fact-checking at all, is baffling. Had he picked up a telephone, he might have discovered that virtually no inhabitant of that city has ever heard of or seen a copy of this putative publication.

The favourite argument of print media Muggles lashing the Blogosphere is that no one in it can be trusted to care about truth or accuracy.

Yet Jenkins’ smug conclusion wasn’t and isn’t just wholly unwarranted — on the evidence so far. He managed to make two errors so transparently ruinous for his thesis that he deserves to be hurled overboard by mutineers, as some of the incompetent officers on the Méduse’s raft were, and without ceremony. The Printed Blog was invented in Chicago, not San Francisco – which isn’t and never was the ‘capital’ of Silicon Valley. Nor is it the ‘boom town’ of the internet, nor is there any such thing – which would make no sense for a medium defined by ubiquity, interconnection and co-evolution.

So, four mistakes in as many paragraphs by an éminence grise of print journalism – but it’s the Blogosphere that doesn’t let facts get in the way of ranting, and is a monument to unprofessionalism. Yeah, right.

More startling yet was a brazen attempt by The New York Times to subtly credit a fellow-mammoth of the print world, The Daily Telegraph, with one of the greatest scoops ever in British political reporting – and virtually wrest that honour from a freelance journalist, Heather Brooke.

After what reads like a grudging mention of Brooke at the start of the piece,

It began modestly enough back in 2005, when an American freelance writer and journalism teacher living in London, Heather Brooke, entered a request under Britain’s newly promulgated freedom of information act for details of the expense claims of British members of Parliament.

.. America’s old-media journal of record continues,

At one level, the scandal is a rich tale of politicians exploiting a lax system of expenses … At another level, it is a story of a newspaper, The Telegraph, which broke with a reputation as a stuffy publication favored by retired army colonels and blue-rinsed widows to seize what has turned out to be one of Britain’s greatest scoops.

Why does the Torygraph deserve any such encomium – and on the front page, no less – when, like the rest of the Westminster hacks, its reporters on the politico beat failed for decades to write the story hidden in plain sight, begging for exposure?

Instead of a mere nod to Heather Brooke in a paragraph and a half, and awarding the Torygraph a great slobbering kiss, virtually the entire New York Times report should have been about how she made her discovery – and especially, an explanation for the delinquency of the Westminster press corps. So why weren’t those the article’s focal points? Because the independent spirit of the best freelance journalists, paid in rancid peanuts – even those who have learnt their craft in captivity, on the staffs of large newspapers and magazines — is a spirit that irritates their salaried colleagues earning benefits and full pensions, lazy but secure in their well-padded cages.

The simple fact is that freelance journalists are too much like the bogeys keeping the guardians of print media awake at night – I mean us buccaneering bloggers, who are being blamed for all the ills that have beset them.

Here, for instance, is Tina Brown lashing out at the Blogosphere for its criticism of a magazine called Portfolio that came and went in two years, apparently, without my ever seeing it on a newsstand, or cited or quoted or even noticed anywhere:

Some of the unpleasantness was just the usual destructive hostility to process from blogosphere critics that now seems to accompany anything new. Everyone knows that it takes time to get something right, yet the inevitable trial and error of doing so is accompanied by a such a snarkfest of leaks and jeers that it distracts the staff, frightens off new contributors, and panics skittish advertisers.

Poor, fragile dears! And how, pray, do respectable journalists work, if not by following trails of leaks, then conveying what they turn up with entertaining jeers (see Jenkins quotation, above)? A few months ago, I actually welcomed Brown to the Blogosphere. Not that a welcome from a nonentity is anything of consequence, I’ll admit. I only mention it as proof of my willingness to give her the benefit of the doubt – and I used her seeming courageousness to help make a point.

Now, she’s switched to seeing bloggers as a vicious ‘them’.

Would it be reading too much into her furious rant about our unwashed, smelly tribe to wonder whether complaints from investors in The Daily Beast about its inability to meet her projected site traffic estimates explain her ire?

Is it remotely possible that both she and her hairy e-quadruped are headed for the rocks? Until the day before yesterday, when she made her first post in her column for over a month – blogging’s equivalent of a geological era — there even seemed to be a parallel for Julian Barnes’ mention of the single naval officer who was asked, but declined, to join the people piling onto the raft. I mean that her extended absence invited speculation about whether she was thinking of jumping ship. It now looks as if she might have been doing what she’s said of Condoleeza Rice – that Rice ‘knows how to disappear herself for a bit while she recoups and rebrands’ (could that mean, return as something like New Coke, and if not, what?).

What are some other charges that old media people like to fling at bloggers – treating us as if we were all exactly alike, as bigots are prone to do?

Careless prose and being obsessed by trivia – for two. I’ve shown in an earlier post how er, … relaxed … Tina can be as a scribe. The first piece since her re-appearance is a tirade disguised as a lecture about a silly joke by some television host about a politician’s teenage child – a subject so abysmally trivial that it would bore retarded fleas silly. I expect that she chose the topic solely for click-maximisation, since the sexual antics of the insufferable Sarah Palin’s children tend to land them on the cover of People.

But how does that make Brown’s blog different from any common or garden pop-culture blogger’s? I’ve been waiting for a former editor of The New Yorker to raise her game and the quality of gelt-endowed blogging. After her promising start, there’s been nothing but an almighty letdown — certainly for me.


Filed under Editors and editing, The blogosphere, Visual art & artists

34 responses to “The rafts of the unwelcoming print journos

  1. elcal

    Yeah, if there could be a “capital” of Silicon Valley, it would be San Jose, Palo Alto or Sunnyvale. SF is the capital of finance, medicine, politics, and, ironically if you will, traditional publishing in the West (Wiley, Benjamin Cummings, various glossies, plus big indies like Chronicle and City Lights).

  2. @elcal,

    It would be fun to watch a debate among the techies about which city most deserved the label:

    Santa Clara? (Intel and the microchip) Palo Alto? (the first personal computer, the desktop/files software metaphor; WYSIWYG … Xerox PARC) Cupertino? (Apple hq … certainly for the slogan — ‘one person; one computer’) Mountain View? (Google).

  3. elcal

    the silly part of it all is that Redwood City (Oracle hdqrs) to Cupertino is one long block of silicon siblings, each with a legitimate claim, hence the valley metaphor. There is no center.

  4. === There is no center. ===


    While exercising yesterday, I was silently laughing about how you’d explain the differences in the ambience/appearance .. just about any feature you care to pick … between Cupertino, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, etc. .. 🙂 …. ‘Ah, Sunnyvale, yes … easier to get to on 101, generally … er, San Jose? Add half an hour on the beautiful freeway,’ and so on …Riveting stuff.

    …I could have run on for at least three paragraphs, explaining just how wrong Simon Jenkins is on that single point. With sternest self-control, I was saying no more than that even if there _were_ a centre, it couldn’t by the furthest stretch of the most outrageous journalistic licence be San Francisco.

    . . . If I were ever stuck somewhere tedious in California with nothing to read and happened to be with people capable of playing the game, I’d suggest arguing the merits of one or other of those cities as top technopolis . . . Would be amusing and go on forever because – hard as the places are to tell apart by sight — you’d get into chicken-or-egg fights about whether hardware or software was more critical to the pc and internet revolution. . . Apple vs. Xerox PARC, etc. …

    The funny thing, @elcal, is that if Google gets the green light it wants for digitising all out-of-print books, it will become the world’s biggest publisher … So much for giving Gutenberg’s ghost a giggle …

  5. Personally I’m enjoying seeing journalists get huffy about the internet and try to find ways to “prove” its an inferior medium.

    Ian Hislop was on TV reviewing some film recently and he got really heated about blogging. A medium for shit-spreading was the gist of what he was going on about.

    This from the editor of Private Eye. My jaw hit the ground in amazement. Private Eye have scored some valuable points but they’ve also been extremely innaccurate and nasty as well. Their policy used to be print the racy stuff and hide behind the fact that most people can’t afford to sue.

  6. anytimefrances

    squirming at the loss of power and privilege.

  7. anytimefrances

    alarming stop jibing at me on that idiots platform

  8. One tiny teasing joke atf and considering the untruths you wrote about me ( for which I could legitimately demand a big apology from you ) and the opinions you held/hold over my critical abilities ( expressed on the Adam O Riordan blog about rap most of which has been thankfully deleted ) it’s a testament to my patience that I bother to reply to you.

    Soory for this intemperate response everyone else but it’s merited I think.

  9. anytimefrances

    fuck off

  10. @Alarming,

    === A medium for shit-spreading was the gist of what he was going on about.
    This from the editor of Private Eye. ===

    I think you’ve just made my week. : )

    Hypocrisy, I’d say, is the name of the biggest raft of the huffy journos.

    … But of course everything given away free in the Blogosphere — the witty muckraking, privileged gossip, etc. — was what we once bought the Eye for. . . So of course they mind the competition most. ‘Twas written thus.

  11. Dear @atf, I have something for you about photography … will post later. . .

    Time for some rules, I think.

    How about,

    The use of the word ‘off’ is strictly prohibited in all Chaucerian contexts.


    Oh, … and Elementary Teasing and How to Take It … classes at 1 o’clock, every Monday.

    See you there. ; )

  12. @Alarming,

    I read you in some other space, telling a story-for-the-ages about _rap_ _music_ being piped into gemutlich Viennese coffee houses with none of the patrons raising an eyebrow.

    … haven’t been following you and @atf fighting elsewhere, …I mean ‘fighting’ (I hope).

  13. anytimefrances

    think there’s a dire need for a course to suit a pair of deluded crap-spouting wankers not a million miles from here nerdy. you can arrange anything; i trust you.

  14. wn I don’t have a memory for dates but I came to your blog soon after the big brawl as a respite.

    atf accused me of being deceitful over 2 user-names ( alarming and ETAYLOR ) which I was not – I made it clear in almost every comment I posted,
    I was accused of having a third username, which I don’t,
    I was accused of slagging off other’s poems which I don’t do and my critical faculties were described as being shite or some such ( he/she may have a point there ! )

    Others ( not the ______ crew btw ) came to my defense but to no avail.

    The comment on _______ was down to the server rejecting my user name on my work computer and when I tried to log on again it said someone else was using the name ( this is getting Borgesian ). Which is what happened at the GU when I used ETAYLOR for a while. Which brought back memories of that to-do. Thus the joke.

    Anyway let’s hope the ill-wind has blown over.

    [ @Alarming, I believe I was the first blogger to ask you all about WRAS, and was rewarded with fascinating answers . So I’ve invited you to post notices of your performances well in advance, and as often as possible – as I hope you will. . … I’m less enthusiastic about mentions of another site you’ve alluded to in this comment – chiefly because of: (i) Persistent accusations over there against this blog that are never substantiated — except with what an old friend describes as ‘feeble hand-waving.’ Often, there isn’t even that. ..(ii) No less than three of the most entertaining comrades we met on the same newspaper site have now been banned from posting on the unfriendly site on the flimsiest pretexts – two of them @ISA and @Sean Murray, because they had the temerity to win their arguments with the blog-owner. … (fancy that!) …. (iii). I feel under no obligation to give that blog-owner – prone to nervous fits about being banned from using his name on the newspaper site – any free publicity on this one. (Has the man heard of the word ‘ironic,’ and if so, has he the faintest idea of what it means? ; ). . . I’ll leave people to guess who you were referring to in the blanks – as most regulars will. And I hope I can count on your usual generous understanding.wordnerd7 — acciaccature, 18 June 2009 ]

  15. wn I only mentioned name and site because they are relevant to the matter in hand. It’s your blog and I see no reason to quarrel over your decisions. I’m here essentially to debate the matters in hand.

    I fired back at atf merely to point out that the traffic ( in this case jokes, unpleasantries etc. ) goes both ways. I would expect to disagree with anyone over things like rap, comic strips, loud popular music blah blah blah and for those disagreements to be passionately expressed at times but when the disagreements topple over into false accusations about non-related topics then a line has been crossed. I feel what I wrote needed to be pointed out.

    That’s the end of the matter as far as I’m concerned.

  16. No worries, @Alarming. … I get as bored as I know you do by these seemingly unavoidable tangles, … You did indeed complain about that one when you came here. . . and that is why I created Marginalia for them — but I think the latest one is all sorted, now.

  17. Given the recent comments it’s quite a prophetic choice of painting by the way. I’m currently identifying with the one in the bottom right hand corner with his/her head in the water.

  18. Ah yes, I see what you mean … @atf likes to keep us on our toes, I think …free workouts … just think of all we’re saving in gym membership fees.

    === the one in the bottom right hand corner with his/her head in the water. ===

    Well then get your noddle out of it, please, and breathe deeply. I’m in the Argus — the speck in the distance — and will soon be force-feeding you tasty ship’s biscuits and Madeira.

  19. Hazlitt

    “A sympathetic printer told him that being published by OUP was like going to bed with a duchess: the privilege was greater than the pleasure.”

    Ahem,I would add that being printed by wordnerd7 is both a privilege and equally a pleasure…:) Or as Suzan said, “Wordy’s blog rocks.”

  20. From the dask of Suzan A
    The most esteemed
    Mizz Nigeria

    Wardy‘s blog rocks, Hahsleet. 😉

    WWardyHey…my Gawd! Jeeesas! When you say, defernition for elimentaree teesing, I am warried now that you are up to something.
    I don’t just know about this mutter!
    What are you trying to tell me here? I am not happy now, Wardy, I am not happy now. 🙂

  21. Oh fearless Hahsleet and beyootiful Mizz Nigeria Sozhee!

    … sadly I cannot keep up in Nigerian. Thank you, you dear, kind comrades, I have re-read the thread and spotted the typo … (bloggers’ gremlins so much more vengeful than the old-fashioned printing kind!=%^@+^^^^^^#!!!) … and understand that of course you meant to say Wardy’s blog lurches.

    . . Indeed it does … from a discussion of the rattles and twitching of Old Media breathing their last … to Silicon Valley’s mythical ‘capital’ (I think I’ve settled on Stanford, @elcal, fwiw) … we’ve staggered on to a consideration of the Eye in that august organ’s own ‘spirit of disrespectful inquiry,’ as its official historian, Patrick Marnham puts it …. next, for a palate-refresher (why stick with one metaphor when you can have six?), a spot of internecine conflict … and now Sozhee, pretending she hasn’t secretly signed on for a year of The Elements of Cross-Cultural Teasing for Recidivistic Masochists (based on my own personal experience, of course). . . 🙂

    . . On to the next subject … mind how you go … none of that ramrod posture nonsense, comrades, please … leave your sequitirs at home, … and blog like there’s no one watching. . . and before I forget, Mizz Sozhee, I’ll take all the Nigerian you’ve got … can’t get enough of it. 😉

  22. There is, sadly, a carrying-out-the-rubbish side to blogging. Today’s waste is smellier than usual — decomposing fish skin and rotten eggs, dear comrades, make a particularly noxious combination.

    A squabble between @atf and @Alarming in this thread led to a mention of a site owned by someone very rich and bored: see yesterday’s note in italics, addressed to @Alarming, and inserted into one of his comments. As a result, that blog-owner, someone remarkably fond of boasting about his wealth, has, for lack of anything better to do, been writing about this site, yet again.

    Here, for the record, are the only responses I feel are required of me:

    (i) No word of any comment by any contributor to this site has ever been altered or deleted by me — except for the blanks inserted in place of rich-and-bored‘s personal and site names, as I’ve explained to @Alarming upthread. Nor have anyone’s posts ever been censored. . .. . Since I act as my own subeditor/ copy editor, I do correct my own posts from time to time.

    (ii) No comrade posting both here and at rich-and-bored’s site has ever been discouraged from commenting there — or indeed anywhere else.

    (iii) A blogger on that site has been bleating persistently about not being allowed to comment here. Her screen name begins with StPolly — and the second half changes often. I’m going to stick with St.Pollywobbles, to save myself the trouble of keeping up. . . A few days ago, she tried posting a first comment — a complaint about a passing remark @Suzan made about one version of her screen name. Since everyone knows that @Suzan has her own site, Wobbles could easily have gone there, and should have done. I have no interest in turning this into the Petty Scrapping Site. . . I have, however, saved the comment she tried to post, and if any regular visitor here feels it needs airing in this spot, I’ll display it.

    … whoosh …. into the wheelie-bin …. !

  23. From the dask of
    Suzan A
    the esteemed
    Mizz Nigeria aka Mizz Sozhee

    Wellkom Wardee

    It is with big regret that I am called Mizz Nigeria because my fiance abarndened myself when it was thought I fell pregnant from his best friand who did a bard thing to me. But it was a mistarken disclosure. It was a mild case of garstrik and his best friend turned out to be in Amerikar happily stuck with a Cherokee Indian Mama.

    As my suitor’s aim has come to pass, I harve now taken the urgant dispute up with the Chief Council of Oribaya state to sue for breach of promise and 1,000,00 lira for pain and suffering caused by this sharmfool spinsterhood startus I have been made to acquire. I have asked that this mutter be cleared up arse soon arse passible. False accusations have been poured on my body and my soul, like I yam a goat dragged to the slaughterhouse. Can you imagine the noncents that has emerged from my crystal clear reputaytion? 😉

    This is the dire mutter harpenning now.

    But Gawd will vindikate me, my Gawd will redeem me. To Jayseeeus be the glory. Halleluiah and AMEN!

    P.S. Please note that this is not an inheritance letter. Do not send monies. Send only felicitations for my good name Miss Nigeria, the esteemed one of Oribaya state.


    Wordy, have been trying to post this for ages but lost my internet signal.

  24. Hey Wardee,

    That was meant to read, 1,000,000 lira.


    Btw, did receive an email from St.Pollyanna of our Holy Optimism (Wobbles). Just remembered.

    I admit the contents proved to be of a wobbly disposition. A confrontation in the works for me and also that her comment had failed to appear on your site. I think that you weren’t posting it, maybe!!!
    Wanted to tell you but really, what’s the point.
    If you print it, I won’t mind in the least.

  25. …[ tears rolling down my cheeks ] … thank you, my dear Mizz Sozhee, barter hahreee up and write thar book … will be a best-seller of the good kind. . . I’d no idea of what people meant by ‘Nigerian letters’ until I had the privilege of receiving my first. . . Makes you wonder, why is it chiefly Nigerians who seem to specialise in that variety of scam. Something in the water?

    As the Meduse was wrecked off the coast of another West African country, we’re nearly back on-topic ….. ; ). . . Mizz Nigeria, you haven’t by any chance been to Mauritania, have you — and if not, why? … It’s part of the Western Sahara, I believe, and I think you like deserts.

    Sincere regards in parpetuetee,


  26. @Wardee

    barter hahreee up and write thar book …

    Yeess Chief! Yeess Sar! Yeess Madarm! Yeess Gandar-Nutral Individuarl, whichever is applicable.

    Not Mauritania, Wardee. Mizz Nigeria’s temperature is warm for emerald oceans, not fire deserts. 🙂

  27. === Mizz Nigeria’s temperature is warm for emerald oceans, not fire deserts. ===

    Ah so, thank you, kind Mizz Sozhee … I have just posted the comment by Wobbles in Marginalia — since you asked. 😉

  28. Let me assure anyone trying to get a blog going that there’s nothing like a blog fight to make clicking fever pandemic …

    Never mind … being perverse, I would still much rather discuss … for instance, … how curious it is that modern prose can’t touch the music and language of the KJV Old Testament when the subject is truly dire. . . human beings forced to extremes of suffering and depravity.

    Fascinating to see how cleverly Julian Barnes borrowed the old book’s rhythms — and concision — to convey the full horror of the raft of the Méduse – not all the way through his chapter on the subject, but here and there, letting its music steal in almost imperceptibly before it swells … in this passage, for instance:

    The raft, which now carried less than one half its original complement, had risen up in the water, an unforeseen benefit of the night’s mutinies. Yet those on board remained in water to the knees, and could only repose standing up, pressed against one another in a solid mass. On the fourth morning they perceived that a dozen of their fellows had died in the night; the bodies were given to the sea, except for one that was reserved against their hunger. At four o’clock that afternoon a shoal of flying fish passed over the raft, and many became ensnared in the extremities of the machine. That night they dressed the fish, but their hunger was so great and each portion so exiguous, that many of them added human flesh to the fish, and the flesh being dressed was found less repugnant. Even the officers began to eat it when presented in this form.

  29. anytimefrances

    yes, a fine description of the appalling. Gericault wanted to be a History painter and studied history painting and horse painting which is probably the reason the muscularity of the figures is so strong. His illustrious predecessor was Jaques David who turned to the classical away from the Rococco. He was a revolutionary. A picture i mentioned on the potw forum on Owen’s Abraham poem and couldn’t think of the title of was the Oath of Horatio and this was said to be a picture heralding the revolution. David voted for the execution of the King and supported Napolean but was exiled after 1815 when he was defeated.

    There was no ‘Heroism’ left in Fr politics for Gericault to paint and he turned to other subjects such as the Raft which he expected more from but was disappointed with the reception of it, being as it is so disgusting. his depiction of the negligence of the French Navy/officer was nothing for the Fr to feel good about and after it he painted mainly the unpleasant sides of life, such as, in London, outcasts and mental patients, the opposite from the Heroism of David. it’s easy to think of him as a painter a little like Van Gogh showing the pathetic, the poverty stricken and neglected sides of life.

  30. A magisterial description of the unthinkable … but he writes with delicious informality — in the thoroughly Americanised vernacular — in other parts of the same book.

    There’s a fiendishly funny epistolary chapter — a series of letters from a rather thick actor on location somewhere in the jungle. This bit reminded me. @atf, of your interpretation of a figure in DslH about which I’ve just left a comment in the Stick to your Polish … thread:

    Later, Matt was peeing in the river when one of the sparks came up and told him it wasn’t such a good idea. Apparently they’ve got this tiny fish which is attracted by the heat or whatever and can swim up your pee as you’re peeing …

    Makes for a glorious running joke … won’t spoil it by quoting any further.

    … So a literary collage, is that one stylistic tendency of po-mo? … A good tackling of a part of this subject in a new essay on this blog, … The Reading Experience.

    … and @ISA, when you take a break, you might want to look at this stab at a bloggers’ lit magazine, The Critical Distance (good name) … whose first ‘outside’ contributor is a supporter and friend of @Suzan’s and @Sean Murray’s in Berlin.

    Btw, @ISA, I tried to leave a comment on your blog but the silly software wouldn’t let me paste in a quotation from one of your posts. grrrrrrrrrrrr.

  31. anytimefrances

    @ Wordy, as I’ve pointed out on the other thread I’ve never said anywhere that the figure in the background was ‘polluting’ or ‘peeing’ in the river. I say this without checking back on the comment that I did actually writer as i’m quite sure I did not say it as I’ve never thought it. She is lifting her skirts to keep them out of the water, that was my reading of the picture.

  32. @atf, … Quite right … Explanation is on the Stick to your Polish thread … I have put @wd7 in a corner with instructions to stay there for the next 24 hours … bread and tap water only … Mea maxima culpa … even if I did think it just a very funny idea.

  33. anytimefrances

    the Dsl’h although it refers to a lot and goes back quite a bit is really based on a painting of Giorgione’s. the reason he scandalised the opinion of the time was that his nude was a real woman in the company of clothed men, but the idea had been done before only before M’s time nudes were acceptable to patrons, including the church, only so long as the represented mythical figures, usually represented as Venus. M mostly took his inspiration from Giorgine’s fete champetre in which there are, from memory i think, two naked women in the company of two clothed males, but in this there is an ambivalence – are the males aware of the nudes or are they nymphs or mythical in an elysium garden with a fountain. there is music in the picture which makes it a lovely sensual image. Manet knew this picture when he painted Dsl’h and it’s likely that he was inspired by it. The Giorgione has lovely earthy colours and shows the influence of the byzantine tradition which influenced the venetian painters when constantinople fell and artists fled to italy mostly setting in Venice and influencing painting.

  34. Pingback: Old print media and their trained fact-sniffing noses « acciaccature

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