Caption: This man is now portraying the devil that appeared to Ivan Karamazov while the latter was a little unhinged. Is it Ivan himself, a real devil, or just his fevered imagination?
El Cabrero begs the reader's forbearance while he attempts to get Dostoevsky out of his system. The last two posts didn't quite do it...
Sigmund Freud once called The Brothers Karamazov "the most magnificent novel ever written."
This is no doubt because the theme of the book is the murder of a father by a son and Sig never met a story about parricide he didn't like. After all, according to his theory of the Oedipus complex, that was something all sons unconsciously wanted to do.
I'm not sure how Dostoevsky would feel about that. He didn't have much use for what passed for psychology in his day, once saying "I am not a psychologist. I am a realist." His version of "realism," however is pretty out there, given his menagerie of characters, which includes intellectual axe murderers, saintly prostitutes, brooding nihilists, and holy fools and elders.
As William Hubben wrote,
All of Dostoevsky's stories belong to the literature of extreme situations. An ominous restlessness broods over the men and women in his novels. Frequently their reaction to seemingly small incidents is excessive, and events take a most unexpected turn.
The author would probably agree with that anyway. He once wrote "Always and in everything I go to the extreme limit." In his view, part of the human condition is the fact that we don't know our limits:
The ant knows the formula of its anthill; the bee the formula of its beehive...but man does not.
Ironically, it is said that in his later years, Freud couldn't abide reading Dostoevsky's novels in the evening because the characters were too much like the patients he dealt with during the day.
(OK, one more thought--how come nobody gets brain fevers any more like his characters got?)
TAX SUBSIDIES FOR WAL-MART. Good Jobs First is a policy resource center that promotes accountability for corporations and governments in economic development. They recently updated their Wal-Mart subsidy report. If you go to the site, you can click on your state to see how much the giant has gotten in corporate welfare. In El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia, that number is around $9.7 million. Greg LeRoy, Good Jobs First executive director sums it up pretty well:
That a company with a predatory business model and a poverty-wage labor policy can even qualify for job subsidies suggests many public officials still don’t get it.
DISPLACED IRAQIS. This is from AP:
More than 4 million Iraqis have now been displaced by violence in the country, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday, warning that the figure will continue to rise.
The number of Iraqis who have fled the country as refugees has risen to 2.2 million, said Jennifer Pagonis, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. A further 2 million have been driven from their homes but remain within the country, increasingly in "impoverished shanty towns," she said.
THIS IS JUST GREAT. Remember the part about the Bush administration getting serious on global warming? Nevermind...
The Bush administration is drastically scaling back efforts to measure global warming from space, just as the president tries to convince the world the U.S. is ready to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gases.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED