A Cruel Man Delighting in Flowers

...the mildness to which men ... had yielded was only half of the intoxication of beauty, while the other half ... was of such surpassing and terrible cruelty—the most cruel of men delights himself with a flower—that beauty ... failed quickly of its effect... 

Hermann BrochThe Death of Virgil

 

Jeremy Davies is made of ink, but don’t dip a feather in him. It tickles. He once painted a fingernail black and no one really noticed. He was disappointed. He’s also an editor, a religious atheist, a liker of strong coffees, a Shakespeare-lover, a political anarchist and someone who rarely has a pen when he needs one. He has been a PhD candidate, a personal trainer, a life model, a bouncer, an infantry soldier and someone who rarely had a pen when he needed one. He has had words published in a variety of places, in a variety of publications, in a variety of forms, in a variety of moments: Canada, Wet Ink, SMS and twelve minutes past three in the afternoon being some of these. His first novel, 'Missing Presumed Undead', will be re-published by Satalyte Publishing in February 2014. A second is on its way.

The Communist Manifesto - Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Samuel Moore On the 21st—the day of publication of [b:The Communist Manifesto|30474|The Communist Manifesto|Karl Marx|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1311645363s/30474.jpg|2205479] in 1848—my family and I celebrate [a:Karl Marx|7084|Karl Marx|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1202410660p2/7084.jpg] Day as part of our Thinkers & Artists monthly program.

And for a book (extended pamphlet) written over a hundred and fifty years ago, it remains surprisingly contemporary in certain aspects of its social, economic and political thesis.

‘…a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and exchange is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.’

But of course in other ways, it remains trapped in history, such as in the way the proletariat exists now in relation to the bourgeois, and the further rise of the bourgeoisie through upwardly mobile grifting etc. The Frankfurt School writers and their further contemporaries went a long way to address these and other concerns, but it remains, at least aesthetically anyway, if not in thrust, a fascinating document, and provides great food for thought. In some ways, it is the teasing out of the anachronistic elements that can be the most enlightening.

But it also perhaps becomes guilty of one of its own charges: ‘…half-lamentation, half-lampoon; half echo of the past, half menace of the future…’

Currently reading

Lyrical and Critical Essays
Albert Camus
The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages
Harold Bloom
The Rebel (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
Albert Camus