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.

Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers - Robert A. Heinlein This story reads as a kind of guided tour of nationalistic, military jingoism and heavily Conservative political philosophy wrapped up in a sci-fi shell. The sci-fi elements themselves are often interesting, but they are backgrounded by the narrator's (can we can assume Heinlein's?) reaction and response to political thought and conflict of late 1950s America.

I don't know for sure just how seriously this story was meant ot be taken: certainly the makers of the film played with it ironically. The military mindset and training regime presented is vaguely representative of my own 1990s experience, albeit with a lesser body-count, but the blaise position of the narrator towards death, just in particular, puts one in mind of a genuine psycopath. To go along with that, the 'touching' moments, such as between father and son, come off as stilted and artificial, like a very poor soap opera screentest.

And while I'm at it, the sexless, idealised relationships between the young men and their women, with all the jocular, that's-what-we're-fightin'-for, clean-cut, holdin' hands and apple pies...when you couple this with automated thoughtless and remorseless lethal violence, you start wondering who were the bugs, really...

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