Under the Banner Of Heaven- Jon Krakauer review

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This is why I love reading. I had no idea that something like Mormonism existed, though I had heard about the Church of Latter Day Saints on and off in movies and TV shows. Imagine my wonder when I came to know that it is one of the largest and quickly growing ‘new’ religions with a following of close to 10million people in 2003. Huh? The more you know.
This book initially traumatized me with tales of young girls raped and forced into plural marriage. It was scandalising, depressing and very unfortunate. But as the book went on, this shock gave way to curiosity. Being a new religion, not even 200 years old, we have historical records from the time that Mormonism started spreading. Much like the current gurus and Mystics, we can see the path that this religion took and how it altered its ideology according to changing times. We also get a peek at fundamentalist mentality and how people can be coerced into blatant disregard for other humans by allowing them to revel in the glory of their ideologies.
The book follows the murders of Brenda and Erica Lafferty by Dan and Ron Lafferty and the trials that followed. It examines the LDS church and how it got split into fractions of fundamentalists and normal believers.
It made me think of gurus like Baba Ram Rahim who use their sway over the beliefs of people for the fulfillment of their lust and greed and extremist groups like ISIS who convince followers to become militants to carry out the power desires of those in power.
It was a good piece of journalistic writing and a good intro to the study of religious thought. It was fairly unbiased (as much as it could’ve been with an atheist writer trying to understand a fundamentalist section of a popular religion) though I wanted to know more about Mormons who are not fundamentalists. I do realize that it was not Kraukuer’s intention to give a fair account of the Mormon church and not his responsibility to handle their Public Relations, his intention was to examine fundamentalism and religious ideology, something he managed to do rather well.

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Bangtan potraits 3/7

Hi guys.
This is 3/7 of watercolor fanart portaits that i did of BTS while I was trying to get better at art.

😼

Originally posted here.

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Am i an artist, yet?

Last night as I lay in bed
A question:
Am I an artist, yet?
‘Yes, of course’ I think,
I’ve let my colors bleed
In hues
Of red, green, yellow, blue,
Right across 300 gsm hard pressed sheets.
I’ve let my words
Pour across pages
And pages and pages
Of journals: bound hard and soft.
My books are marked,
Highlighted to the brim,
Transparent page flags ready to fall out
Heroically trying to keep safe
Words I don’t remember.
I guess I am an artist still,
They say ‘everybody is!’
And I bought all:
Markers, notebooks, pens,
Stickers, paints, shenanigans.
‘I am an artist’ I say
‘In that corner are boxes of proofs
And instagram posts
Under all those things
Please notice me.’

One Hundred Years Of Solitude-Review

There was a town with a breath of fire,
Where women thrust their hips and men would perspire
Where incest was so common they called it passion
and naming your child Aureliano was the latest fashion
Where ‘Everything is known’ but not your own mother,
The guy next to you might as well be your brother,
Where the dead come alive with warm breaths,
To reveal secrets and warn about coming deaths,
There lives a family called Buendia touched by irrevocable madness,
In the town that reeks of eternal sadness,
Keep trying to connect the dots,
While they shit in their chamberpots,
Now war, now bananas, now rain
Oh! the everlasting and irrefutable pain,
In the town of Macondo, that WAS, now ISN’T and will never BE
For it was wept out forever after tolerating endless Catastrophe,
Completely destroyed, sans wounds, remains or scars,
as towns cursed by One Hundred Years Of Solitude often are.

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One doesn’t need to look beyond this book in the quest for ‘Magical realism’. This one book might as well be one of…or THE most well told story of all time.

Macondo in many ways, belongs to the Buendia family. Not only because they were the founders and took care in the functioning of the town, but because it was at times their personal utopia and dystopia, and it existed as long as they did. The themes of fate and things coming around in a circle are repetitive and work well with the overall story.

The book gets so freakishly weird at times that one would put it down in shock if it were not for the fantastic air that quietly encircles it. Throughout the incest, the children with pigs, the dead coming to life- my only reaction (perhaps shared by everyone if i am not too preposterous) was OH WELL. WHY NOT.

Of course the dead would come to life, of course the animals would reproduce as if someone had fast forwarded the natural process, of course pure beautiful crazy women would be elevated to the heavens with their bodies in their life. Why wouldn’t it? Its MACON-to the freaking-DO.

What really hit me was the sudden 1984-esque turn that the book briefly took. It was so real and sounded so morbidly commonplace that it scared me. The ‘doublethink’ laced those parts where everyone was convinced that there had never been any problems in Macondo. No revolts, no wars, no Colonel Aureliano Buendia, no revolts, no banana company. Macondo was a ‘happy town’, except the fact that it was not and had never been.

Then there is the issue of the names being repeated so often. Yes, it was rather nerve wracking to figure out which Aureliano, which Arcadio was being talked about but i rather feel that the similar names made it concise. If everyone had different nomenclature with Rodrigos, Gustavs and whatnot, the confusion would have been even more. It was compact to say that the 17 Aurelianos were killed, but yes it was very annoying.

Originally posted here

Very difficult language

Today I came across Geoffrey Hill, a poet considered to be one of the greatest living poets while he was still alive 3-4 years back. One of his most commonly quoted interviews was the one he gave for The Paris Review in 2013 (if i remember correctly)

In that he says that we have traded difficulty for accessibility. I paraphrase but this is pretty much the base of the discussion.

He is talking about poetry and how he’s considered a ‘difficult poet’ and an old geezer just because he refuses to tone his language down for the common reader. Now, Hill was the professor of  at Oxford from 2010 to 2015, unanimously elected, well respected yet without mass approval because of his strict idealism when it came to language.

I have been wondering about language and how we are in a cultural limbo right now. Not exactly going anywhere nor claiming ancestry, just dangling in purgatory arguing incoherently about things that don’t really matter or won’t matter in some months.

Hill went on to talk about how difficulty of language is a writer’s prerogative and how it is the ultimate form of democracy because it is the refusal to simply go along with trends in language. Which is funny because it sounds like the subculture that is ‘high culture’ which used to be everything just a few decades ago,  is now delegated to a corner where it is considered pompous and pretentious.

It’s like the previous subcultures have gotten so mainstream that elitists have to step up to be a counterculture to the frenzy that would probably be called Tumblr-culture.

The tides of culture keep changing, each more confusing than the other.

(P.s. i realise there aren’t supplementary links but a google search for Hill would suffice, sorry my phone is wrecked.)

Doing everything

One thing that i have constantly struggled with, and continue to stuggle with, is the crippling desire to do everything. I don’t know if this is specific to our generation, or to humanity in generalt the pressure to BE SOMEONE by the time you’re 25 is insanely depressing and unjustified.

I have friends who want to learn horseriding, teach, write, sing, attend random events, work for the environment and whatever, all at once. They refuse to sit down and put in work for either of these fragmented, momentary dreams brought to them by a culture that propagates and forces perfectionism and efficiency.

Most ‘protagonists’ in most stories ever are good at whatever they do. Its not disputed or explained, it just is. The rich heir to the family business is a genius, a suave dresser, groovy dancer, pro fighter, romantic bombshell, all at once. Images like these force people to focus only on the visible, superficial successful people they are and not on how they get there or what they need to to compromise to get there.

Shows like Riverdale project teenagers as full grown with minds of 25 year olds. They don’t worry about acne, they dont care about getting pocketmoney when they need it, they don’t have crushes (they just find the ‘loves of their lives’). All this is amazing when it’s drama, but when people can’t separate fact from fiction, this just becomes the ideal that people want to uphold and honestly extremely untrue.

It’s scary. The competition, the feeling —of being old and irrelevant by the time you’re 30 because capitalism runs majorly on the youth’s support of trends and their low self-esteem— is inescapable. But i guess the focus needs to be all about personal improvment. Like Eliot said, “There will be time”. I wish people understood that and didn’t try to be millionaires or whatever by the time they’re 20. If you can do it, great. But you dont HAVE to. You can focus on improving yourself now.

I’ll risk the chance of sounding pedantic. Young achievers are amazing. They are, will always be. But what’s more important is mental stability and sustained growth. Don’t be like O. J. Simpson- an achiever at 20 and a disappointment at 40.

Edit: I was sleepy when i wrote this and motivated by young people committing suicide because they’re not ‘living how they want to’.
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Previous attempts at drawing

hello wordpress.

I just wanted to post something to inaugurate my stint on WordPress but I feel terribly nervous and debilitated for some reason. I am afraid of starting this and giving it up (like so many things) but the calm anonymity here and the fact that maybe no one will read me feels nice in a way. I need to try this, so i’ll just leave some previous art here to say Hi.

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