Passages records the books I'm reading, the live music I'm hearing, and the movies I'm seeing. Every now and then I'll throw in a passage from a book I read a while back or a trailer from a old favorite movie. Occasionally, there is something that simply caught my eye. But most of it is what I'm reading and hearing and watching in real time.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Don Quixote

... although poetry is less useful than pleasurable, it is not one of those that dishonors the one who knows it. Poetry, Señor, in my opinion, is like an innocent young maiden who is extremely beautiful, and whom many other maidens, who are the other fields of knowledge, are careful to enrich, polish, and adorn, and she must be served by all of them, and all of them must encourage her, but this maiden does not wish to be pawed or dragged through the streets or proclaimed at the corners of the squares or in the corners of the palaces. Her alchemy is such that the person who knows how to treat her will turn her into purest gold of inestimable value; the man who has her must keep her within bounds and not allow her to turn to indecent satires or cruel sonnets; she should never be in the marketplace except in heroic poems, heartfelt tragedies, or joyful, witty comedies; she should not be allowed in the company of scoundrels or the ignorant mob incapable of knowing or appreciating the treasures that lie within her. And do not think, Señor, that when I say mob I mean only humble, plebeian people; for anyone who is ignorant, even a lord and prince, can and should be counted as one of the mob. And so the man who uses and treats poetry in the requisite ways that I that I have mentioned will be famous, and his name esteemed, in all the civilized nations of the world.

Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1615)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Pope and Mussolini

For decades, the Vatican had demonized those it saw as the beneficiaries of the much-vilified Enlightenment: liberals, Masons, Jews, and Protestants. It cast all as doing the devil's work, seeking to undermine people's faith in the one true religion. Throughout Italy, the Catholic press stoked this fear. Pius XI largely shared in this world view. In his 1928 encyclical, Mortalium animos, he forbade Catholics to take part in groups that encouraged interfaith dialogue.

David I. Kertzer, The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism (2014)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pafko At The Wall

He says, "The Giants win the pennant."

Yes, the voice is excessive with a little tickle of hysteria in the upper register. But it is mainly wham and whomp. He sees Thomson capering around first. The hat of the first-base coach -- the first-base coach has flung his hat straight up. He went for a chin-high pitch and coldcocked it good. The ball started up high and then sank, missing the façade of the upper deck and dipping into the seats below -- pulled in, swallowed up -- and the Dodger players stand looking, already separated from the event, staring flat into the shadows between the decks.

He says, "The Giants win the pennant."

Dom DeLillo, Pafko At The Wall (1992)