The article itself wasn’t much, but I found the historical reference to Taichung’s Central Books to be of interest. Basically the millionaire guy who founded pchome.com and who is from Taichung, Jan Hung-tze (詹宏志), wants to organize a reading group at the old Central Book Store (中央書局) building. According to him,「中央書局是1927年台灣中部仕紳們共同成立的一個帶有強烈浪漫文化色彩的書局。」Err, so I guess in the same extremely romantic spirit he wanted to form a reading group to contemplate works of (mainly) Western literature. And he did.
The book store, which is almost 100 years old, founded when Taiwan was still part of the Japanese empire, was recently reclaimed (I think it used to be a clinic) and re-opened to much fanfare last October (2020). Pic above, from this detailed CNA article, is canonical image of the founders.
In Against the World, Against Life, his biography of the writer, the French novelist Michel Houellebecq ascribes Lovecraft’s racism to his relatively wealthy New England upbringing suddenly bumping up against two years of rougher living in multicultural New York. But fellow writer Nicole Cushingrefuses to accept the oft-trotted out excuse that Lovecraft, born in 1890, was merely “a man of his time”. She says Lovecraft seems “obsessed with the theme of white supremacy, taking opportunities to shoehorn it into stories even when it’s totally unnecessary”.
“The idea that those who are most happily at home in the modern world, as he was, may be most vulnerable to the demons that haunt it; the idea that the daily routine of playgrounds and bicycles, of shopping and eating and cleaning up, of ordinary hugs and kisses, may be not only infinitely joyous and beautiful but also infinitely precarious and fragile; that it may take desperate and heroic struggles to sustain this life, and sometimes we lose. Ivan Karamazov says that, more than anything else, the death of children makes him want to give back his ticket to the universe. But he does not give it back. He keeps on fighting and loving; he keeps on keeping on.”
— Marshall Berman, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, preface
Funny, I was thinking about this brilliant book earlier today
“During’s implication is that there is something fundamentally flawed about the contention made by critics from Siegfried Kracauer (who in 1927 analysed the high kicks of dancing girls as “the rational and empty form of the cult”), through Debord, Baudrillard and Virilio, that commercial cinema represents the “triumph of the spectacle”; that it is not an exercise in secular magic but in power magic, the most overt manifestations of which are the Nazi propaganda films of Leni Riefenstahl.”