Pavilion Digest: February 2009

A plethora of perplexing pavilion posts. The Pavilion Annex thread, the Pavilion Discussion thread, and monthly digests of all messages from the Pavilion.

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Art and Taste

Postby KOS » Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:36 pm

Name: KOS
Source: unca20090314.htm
I've no idea who first aid it, and it's one of those tihngs that;s certainly been sid a gazillion times anyay, but in fancy dancy Latin it's "de gustibus non disputandum".

I like to imagine Porky Pig saying it whenever I type it.

Roughly meaning "there's no arguing about taste" , but you knew that.

One of my belief's, not original, is that we need reminding more often than we need educating. That's why I so often come across as a "knowitall". I'm as much reminding myself as perhaps imagining I might remind someone else reading me, not to mention that I also act as if I actually -am- a knowitall. I know (saw that coming, did you?) this is aggravating, but there it is.

Anywho, about taste: Kahlil Gibran and "the Prophet" probably cross my memory traces about once every year when I pass that shelf in whatever mega-bookstore I am in that typically contains such "Inspirational" perennials as "The Prophet". The sand colored cover with that weird sketch of, I presume, Gibran, is usually there.

I'd never read it, as best I can recall. My only exposure to it was in fifth or sixth grade, Either my regular teacher or one of those "roving teachers" (do they still have them?) that teach art, music or even poetry read some of it to us and went on to an sufficient extent that I can recall it decades later. I remember being told in True Believer tones how Great and Powerful a Work of Literature it was. That put me off it Big Time. Kids pick up on those sort of Unreal Vibes from that sort of personality, everytime. It's a survival mechanism. I can see it having been very useful in avoiding crazy people back in cave man times, and getting passed down, reinforced every generation, since we have never had a shortage of crazy, near as I can tell. Crazy people can be entertaining, but they are also, well, crazy. As in unpredictable. Kids hate that. They want predictable in daily life. Of course, thirteen year olds love unpredictability, but then again, they're not children.

Anyway, I recall hearing that "The Prophet" was great, was inspirational, you likely also know the spiel about Significance and Meaning.

So I avoided it. I wanted trashy pulp fiction. I wanted Science Fiction. I wanted eyepop's in my stories, goshwow moments. Adrenaline and sex hormones sublimated in fantastic tropes. If I occasionally wanted Art and Meaning, I could always read Bradbury, because he was also Fun.

But "The Prophet" was always there, spotted here and there in the March of Folly. There was always the Sensitive Guy who carried it around like a talisman. The English instructor that placed it in a prominent place on desk or bookcase of class or office. The Sensitive Girl with soft eyes who kept it on her nightstand to read before softly folding her hands beneath her delicate chin and faling to dreams of, well, probably of the Sensitive Guy who never asked her out.

When Harlan poted his request for a copy of "The Prophet", with his small aside about it's failings as a work of literature, I had to go read some of it. You know how it is with train wrecks, whether they're actually wrecks of trains or of words? Sometimes you just got to spread your fingers a half-inch or so, and -peek-?

Who knows if it was the translator or the original author, but what a load of sentimental sappy half-baked fauz poesy.
As if Rod McKuen were to channel "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" and then strain it through the lyric sensibility of "The Captain and Tenille".

No one under fifty should understand the previous sentence. This is one reason there is hope for the future.

The best I can figure, the reason "The Prophet" is in print: it's gotten a LOT of people laid who would otherwise be alone with their fantasies.

Of course, that's why about ninety-per cent of modern civilization was invented and is still allowed to keep hanging around.

Hmm, and Theodore Sturgeon pointed out that ninety per cent of everything is crap? There might be a connection.

No accounting for taste, indeed.


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Postby shagin » Fri Feb 27, 2009 2:26 pm

Name: shagin
Source: unca20090314.htm
A conversation between my mother and I a few years back:

Mom: "You tell people thank you when they do something for you. Why won't you let people say the same when you do something for them?"

Self: "Because I feel like I've done something wrong when they do."

Mom: "Okay, I was wrong. THAT'S the dumbest thing you've ever said."

My mother...patron saint of tact. And usually right in spite of it.


SUSAN: You're welcome.


diane bartels
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Postby diane bartels » Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:31 pm

Name: Diane Bartels
Source: unca20090314.htm
Shame on you, Harlan Jay Ellison. Also shame on you, KOS. There is absolutely nothing, not a thing, wrong with The Prophet. You two just happen not to like it. It is a perfectly good book; no, it ain't fucking Shakespeare, and it ain't Asimov and it ain't Hemingway. But it is not supposed to be any of those fucking things. Anymore than Hemingway is supposed to be Shakespeare or Ellison Asimov. The pretentious, overbearing attitude you both displayed towards the book is just fucking really annoying, and rude. It's been one of my favorite books since I read it first at 15. And just for the record, I have a B.A. in English lit., a paralegal certificate, and 2 years of law school at Chicago-Kent, where I graded onto the law review before for I had to drop out because of an increase in my physical disabilities.
I have read Moby Dick, Steinbeck, Faulkner, the Russians, Ibsen, Dickens, Joyce, etc. Enjoyed most of them. I find the condescension in both your attitudes towards the book extremely offensive and less than intelligent. It makes me not want to post on this site or even read it any longer. Shame on both of you.
Frank, in my new book purchases is a Noam Chomsky reader. I started with an interview of him which opens the book. He began with a description of the experiences he had on a kibbutz in Israel. He made me wonder again how different our world would be is the United States and the United Nations had left the area alone to develop nationhood slowly and gradually, with the Jews and Arabs cultivating the land together. How sad the whole thing is. Also bought the Brothers Karamazov and started it.

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Postby BrianSiano » Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:03 pm

Name: Brian Siano
Source: unca20090314.htm
Just over a year ago, The New Yorker ran a profile of Kahlil Gibran. It's available online at ... s_acocella

As for _why_ Harlan might want to consult a book he regards as "awful," well, I understand. Somewhere in my house, buried in boxes, are books written by UFO contactees, Pat Robertson, phony 'expoerts" in "Satanic ritual abuse" and more. Research on projects abandoned or completed.

Shane Shellenbarger
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Space Cadet Shellenbarger Reporting In!

Postby Shane Shellenbarger » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:01 pm

Name: Shane Shellenbarger
Source: unca20090314.htm
RH Vol.12/#3 was received in the Constellation Arizona, the Sector of Phoenix 0n 2009/02/27.

ATC: I agree with Steve B's comments, a well thought out piece on SDM vs. M. I enjoyed it greatly.

Space Cadet Shellenbarger Signing Off!

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Harlan Ellison
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Postby Harlan Ellison » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:07 pm

Source: unca20090314.htm
KOS: Aaaaaaaaaa-men!


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Harlan Ellison
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Postby Harlan Ellison » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:07 pm

Source: unca20090314.htm
KOS: Aaaaaaaaaa-men!


Todd Cassel
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I Done Been Ripped Off !

Postby Todd Cassel » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:26 pm

Name: Todd Cassel
Source: unca20090314.htm
Received my Rabbit Hole #47, but I'm missing 32 pages! I done been buggered!

PS, Adam-Troy, picked up your new novel as well. Haven't read the first in the series yet, but will probably eat them both up some time this year.


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Harlan Ellison
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Postby Harlan Ellison » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:28 pm

Source: unca20090314.htm
Oh, dear.

Honest to pete, Diane Bartels, I would not have upset you, even allowing for "de gustibus non disputandum," but of course you understand that I Could Have Had No Way of Knowing. I feel very badly that I have trod on a fave of yours. (I will have to say a second time, because of the tone-deaf nature of the internet, I am genuinely sorry, no undertone, no sub-text.) You are a nice person, and were we having this exchange in my actual Art Deco Dining Pavilion here at the house, instead of what is, at best, e.insufficiently, you would see the distress in my expression.

That said, with sincerity, you must ALSO realize what a dopey thing it is for you to have said you don't feel like posting here again; that you don't feel like being at one with us--and we're nice people, too, Diane--because our taste in reading matter diverges. It is akin to a Creationist telling Sinclair Gas s/he will never use the petrol again because they don't have a man alongside the dinosaur on their logo.

It is a thought, however distressed you might be at KOS and me, that is flummery. (As Nero Wolfe was wont to characterize such empty "threats.") That's one thing. My opinion of Gibran's New Agey outpourings are unchanged by your anger, and as I would not dim one megawatt of your affection for his book(s), so I would beg you not to fulminate so unfairly at my stating MY position. Little did I realize that among the multitude of matters that can raise the hackles--from Frank&Israel to the bobbing head of Nancy Pelosi and her OldWashington partisan standing ovations that made it impossible for me to enjoy my new President's important speech...from religion to labor relations...from sexuality to senseless abstention...who the hell would've thought THE PROPHET would so dement one of you.

I do not, as I said, back off one iota. BUT...


I am truly penitent at having caused you contumely.


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Harlan Ellison
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Postby Harlan Ellison » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:38 pm

Source: unca20090314.htm
I was so busy tugging my forelock, that I failed to make the INTELLIGENT response, which is this:

When I was ten or so, I stumbled across THE RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KHAYYAM. There hasn't been a week since then, close on 65 years ago, that I have not opened that same old brittle-brown-paged, chipped, falling-apart Avon paperback I later acquired who-knows-when, and read The Real Thing that (in my reasonably intelligent and informed opinion) a phony sentimentalist like Gibran emulated, parodied, baldly swiped, and disenfranchised.

Love him if you will, Diane, but understand that for some of us The True Creation should not be trammeled by hacks trying to fill the shoes of the Masters who have gone before them.

I guess I don't know when to stop, and I've likely fried your frijoles all over again. I am sighing, and I am sorry. For prodding your bear in its cage.


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Postby Duane » Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:04 pm

Name: Duane
Source: unca20090314.htm
Frank said: "Steve King is hopeful that three chord rock will make a comeback. With Springsteen playing the Superbowl you never know.

Actually, guitar rock is like the Energizer Bunny. Blue collar kids just like their noise."

King is dead-on correct, and I couldn't be happier. Yep, the blue collar kids are at it again.

Of course, you can't rely on radio, even satellite radio, to deliver the goods. Get yerself to a reputable news stand and plunk down nine bucks and change for this month's issue of CLASSIC ROCK MAGAZINE.

The February issue (with Deep Purple on the cover) contains a CD sampler of no less than 15 brand new songs from 15 (basically) brand new bands.

Not a single one of these bands will you hear on the radio. But the music on this CD has more art, craft and intelligence than most people's entire record collections. And it's loud and ballsy to boot.

I, too, thought rock music was dead, and during much of the last 15 years, it was. But it has been rekindled with a passion. Don't miss out!

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Postby KOS » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:29 pm

Name: KOS
Source: unca20090314.htm
Me, come across as condescending and dismissive?

Okay, ya got me there.

Let me write one thing about the hurt I obviously caused you, Ms. Bartels, and then I will shut my pie hole about "The Prophet", as well as let slip a few days here.

For all my condescension, which is more a matter of my manner and style than it is of considered thought and action, I respect the tastes of others, which is why I centered my comments on the "There's no point in arguing over taste" line.

I still get angry when people tell me the characters in my favorite Heinlein novels are basically cardboard. It hurts to see stories and writers you grew up loving denigrated by those whose taste is different than yours. How can they not hear the "music"?

It is perfectly okay to love a book that someone else, even MANY someone elses, loudly despise. If ANY book speaks to your heart, then it is special, and you SHOULD love it.

Loving an ugly duckling may not change it for the unbelievers, but it is every inch the swan to the ones that love it.

If you enjoy Gibran, never let anyone tell you YOUR taste is anything other than what it is: your very own, considered seriously by you, polished often and perfectly good.

Our tastes differ. Simple.

If you get from "The Prophet" something, anything, close to what I get from books I love, then you should cherish the words and the writer.

There are worse things to do in a world with too little joy.

About the Jews and Arabs living in peace and working things out without the interference of outsiders:

The US did not actually do much to set up Israel as a state in 1947, and nearly voted against the statehood resolution. Truman was unsure until some last minute appeals by American Jewish leaders, as I recall from my reading on it. Israeli statehood was supported far more actively by (wait for it), the Soviet Union. The Soviets knew many of the Jewish leaders in Palestine were pretty far left politically, and saw an opportunity there to gain influence in the region, which at the time was dominated by the USA and Britain. It didn't work out that way, and the Soviets soon had better opportunities to exploit on the Arab side when popular uprisings overthrew several pro-western Arab governments.

Even then, the USA was for years very leery of getting too close to Israel, because it had such huge interests in the Arab nations. Israel was armed mostly by the French right up until the Six Day War, because the USA did not want to be seen by the Arabs as actively aiding their enemy. President Johnson changed all that when he decided to sell the Israelis the top of the line American fighter/bomber, the F-4 Phantom, around 1967. That's when the USA began to meddle big time in the mess.

Not to mention that there were anti-Jewish riots in Palestine well before the UN existed or the USA had any significant influence in the region, during the nineteen-twenties and thirties.

Beginning more than two decades before Israeli statehood, the riots were pogroms, with entire communities of Jews massacred by mobs of Arabs egged on by their leaders. I have an old book by a European journalist, Pierre van Paasen, titled "Days of our Years", published in the nineteen-thirties. It contains an account of his visit to Hebron, a city in Palestine, after one of those riots. It's pretty illuminating to read the horrific details of that visit, and then realize it was before ANY Jewish forces took ANY sort of action against Arabs. The hatred was for the alien presence amongst them, not for anything the Jews had done. An all too human story. Xenophobia is universal. It's happening now in South Africa, where mobs of locals are killing immigrants from other southern African nations, refugees in many cases from repression and war.

Van Paasen also interviewed the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who helped incite those early riots. He was the -elected- head of the Muslim community in Palestine in that period. He wanted the Jews out of Palestine. This was before Israel existed, remember. He later wound up spending most of World War Two in Berlin, making speeches over Radio Berlin to the Arab's inciting them to fight against the Allies. The NA\azi's loved his blue eyes, they could not get enough of a blue eyed Arab that hated Jews as much as they did. When he had a spare moment from his radio gig, not to mention those siorees with Goebbels and Hitler, he was usually off leading SS recruitment drives in Muslim communities of the Balkans. This piece of work then, after his Nazi buddies and benefactors went toes up, hied himself back to the Middle East, and was sheltered there by the Arab governments from any war crime charges. Since the USA and Britain wanted to make nice with the Arabs, they let it go.

The whole Middle East is as messy, muddy and ugly as, well, as anyplace. But we all think we have a dog in that fight, so it looms larger in our minds.

That's why I won't argue about it. I just like to state facts sometimes.

I am so out of here.


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David Loftus
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Diane, Diane -- please stay!

Postby David Loftus » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:35 pm

Name: David Loftus
Source: unca20090314.htm
Don't let the carpers get you down, Diane. Stick around here long enough and everyone will have reamed everyone else at least once. It comes with the territory. I've gone after KOS, and somewhere deep in the archives there's at least one occasion where Harlan ripped me a new one for inadvertantly trampling on one of his fondest memories.

I have no opinion on The Prophet since I've never bothered to read it, but I know my folks were fond of a few passages. _The Brothers Karamazov_, now . . . it's GREAT that you're about to read it. I am, too -- for the fourth time, I think, at the behest of my book discussion group, most of whom will be reading it for the first time. If I'd had my druthers, I'd be rereading one of the Dostoevskys I've only read once before, most likely _Crime and Punishment_ or _The Devils_ (aka _The Possessed_). But the BK is unbeatable. And to think, it was intended as a PRELUDE to the MAIN story Dostoevsky wanted to write about the spiritual journey of Alyosha. But alas, he died three months after finished TBK.

But I digress. This board is huge, it contains multitudes -- in the sense of values, attitudes, and interests. Do stick around, will you? It will surely be worth your while, sooner or later. And if you haven't visited the Bulletin Boards (that "another place" link near the top of this page), you should check it out for more niche-oriented threads devoted to literature, Harlan's writings, politics, pop culture, and the more specific antics and hobbies of the distinctive folk who hang out around here.

(I, for example, just got back from my fourth performance in the starring role of a production of Noel Coward's "Private Lives." There was a reviewer from the Oregonian in the house, reportedly, and so now I'll have a nervous few days' wait to see the results. We were uneven but spirited tonight; I hope she's kind.)

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Sara Slaymaker
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Postby Sara Slaymaker » Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:36 am

Name: Sara Slaymaker
Source: unca20090314.htm
KOS, as shagin has been known to say, it's a good thing I wasn't drinking when I read your post re: Kahlil Gibran. I have fond memories of one of my best friends giving a "dramatic reading" of Seasons in the Sun. It was funny (that's me understating).

I read The Prophet as a teenager (just about the same time frame as aforementioned was out, along with JLS). Loved it. Even had a Prophet journal, which I filled with such deep thoughts as "I think Craig really likes me!!!!!" (heart, heart, heart). Then I grew up. I hadn't thought about it again until now.

Diane: as my grandmother used to say, to each his own, as the woman said as she kissed her cow.

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Josh & Harlan double feature details

Postby Jan » Sat Feb 28, 2009 6:05 am

Name: Jan
Source: unca20090314.htm
This is probably also in the newsletter.

The New Beverly Glen Cinema now has details about the Ellison and Olson-picked double features -

April 23 Dreams with Sharp Teeth 7:30 / The Discarded - Harlan Ellison in person! The legend in flesh and blood!
April 24, 25 All About Eve (1950) / The Big Knife (1955)
April 26, 27, 28 Lost Horizon (1937) / Co-feature TBA
April 29, 30 Stray Dog (1949) / Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)

Harlan, we know exactly what you're up to. This theatre is very close to Pink's.
I'd love to see some all these on the big screen though.
Regarding Lost Horizon, is this a more or less complete print? I heard more progress was made restoring it and that my VHS is obsolete.
I think Harlan may also have picked the films for the All Day Dolph Lundgren Film Fest on April 18th. So don't miss it.

March 8, 9 Josh presents A History of Violence (2005) Sun: 6:30 only; Mon: 7:30 / Straw Dogs (1971)
March 12 "Special guests! New Print of ABAHD!" A Boy and His Dog (1975) 7:30 / Co-feature TBA (1961)

The L.A. Weekly says Harlan comes if schedule permits, and the co-feature is The Day the Earth Caught Fire. (Another silly SF prediction that didn't come true.)

Unknown programmer (could be Josh according to RH46)
March 13, 14 The Exorcist III (1989) / The Ninth Configuration (1980)

(Harlan, you know you're in MARVEL MASTERWORKS: THE AVENGERS VOL. 9 HC, available May 20th? Yep, okay.)

(The pirated (I assume) e-book collections on ebay are still selling very well from Ireland: ... R40QQ_mdoZ )

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