Tea With Chris: The Many Revenges

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week.

Chris: I’m in New York City. During my first and only previous visit, I crossed paths with St. Vincent after emerging from the subway in Manhattan. I wanted to say hi, maybe tell her she’d been great in Toronto the week before, but it was the hottest day of the year and I was a sweaty stranger who had just seen a dead-looking person trapped beneath an overturned van, so I shambled on uptown in silence. At least I can shout out Annie Clark on the internet, such as for this clip from last week, where she covers Big Black in  world-destroying fashion.

Marginalia!

Carl: Rock’n’roll pioneer Bill Hayley’s widow and children finally speak about his sad diminuendo. Her undying love for her very difficult husband kept her quiet all these years – but she eventually realized that her silence was muting his reputation and erasing his history. Michael Hall’s piece from Texas Monthly rocks – must I say it? – right around the clock.

For three weeks I’ve been meaning to write something about my dear friend Sean Dixon‘s excellent new book, The Many Revenges of Kip Flynn. I wanted to discuss it in the context of Torontopia and Toronto-dystopia, of which it is probably the best example in fiction, and I wanted to talk about the way that it colour-saturated my mental image of certain city locations, and the rich ways in which the real biographical facts about Sean that I know shine through cracks in its architecture. But then I discovered that, minus the bio-friendship aspect (which was always a little indulgent), that my post had already been written, by Amy Lavender Harris, who is far more qualified to write it than I am, being an expert on the ways Toronto has been rendered and transfigured in prose and poetry through the years. Her essay more than merits your attention. It should convince you how much the book does.

Speaking of friends and books, it was very enjoyable to see the Los Angeles Times this week call our friends Sheila Heti and Misha Glouberman‘s forthcoming collaboration The Chairs Are Where the People Go ” intelligent, quirky, charming, hard to classify … a sign of health in the publishing industry. It shows that there is a willingness to take risks – and maybe even have some fun.”

Enough logrolling. I leave you with the time that Pere Ubu was mistaken for children’s music. Was it the name?

Margaux: I came across this hilarious and painful Edmund White book review “In Love with Duras”  about the French filmmaker and novelist Marguerite Duras. It’s also kind about the one-time French president François Mitterrand (and the good and the bad things things he and Duras did during the World War 2). I lost track of what book it was talking about – it includes the line “he was finally shot by a madman in 1993 – fortunately for everyone” – but I sure do now have a better sense of Marguerite Duras and how she sometimes made fiction a little bit safer than real life.

We miss you William O. Douglas (1898 –1980), U.S. Supreme Court Justice, he who declared, “Trees have standing.” Justice Douglas famously argued that “inanimate objects” should have standing to sue in court (thanks to Chris Randle!):

The critical question of “standing” would be simplified and also put neatly in focus if we fashioned a federal rule that allowed environmental issues to be litigated before federal agencies or federal courts in the name of the inanimate object about to be despoiled, defaced, or invaded by roads and bulldozers and where injury is the subject of public outrage. Contemporary public concern for protecting nature’s ecological equilibrium should lead to the conferral of standing upon environmental objects to sue for their own preservation.
 
Inanimate objects are sometimes parties in litigation. A ship has a legal personality, a fiction found useful for maritime purposes. The corporation sole — a creature of ecclesiastical law — is an acceptable adversary and large fortunes ride on its cases…. So it should be as respects valleys, alpine meadows, rivers, lakes, estuaries, beaches, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life. The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains or nourishes — fish, aquatic insects, water ouzels, otter, fisher, deer, elk, bear, and all other animals, including man, who are dependent on it or who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life. The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it.
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