Friday, April 29, 2005

Clown and Candy

Clown and Candy.

The ugly "decorative" clown on the left was included with a package of "easter egg" chocolate candies. Who the **** got the crazy idea that people would be happy to see that ugly-ass monstrosity included with their candy? It is, of course, made in China. Now just picture this: a bunch of poor, exploited, underpaid Chinese workers are slaving their days away in some hideous underground den excuse for a factory -- why? Is it for some high and noble purpose? No, it's to manufacture these loathsome toy clowns, which then get packed with egg-shaped chocolate candies, only to be promptly discarded by the fat decadent western consumers of the said candies. A better symbol of the decadence of world capitalism could not possibly be imagined. I truly hope this is yet another sign that this abominable, inhuman system must finally be coming to its long overdue, richly deserved end.

As for the candies on the right, I haven't tried them, so I don't know what they taste like, but the name sure is hilarious. "Werther's Original" -- surely everybody's first thought on seeing that name must be: wow, suicide pills! And the second: wait a minute, didn't Werther shoot himself? Maybe it's bullets? Well, whoever invented the name either didn't read much Goethe, or they figured that the consumers haven't read much Goethe, or they decided to just disregard the association. Or maybe, who knows, maybe the founder of the brand was some portly Herr Werther with a potbelly and a self-made man's "healthy" disdain for such namby-pamby things as fiction and poetry. Anyway, the name still gives me a chuckle everytime I see it.

Hearts of Stone

I've taken this picture in a souvenir shop in Trier in mid-February this year.

Hearts of Stone

Cold stone hearts. I guess they make a perfect Valentine's gift for when you have already given up trying to win her favour... :-)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

An Anticlimax

Another shipment of books from arrived this morning. Among them was The Libertine Reader from Zone Books, an anthology of 18th-century French literature. Some years ago I already bought The Decadent Reader, an anthology of late 19th-century French literature, also published by Zone Books.

Well, the flaps of these readers say: “Zone Readers are edited by” such-and-such people. So I figured there may be more than these two books, and since these two seem so fascinating (I haven't had the time to read much from them yet, unfortunately) it seemed reasonable to look at the other ones.

So I sent off a query to amazon and ABE for books with “Reader” in the title and “Zone” in the publisher's name, and guess what? The only Zone Reader besides the two already mentioned is The Vienna School Reader: Politics and Art Historical Method in the 1930s. What a disappointment.

I know, I know. It could be worse. When I saw the title “Vienna School”, my first thought was of those loathsome free-market fundamentalists usually known as the Austrian school of economics. My second thought was that it would be about Wittgenstein and his chums, who perhaps weren't quite so bad (it's difficult to be quite so bad as a free-market economist, after all), but who nevertheless in all probability didn't produce anything I could find both interesting and intelligible.

Well, so much for Zone Readers, I guess.