Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Owl of Minerva

"Actually, inheritance is the soundest way of acquiring a collection. For a collector's attitude toward his possessions stems from an owner's feeling of responsibility toward his property. Thus it is, in the highest sense, the attitude of an heir, and the most distinguished trait of a collection will always be its transmissibility. You should know that in saying this I fully realize that my discussion of the mental climate of collecting will confirm many of you in your conviction that this passion is behind the times, in your distrust of the collector type. Nothing is further from my mind than to shake either your conviction or your distrust. But one thing should be noted: the phenomenon of collecting loses its meaning as it loses its personal owner. Even though public collections may be less objectionable socially and more useful academically than private collections, the objects get their due only in the latter. I do know that time is running out for the type that I am discussing here and have been representing before you a bit ex officio. But, as Hegel put it, only when it is dark does the owl of Minerva begin its flight. Only in extinction is the collector comprehended."
—Walter Benjamin, in Illuminations

Sanctum Sanctorum, 1407 Graymalkin

Monday, November 9, 2009

Overheard in a Bar

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh cthulhu r'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

Lil' Cthulhu

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Bridge

"A word is a bridge thrown between myself and another. . . . A word is territory shared by both addressor and addressee."
—V. I. Voloshinov

Among the Redwoods

Muir Woods, northern California, August 2009. Photo by AEC.