Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Match Book

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:42 PM

IMAGE- Roger O. Thornhill's monogrammed 'ROT' matchbook in 'North by Northwest'

Click image for related posts.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Raw, the Cooked, and the Spoiled

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

On the late French philosopher André Glucksmann,
a paragraph from The New Yorker

The style could be overwhelming at times, and was
often a more effective instrument of intellectual
pleasure than political persuasion. But, in return,
it produced a thousand small epiphanies—
for instance, his lovely mordant point, made at length
in one of his books, that between the “raw” and the
“cooked”—the simple binary beloved of structuralism—
there was always the “pourri,” the rotting, the rotten.
Our refusal to take in the rotting as a category of its own
was, he suggested, with a delighted literary grimace,
a kind of moral blindness, part of a fake dialectic that
blinded us to the muddled, rotting truth of the world.
The real world was not composed of oscillating
dialectical forces; it was composed of actual suffering
people crushed between those forces. — Adam Gopnik

See also

Click the above image for some backstory.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:45 AM

From O Marks the Spot, Jill St. John's birthday, 2012:

"Row, row, row your boat"

"A kind of liturgical singsong" — John Leonard on Didion

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:00 AM

"I'm 18."

— Spoken by a very beautiful girl
      in the summer of 1991

"Work on what has been spoiled [ Decay ]."

Hexagram 18

IMAGE- Matchbook with monogram ROT from 'North by Northwest'

Click image for some background.

Monday, September 10, 2012

O for Origin

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:00 PM

IMAGE- Roger O. Thornhill's monogrammed 'ROT' matchbook in 'North by Northwest'

Stanley Cavell on the film North by Northwest

"The 'nothing,' or naught, in the ROT monogram equally appropriately stands for origin, so its simultaneous meaning is that the actor is the origin of the character and also the origin of what becomes of himself or herself on film. The further thought that the human self as such is both an origin and a nothing is a bit of Cartesianism that is conceivably not called for in the context of this film."

Cavell on Film , SUNY Press, 2005, pp. 44-45

For another central O, see Four Gods in this journal.

The film's mistaken-identity plot involves a fictional character named Kaplan. For a real Kaplan, see a 2001 New Yorker  piece.

For a related catchphrase, see Kaplan Boo.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

O Marks the Spot

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 PM

(Continued :  See Identity,  decomposition, and Sunshine Cleaning . )

"What, one might ask, does the suave, debonaire
Roger Thornhill have to do with the notion of
decomposition (emphasized by the unusual
coffin-shaped 'O') implied in the acronym
formed by his initials?" 

— Paul Gordon, Dial "M" for Mother ,
     Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2008, page 97

"To stay with the context of Cavell's brilliant reading 
of the film's relation to Hamlet, 'there is something rot -ten
in North by Northwest ' that also needs to be explained."

— Paul Gordon, op. cit., page 98

Related remarks— Sunday morning, May 20, 2007.

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