Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Some Day for One Day

Regular readers (God bless their souls) will know that I'm very interested in days-- those units of time in which we live. I write about this here and here, and elsewhere.

Anyway, today is some day for one day, as I say in my title.

First off, it's Candlemas, or the Feast of Presentation. Today is the day hardcore Christmas fans will reluctantly take their Christmas trees down.

Here's a post I wrote about Candlemas a few years ago.

It's also Groundhog Day...again...and that must mean I re-post my (now ten year-old) post on why I love Groundhog Day above every other film ever made.

(I have an article on the film appearing in the Valentine's Day edition of Ireland's Own...although, sadly, it's only five hundred words long. I could write five thousand!)

I've seen it pointed out on social media that today is 2/2/22, which is noteworthy.

I mistakenly thought today was the first day of Chinese New Year. I see now it was actually yesterday. But apparently the festival continues past the first day. I don't know if I have any Chinese readers, but if I do...happy Year of the Tiger!

Today is also the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Ulysses-- although, apparently, only two copies of it were actually published that day. This corresponds to the amount of people who ever actually enjoyed the book-- James Joyce and Ezra Pound.

I posted this on Facebook in commemoration of this dubious centenary:

Today is the hundredth anniversary of the publication of by James Joyce.

Funnily enough, this time last year (as my Facebook memories show) I was wrestling with this text for, I eventually decided, the last time.

W.B. Yeats, a far greater talent and more serious thinker than Joyce, never finished the book either. That says a lot.

Joyce was undoubtedly talented-- A Portrait of the Artist and The Dead are brilliant-- but I finally came to the conclusion that Ulysses was a piece of charlatanry and not worthy of an adult's attention.

A book that can't even be understood on the most primary level without constant references to footnotes and companions is not worth reading. Whenever you actually ask people who profess to enjoy Ulysses what they enjoy about it, the answers are always vague and involve a few clichéd references like "ineluctable modality of the visible". I don't even see what's so very clever or profound about that.

My father, whose judgement I respect and even follow on most things, was an outspoken admirer of the book. I can't understand that, since he was usually allergic to all forms of literary modernism. I honestly wonder if it was simply municipal pride at work.

And, of course, Ulysses was also a cosmopolitan's swipe against the Gaelic Revival, Irish nationalism, Catholic piety, and other wholesome things. Well, we see where cosmopolitanism led... That on its own would not be enough to make me dismiss the book, but it does give me an added dislike of it.

It's a stupid book that had a terrible effect on literature and society. Hopefully after a hundred years its cultus will begin to wane, although it's far too fertile a field for PhDs and critical analysis for me to be optimistic.

Suck, it Joyceans!

So as not to end on a negative note, here is Bill Murray's moving speech from Groundhog Day:

When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.

And, to round it off, here is "Days" by The Kinks-- taken from The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, one of the few conservative rock albums ever written. My cousin Billy (RIP) chose this song to be played at his own memorial service (along with "Fortunate Child" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and a "Psalm to Life" by Longfellow).

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