Sade “Bring Me Home” and “Skin”

There is still some good poetry coming from the secular realm. Sade’s voice isn’t what it used to be, but her poetry is unimpeachable. This from “Bring Me Home“:

Put me on a plate with petals and a fire
And send me out to sea
Turn my angry sword against my heart
And let me free

The dawn holds the heaviness of the night
I’ve heard the restless sighs and lovers lies
The brook, the beach and seen the devil’s eyes
So bring me home

I’ve cried for the lives I’ve lost
Like a child in need of love

Oh, I’ve been so close but far away from God
My tears flow like a child’s in need of love
I’ve cried the tears so let the tide take me
I won’t fight, I’ve cried the tears

Lay me on the railway line
I’m far away from God

Or from Sade’s “Skin“:

Now as I begin
To wash you off my skin
I’m gonna peel you away
‘Cause you’re not right within

I love you so
Sometimes love has to let go
So this time don’t think it’s a lie
If I say goodbye

The New Godwin’s

Charles Stross recently revealed that he uses a software package called “Scrivener” to keep track of the complicated plots of novels he’s writing. His disclosure prompted an interesting discussion about the functions of literature, the uses of software, and Tolstoy.

One bright bulb, however, took umbrage at all of this talk of literature, and tossed a stink bomb:

What you think of Tolstoy (or pretty much any “classic”) depends on your relationship to the modern world and modern learning. If you think that fact-free noodling about the nature of man, society, god, nature, and so on is just awesome, you may find something of value in them. On the other hand, if your attitude to the world is “we’ve had 5000 years of people making shit up; how about we concentrate a little more on what can actually be establish factually rather than the opinion’s of some dude whose primary qualification is that he can write well?” then you’re likely to be rather less impressed.

To take an apparently trivial example, which is nonetheless easily understood, IS it in fact the case that all happy families are alike, while each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way? Should we accept this as true just because Tolstoy says so? Or should we look into the matter rather more scientifically?

You see people using essentially the same template, only slightly reworded, to respond to a surprising variety of discussion topics. I think of it as the new variant of Godwin’s Law. The moment this argument comes into play, you know that all rational discussion has ended.

Trolling people by comparing them to Hitler is so cliched, it’s practically ironic. But you can still catch people off-guard by accusing them of superstitious thinking, and you score extra troll points by insinuating that their “superstitious thinking” is backed up by an appeal to authority. When the hapless victim protests, “I was talking about poetry/metaphor/love/art/beauty or whatever, you know they’ve swallowed your bait, hook, line, and sinker. Just feign ignorance, presuppose that their goal was to make testable hypotheses (isn’t that the goal of all poetry and romance?), then continue berating them for “making shit up”.

Mark my words: this is the new Godwin’s, and it’s catching on fast. It will soon be bigger than Hitler.

Not To Keep

From “Not To Keep“, by Robert Frost —

“Nothing but what good care
And medicine and rest, and you a week,
Can cure me of to go again.” The same
Grim giving to do over for them both.
She dared no more than ask him with her eyes
How was it with him for a second trial.
And with his eyes he asked her not to ask.
They had given him back to her, but not to keep.