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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Reading Eric Packer Through Surfaces - Interfacing

By Marina at cosmopolisfilm.com

The tower gave him strength and depth. He knew what he wanted, a haircut, but stood a while longer in the soaring noise of the street and studied the mass and scale of the tower. The one virtue of its surface was to skim and bend the river light and mime the tides of open sky. There was an aura of texture and reflection. He scanned its length and felt connected to it, sharing the surface and the environment that came into contact with the surface, from both sides. A surface separates inside from out and belongs no less to one than the other. He’d thought about surfaces in the shower once.

Excellent image. The surface of the buildings like an IBM punch card as Baudrillard says in his comments pre - 9/11 about the  Twin Towers. This is DeLillo's or one of DeLillo's descriptive pieces of writing about the Towers via an imaginary residential tower that Packer lives in. His adjective "brutal" is another one. The manuscript of Cosmopolis was finished before 9-11, DeLillo was profoundly moved by that event as he was about the assassination of JFK, and in December or November wrote a piece in Harper's 12-01 called In The Ruins of the FutureReflections on terror and loss in the shadow of September  about terrorism as an ongoing part of our future world.

Graph Function in Linear Time NOT Realtime
Considering surfaces, insides and outsides, and the shower (sex) resonates with the interfacing of Eric Packer's whole being with the screen, the market, the numbers twinkling by indicating the rise and fall of the yen, -  yen, yearning,  - wanting? - yes, by god  - a haircut, that most trivial of things to decide to want since you don't know what of value you might want, because you are in such a consumer conundrum you don't know what you want. So let's want a haircut! That's an easy thing to want. No problema.

But what that wanting - and its journey -  is going to lead to!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Reading Eric Packer Through the Solitude of Prime Numbers

Eric Packer thinks about prime numbers.

#28 of 2011 ? The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano.

Prime numbers are divisible only by one and by themselves. They hold their place in the infinite series of natural numbers, squashed, like all numbers, between two others, but one step further than the rest. They are suspicious, solitary numberswhich is why Mattia thought they were wonderful. 

Sometimes he thought they had ended up in that sequence by mistake, that they’d been trapped, like pearls strung on a necklace. Other ties he suspected that they too would have preferred to be like all the others, just ordinary numbers, but for some reason they couldn’t do it. This second thought struck him mostly at night, in the chaotic interweaving of images that comes before sleep, when the mind is too weak to tell itself lies.

In his first year at university, Mattia had learned that, among prime numbers, there are some that are even more special. Mathematicians call them twin primes: pairs of prime numbers that are close to each other, almost neighbors, but between them there is always an even number that prevents them from truly touching. Numbers like 11 and 13, like 17 and 19, 41 and 43. 

If you have the patience to go on counting, you discover that these pairs gradually became rarer. You encounter increasingly isolated primes, lost in that silence, measured space made only of ciphers, and you develop a distressing presentiment that the pairs encountered up until that point were accidental, that solitude is the true destiny.

 Then, just when you’re about to surrender, when you no longer have the desire to go on counting, you come across another pair of twins, clutching each other tightly. There is a common conviction among mathematicians that however far you go, there will always be another two, even if no on can say where exactly, until they are discovered.

Mattia thought he and Alice were like that, twin primes, alone and lost, close but not really close enough to touch each other. He had never told her that.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gotham Book Mart In Memoriam - Eric Packer's Day in Cosmopolis

The Gotham Book Mart is the bookstore Eric goes into to look at poetry books and sees an apparition of a woman that he follows. He finally catches up with her and it is Elise sitting on the stairs reading a book of poetry. Just as Gradiva sits on the stairs in the antiquities shop that used to be the Pompeiian poet's residence. In both cases Gradiva/Elise are taken to lunch by Hansen and Packer -  rather lovely I think.

DeLillo has lovingly included the famous and excellent historical Gotham Book Mart in his story. It was forced to close in 2007. The real estate the store rented was obscenely expensive, and a bookstore that was cherished and obviously loved by DeLillo bit the dust to greed. It's huge inventory of priceless rare autographed books and photographs went up for auction and were donated to The University of Pennsylvania's Library. A happier ending than might have been.

NYTimes or paste in browser http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/02/gotham-book-mart-holdings-are-given-to-penn/ article

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2009/01/keeping-the-got.html lovely article reminiscing about GBM

The Gotham Book Mart was famous for its literary eminences. A December 1948 party for Osbert and Edith Sitwell (seated, center) drew a roomful of bright lights to the Gotham Book Mart: clockwise from W. H. Auden, on the ladder at top right, were Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, Delmore Schwartz, Randall Jarrell, Charles Henri Ford (cross-legged, on the floor), William Rose Benét, Stephen Spender, Marya Zaturenska, Horace Gregory, Tennessee Williams, Richard Eberhart, Gore Vidal and José Garcia Villa. (Photo: Gotham Book Mart)

Andreas Brown, the last owner of the Gotham Book Mart, readied vintage photos of Arthur Miller and James Joyce in 2004 in preparation for a move to a new location. (Photo: Frances Roberts for The New York Times)

Updated, 4:50 p.m. | About 200,000 items from the Gotham Book Mart, which closed in 2007 after 87 years as a New York literary haven of international stature, have been donated to the University of Pennsylvania.

January 2, 2009, 12:51 pm
Gotham Book Mart Holdings Are Given to Penn