Thursday, May 31, 2012

Termites Make Artwork Out Of Bertrand Russell First Edition

Fucking Termites have eaten my first-ish edition of my favourite writer and philosopher's book Portraits From Memory And other Essays by Bertrand Russell.

Descriptions of House Invasions are one of the times when extreme profanities of the F-word and  C-word, should be used. Robberies, Kidnappings, Peeping Tomisms, Spouse Beatings, Termite Sightings, Crap through Letterboxes, Police Door Smashings and Unwanted Guests of friends and families are all justifiable occasions. Especially when they destroy or harm everything and everyone close to you.

We just got back from a month and a lifetime away in various Latin American countries and termites have invaded and grazed a number of books including this by that great man and pacifist and socialist and thinker and conscientious objector and philosopher. This book was given to me by my dad and it was given to him by Bertrand Russell himself.


This man ought to be read. His ideas were far ahead of his time and should be taken up by all right minded and right wing politicians. But they never will because Bertrand Russell pleads for the rights of the common man and woman and for the end of aggression and war. And as a philosopher he argues his case in clear words that would leave those lacking social conscience lost for words.


 R.L Barrett, a good and great man himself, and my Dad (really my step-dad who kind of raised me) was given this book in 1957 and it was given to me years later when he passed. His signature and date luckily untouched by those little fuckers.

Signatures and dates that people in those days wrote on the fly covers of books they read because they appreciated and loved this rectangle of pulped wood that had woods printed on it. Something they could hold in their lap and feel and flip pages wherever they were from steaming jungles to steaming cities. They could write comments on those pages  and underline words and sentences that meant something to them. Future generations could handle the same book and feel the presence of the original owners now probably long gone and six feet under.




 more destruction after the jump



The fucking termites also got stuck into my English to Bahasa-Indonesian to Tupi Amazon Dialect dictionary, my pamphlet of words from the great Cuban combo The Bueno Vista Social Club singing their famous songs in Serbo Croat and various other not so important books on hairy toads, secret Congolese pygmy societies, how to sew turn-ups on circa 1st century Phrygian peasant pants, back editions of famous already done crosswords by Jewish rabbis and some crap about measuring the universe with a foot long wooden ruler.

So all you electronic users smugly scanning your eyes over the electronic words spouting from your piece of throw-away, planet-destroying-battery-operated aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, gallium, gold, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, palladium, platinum, selenium, silver, and zinc infused kit thinking of the termite proof abilities of the Chinese sweat-shop built pile of junk held in your hand, look away while I vilify that battery operated reading machine.

Now, however, we can answer that eternal question - What Is Art? And I have decided this IS art. Termite chewed Bertrand Russell is ART. His words may be mangled but the rest of them live on in now dead termites.

It is so much art that when I sell it I will buy another kind of first edition of this wood pulp rare book (even though non first edition copies do sell on ebay for a couple of bucks second hand).


This book when it is suitably mounted will go on sale in a gallery (maybe Luna is reading this?)




The chapter on Adaptations: An Autobiographical Epitome   has virtually disappeared.



A critique on the Symptons of Orwell's 1984 goes out the window




The chapter on Man's Peril has a chunk taken right out the middle.



Something-or-other and Knowledge is destroyed.


The back cover looking like a piece of debris washed up on a beach and subsequently pissed upon by a passing dog.

I know this has turned into an anti-electronic book rant because this book meant so much and it had traveled to so many places that I have turned my attention in such circumstances as most un-hinged world leaders do, when their popularity is waning, and that is blame every one else who doesn't, in their eyes, have a leg to stand on.

But seriously how often do electronic books readers miss the idea of leaving your front door and partaking on an adventure that may mean searching for a wood pulp book that is sitting somewhere unimaginable and exciting and along that route you may meet people who you would never meet sitting on your computer clicking a mouse on Amazon or ebay.

Buying a book from a shop is like posting a letter. You can meet PEOPLE or if you are shy you can at least see PEOPLE. Like Laura from Caracol the children's bookshop here in Mazatlán. But more on her later.

2 comments:

  1. When bad things happen to a book, nothing but a "bad" word will suffice.

    ReplyDelete

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