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Theodora Goss
Posted on Thursday, June 02, 2005 - 04:36 pm:   

First, go here:

http://www.chrononaut.org/log/archives/000581.html#5150

Then, go here:

http://www.goblinmercantileexchange.com/?p=492

And finally, here:

http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/006381.html

More as it explodes.
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Theodora Goss
Posted on Thursday, June 02, 2005 - 04:41 pm:   

Make that

http://www.chrononaut.org/log/archives/000581.html

if you want to start at the top of the page.

Why is linking to blogs so complicated?
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Theodora Goss
Posted on Thursday, June 02, 2005 - 04:55 pm:   

For the brief but brilliant mention and example of infernokrusher haiku:

http://snurri.blogspot.com/2005/06/being-chronicle-of-plaus-fab-wisconsin.html#c omments
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krushkuer
Posted on Thursday, June 02, 2005 - 08:19 pm:   

How interesting/amusing. I was particularly intrigued by Alan's post . . . .
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Sarah Miller
Posted on Friday, June 03, 2005 - 04:53 pm:   

I saw on that on Making Light, and my first thought was, "Agh! Benjamin Rosenbaum! I've met him! How cool!"

I also thought it was quite, quite brilliant.
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Theodora Goss
Posted on Friday, June 03, 2005 - 08:47 pm:   

Yes, that Benjamin Rosenbaum. That infernal, reckless, irresponsible rebel. I've met that guy. :-)

More recklessness, or just wreck-ness:

http://notesfromthegeekshow.blogspot.com
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Theodora Goss
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 09:15 pm:   

So, the thing is, I don't know what more to write about infernokrusher issues, although I want to add something to this thread. But it seems to me, now that google turns up hundreds of infernokrusher hits, the humor of it may already be played out. And there doesn't seem more to add to the original idea, although it does function as a good catalyst for rants.

The one thing that continutes to interest me is the way in which infernokrusher, as a (pseudo)literary movement, is a response to a historical/political/whatever moment. I mean, what's the logical response to the general stupidity of the nightly news? (1) Throwing yourself off a cliff, or (2) blowing up planets. Doesn't the second offer more opportunities for amusement? I don't remember who said that flippant is the new ironic, but I like it. Flippant is so much more versatile. You can be flippant and still wear pink. It's really hard to be ironic in pink--imagine Jean Paul Sartre in a tutu.

Which brings me to Mary Poppins.

So, a friend who came over recently saw that I was reading Mary Poppins Opens the Door and said that she hadn't realized Mary Poppins was a book. It's not only a book but a series, and the Mary Poppins in the series is much more interesting than Julie Andrews. She's sharper, more prickly, and much more magical. Also, the books take place in the 20s or early 30s, not in Victorian England. So, I was reading the preface to Mary Poppins Opens the Door, which is a long explanation of Guy Fawkes' Day (fireworks, bonfires, etc.) for American readers. It ends like this:

"Since 1939, however, there have been no bonfires on the village greens. No fireworks gleam in the blackened parks and the streets are dark and silent. But this darkness will not last forever. There will some day come a Fifth of November--or another date, it doesn't matter--when fires will burn in a chain of brightness from Land's End to John O' Groats. The children will dance and leap about them as they did in the times before. They will take each other by the hand and watch the rockets breaking, and afterwards they will go home singing to the houses full of light . . ."

(The book is copyright 1943).

Which is sort of, but not completely, a non sequitur, because it's a response to the insanity of the times that isn't flippant . . . And it involves blowing things up, or not, like the House of Parliament and fireworks.

I have absolutely no point in this message, except that I like Mary Poppins.
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Theodora Goss
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 09:19 pm:   

Sorry, the Houses of Parliament. How many houses does Parliament need? I think they should all be made to live together in one.

(Yes, bad joke. But it's after midnight, when all jokes are bad.)
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Deborah Roggie
Posted on Monday, June 20, 2005 - 10:06 am:   

P.L. Travers wrote another children's book, "I Go By Sea, I Go By Land," about a brother and sister evacuated from Britain to the U.S. during World War II. No magic except the ordinary literary kind, but good reading nonetheless.

It's interesting to see echoes of the war in children's literature. Remember in the Narnia books that the children are at their uncle's country house because they, too, have been evacuated from London?
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Lavonne
Posted on Saturday, June 25, 2005 - 04:07 pm:   

This isn't about infernukrusher at all, but I am happy to report that Guy Fawkes bonfires on village greens in England have definitely returned; I went to one two years ago. Not only that, there were fireworks, and a torchlight procession, and children dancing about the fire (at a safe distance, of course).
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Theodora Goss
Posted on Tuesday, July 05, 2005 - 09:06 pm:   

I was thinking about the Narnia books, in that context . . . The funny thing is, I just read The Tale of Despereaux (anyone else read it?), which is really quite dark. And I remember Coraline as being quite dark. And the Lemony Snicket books are ghastly dark. (Though Despereaux is probably the most hopeful among them.) By contrast, the Narnia books and the Mary Poppins books seem much more hopeful. And yet they were written during a very dark time.

Why is that? Is there a particular darkness to our time that comes out in the children's literature? (Yet, how could our time be darker than Britian during the war era?) Or is it just fashionable to write dark children's books? Or is it something quite complicated, something like that whatever happened in Lewis' world, he knew, deeply and certainly, what was right and what was wrong, and that there existed a right beyond all wrongs (like Aslan's magic from before the dawn of time)? I don't mean just his religious faith, although it's partly that--I mean that his contemporaries had a set of moral "certainties" they believed in, that formed a sort of bedrock--which we, in our more ambiguous, ambivalent time, just don't have.

Does that make sense? They still believed in happy endings as a matter of principle, even if the events of the day didn't look so good. Whereas we have a very hard time believing in happy endings . . .

Nice to know that the bonfires are still burning! (Though wouldn't anything with fireworks have to have an infernokrusher element, after all?) :-)
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Jason D. Wittman
Posted on Saturday, July 09, 2005 - 08:34 pm:   

I'd like to reply to the current topic of this thread.

Consider the situation people were in during World War II: the Germans were bombing the city on a regular basis, and you didn't know when the war was going to end. It's when you don't know if the ending will be happy, when there's no end in sight, that people crave happy endings the most. Of course, once the war ended, that's when you got Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, film noir--all emblematic of post-World War II cynicism. The moral: wars don't end happily, they just end (though they are sometimes necessary to halt grave injustices).

As for the taste for dark literature in *this* day and age--and I think it should be said that this taste existed even before September 11, 2001--well, when you're force-fed any one thing for a protracted period of time, you begin to lose your taste for it. The generation which is now raising today's kids has been trying to hand down a Norman Vincent Peale type optimism that kids, being kids, have rebelled against. And yet it's not just that they're kids: they see a dichotomy between what the adults say (help the poor, save the environment) and what they do (go deep into credit card debt to maintain a conspicuous consumption lifestyle and drive around in a Hummer that you will never take into mountainous terrain because God forbid you should ruin the wax job). I myself have never had this problem with my own parents--they always say what they mean, and mean what they say, and I've learned to appreciate that about them (and they don't drive His and Hers Hummers)--but the other adults of their generation (and of this day and age as well) are too focused on *conforming*, to saying what the Donald Trumps and Kenneth Lays of the world want to hear. That type and degree of conformity is not in my nature, and my personal taste for dark literature might stem from that.

Let's focus on the Lemony Snicket books for a moment. The mantra for those books seems to be "Adults Never Listen To Children," but again there's more to it than that. As you read through the books (and I have read the eleven that have been published thus far), you realize that none of the adults that the Baudelaire orphans encounter can even be taken seriously, let alone be expected to listen. They're all too occupied with their own personal quirks and/or hangups to give a thought to the Baudelaires' plight, and so the orphans are constantly left to their own devices--which, fortunately for them, are considerable.

It might be that Lemony Snicket fans see his books as a reflection of the real world, where adults are too obsessed with conspicuous consumption and driving Hummers to give a thought to the things that really matter. That the protagonists of his books succeed despite being outsiders might also be a factor in the books' popularity.

Anyway, that's my two cents.

Jason
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Theodora Goss
Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 11:26 am:   

Thanks, Jason. That's interesting--we have a taste for darkness in literature because this is a generation rebelling against a kind of forceful optimism, which the previous generation has given them. That reminds me, actually, of something I've been watching way too much of, recently: morning PBS for kids. On Between the Lions, there's a segment called "Chicken Jane" which is a takeoff of the old Dick and Jane books. Poor Chicken Jane always does her best to warn Scott and Dot, whose pet she presumably is, of dangers. They always end up safe, and she always ends up getting hit by a meteor, or whatever. I don't know why she doesn't just get a smarter human family. I mean, she can spell. She's obviously a smart chicken. But it's a pretty dark take on a 1950s narrative.

Although, actually, come to think of it, I'm not entirely sure that I understand which of two points you're making. Is it that darkness in children's literature is a rebellion against the old optimistic message? Or is it that our children's literature is dark because we live in relatively wealthy times, just as children's literature had to be optimistic when times were comparatively much darker? It's when we experience hardships that we need happy endings, is part of what you seem to be saying.

I have to admit that happy endings helped me get through my childhood, not that it was particularly awful. But it did contain a lot of upheaval. On the other hand, Lovecraft really helped me get through college. Go figure. (But then, I think of "The Outsider" and "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" as stories with happy endings . . .)
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Jason D. Wittman
Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 11:50 am:   

"I'm not entirely sure that I understand which of two points you're making. Is it that darkness in children's literature is a rebellion against the old optimistic message? Or is it that our children's literature is dark because we live in relatively wealthy times, just as children's literature had to be optimistic when times were comparatively much darker? It's when we experience hardships that we need happy endings, is part of what you seem to be saying."

I'd say it's a little bit of both. In dark times, we need to remember that there can be happy endings. But at the same time, we need to remember that there can be sad endings as well. And we don't like to have anything forced on us, and that includes optimism.

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