Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lazarillo de Tormes: Translated from the Spanish by Marciano Guerrero (Chapter 1 Part 2 of 3)

Lazarillo de Tormes, à SalamanqueImage by fredpanassac via Flickr
About this time a blind man came by and stayed at the inn. Thinking I would be a good guide for him, he asked my mother if I could serve him, and she said I could. She told him I was the son of a good man who had died in the battle of Gelves for the holy faith. Further, she said she trusted God that I wouldn't turn out any worse a man than my father, begging him to be good to me and to look after me, since an orphan I was now.

To this the blind man responded that he would and that he accepted me not as a servant, but as a son. And so I began to serve and guide my new yet old master.      

After we had been in Salamanca a few days, my master was unhappy with the amount of money he was taking in, and he decided we should leave. So when we were ready to go, I went to see my mother. And with both of us crying she gave me her blessing, saying:

“Son, I know that I'll never see you again. Try to be good, and may God be your guide. I've raised you and given you to a good master; take good care of yourself.”

And then I returned to my master who was waiting for me.   

Soon after we left Salamanca we came to a bridge where at the edge there's a stone statue of an animal that looks like a bull. The blind man ordered me to go up next to the animal, and when I was there he said,

“Lazaro, put your ear next to this bull and you'll hear a great sound inside of it.”

Curious, I simply put my ear next to it, thinking he was telling the truth. And when he felt my head was on the stone, he slammed his fist, knocking my head against that devil of a bull so hard that I felt the pain from its horns for three days. And he said to me,

“You, moron! Pull your head out of your ass and learn that a blind man's servant always has to run one step ahead of the devil.”

And he laughed out loud at his joke.

It seemed to me that at that very instant I woke up from my sleepy childlike innocence, saying to myself,
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Piers Morgan: An Unserious Journalist Works for CNN--a Serious News Organization?

"How can I possibly work with all these a...Image by pete riches via Flickr
Piers Morgan a British journalist with sleazy credentials replaced the revered Larry King on CNN, using this platform to defend Rupert Murchod and Donald Trump. He also appears as a judge in some reality show.

If CNN is a serious news organization why doesn't Wolf Blitzer reports the Hacking scandal? I was shocked to see Wolf Blitzer and Don Limon --anchormen at CNN-- defend this man.

What does Piers Morgan have on the CNN executives that hired him? Something smells foul to high heaven here!

What follows is an article that appeared in Yahoo news:
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Embattled CNN host Piers Morgan—whose years as editor of the News of the World and the Daily Mirror are coming under increasing scrutiny amid Britain’s phone-hacking and police bribery scandal—has spent much of the past week denying any involvement in questionable journalistic tactics and lashing out at his critics.

But in a nearly forgotten interview on a BBC radio program two years ago, Morgan admitted to knowing of some of the news- and gossip-gathering practices that are now under investigation by the U.K. government as well as by a Justice Department probe in the United States. He did not specifically admit to the interception or “hacking” of voicemail messages, one of the practices under official investigation since the revelation that the 

News of the World hacked the cellphone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002.
But two years before the exposure of Fleet Street’s methods rocked the British body politic, Morgan didn’t disagree that that phone-“tapping” and other “down-in-the-gutter” tactics might have been employed in attainment of sensational scoops.

In the June 7, 2009, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 of “Desert Island Discs”—in which guests select musical works, books, and luxury items for an imaginary marooning on a remote island—interviewer Kirsty Young pressed the former Fleet Street editor about tabloid tactics that were being widely condemned at the time in Parliament and elsewhere.
“And what about this nice middle-class boy who would have to be dealing with, I mean, essentially people who rake through people’s bins for a living?” Young asked Morgan. “People who tap people’s phones, people who take secret photographs...who do all that very nasty down-in-the-gutter stuff—how did you feel about that?”

Morgan’s response: “Well, to be honest, let’s put that into perspective as well. Not a lot of that went on…A lot of it was done by third parties, rather than the staff themselves.” But, in an admission Morgan more recently has steered clear of, he added: “That’s not to defend it, because obviously you were running the results of their work.”

Morgan, who since January has been hosting CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight in the 9 p.m. time slot formerly occupied by Larry King Live, was making an apparent reference to Fleet Street’s frequent use of private investigators to obtain personal information on celebrities, government officials, and other subjects of sensational stories. A recent official government report on privacy violations by the British press, “What Price Privacy Now?” listed, by newspaper, the number of transactions between journalists and private investigators from an earlier probe in 2003, when Morgan was in charge of the Daily Mirror. That newspaper ranked third, ahead of the fifth-ranked News of the World, with 681 transactions involving 45 staffers.

In the past week, he has been heatedly denying that he published stories obtained through phone hacking and other questionable methods.
“I’m quite happy to be parked in the corner of tabloid beast and to have to sit here defending all these things I used to get up to,” Morgan added in the radio interview, “and I make no pretense about the stuff we used to do. I simply say the net of people doing it was very wide and certainly encompassed the high and the low end of the supposed newspaper market.”
Morgan argued to The Daily Beast on Tuesday night that there is nothing inconsistent in his two-year-old remarks on BBC Radio and the comments he’s been making on CNN in the past week and to The New York Times over the weekend.

“There is no contradiction between my comments on Kirsty Young’s Desert Island Discs show and my unequivocal statements with regard to phone-hacking,” Morgan said in a statement. “Millions of people heard these comments when I first made them in 2009 on one of the BBC’s longest-running radio shows, and none deduced that I was admitting to, or condoning illegal reporting activity. Kirsty asked me a fairly lengthy question about how I felt dealing with people operating at the sharp end of investigative journalism. My answer was not specific to any of the numerous examples she gave, but a general observation about tabloid newspaper reporters and private investigators. As I have said before, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone.”
CNN didn’t offer its own statement regarding Morgan’s admission on BBC radio.
In the interview—which was supplied by British blogger Guido Fawkes to The Daily Beast—Morgan described his attitude toward journalism in 1994, when Rupert Murdoch appointed him the youngest editor ever of the News of the World, Britain’s biggest-selling Sunday tabloid that Murdoch shut down July 10 amid the scandal after 168 years of publishing.
“To be honest with you,” Morgan told Young, “when I first started I was 28. I was carefree. I didn’t really give things much thought.
“I think that brought with it a bravado, courage, and daring that you wouldn’t get if you were 40. But it also brought a sense of slight abandonment about the reality of what you were doing to people. And I think that as I got a bit older and went through my own trials and tribulations, my view of the pleasure to be derived from that kind of thing began to diminish.”

Morgan’s mea culpa two years ago was in stark contrast in his stout declaration of probity on his CNN program on July 18, the night before his former boss, Rupert Murdoch, was grilled by a select committee in the House of Commons. “For the record, I do not believe that any story that we published in either title”—the News of the World, which he edited from 1994 to 1994, or the Daily Mirror, which he edited from 1995 to 2004—“was ever gained in an unlawful manner.”
And he waged a fierce battle on Twitter this past weekend with Conservative Member of Parliament Louise Mensch, who claimed at the July 19 hearing—inaccurately, as it turned out—that Morgan had admitted in his memoir, The Insider, that phone-hacking was used to obtain a scoop at the Daily Mirror.
“If you keep tweeting about me in this demented fashion,” Morgan warned the MP, “then I may have you arrested for stalking.”
Mensch has declined to repeat her claims outside Parliament, where statements are protected by a privilege and not subject to libel actions.
“Because if you don’t repeat them,” Morgan tweeted at her, “then everyone will know you’re a gutless lying coward. Won’t they?”

A little later Morgan, marking a million Twitter followers, added: “How best to celebrate passing the million? I’m going to do everyone a favour. You are hereby UN-followed @LouiseMench—see ya."
In a subsequent tweet, he announced to Mensch: “In fact, I’m going further—you are now officially BLOCKED.” He added the hashtag: “#NoTimeForLyingHalfWits.”
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Ortega y Gasset: The Dehumanization of Art (Artistic Art - Excerpt 2 of 2)

Romantic history painting. Commemorates the Fr...Image via WikipediaARTISTIC ART (part 2)

During the XIX century artists proceeded in all too impure a fashion. They reduced the strictly aesthetic elements to a minimum and let the work consist almost entirely in a fiction of human realities. In this sense we can say that all normal art of the last century has been realistic. Realistic were Beethoven and Wagner. Realists were Chateaubriand as well as Zola. Romanticism and Naturalism, from today’s vantage point, draw closer together and reveal their common realistic root.

Works of this kind are only partially works of art, or artistic objects. Their enjoyment does not depend upon our power to adjust to the transparencies and images, which constitutes the artistic sensibility. All they require is human sensibility to let resonate within our neighbor's joys and worries. We can see why nineteenth century art has been so popular: it is made for the masses inasmuch as it is not art but an extract from life. Let us remember that in epochs with two different types of art, one has been for minorities and one for the majority, the latter has always been realistic.

Let’s not now discuss whether pure art is possible. Perhaps it is not; but since the reasons that drive us to this negation are somewhat long and difficult—it’s better to drop the subject.

Besides, it is not of major importance to our current theme. Even though pure art may be impossible there is doubtless a tendency toward a purification of art. Such a tendency will arrive at a progressive elimination of the human, all too human, elements predominant in romantic and naturalistic production. And in this process a point can be reached in which the human content has grown so thin that we can barely see it. We’ll then have an object that can be perceived only by those endowed with the peculiar gift of artistic sensibility. It will be an art for artists and not for the masses; it will be an art the high born, and not for the populace.

That is why modern the artist divides the public into two classes, those who understand it and those who do not understand it; that is to say, those who are artists and those who are not. The new art is an artistic art.

I do not propose to extol the new way in art or to condemn the old one used in the past century. I restrict myself to characterize them as the zoologist characterizes two contrasting species. The new art is a world-wide fact. For about twenty years now the most alert young people of two successive generations —in Berlin, Paris, London, New York, Rome, and Madrid— have found themselves faced with the undeniable fact that traditional art bored them; moreover, that they detest it. With these young people one can do one of two things: either shoot them, or try to understand them. I have opted in favor of the latter.

Promptly have I noticed in them the blossoming of a new sense of art, perfectly clear, coherent, and rational. Far from being a whim, their way of feeling is the inevitable and fruitful result of the previous entire artistic evolution.

Whimsical, arbitrary, and consequently useless it would be to set oneself against the new style and obstinately remain shut up within forms already archaic, exhausted, and obsolete. In art, as in morals, duty does not depend on our personal judgment; we have to accept the working imperative imposed by the time.
Submission to the order of the day, to be certain, is the only probability open to the individual. Even so he may achieve nothing; but his failure is much more likely if he insists on composing another Wagnerian opera, or another naturalistic novel.

In art all repetition is null. Each style that manifests itself in history can engender a certain number of different forms within a generic type. But there always comes a day when the magnificent quarry is depleted. This, for instance, has happened with romantic-naturalistic novel and theater.

It is a naive error to believe that the present in-fecundity of both genres is due to lack of personal talent. What happens is that the possible combinations within them are exhausted. Thus, it must be deemed fortunate that this exhaustion coincides with the emergence of a new artistic sensibility capable of detecting new and untouched quarries.

When we analyze the new style we find certain closely connected tendencies. It tends (1) to dehumanize art, (2) to avoid living forms, (3) to insure that the work of art is nothing but a work of art, (4) to consider art as play and nothing else, (5) to be essentially ironical, (6) to elude all falsehood and hence to aspire to scrupulous realization. And finally, (7) art, according to the young artists, is a thing of no transcending consequence.
Let’s sketch briefly each of these features of the new art.
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ortega y Gasset: The Dehumanization of Art (Artistic Art - Excerpt 1 of 2)

PaintingsImage by Airelle.info via FlickrARTISTIC ART

If the new art is not accessible to every man, this means that its levers are not of a generically human kind. It is an art not for men in general, but for a very special class of men who may not be better than the others but who are evidently different.

Before anything else, one point must be clarified. What is it the majority of people call aesthetic pleasure? What happens in their souls when they "like" a work of art; for instance, a theatrical performance? The answer is straight: people like a play when they have become interested in the human destinies presented to them. The loves, hatreds, sorrows, and joys of the personages move their hearts: they participate in them as though they were actual happenings in life. And they call a work "good" if it succeeds in creating the necessary quantity of illusion to make the imaginary personages appear like living persons.

In poetry they will seek the passion and pain of the man that throbs behind the poet. In painting, the only works that will attract them are the figures of males and females with whom it would be interesting to live. A landscape is pronounced "pretty" if the real landscape it represents deserves for its loveliness or its poignancy to be visited on a trip.

Which means that for the majority of the people aesthetic pleasure isn’t in essence a diverse spiritual attitude, separate from what is habitual in their ordinary life. It differs only in accidental qualities: being perhaps less utilitarian, more intense, and of painless consequences.

Definitely, though, the object in which art focuses, the goal of its attention, and with it all their other mental powers, is the same as in daily life: figures and human passions. And they will call art the set of means through which they are brought in contact with interesting human affairs. They will tolerate the artistic forms proper, the unreal, and fantasy only if they do not interfere with the perception of forms and human adventures. As soon as these purely aesthetic elements predominate, and the public cannot grasp well the story of John and Mary, the public will remain disoriented—at a loss as to what to make of the scene, the book, or the painting. And it is only natural; they don’t know any other attitude before the objects other than the practical one, what en-passions us to infuse feelings in them. A work that does not invite this intervention leaves them clueless.

Now, at this point we must be perfectly clear. Rejoicing or grieving at such human destinies as a work of art presents or narrates is a very different thing from true artistic pleasure. Moreover: that preoccupation with the human content of the work is in principle incompatible with aesthetic enjoyment proper.

What we have is a very simple optical problem. To see an object we must adjust our visual apparatus in a certain way. If the adjustment is inadequate we won’t see the object or we’ll see it badly. Let the reader imagine that we are seeing a garden through a glass window. Our eyes will adjust in such a way that the ray of vision penetrates through the pane without being held up by it, going to rest on the shrubs and flowers. Since our goal is to see the garden, our ray of vision is thrust toward it, we do not see the glass but look clear through it—remaining the glass unperceived. The purer the glass, the less we see it. With some effort we can also disregard the garden and, withdrawing the ray of vision, detain it on the glass. We then lose sight of the garden; what we behold of it is a confused mass of color which appears pasted to the pane. Hence to see the garden and to see the windowpane are two incompatible operations which exclude one another because they require different ocular adjustments.

Similarly, whoever seeks in the work of art to empathize with the fate of John and Mary or Tristan and Isolde by adjusting his spiritual perception to them, will not see the work of art.

Tristan's sorrows are sorrows and can arouse compassion only in so far as they are taken as real. But an object of art is artistic only because it is not real. In order to enjoy Titian's portrait of Charles the Fifth on horseback we must forget that this is Charles the Fifth the authentic and living person, and see instead a portrait, an unreal image, a fiction. The portrayed subject and his portrait are two entirely different objects; we are interested in either one or the other. In the first case we "live" with Charles the Fifth, in the second we “gaze” at an object of art.

But the great majority of people are incapable of adjusting their attention to the pane and the transparency that is the work of art; instead they look right through it, wallowing passionately in the human reality alluded to in the work of art. Should they be invited to let go of this prey and to direct their attention to the work of art itself, they will say that they cannot see such a thing, which indeed they cannot, because they cannot see human objects; only artistic transparencies and virtual purities will they see.
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lazarillo de Tormes: Translated from the Spanish by Marciano Guerrero

Yayo el idolo picaresco de la argentina.Image via WikipediaExcerpt from the timeless Spanish classic: Lazarillo de Tormes
With Lazarillo the picaresque genre takes off, followed by countless novels narrated in the first person, episodic, and focusing on the trials and tribulations of the narrator. Yet, despite the quantity of picaros--none come close in freshness, humor, and vitality to our Lazaro--from Tormes, Spain.

My widowed mother, finding herself without shelter and without husband, decided to move in with some good people —being good herself— coming to live in the city.

There she rented a little house and began to cook for some students, and to wash clothes for some stable boys who served the Commander of La Magdalena, spending a lot of the time around the stables. Soon she and a dark man —one of those men who took care of the animals— got to know each other.

Sometimes this man would come to our house and wouldn't leave till the next morning. And other times he would come to our door during the day pretending to buy eggs and then he would come inside.

When he first began to come I didn't like him, and was afraid of him because of the color of his skin and his bad looks. But when I saw that with him around we ate better, I began to like him quite a lot. He always brought bread, pieces of meat, and in the winter he brought in firewood so we could keep warm.

NOTE: my translation will soon be available in KINDLE and Nook.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

East of Tiffany's - Review by Rinku



Every sentence of this book(East of Tiffany's) compels me to read the next one and the next one--there's no let up! It's like reading a thriller, except there's no violence in this book--only love.

It's an interesting book with decent, life-enhancing stories. The best story that I liked is the first one: the love story of Marc and Mary Patricia. Their love story touched my heart, it taught me what love is. It's been several weeks since I read this story, yet I still carry it in my heart, my mind, and my soul. That a couple could live a married life of more than half a century and still feel their love as if it was the first minute when they met, is just wonderful.

Call me romantic, dreamer, or square, that's okay--but let me one day love like Mary-Patricia.

In my point of view, marc and mary-patricia's story, is no less gripping,sweet, and heart-wrenching than the story of Romeo and Juliet. That is how high I think of it.

If anyone doubts my word, check out the tons of reviews in amazon.com, barnes and noble. Readers from all over the world agree with me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ortega y Gasset's Ideas About the Novel (English and Spanish Editions)



Ideas About the Novel is a prophetic book.

Years before academics and critics attempted to analyze the problems of the Novel, Jose Ortega y Gasset dissected it —and to some extent saved it— by pointing out that

(1) the novel should show and not tell
(2) the novel should move from plot to character, and
(3) the novel as a non-transcendent art form—and much more.

My new translation is now available in KINDLE and NOOK within 2 days.