The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Woodcut Confidential! #1


Gaikoku jinbutsu zukushi - Amerika
(People from Foreign Lands: Americans)
(Yoshitora Utagawa; 1861)

1 comment :

Vanwall said...

Damned gaijins, they ruin everything. 'Course, within 40 years or so, and remember, they were essentially a 1400-1500's level society, the Japanese were kicking Imperial Russia's butt at Tsushima, where the Japanese Navy was scarily up-to-date, (Thanks, England!) and at Port Arthur, the real harbinger of modern warfare - machine guns, quick-firing artillery, and the soon-to-be sadly familiar trench warfare that only reinforced the attack-a-loutrance view of the French General Staff, that would lead to the atrocious casualties in the Great War. After all, the lower ranks can be sacrificed for a paltry few yards, at least for a generation or so. :(

The Japanese took horrendous casualties in a lot of the land battles from this period, but generally were victorious, so much so that they seemed to be stuck in amber for the next 40 years, thank God - they became resistant to technological advancements in land warfare, especially with individual unit firepower, and although their Navy and Air Force were second to none, they couldn't hold ground in the end, regardless of how suicidal it became.

In a way, that was a gift from the gods, for not only were the militarists either mostly dead or totally discredited, the commercial-minded survivors of both the pre-war purges and the war itself shared that peculiar knack the Japanese have for technological exploitation, and I daresay no other society has rebuilt itself twice in a hundred years into a major power, in such opposite manners. All that from a visit by the black ships.

BCNU