Daily Archives: November 26, 2010

Video of the Day: “The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class”

Elizabeth Warren — special adviser to President Obama on the development of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — is probably one of the most capable and decent people to serve in government in a very long time.  She defies expectations when it comes to the pre-programmed yackety-yak of garden variety Washington power brokers.  It is a startlingly refreshing experience to hear her address economic issues honestly and with a degree of respect and concern for the public interest that the public always deserves but almost never gets.

Above is a lecture she gave at UC Berkeley that predates by a year the collapse of financial markets in the fall of 2008.

(Thanks to Hugh McLeod for the tip.)

Eugene Ionesco

An interview with Ionesco (French with English subtitles)

Today is playwright Eugene Ionesco‘s birthday (1909-1994).

Frye in The Educated Imagination:

I said earlier that there’s nothing new in literature that isn’t the old reshaped.  The latest thing in drama is the theatre of the absurd, a completely wacky form of writing where anything goes and there are no rational rules.  In one of these plays, Ionesco’s La Chauve Cantatrice (“The Bald Soprano” in English), a Mr. and Mrs. Martin are talking.  They think they must have seen each other before, and discover that they travelled in the same train that morning, that they have the same name and address, sleep in the same bedroom, and both have a two-year-old daughter name Alice.  Eventually Mr. Martin decides that he must be talking to his long lost wife Elizabeth.  This scene is built on two of the solidest conventions in literature.  One is the ironic situation in which two people are intimately related and yet know nothing about each other; the other is the ancient and often very corny device that critics call the “recognition scene,” where the long lost son and heir turns up from Australia in the last act.  What makes the Ionesco scene funny is the fact that it’s a parody or take-off of these familiar conventions.  The allusiveness of literature is part of its symbolic quality, its capacity to absorb everything from natural or human life into its own imaginative body. (40-1)