- Reader A.: “‘Friable‘ is a good term from geology, describing rocks that crumble easily, there’s a good one for the antonym ‘indurated'”
- Reader B.: “With regards to WORD(S): friable; how would you explain ‘fricassée’?’ — Apparently unrelated. Fricassée is from the French fricasser (to chop and stew food in its own sauce). The origin of fricasser is uncertain, but possibly from frire (to fry) + quasser (to break in pieces).
- another Reader B.: “Your opening quote has a good caution for my profession: ‘if you point the people’s eye to the future, they might not see what is being done to hurt them in the present.’ ¶ I like the idea of having a withheld section.”
- Reader M.: “Circular brought to mind an amazing film I saw twenty some years ago at a Festival: The Perfect Circle .. end of last century .. set in Sarajevo during the war .. a group of innocents caught in the crossfire of insanity .. always wanted to see it again, but my library doesn’t have it [sigh] .. I think I’ll look for it through inter-library loan .. thanks for reminding me .. ¶ p.s. my circle started just to the left of bottom (7 o’clock) and was drawn clockwise .. I guess I’m weird or the Japanese poetry is getting to me…”
- Reader S.: “Loved that 10yr timelapse of the Sun! Check this out: This photo of the Sun is the closest ever taken“
- Reader J.: “Under Milk Wood! Yay! ¶ Also Typography – katexic is always a treat. ¶ Loved the Parks/Manzotti link as well, but was sorry to see Manzotti devolve into externalist mysticism at the end.
- Reader M.: “…how fun about the weird fungi–I just today got word that, although not a botanist, I was able to contribute photos of two types of fungi, Shoehorn Oyster and Leafy Brain, to the Belle Island Species Count, a project that “aims to identify and track all living organisms observed on Belle Island in Kingston, Ontario. Besides its history and spiritual significance, this small piece of land provides home to great diversity of species. By documenting the biodiversity of the island we are hoping to improve its protection.”
- Reader S.: went on an illuminating journey…thanks so much for sharing! They write:
This morning, when reading katexic clippings I became intrigued by this “xanthic laugh” of Beckett. I was trying to find deeper the origins of this phrase – it seems he took it from the original phrase in French which is “rire jaune” (yellow laugh).
But where did “rire jaune” come from?
Then I stumbled upon an article in Le Figaro (typically, politically, a right-learning newspaper but occasionally worth a read for other content) and learned that (putting aside for a moment its positive symbolism in gold) “When the yellow is dull, it becomes on the contrary the symbol of evil, of sulfur, of hell and ultimately, of betrayal. “It is associated with adultery when the sacred bonds of marriage are broken, like the sacred bonds of divine love, broken by Lucifer,” notes the Dictionary of Symbols. Thus was born during the medieval era a whole mythology around the color yellow. An imagery of the evil one, notably reinforced by the biblical figure of Judas, whom painters and customs very often represented dressed in yellow.”
Also it seems that Jews, during the Spanish Inquisition, were made to dress in yellow, a symbol of heresy and betrayal, according to Claude Duneton in “La Puce à l’oreille”…
As for the original expression, “rire jaune”, Duneton attests the locution at Oudin in 1640. He writes: “He laughs yellow like flour.” Flour does not refer here to food, but to “concealers” in slang, says Georges Planelles. It eventually becomes an expression that refers to a sort of hypocritical laugh.
And then suddenly, “xanthic laugh” made more sense.
So thanks for the little journey your katexic sent me on this morning!
- Reader B.: “Here is a link to a web page of poems that I have written around George Floyd’s murder, and the personal examination that the movement across this country has inspired in all white people.
- Reader A.: “I wish I had something clever or witty to say about this serving of katexic, but just want to say how nourishing it is for my brain to wander through the links (spent longest time learning more and looking at the work of Milton Glaser, but also humbled how little I new of Arthur Ashe beyond my tv memories of seeing him win with class against that arrogant Jimmy Connors).”
- Reader J.: “I’m glad you’re back l with your signature style of #flamflacockadoodle and feisty reality.” — I need to create something named #flamflacockadoodle!
- A different Reader J.: “The idea that ‘Reality’ is constructed by your brain is false because it is a gross oversimplification. See this series of conversations about consciousness between novelist, essayist, and translatorTim Parks and philosopher, psychologist, and robotics engineer Riccardo Manzotti.”
- Reader B.: “Bravo! ¶ It’s really hard to underestimate the shock of WWI. The more I look into it the deeper and weirder it gets.”
- Reader C.: “You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument. WOW. Just WOW.”
- Reader J.: “Paul Harvey wrote in The Oxford Companion to English Literature that ‘Titivil was evidently in origin a creation of monastic wit.'”
- Reader M.: “I just read an excellent movie review of Da 5 Bloods and (literally) the next thing I read is your newsletter’s Work quote.” — Synchronicity!
Reader J.: “‘Africa‘ – wow. Clever and – it took me down the rabbit hole of Tesla Coil music. Btw, I wonder if you might get around to some kind of tribute to the greatest living musician, Jacob Collier. ¶ Also – thanks for the BLM Heads-up. ¶ Also, also – for the Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things. Down time for a sunny day.” — That’s incredibly high praise for Jacob Collier, who I have to admit I’ve only heard of, not actually listened to. I guess it’s time!
- Reader B.: “Apricots: as a lifelong Jacobean revenge fan, I can’t help but share this odd bit from Malfi, where a schemer detects a hidden pregnancy via that fruit.”
- Reader J.: “I loved the full etymology — but couldn’t resist the sound connection: from Arabic al-birquq, from Spanish Albuquerque…”
Many, many thanks to everyone (I’ll spare you a long list of initials) who wrote in over the last week to support my abrupt change of content in recognition of current events. Those notes happily outnumbered the unsubscriptions.
- Reader T.: “The CIA has tips for resistance.”
- Reader B.: “I confess to finding myself caught by opposing impulses and arguments. On the one hand is the line you articulated well, pace Wiesel, that it is vital to speak out against injustice. On the other are voices saying that this is the time for marginalized voices, that for whites to speak risks centering discourse on their experience.” — I hear you. I’ve settled in on the mode of trying to amplify marginalized voices, and some others that seem most genuine and insightful to help with that, while being mostly quiet myself. But it’s challenging in any case. Just going dark, which was my first impulse, seems wrong.
- Reader B.: “Maybe a little hope when we need it. It doesn’t take as many people to win as you might think. Check out The ‘3.5% rule’: How a small minority can change the world“
- Reader D.: “The good folks of the Katexic Clamor should get their free copy of Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Police Violence and Resistance in the United States while they can.”
- Reader S.: “I’m an Indian, and this is about the indigenous experience, but it’s never been more relevant: How to Survive an Apocalypse and Keep Dreaming.”
- Reader T.: “Do you know about The Highlighter? It’s been an essential newsletter on race, education, and culture for a long time.”
- A different Reader B.: “So much this:
ESQ: How can we get the black people to cool it?from James Baldwin: How to Cool It“
JAMES BALDWIN: It is not for us to cool it.
ESQ: But aren’t you the ones who are getting hurt the most?
JAMES BALDWIN: No, we are only the ones who are dying fastest.