- Reader A. w/r/t Walter Mosley: “All the pbs newshour commentators filmed in their homes, and guests, are filmed in front of mass arts of books. I have thousands, they are in fully asked shelves, boxes, stacked on the floor, staircases, by the bed, etc. they are. My life.”
- Reader B.: “Another glorious shipment from the Atelier Katexique! ¶ Reaction videos: my family wants me to make these because I react Gothically to cute animal videos.”
- Reader K.: “In your note about meretricious you asked for a word to refer to words that don’t mean what you might expect. I’ve been racking my brain! Help!!” — I did, in fact, find an apt coinage: phantonym!
- Another Reader K.: “What kind of of – I don’t even know – does it take to compose a work like Cadaeic Cadenza?”
- Reader Z.: “Coverage of the ongoing USPS debacle should not be WITHHELD.” — Noted. I expect I’ll have something in the next issue.
Responses: August 16, 2020
- Reader A.: “Check out CrappyDesign and Oddly Satisfying on reddit.” — I love both of these!
- Reader J.: “Today I watched the Ai Weiwei film you linked to. What a treat. Then I switched over to Drive and Listen, and went to Beijing. The first thing I saw was the CCTV Bldg., and I knew that exact spot. I spent days and days and days in that neighborhood discovering all the nooks and crannies that afforded a view of the building. I ended up with over 13,000 photos of the area over the following four-and-half years with the building somewhere in each shot. I ran in to Ai Weiwei there taking photos on a cold December evening in 2007 on the very corner that opened up when I went to Beijing in Drive and Listen. I remember that I nodded and smiled. He didn’t. I wasn’t surprised. It was Ai, and there was no expectation of a warm greeting. Love so many things he does, but he can be surly. I’ve never been one to bother people who I don’t know but admire; I’m much more interested in the art they produce. I wouldn’t have even nodded had we not ended up on that corner at the same time. I remember he had an assistant carrying his considerable gear, a young woman shorter than Ai but with the same body type — low center of gravity with a good deal of heft. I, on the other hand, was alone and shooting with a hand-held digital dslr. If I recall correctly, there weren’t any notable shots from that evening. I hope he had better luck than I.”
- Reader T.: “I enjoyed the article on Fairbanks bars. Nice little hit of nostalgia. I have a framed Sandy Jamieson print (Big Ravens) in my office that depicts the corner where I used to park to wait for a certain ex-girlfriend to get off work across the street at the TV station. And I’ll certainly not forget that night we started at the Boatel and ended up… not sure where?” — I’m ashamed to share my response querying which Boatel incident that was…
Responses: August 9, 2020
- Reader A. on : “When I look in the mirror I exclaim ‘Grandma! You’re Back!'”
- Reader H.: “You shared some fantastic links about voting rights. Now some good news in Iowa.”
- Reader J.: “Everyone needs Evan Lorenzen’s tiny books.”
- Reader T.: “FutureMe is neat, but writing letters to your future self is as easy as stuffing some envelopes or using this paper time capsule.”
Responses: August 2, 2020
- Reader A. on Paul Beatty’s WORK: “The Scottish courts have w. The third is ‘Not Proven’, which doesn’t let the accused off the hook, yet.”
- Reader B: “Which Pynchon was the source [of the pixilated quote]?”
- Reader C.: “No idea that pixilated had another much more interesting definition.”
- Another Reader C.: “I just wanted to add emphasis to a small bit in that Jia Tolentino interview — What’s one skill we should all learn while in quarantine? ¶ TOLENTINO: How to make someone feel loved from a distance.”
- Reader K.: “I thought I’d send you, in response to my delight at the ‘Wealth Drawn to Scale‘ imagery, this link to a recent NYT article about artists’ responses to the current ‘hauntological’ (great term I’m pretty sure invented by the artists) crisis…”
Responses: July 26, 2020
- 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“
Responses: July 19, 2020
- 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!
Responses: July 12, 2020
- 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.”