2014 — 2 April: Wednesday

Foolish optimists that we are, we've made tentative plans for a walk this morning.1 Not before a cuppa, some breakfast, and a chance of Saharan dust pollution (apparently). Such exciting times we live in.

I'm maliciously delighted...

... to learn this of a bête noir of mine — Bruno Bettelheim — even long after his death.2 Though quite why I'm surprised to hear of a Viennese intellectual and Freudian sounding off rather ignorantly is a bit of a puzzle. Source and snippet:

One of the book's few naysayers was psychologist Bruno Bettelheim, who hadn't bothered to read it but had heard about its plot. "The basic anxiety of the child is desertion," he harrumphed. "To be sent to bed alone is one desertion, and without food is the second desertion." Much to the neo-Freudian's annoyance, his gripe was ignored. Where the Wild Things Are received the Caldecott Medal, the highest award for children's books, in 1964. In his acceptance speech, Sendak noted that children live with "disrupting emotions" like "fear and anxiety," coping with frustration as best they can. "And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things. It is my involvement with this inescapable fact of childhood — the awful vulnerability of children and their struggle to make themselves King of All Wild Things — that gives my work whatever truth and passion it may have."

Stefan Lanfer in City Journal

One insightful Sendak is worth ten Bettelheims on any day of the week in my opinion. I can no longer recall how often I have read this wonderful book and its two equally dream-like companions to my son. It was, after all, over 30 years ago.

A pleasantly...

... unsoggy 6.3 mile stroll, enlivened during our lunch munch (on a memorial bench at the site of an ancient riverside cottage) by the sight of eight very cute and endearingly curious piglets. Not something I see or hear every day. No trace of Saharan dust, but there was a certain something adrift in the air. Visibility was lousy to the 'normal' horizon. And my eyes seemed to get a bit dry.

It's been a while...

... since I last watched a Sam Fuller film. Christa and I watched his 1953 noir "Pickup on South Street" just over seven years ago. Today, Mike outlined the storyline of, and has now very kindly lent me, Fuller's 1981 film "White Dog". I'd never heard of it. It's just been released3 here on the same label as the "For All Mankind" NASA footage film that arrived on Monday. I intend to watch it this evening.

[Pause] I was tickled to spot Paul Bartel making a cameo appearance as a camera operator in the film-within-a-film sequence. An interesting effort, though its message was more than a little ponderously presented.



1  In the face of some rather cloudy evidence hereabouts.
2  I have often wondered (but never bothered to investigate in any prolonged way) whether the "Alida Jatich" who had written of living in fear at "Brutalheim's" weird-sounding school is the same lady who later went on to write a CICS programming tutorial book a year or so after Carol and I had written ours in IBM in 1984. Probably not, though her unusual name had caught my attention.
3  It's been critically acclaimed in Europe but got very little exposure in North American cinemas.