Archive for October, 2008

His sudden surges of eloquence which amazed people who he met before he became a power in politics is scarcely ever heard now. By the time his ascendency over his party was complete he had fixed in place the persona that characterised him henceforth: calm dignified and sphinx-like. Only his flashing eyes gave life to the face;his talk being measured, grave epigrammatic and delivered in a deep equable tone.
He was a master of prose and in his lifetime his novels were much talked about. He was also a master of verbal duel in which he never chopped where he could slice with his nimble wit.

None of his novels is a work of genius but they are the works of a genius. He had the poetic temperament without the poetic talents. His novels are so many attempts to reveal his feelings in his evolutions as a statesman. Lack of flesh and blood in his characters were to a certain extent saved by his coruscating wit.He once wrote:’ Nobody should ever look anxious except those who have no anxiety.”
In his twilight years, whenever his illness and his duties permitted,Dizzy continued to dine out and deliver some deathless quips. Once when he was asked whether he read a novel that was making a stir, the author of Vivien Grey, Alroy, Coningsby, Lothair and Sybil replied,” When I want to read a novel I write one.”
compiler: benny


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“…for all wives and children were to be in common, to the intent that no one should ever know his own child, but they were to imagine that they were all one family; those who were within a suitable limit of age were to be brothers and sisters, those who were of an elder generation parents and grandparents, and those of a younger children and grandchildren…”(Plato-Timaeus)
The quote is from Timaeus in which Plato using Socrates as his mouthpiece advocates his views on the upbringing of children.  In order to bring up a perfect state he would strike at  the very idea of a family. Instead he argues for a  communal living which is not alien to us. In the turbulent 70s it was in vogue.  Looking at  the history of Sparta we know that such  a state came to ruin in a matter of 3 centuries.. There were many reasons but it suffices to say that bringing up a child under every citizen’s charge was not to have any, as illustrated in the story of Working Within Limits. (note: In Sparta a boy on reaching the age of seven was sent for military training which was run by the state. Women had far greater freedom than of Athens and could bear children from other men within marriage.) With so many fathers doing the office, which one has failed in the upbringing in any particular case? No one father in particular. But the fact remains the child failed in achieving the goal since Sparta was anything but perfect. It fact it was a failed state.
Who is to blame? None. So there is a fuzzy area by which anyone can escape blame.
Now let us look into recent crisis in consumer confidence. Who is to blame for the economic meltdown? Pundits may cite so many reasons but aren’t we all part of the cause since we played the game while stocks went higher and higher?
In our lives we interact with others where uncertainty is part of the deal and in falling with the general trends we give that uncertainty more mileage.
The only way we can be certain is in the way we conduct ourselves. Our actions should dispel whatever uncertainty others may have about us.

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Disraeli’s difficulties lay in the fact both Whigs and Tories distrusted him. He was too individualistic to subscribe to any political program. He disliked the Whigs who had substituted a selfish oligarchy for government while the Tories were on a nosedive loosened from traditions, as leaders of the people and supporter of the monarch. To regain this historical position would sum up his own work for the next half a century.
No one in 1830’s could have guessed that it was feasible, still less that the flashy young Jew would be the motive force behind the Tories. In 1834 Lord Melbourne then Home Secretary met Disraeli in one of the parties. Attracted by his conversation he asked what was his aim. “I want to be the Prime Minister,”replied Disraeli gravely. Melbourne with a weary sigh explained the utter impossibility of such an achievement. He ended with,”You must put all these foolish notions out of your head. This won’t do at all.”
Melbourne when towards the close of ’48 just before his death, heard that Disraeli was to be the leader in the Commons he exclaimed,”By God the fellow will do it, yet.”

Viscount Palmerston, war secretary under many prime ministers was a man of great personal charm and exceptional abilities, perhaps the only member of the House whose brain, Disraeli respected. He was a Lothario and his many amatory adventures were no secret. He stood for many years in the way of Disraeli’s ambitions from achieving their fruition. One of Dizzy’s supporters before an election had collected evidence of a furtive love affair publication of which he was certain would discredit his adversary. Disraeli refused.”Palmerston is now seventy. If he could provide evidence of his potency in his electoral address he would sweep the country,” was his reason.
Like many people who were not native but made England home he was fond of England and the English way of life. However his acute intelligence and robust imagination elicited responses which were so different from that of an Englishman. He loved meeting people from various walks of life especially during political meetings and exchange pleasantries. His opponents seldom missed an opportunity of heckling him.
In delivering a speech he would invariably began slowly and quietly.”Speak up! I can’t hear you!”shouted someone at a Newpost Pagnell meeting in Dec,49. Back came the answer,’Truth travels slowly, but it will reach you in time.’
To one heckler, with whom he was on familiar terms,  who called out,’Speak quick!’ he replied,”It is very easy for you to speak quick when you only utter stupid monosyllables.” He added,”But when I speak I must measure my words; I have to open your great thick head. What I say is to enlighten you. If I bawled like you, you would leave this place as great a fool as you entered it.”
Sometimes political hostility took on more personal forms. One jibed at him that his wife had picked him out of the gutter. His reply was a model of incisive wit delivered in his customary cool and unflappable composure. Dizzy replied,”My dear fellow, if you were in the gutter nobody would pick you out”.
His power of ridicule when given a cause was superb and he could floor anyone whether in the House or outside with a verbal thrust. By nature he was genial and never went out to aggravate the feeling of those whom he disliked. Once in the House he chose to ignore a vicious attack of one whom despised with an excuse, ”I have given him the mercy of my silence.”

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Working With Limits©
The first farmer who settled from a nomadic existence after a couple of  bad starts, reproached the wind thus, ‘Didn’t you tell me to go ahead and plant wheat?”
“Because you gave your word that you are everywhere, I took you on your word and the result,- entire field ruined by water! “ “Oh, it was the clouds which brought on early showers” said the wind.
” Next season it was a drought that did me in” wailed the farmer. “Blame it on the sun,” said the wind. “Aw shucks, What benefit is to me that you are everywhere?”
‘ To be everywhere is not to be anywhere in particular’.
However close and hard we may look at Absolute principle or Absolutism at work we come up against uncertainties that no rational explanation can dispel. It is not in the principle but our blind spot that is at fault. Sheer numbers by which Oneness of things play off march of events, causes and their effects one another no human brain can follow through.  So the best a philosopher could do is to throw up his hands and say,’ God is dead.’ Simple uh?

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A principle is the ultimate basis for our actions.
The correspondence principle exists on account of the fact same matter is the basis for life forms and our universe. At the level of atoms we are all one. Using material nature as the key we create some semblance of order out of cosmic events. (What we observe in our visible universe provides grist to our intellectual mill.)
Oneness is the template from which we correspond micro cosmos with macro cosmos however infinite it may be. Thus any idea that we tease out of Idea we consider as valid. Being finite and unable to work effectively with Time-Space what scale shall we adopt? Only thing that we can commend for such a measure is that the correspondence principle works. Yes to our time and place.
Thus we hold certain values as constant. Energy is constant. Another is Truth.  Absolutism is what gives our principles its validity. When one says God is our father we draw the conclusion using correspondence principle. Reverence to one who has given life to us is in the fitness of things. Truth is perceived as inherent in such an earthly conduct towards our parents. In Correspondence principle the equation of idea to Idea can only be changed in the idea and not in what is Absolute. A parent as giver of life is an idea so is God as the father. Nevertheless how we let the principle shape our conduct can only change our view of Idea not other way about.

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The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (German: Die Bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant) is a 1972 German film directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, based on his own play. It is the 13th of the 33 films he made in his short life. He explores the changing dynamics of love of a successful fashion designer who is a lesbian. Whether straight or gay, the dynamics of love are very much the same. Love has its object and expectations to which both parties must conform. Love, as a comic observed, is a give and take under all circumstances, only watch out the masochist who took all the time,  doesn’t switch roles on you. The film is a case in point.
In relationships the trouble occurs when power wants to get into the act and it is a complication. Power calls the shots and may not know when to stop as in the case of our eponymous heroine. Petra Von Kant (Margit Carstensen) tried straight sex and her both marriages were failure. The first was a great love and the second soon petered out in disgust and she divorced him.  Petra then begins an affair with her assistant. She shows her sadistic side to her in making codependent relationships. Through a friend Petra meets Karin, a desirable, ruthless 23-year-old girl whom she wants to subjugate. Petra persuades Karin to become a model and quickly falls madly in love with her. But Petra’s obsessive love is thwarted and Karin leaves Petra. Petra turns now to her assistant and would rekindle her desires once again. But the assistant, who has had satisfied her personal masochistic desire in submitting to Petra, leaves her, too.
Petra because of her position had the advantage and lets that guide her choices. It is an insidious poison chalice that must bring about unexpected results.  It is a witty tragedy of lovesickness and one of Fassbinder’s most powerful plays and films.
This film has an all female cast and is set in the home of the protagonist, Petra von Kant. This tale of intermingled love and hate is directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and It explores the universal dynamics present in close human relationships, even lesbian ones.


* Margit Carstensen as Petra von Kant
* Hanna Schygulla as Karin Thimm
* Katrin Schaake as Sidonie von Grasenabb
* Eva Mattes as Gabriele von Kant
* Gisela Fackeldey as Valerie von Kant
* Irm Hermann as Marlene
Directed by     Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Produced by     Michael Fengler
(Filmverlag der Autoren)
Written by     Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Cinematography     Michael Ballhaus
Editing by     Thea Eymèsz
Distributed by     New Yorker Films (USA)
Release date(s)     Flag of Germany June 25, 1972
Flag of the United States October 12, 1973
Running time     124 min.
Country     Germany
Language     German
Budget     DEM 325,000 (estimated)- wikipedia

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High Art  (1998, Lisa Cholodenko)
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Lianna  (1983, John Sayles)
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Io Sono Mia  (1978)
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Movies with the Same Personnel
Effi Briest  (1974, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Fox and His Friends  (1975, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
The Marriage of Maria Braun  (1979, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul  (1974, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Querelle  (1982, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Chinese Roulette  (1976, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
The Merchant of Four Seasons  (1971, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Wildwechsel  (1972, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Other Related Movies
has been remade as:      The Politics of Fur  (2002, Laura Nix)
Memorable Quotes:
Petra von Kant: It’s easy to pity, Sidonie, but so much harder to understand. If you understand someone, don’t pity them, change them. Only pity what you cant understand.
Petra von Kant: Of course he took me seriously, respected my opinions… but nevertheless, he wanted to be the breadwinner. That way, oppression lies, that’s obvious. It’s like this, ‘I hear what you’re saying and of course I understand, but who brings home the bacon?’ So there you are, two sets of rules!
Petra von Kant: … he hit a bad patch. At first it was almost funny seeing his ridiculous pride being hurt, and to be honest, I quite enjoyed it.
Petra von Kant: He stank like a man. The way men stink. What had once had its charms now turned my stomach and brought tears to my eyes.
Petra von Kant: I felt nothing for him anymore. Far from it, it got worse. When we ate together his chewing… it was like an explosion. When he swallowed my gorge rose. The way he cut meat, held his cigarette, his whiskey glass… it all seemed so absurd, so affected. I was ashamed for him because I imagined everyone must see him as I did. Of course, it was hysteria. Panic, Sidonie. There was nothing left to save. The end.
Petra von Kant: I think people need each other, they’re made that way. But they haven’t learnt how to live together.
Petra von Kant: Talented? She’s not talented, she just knows how to sell herself.
Petra von Kant: It’s a waste of time being nice to servants.
Sidonie: It’s Karins fault.
Valerie von Kant: Karin? What’s it to do with Karin?
Sidonie: Everyone knows Petra’s mad about her.
Petra von Kant: Mad? I’m not mad, Sidonie. I love her! Love her as I’ve never loved anything in my life… that girl’s little finger is worth more than the lot of you.
Valerie von Kant: My daughter loves a girl. How strange. A girl! My daughter.
Film was shot in ten days.

(Ack: allmovie- by Clarke Fountain,wikipedia,imdb)


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A slice of my father’s life in his own words. He was an orphan, a survivor and his life for all its anonymity was rich; despite of all odds against him he left nevertheless a legacy  among many other things, a hospital for the tribals and the poor; his life, as an example, enriched many of those who came in contact with him. b.

‘I was born at midnight of 11th February 1909,corresponding to 29th Makaram 1084 Malayalam Era. My father comes from a respectable Syrian Christian family by name Kuttichira,of the village Kythakuzhi near Chathannur in Quilon District…
My mother was the eldest daughter of Mr. Jacob Wilson of the Kythayil family, Puthupally,Kottayam. Mr Jacob Wilson was the English and Logic lecturer of the old C.M.S College, Kottayam…My father lost his own father when he was a young boy. I had  a young brother by name Mathew Wilson(Baby) taking my father’s name Mathew and my maternal father’s name while I took the name of my paternal grandfather, Kuttichira Mathew Thomas. In the year succeeding my birth, about a month before the birth of my brother my father died of typhoid.  I believe it was in the month of September 1910, and in the succeeding year my mother also expired when my brother Mathew Wilson was barely an year old.
My paternal grandmother Mariamma was from the Kallada Malayil family. She was widowed when she was only in her late twenties and had to struggle very much to bring up her children, three sons and one daughter, of whom my father was the eldest. It was another woeful tale of sorrows for my grandmother and her children but God’s grace sustained the family.
My father Kuttichira Ummen Mathew studied for Mechanical Engineering in Bombay (now renamed Mumbai b.) and was serving …in a private firm at Vypeen, Cochin, at the time of his death. (His two brothers turned to agriculture looking after paddyfields and gardens.)
It is to such an agricultural family set up at Kythakuzhy, that I was taken at the age of 3 from Kottayam, my maternal grandfather’s house.
The earliest streaks of my memory readily bring to my mind the funeral of my mother, the dead body being carried from home and the final lowering of the body into the pit. The next is a visit by my eldest uncle Ummen Koshy to Kottayam, my maternal grandfather’s home.
The next important indeliable impression is the journey from Kottayam
to Kallada in a country boat (Kettu vallom)

(image :A kettuvallom is much larger and is meant for traveling days together through inland canals.Two persons use barge poles front and rear to navigate. At the centre there will be a little hut of thatched cover for cooking and resting. The name kettu I suppose is derived because of boats are made of wood and lashed together with wooden nails than iron. Made waterproof with cashewnut oil etc.,Earlier there used to be navigable waterway all along the Travancore state fringed on either side by coconut trees. It was truly a magical place. b)

along with my grandmother, through backwaters, and reaching a land of canals and coconut  trees which is Kallada, a beautiful spot in the mouth of the Kallada river. After a stay for a week there the onward journey was again by boat (vallom) to Chathannur.
Another important unforgettable incident connected with the journey is the final arrival of the party consisting of grandmother, a paternal uncle (first cousin of my father), a servant who accompanied her on the journey to the new family house at Kythakuzhy. They say that there are instincts in animals which make them adopt certain irresistible course of actions; so they say, that rats leave a sinking vessel and animals shun the approach of a slaughter house. At the boundary wall of the house where I was to to live through, for the next 10 or 12 years, through several agonies and miseries of childhood, my soul rebelled and resisted entry to the compound even;  the grown up tried their very best to get me over the stile over the wall; the only answers they received were kicks and cries and a total refusal. So they had to take me back to a neighboring house of an uncle and after pacifying me with delicious mangoes and fruits I was somehow taken to the house , a little later, as I fell asleep…’
(selected: benny)

image 2. (my father in the early 70s).

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