Rijksmuseum Moments

November 5, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, LIFE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TRAVEL |

Statue of Anne Frank in Amsterdam

We spent the better part of a day drinking in the marvels contained in this lovely Dutch pile of bricks. A Franz Hals portrait of a couple reminded me of Rose & Freddy West. We didn’t think much of the Night Watch, we have to admit, preferring Rembrandt’s Denial of St Peter with its third-degree searchlight from nowhere. Rembrandts in wonderful abundance, recalling Wyndham Lewis’ observation that “No serious artist thinks or propagates the notion for his own use that anything better can be done than such works as hang above Rembrandt’s name in Amsterdam or the Hermitage.” Corot never…

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Recollections of a Bleeding Heart

(by Don Watson) A portrait both affectionate and sharp, of Paul Keating, Australia’s Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996, beautifully written and constructed by his ‘bleeding heart’ speechwriter (scribbling for him 1992-96).  For all his faults, Keating was a remarkable polemicist and his panache, once he had got to grips with a concept, or a slip by the enemy, was extraordinary. Best example: turning John Hewson’s budget reply charge that Keating would “pull everyone down to the lowest common denominator” into a lethal riposte: “Nothing Keating said in 1992 was as good as this. John Hewson had defined himself as Gordon Gecko….

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The Problem of Knowledge

(by A.J. Ayer) Ayer is a blind alley, albeit a convincing one.  Yet logic and semantics will take us only so far and reading him, one thinks, “you’re too clever by half…..too clever for our good.” We recently had a comment (by someone with the nom de plume “Butt Books”, has commented fit for posterity: “True – logic and semantics will take us only so far. The analytic tradition won’t venture into the realm of speculative metaphysics, obscurantism, and autofellatio. One must turn to the continental tradition for that.“

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The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

(by James Hogg) The protagonist, Robert Wringhim, finds himself spiraling deeper into a vortex of evil. Luckily there’s a mysterious but nice young chap to ‘guide’ him on his way. A towering, fascinating ‘mystery’ novel, revealing how dangerous it is to mix Calvinism and Old Scratch.

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(dir. D.A. Pennebaker) (1960) (Redux 2013) Very slight and grainy documentary by today’s standards. Clearly an outsider’s view, despite the intimacy of the footage. Hubert Humphrey was the only candidate heard discussing policy: hence you knew he was doomed.

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