Incoherence is essential to choas and conflict

Not my insight, I found it in a sketchbook where I made a note of it a few years ago during a Conflict Resolution seminar at Cardozo law school, but it struck me as a good one, and important to consider at this moment in history (Calli and Noodler’s are inks I was comparing for blackness):

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John Oliver illustrates this point beautifully here.


Fuck Me Blind…

As a kid who wanted to learn to draw well, and who studied a bit of anatomy (from afar, and bloodlessly), I naturally admired the drawings of Michelangelo Buonarroti.   That guy was a genius, I’ll go out on a limb and say it.   I read his poetry, which I admired for its dark invention– he once compared his life’s work to being a swimmer who crosses the sea, only to drown in his own snot.   The fucker could draw, too.  His drawing was sculptural, which is a sensible way for a sculptor to draw.  He famously signed his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, disgusted by having been mercilessly drafted for the endless project by some bullying Pope with a sword, “Michelangelo, sculptor.”

He painted a wonderful self portrait, that I copied in gouache, when I was about twenty, and sent to my grandmother.   She went into raptures over it, framed it and finally got her Aunt Shifra, the mother of internationally famous modern sculptor George Segal, of the ghostly plaster cast constructions, to admit that her grandson was a genius too.   Shifra, it should be pointed out, was very old and probably no match for my strong-willed grandmother Yetta at that point.

In Michelangelo’s self-portrait, and in my crude copy, his flattened nose stands out prominently in his thoughtful, slightly grim face.   I’d read about that broken nose, he got it as a kid.  The story I knew was that Michelangelo, who could always draw, was mocking the drawing of an older classmate in Lorenzo de Medici’s stable of talented youths.  The other guy retorted by  busting the arrogant young genius’s nose.   

There are other versions of the story, as I later learned, one being that Michelangelo was a fucking saint and the older classmate, Pietro Torrigiano, by name, was a jealous hot head.   Indeed, no less an authority than Wikipedia supports the hot head theory, noting of Torrigiano “his career was adversely affected by his violent temperament.”  I should read a bit more of that entry.

But then I saw this sculpture by the jealous hot head Torrigiano and immediately thought “fuck me blind….”

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Actually, just read the rest of the short, ambiguous entry on Pietro Torrigiano and all I can say is “what the fuck?”   Talk about swimming across the ocean only to drown in your own snot…


Reading a well-written page is like having a delicious snack.  I noticed this as I read Jon Katz’s “Saving Simon” just now, as I do whenever I read a bit of Umberto Eco’s masterfully hateful “The Prague Cemetery”.   Reading a good sentence is just a pleasure.

Vibrato, dynamics, the attack of a string, playing in and out of time, laying in a succulent part, leaving space– incomprehensible abstractions to most people, unless they play guitar and have the sensitivity to notice such things.

A well-written sentence?  Even a cat will nod, when the words are set out just right.

penmanship 101


note to kids:  because there is no smell-checker for drawings, and visual artists frequently are not the world’s best spellers, the word “pusillanimous”, meaning ‘marked by contemptible timidity, cowardice’, has been misspelled above.  Sorry about zat.  Always spell that shit with two ‘els’, kids