One way to look at Melancholia (P12)is to set it against Leonardo, the epitomy of Renaissance advance. Leonardo’s portraits are fantastically, almost unrealistically perfect, whereas Durer’s copperplates are medievalist and introspective. The image of the scales above the cherub could represent the ideal counterbalance that is present in every classical figure (see “head proportionate to body” W15 P1).
While in Leonardo that perfection of balance is attained, in Durer everything is asymmetrical and the “tools of the trade” – scales, lathe – are displayed. In other words, in Leonardo geometry is incorporated into the figure and the composition; in Durer it is kept separate (see also the landscape copperplate). Durer’s draftsmanship is more expressive and less scientific.
Leonardo’s perfection is unrealistic, while Durer’s imperfection is realistic (this reminds me of R Crumb’s complaint about idealism: “It’s all the Italian’s fault!”) It all hinges on the classical moment where Apollo (order) is balanced by Dionysus (expression). Once the balance is achieved, the scales can tip either way, to either anarchy or to more perfection.
Melancholia might actually point that out in the sense that perfection is unrealistic. The only reality is balance between order and expression. You might see our world as Leonardo’s legacy since we see more and more inventions of the ordered universe (geometry) – the hyperloops and so forth. However, these come without Leonardo’s genius for expression – Dionysus (see P12). This points to a future of geometrical order that is death to expression – the psyche, the strong, muscular physique, the superpower of nature, man or woman.
To me, the Durer copperplate landscape resembles a dreamlike, fairy tale landscape; man’s dreams superimposed on nature. As geometry advances, these unresolved spaces are at a premium – literally since they’re priceless. So, gradually the dollar takes over from the “magic” or dreamlike quality. The dollar is always associated with advance – geometry – so the fact that we are getting wealthier is another way of saying the psychic quality of landscapes – or cityscapes (CH5) – is extinguishing. Could it be Disney recognized this back in the day to create the magic space of Disneyland? It is the dollar, but an old-style one.
Disney was a visionary, while Trump is the reverse. Howards was a visionary and his creations are “products of an industry”. You could also say Indian paintings and crafts are products of an industry. There’s no need to be anti industry and work; it’s what the dollar represents which is the reverse of psyche, balance, action, dreaming. When Trump speaks of “sh-hole countries” he is speaking the very opposite of the truth because the dollar has come to represent a geometrical lifestyle that puts urbanization and markets ahead of the natural lifestyle, which is the rustic empire of the introspective mind.
The sense you get is they are nonplussed by Trump as his seeming simplicity brings rewards. That’s because it brings rewards to geometric space, not to natural space. Geometry in a sense is quite simple, it just doesn’t have the balance or proportion of nature, of the physique or of the body attached to the psyche. The hunter, the warrior. In short, the introspective adventurers of Weird Tales! The dollar advances a certain “type” and meanwhile the original American type gets relegated to theme-parks! Meanwhile, the National Monuments are shrunk by Trump. He is a mere servant of the wormdollar.
I did mention somewhere the pragmatic trading relationships of Hyborian kingdoms; the fact that there is no loss of power of psyche/physique to the god of Mammon (see also moneylending ). A question you could ask is does unresolved space have a powerful attraction on psyche? Greek temples are often framed by trees (as is BWS’s “The Enchantment”). Another way of putting it is to ask, is there something psychic in the landscape; does the physical interact with the psyche?
Remember, whatever is in the romantic landscape is a balance between freedom and order, or order and expression. That means it’s not a concrete, scientific thing; it’s a feeling or aura. Now the feeling I often get from Frank Thorne or BWS is often close to fairy tale medieval. In the splash page to Conan #23 (“The Shadow of the Vulture”) there is a taut sense that the lone warrior has a type of expressive power that no man has today. Each city-state, such as Pah-Dishah, is balanced between freedom and order, and there is no such thing as universal order as we understand it. Kings fall and kingdoms topple.
© Marvel 1971
There is also a balance between male power and female allure, in the sinuously weaving natural landscapes – see various pictures on swordsofreh). The same scenes you might get in Last of the Mohicans.
The tyranny of fact - male ego-lust and the wormdollar - represents the modern type born of a corporate logo. They die but the logo lives on. They betray the classical principle of balance. Man is born of woman, and the huntress Diana runs wild in nature’s gentle grottoes. The moon has dominion; blood calls to blood. The irrational and sensuous rustic empires of the introspective mind where the pure knight slays the dragon of monstrous ego-lust (see Spenser’s Faerie Queen; Noto’s “Red Lace” Weird 7). In our enfeebled mortality we become one with the corporate logo; we die but the logo lives on. That may not be a “fact”, or a resolved space, but it is a cyclical truth and the content of a classical reality is wildly cyclical. The female and the male are irresolvable opposites and the destiny of Man is in the lap of the gods (not in a laptop).
The rustic empire of introspective minds lives on in fairy tales that are but “intoxicating lies” that furnish eternal truth. The basic reality of a fairy tale is that everything is different and the lesson is derived from their differences. In other words, there is no single world-view, no sameness or psychic enfeeblement. Superpowers of nature reign in all their ruthless appeal. Diana the huntress must e’er lift her bow and slay Actaeon.
They are something like Nietzsche’s notion of eternal recurrence – that the same things are said in different ways – betrayal and love and death write the story on the wings of destiny. Without destiny Man is a mere mote of egotistical desire, for the ultimate fate of corporate man is death. Beyond the ego lie fortune and hope, psyche and the mythopoeic dream of the universe.
The rustic empire of the introspective mind which is classical myth – Diana, Actaeon, the fauna of the sacred grove, fairy tale and Wild West all together. Corporate man and all he spawns are as a mote compared to the dream of the universe which is balanced and fair (Wild Horses). The myth is universal because differences must ever have a psychic affinity. The intoxicating unreality of a fairy tales makes their lesson universal.
There’s Pushkin’s tale of the ruthless tsar Dodon which couldn’t be more Russian and less American, particularly is Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera of The Golden Cockerel. An ambitious conqueror in his youth, in old age Dodon’s empire is beset by foes. The Golden Cockerel given him by the ancient astrologer foretells danger unerringly.
However, the danger he encounters is in the absurd shape of a fantastic femme fatale in the shape of the queen of Shemakha. In the Kabuki staging she emerges like a chrysalis from a woven tent, sort of symbolising a natural life-cycle and content in the classical sense.
LE COQ D’OR
The fact Dodon and his sons wear fairly phallic hats might be a reference to their weakness as the Queen captivates the tsar, and she returns as his consort to the capital. Here, the astrologer wants his reward which happens to be the Queen. Dodon kills him and is pecked to death in vengeance by the cockerel. The Queen vanishes.
Beguilement, beauty and betrayal; desire for wealth and power crumble when faced with a superpower of femeinine nate. That I take as the reality behind the the fantastical fable; what is illusion, what is reality? Is Dodon’s material wealth real or is his psychic weakness real? The psyche may be fantastical for it harbours the eternal woman, but that is a type of reality.
The feminine mystique of the Russian steppes, or the rolling plains of the American West. That is an affinity which is psychical and goes beyond the desire for mere corporate power and wealth; rustic empires of the introspective mind frequented by poetic figures of nature. Content in the classical sense and the poetic history of mankind; illusion and psychic reality. Psychic strength is a superpower of nature and cannot be resolved into facts, the facts of reason applied to pleasure (“effect”). That world of fact is parallel to the reality of life and death and has no existence beyond effect. The wormdollar, a type of death, or existence without destiny.
Destiny is psychic strength and the dream of the universe, a thing of untold grace. Superpowers of nature are irresolvable and their force is our fortune, their dreams our reality, their illusion our destiny.
The wormdollar occupies resolved space, which may explain why Trump is so sure of his facts; facts that say we have no destiny; facts that belong to a parallel reality of resolved space.His facts don’t exist in irresolvable space where the rustic empire still dreams, here represented by two Indians of the Tohono O’Odham, whose reservation happens to be divided by the proposed wall through Texas/Arizona/California since the southern half falls in Mexico.
a young couple in camouflage clothing is trekking through the mesquite shrubs; the girl, who gives her age as 15, evidently pregnant. (DT 3 January)
“We’re just going for a walk”
The reason Trump’s statements often have a bizarre plausibility seems to be because they always exist in resolved space – the world of banks and big business. They seem to get kudos, but they don’t exist in American space; they are almost a blasphemy against the Constitution and e pluribus unum, “from the many one”.
That ethos is completely uncorporate (Wild Horses). This process has been going on awhile; with Trump’s statements the mistakes of resolved space are just more blatant is all. We get dollars shoved down our throats instead of the good clean air of pampas homeland. The Indians on their pampas grass are the real America. Trump’s statements come from somewhere else, namely Mars.
The empires of Man may try time and again to establish the order of resolution, and always they come up against the irresolvable. This is one of Howard’s big themes, as in Suleyman’s “announcement of victory” following the long siege of Vienna in The Shadow of the Vulture
In The Golden Cockerel, at the end of act 2 Dodon again declares “victory” on the march back to the capital, having been beguiled and bemused by the Queen of Shemakha. There is always this urge to declare shallow victory against the forces of psychic strength, yet the only true victor seems to be the monuments of Man; Alexander the Great’s empire lives on in stone and memory.
In Howard’s historical tales, there is a psychic affinity in difference () which goes completely counter to our ideas of sameness. I saw in the paper the other day the Chinese press are alarmed at a “Zen-generation” of young people too apathetic to have any political/personal/emotional ambitions. There’s another word for it: death.
Modern empires have no conception of opposition, and yet that was at the root of Taoism and Confucianism: Confucius was order and Tao is vibrant energy. All ancient empires had a type of vibrant energy which saved them from the total annihilation of order. That is what resolved space is: death through order – see Korvac Weird 8
Listen. Trump is not stupid; that’s a red herring. He’s the inevitable end-product of an empire of the wormdollar that is clever with banks and big business. That empire is the enemy of vibrant independent life and will sell you anything from GM livestock to green-doctors in its fictitious pseudo-reality. No more selling. Farms used to be a fairly communal experience. The Tohono Indians speak of a new Indian war and it’s worth noting Indians were quite respectful of the Constitution, knowing the president was there to resolve differences with pioneering settlers in the West.
Differences were there to be resolved legally, but that’s not the same as saying we live in a resolved space of no differences! In the West there was a battle of lives and wills and the naked truth of nature.
“The land you have now surveyed out for us is but a very small piece,” High Hawk said. “And I expect my children to have children and grandchildren, and get all over the country, and now you want me to cut off my ‘tool’ and not make any more children.”
“The white men in the East are like birds,” Crook told them. “They are hatching out their eggs every year, and there is not room enough in the East and they must go elsewhere; and they come west, as you have seen them coming for the last few years.. and you can’t prevent it..” (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee page 39)
That is a reality one has to live or die with. Following the 6-agency accord by Crook with the Sioux nation (1889) reporters accosted Sitting Bull. “Indians!” Sitting Bull shouted. “There’s no Indians left but me!” (page 341). So, the United States government is dealing with the resolution of differences, they’re not doing without differences!
In Howard’s Outremer there is a psychic affinity of difference; in the west there was a psychic affinity between cowboys and Indians. A form of psychic strength that is recognized in the other. Howard was an admirer of Indian virility and recklessness as several letters attest. In the modern world (order) there is a psychosis of sameness and psychic enfeeblement.
Erdogam of Turkey when invited to the Elysee Palace made the farcical comment, "These gardeners are those people viewed as thinkers. They water ... from their columns on newspapers and one day, you find, these people show up as a terrorist in front of you." The answer to that is that a garden is life; he wants death through order.
The same psychosis creeps through political thought for the reason that it’s a parallel reality of resolved space. The “facts” they elucidate have no basis in reality. It’s not a question of stupidity or cleverness; Michael Gove is considered a bright spark and he speaks of GM animals and crops as “natural capital”.
“One Size Fits All” (Zappa album)
The truth is it’s Anti-Nature, “Anti-Life”, breeding-in weakness outside of the magic circle of soil fertility - humus, earthworms, psychic balance - and plant hardiness that sustains strong and vibrant opposites. Predator/prey; bull/cow; the rumble of buffalo hoofs on prairie grass. Psychic strength and physical strength are classical principles; this goes right back to The Bull of Minos (Mary Renault). Gaiety and vibrant energy, voluptuous power, the ancient world as depicted by Margaret Brundage for Weird Tales.
“They” want weakness and the wormdollar of “reward”. They’re not stupid but they’re not of the earth; disembodied heads from the planet Mars. The classical world of psychic strength and physical power is the history of mankind and is not for sale; the unconscious connection that is the dream of the universe.
The modern psychosis is the inability to see that opposites are strong and that sameness is weak. The content of the introspective mind goes completely counter to this enfeeblement and is revealed in all its glory in 30s Weird Tales. There is a classical affinity of Weird Tales writers and artists, as here in the nymph-like Jenna from “Rogues in the House”
Hugh Rankin illo
I’ve always thought BWS is much closer to Titian than to modern art because of his classical affinity to the nymphs of air and forest, the spirits of water, the fire of psyche.
Similar remarks go for MW Kaluta and the other members of The Studio, whether or no they had Howard/Weird Tales connections (Wrightson illustrated “The Temple of Silence” from a Kull plot with RT in Savage Tales #2). The voluptuous power of nature is our strength; not the Anti-Nature of fact (the wormdollar of resolved space). Grace is our heritage. We are one with the Indian in our difference; in our psychic affinity with the differences revealed by the Great Spirit.