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Hogarth judge

November 2018



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Hogarth judge

Five words

(Through reddragdiva) apiphile said: "Give me the titles of 1-5 books, films, songs, plays, poems or comics (as many of the media as you like) that have changed your life. And WHY."

  • Horses by Patti Smith. I was a high school metalhead wishing it were 1967 and revolution were still in the air when I heard this record for the first time. Not because it was "punk rock", whatever that was, but because it sounded to me like the second coming of psychedelia. Morbid and trippy, and with great raveup song structures, it defined my tastes, and still does.

  • Les fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire. If Patti is my shaman, Baudelaire is my confessor. Cured me of youthful optimism.

  • The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant. His chapter on Schopenhauer is still a good introduction to that philosopher, and Schopenhauer had things all figured out. People will never be happy because we unwillingly serve an agenda that requires our misery.

  • Li'l Abner by Al Capp. Most of the pictures I remember were probably Frank Frazetta's work, now that I know; but I still like his cleanly inked and shaded but still over the top cartooning.

  • The Encyclopedia Americana, 1956 edition. I spent many lonely afternoons musing over its articles about electronics, dinosaurs, and whales when I was small.


Will Durant is wonderful. He's still our favorite historian, even after time has changed our take on some of the older things he's written... thanks to our mother, we grew up with a near-complete collection of The Story of Civilization circa 1960. It wasn't until we were older that we realized most people never see these books until they get access to a college library...