[NB] The Spirit of Seriousness

“‘But are you writing something serious?’ Note the word.

Fuck. If they couldn’t get us to write serious things, they solved the problem by decreeing that what we were writing was serious. Taking a pop form as “serious” is what you do if it won’t go away. It’s a clever tactic. They welcome you in….Next thing, they get you to submit your S-F writing to them to criticize. ‘Structural criticism’ to edit out the ‘trash elements’—and you wind up with what Ursula writes.”—Philip K. Dick, Exegesis (347)

Do you get the feeling that PKD never really got over Le Guin talking about him “slowly going crazy in Santa Ana, California”? He could accept her calling him sexist, but to be called crazy cut just a little too close to the bone. What Dick is talking about goes well beyond his grudge with Le Guin, though. Dick is talking about what we nowadays call respectability politics.

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[NB] Conceptualizing Sumer’s Diasporas

I mentioned a while back that I tend to think about there being two major magical diasporas flowing out of Mesopotamian antiquity, a celestial and Magian one and a cthonic and Goetic one. I have been rereading Dina Katz’s excellent The Image of the Netherworld in the Sumerian Sources with some of that in mind. Appendix 4, a translation of Edina-Usagake (“In the Desert by the Early Grass”) has me thinking I may be missing a third element of that world, the feminine aspect of it.

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