In Which A Dog Will Tear Us Apart Again

Wellness Dog

by DICK CHENEY

Love at First Bark
dir. Mike Rohl
Hallmark Channel

Despite the fact that she is starting her own business, Julia (Jana Kramer) thinks this is the time to adopt a dog. We never see exactly how much she pays for a german shepherd whose name is already King, but since it is Portland, OR we can assume it is in the $200-$300 range. I thought about adopting a cat last year and even a ten year old cat would have cost me $180 if I had not lost interest at that point.

Julia informs the dog trainer (Kevin McGarry of Saw 3D: The Final Chapter) that her approach to dog training will focus on the theme “All You Need Is Love.” To her credit, she does attempt to give King regular walks around Portland, which looks suspiciously not like Portland. Not a single person has a tattoo, piercing or rides a bike, so unless Julia spends her time exclusively in a gated community, she actually lives in Vancouver but is simply ashamed of being Canadian.

Julia is an interior designer. She meets a woman at a dog park and goads her into hiring her to design her baby’s nursery. The result of this first job for her fledging firm is based on the theme of a magical forest. In actuality, the only tree there looms like a Charlie Brown Christmas fir and we quickly realize that maybe Julia has bitten off more than she can chew.

This is a dog pun since disappointments soon emerge in Julia’s relationship with King. These are the honest-to-God problems she has with her dog:

– He will not sleep in her bed (ew)

– He will only sit when she doesn’t draw out the word in a weird way like “Siiiiit”

– He won’t sleep when she gives him the easy-to-understand command, “Close your eyes”

King amazingly never poops or pees during Love at First Bark which is quite the achievement since my dogs poop and pee when they hear a loud noise or a Rachel Maddow monologue. Frustrated despite the fact that she is the new owner of a rescue dog who has not destroyed any of her furniture, Julia heads to the office of the dog trainer, whose name is Owen. Owen’s dog training business, you will not be surprised to learn, has issues with interior decoration. The main problem is that he has about 600 pounds of filing, which made no sense to me, I mean is he keeping detailed records on dogs he trains? How many years is this going back?

Despite the fact that Owen apparently has dogs himself, we never see them during Love at First Bark. I guess he is shy about them and they stay at home all day even though his business should really be quite dog-friendly. We also never see his apartment, he just shows up at Julia’s place at like 10:30 at night. When they are about to kiss, King starts to bark, so I guess it was not really love at first bark, since she sends him home after that. Most guys I know would make themselves scarce after that kind of rejection but Owen’s other options are limited since he apparently only dates clients.

During a training session on the mean streets of Portland, Owen almost runs into an ex-girlfriend. She has a very fetching poodle; he is so alarmed by the possibility of this encounter that he makes Julia turn around and ends the session prematurely. I suppose he sensed that King did not need much more training anyway.

Later on in Love at First Bark, Julia wakes up one day and King is beside her in bed. When I was in college I knew a girl who allowed a dog to sleep in her bed. She was always getting bacterial infections and she was like, “This is such a crazy mystery why am I getting these infections?!?” Ever since then there has seemed something very lonely about a woman with a dog, which is a sexist thing I am trying to work out in therapy.

Julia has a partner in her new design business, a woman named Sherry (Anna Van Hooft). Sherry is a huge dick to Julia now that she has this vague man in her life. She’s always like, “Are you sure you just don’t want to call him?” and “Owen’s here!!!” She really gives a bad name to the entire concept of interior design with this childish bullshit. In the movie’s climactic party she makes the weird choice of a pink dress that I am pretty sure Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman.

Julia really prioritizes her career over her relationship. Given that she is a mediocre designer, this maybe is not the best approach. A successful dog training business could probably provide for them both, although Owen has a college friend who is his glorified secretary. I was confused why she couldn’t train dogs also. It is not particularly hard, do you know how tiny their brains are?

After she makes a weird bed space for King to sleep in, Julia gets the idea that she is going to convince this really rich woman to devote an entire room to her Pomeranian’s birth. Julia calls this installation “a puppery.” Since they could not afford to hire a pregnant dog (I think the adoption fee would be astronomical), the birth of the puppies happens off screen. Since they could not afford to hire puppies, we never see Pomeranian puppies. Times are tough in the TV movie business; Love at First Bark is roughly the equivalent of a watching a soft-core Cinemax thriller without any of the sex scenes.

You would think the Hallmark Channel audience would at least expect some heavy petting. I think Julia and Owen kissed maybe twice. No one got to second base. Meanwhile, the USA Network recently attempted to air Fifty Shades of Grey on broadcast television. It did not go well, but it was a lot hotter than Love at First Bark. Actually, the movie made a lot more sense as to why she would want to be with him, since now his sexual predilections were so much less extreme.

I would say take a pass on Love at First Bark unless you are really into German shepherds. Lynne wants to see this new entry in a series starring Candace Cameron Bure as a woman who runs a local social club examining historic homicides. Although Candace Cameron Bure’s faith in God means she does not do anything on camera outside of chaste kisses with zero tongue, at least you know to expect that going in.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording and the former vice president of the United States.


In Which We Discover Another Subject Worthy Of Our Attention

a good plan tijer.jpg

Nice Men

by ELEANOR MORROW

Laura
dir. Otto Preminger
88 minutes

The scene in Laura that always gets to me has police detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) sitting in the house of the titular woman who has been murdered. It is late evening, and he gulps down several glasses of Laura’s scotch before passing out in front of a portrait of her. He is awoken several hours later by the front door opening. It is Laura (Gene Tierney), alive! He evinces no shock at this, neither does Laura. A man is waiting for a woman when she comes home. He has read her diary and her letters, and knows more about her than she does herself. At first Laura is upset by this, but then she begins to look at the man who violated her privacy with dreamy eyes.

No one wanted to direct Laura. The project had a rough script and the head of Fox, Daryl Zanuck, was himself overly invested in the project. The title character, Zanuck complained in a memo, should “come into the story like a breath of spring, like something out of this world.” It would be difficult to feasibly make the weird milieu, the disturbed sexuality at the heart of the piece work realistically. Zanuck told the film’s producer, Otto Preminger, to find Laura a director.

Preminger suggested Lewis Milestone, formerly Leib Milstein. Like himself, Milestone was originally an Eastern European Jew, and he had no intention of working closely with Preminger. “Preminger probably knows what to do with the script,” Milestone told Zanuck. “He should direct it; I won’t.” Preminger moved onto an Armenian-American named Rouben Mamoulian, who needed a job badly.

Preminger hired his own actor to play the antagonist, Waldo Lydecker, and Mamoulian quickly had Otto banned from the set. Otto was unhappy to be out of the loop, but Zanuck was even more displeased with Mamoulian’s work. He was furious with Preminger for the choice. “You should have stayed in New York or Vienna where you belong,” he informed Preminger. The meeting that followed between the three of them featured Preminger performed entire scenes from Laura which he had committed to memory, to explain how the actors should handle them. Zanuck was impressed, and fired Mamoulian the next day.

As the new director, Preminger restarted Laura‘s production completely. Otto Preminger was more well-known as a Jewish actor who played a terrific Nazi in many films. Bald and severe-looking, he nevertheless held a lot of appeal for the women of the Los Angeles area, much to his wife’s chagrin. Preminger famously had a long affair with Gypsy Rose Lee, but he was only kind in his romantic relationships. As a director, he knew what he wanted and anyone who was in the way would be run the fuck over.

instructing an actor how to do a romantic scene

Vincent Price was a bit miffed – he had gotten along well with Mamoulian. But Preminger convinced Price that his approach to the material was better. As Price recalled to Val Robins, “The New York society depicted in the film are all darling, sweet and charming and clever and bright – on the surface. But underneath they’re evil. ‘Mamoulian is a nice man, isn’t he Vincent?’ Otto asked me.’ And I said, ‘Yes, he is a nice man.’ Otto said, ‘I’m not, and most of my friends are these type of people.'”

IMG_6192
Preminger directing Laurence Olivier

These types of people were the three gay actors who Preminger placed around Laura. As Laura’s mentor Waldo Lydecker, Clifton Webb was an effete homosexual who could also vacillate between a softness and a deviant masculinity. (Preminger plucked him from the stage, which you can tell by the way he moves.) Vincent Price’s vague sexuality is creepy in all his movies, but here he is particularly amusing as Laura’s enormous suitor. Judith Anderson portrayed a lesbian who gave Price’s character money.

Gene Tierney was Laura, and the role that would help define her career was not appealing on set. She was angered that Preminger’s first choice had been the greatly inferior Jennifer Jones. She grew to respect the director, writing that “unlike certain other directors of that period, he had no insecurity and did not feel obligated to attempt the seduction of his leading ladies.” Tierney was gorgeous but also somehow incomplete, traits that the character also embodied.

A performer himself, no director could match Preminger’s instruction of an acting style that was both dramatic yet subtle enough for the near-sighted scrutiny of film work. Viewing the unlikeability of its characters up close made Laura such a different experience for audiences. Preminger was also a technical virtuoso. He loved to move the camera around to give his scenes further context and meaning, and his command of how production design should add to the atmosphere without drawing attention to itself is sublime.

Zanuck blanched at the first cut of Preminger’s masterpiece, suggesting that they insert a sequence suggesting the third act was all a dream. “What they came up with was just unbelievable,” Preminger later said. He was not afraid to challenge his boss, and as time went on Zanuck would depend on Preminger to step in for his directors if a project was not on time or over budget. After a positive response to the cut from critic Walter Winchell, Zanuck seemed to realize he was out of his depth and allowed Preminger to restore the original ending, which explained that Lydecker was the killer.

Watching Laura a second time, I myself began to question whether this is completely true. Detective McPherson is told the long tale of Laura’s ascent in the advertising world by Waldo Lydecker. On Tuesdays and Fridays, says, they would stay in, cook, and he would read his newspaper newspaper columns while Laura sat on his lap. This background information, presented as straight truth, is actually unreliable narration. We do not question what we are told since people in general rarely disbelieve bad things they hear about others from their own mouths.

The problem and virtue of flattery is that it is expected to be returned in kind.

Eleanor Morrow is the senior contributor to This Recording.


In Which We Consider The Analogical Argument Unsatisfactory

man outside man

Infinite Possibility

The short correspondence of Ludwig Wittgenstein retains a certain zest. Ludwig was most certainly gay, most definitely eccentric, and intellectually demanding beyond all measure. His time at Cambridge brought security and stability to his career; he was often treated with kid gloves by an understanding administration. He was left to his own devices, and in his letters with luminaries like Bertrand Russell, John Maynard Keynes and George Edward Moore, he hints at the machinations involved in the greatest philosophical mind of his century.

secuiortertertet

6/22/12

Dear Bertrand Russell,

There are yet some nice events happening in one’s life e.g. getting a letter from you (thanks very much for it). Much less nice is the following event: I had a discussion with Myers about the relations between Logic and Psychology. I was very candid and I am sure he thinks that I am the most arrogant devil who ever lived.

Poor Mrs Myers who was also present got, I think, quite wild about me. However, I think he was a bit less confused after the discussion than before. Whenever I have time I now read James’s Varieties of religious experience. This book does me a lot of good. I don’t mean to say that I will be a saint soon, but I am not sure that it does not improve me a little in a way in which I would like to improve very much: namely I think that it helps me to get rid of the Sorge (in the sense in which Goethe used the word in the 2nd part of Faust).

Logic is still in the melting-pot but one thing gets more and more obvious to me: The propositions of Logic contain ONLY APPARENT variables and whatever may turn out to be the proper explanation of apparent variables, its consequence must be that there are NO logical constants.

Logic must turn out to be of a totally different kind than any other science.

The piece of poetry which you sent me is most splendid! Do come to Cambridge soon.

Yours most, etc.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

tumblr_o0atu6oZyH1qztcdbo4_1280.jpeg

8/16/12

Dear Bertrand Russell,

Thanks for your letter. I am glad you read the lives of Mozart and Beethoven. These are the actual sons of God.

Now as to “p v q”, etc.: I have thought that possibility – namely that all our troubles could be overcome by assuming different sorts of Relations of signs to things – over and over and over again! for the last 8 weeks!!!

But I have come to the conclusion that this assumption does not help us a bit. In fact if you work out any such theory – I believe you will see that it does not even touch our problem. I have lately seen a new way out (or perhaps not out) of the difficulty. It is too long to be explained here, but I tell you so much that it is based on new forms of propositions.

All this however seems to me not half as important as the fact (if it is one) that the whole problem has become very much clearer to me now than it has ever been before. I wish you were here and I could tell you the whole matter for I cannot write it down; it is much too long!

Do write again soon!

Yours most, etc.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

I feel like mad.

11/29/12

From the Minutes of the Moral Science Club

Mr Wittgenstein read a paper entitled “What is Philosophy?” The paper lasted only about 4 minutes thus cutting the previous record established by Mr Tye by nearly two minutes.

Philosophy was defined as all those primitive propositions which are assumed as true without proof by the various sciences. This definition was much discussed but there was no general disposition to accept it.

At an earlier meeting that term the Club had adopted the following rule: “The whole object of papers read shall be, as a general rule, to open a discussion, and therefore no paper shall last longer than seven minutes, except by special permission of the Chairman on a special occasion.”

 

12/26/12

Dear Bertrand Russell,

On arriving here I found my father very ill. There is no hope that he may recover.

These circumstances have – I am afraid – rather lamed my thoughts and I am muddled although I struggle against it. I had a long discussion with Frege about our Theory of Symbolism of which, I think, he roughly understood the general outline. He said he would think the matter over. The complex problem is now clearer to me and I hope very much that I may solve it. I wish I knew how you are and what sort of time you are having, and all about you!

Yours ever most, etc.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

-brain-terrain-(318)

1/12/13

Dear Bertrand Russell,

My dear father died yesterday in the afternoon. He had the most beautiful death that I can imagine; without the slightest pains and falling asleep like a child! I did not feel sad for a single moment during all the last hours, but most joyful and I think that this death was worth a whole life.

I will leave Vienna on Saturday the 25th and will be in Cambridge either on Sunday night or Monday morning. I long very much to see you again.

Yours ever

Ludwig Wittgenstein

3/25/13

Dear Russell,

I can’t refrain from writing to you, although I have nothing to tell you. I am as perfectly sterile as I never was, and I doubt whether I shall ever again get ideas. Whenever I try to think about Logic, my thoughts are so vague that nothing ever can crystallize out. What I feel is the curse of all those who have only half a talent; it is like a man who leads you along a dark corridor with a light and just when you are in the middle of it the light goes out and you are left alone.

I suppose you are staying with the Whiteheads at present and hope you are having a good time. If once you have nothing better to do, do send me a line letting me know how you are, etc., etc.

L. Wittgenstein

Visiting_Lady_Leconfield_by_Lady_Ottoline_Morrell.jpeg

Russell wrote to the lady Ottoline Morrell about his encounter with Wittgenstein:

I have much to tell you that is of interest. I leave here today, after a fortnight’s stay, during a week of which Wittgenstein was here, and we discussed his book every day. I came to think even better of it than I had done; I feel sure it is a really great book, though I do not feel sure it is right.

I told him I could not refute it, and that I was sure it was either all right or all wrong, which I considered the mark of a good book; but it would take me years to decide this. This of course didn’t satisfy him, but I couldn’t say more.

I had felt in his book a flavour of mysticism, but was astonished when I found that he has become a complete mystic. He reads people like Kierkegaard and Angelus Silesius, and he seriously contemplates becoming a monk. It all started from William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience, and grew (not unnaturally) during the winter he spent alone in Norway before the war, when he was nearly mad.

Then during the war a curious thing happened. He went on duty to the town of Tarnov in Galicia, and happened to come upon a bookshop which however seemed to contain nothing but picture poscards. However, he went inside and found that it contained just one book: Tolstoy on The Gospels. He bought it merely because there was no other. He read it and re-read it, and thenceforth had it always with him, under fire and at all times. But on the whole he likes Tolstoy less than Dostoevski (especially Karamazov). He has penetrated deep into mystical ways of thought and feeling, but I think (though he wouldn’t agree) that what he likes best in mysticism is its power to make him stop thinking.

I don’t much think he will really become a monk – it is an idea, not an intention. His intention is to be a teacher. He gave all his money to his brothers and sisters, because he found earthly possessions a burden. I wish you had seen him.

cutting theb alasas
John Maynard Keynes

7/6/13

Dear J.M. Keynes,

Thanks very much for the trouble you take over my business. – My reason for not seeing you oftener last term was, that I did not wish our intercourse to continue without any sign that you wished to continue it.

Yours sincerely

Ludwig Wittgenstein

phsyicalsas atheleterte
Russell teaching at UCLA

9/5/13

Dear Bertrand Russell,

I am sitting here in a little place inside a beautiful fiord and thinking about the beastly theory of types. There are still some very difficult problems (and very fundamental ones too) to be solved and I won’t begin to write until I have got some sort of a solution for them. However I don’t think that will in any way affect the Bipolarity business which still seems to me to be absolutely untangible. Pinsent is an enormous comfort to me here. We have hired a little sailing boat and go about with it on the fiord, or rather Pinsent is doing all the sailing and I sit in the boat and work. Shall I get anything out??! It would be awful if I did not and all my work would be lost.

However I am not losing courage and go on thinking. Pray for me! If you see the Whiteheads please remember me to them. My address for the next 3 weeks shall be: Hotel Öistensjö, Öistensjö, Norway.

If you’ve nothing better to do, do write to me how you are, etc. I very often now have the indescribable feeling as though my work was all sure to be lost entirely in some way or other. But I still hope that this won’t come true.

Whatever happens don’t forget me! Yours ever most, etc.

L.W.

Wnvwkkkkkrigb
with Georg von Wright

9/20/13

Dear Bertrand Russell,

Types are not yet solved but I have had all sorts of ideas which seem to me very fundamental. Now the feeling that I shall have to die before being able to publish them is growing stronger and stronger in me every day and my greatest wish would therefore be to communicate everything I have done so far to you, as soon as possible. Don’t think that I believe that my ideas are very important but I cannot help feeling that they might help people to avoid some errors. Or am I mistaken? If so don’t take any notice of this letter.

I have of course no judgment at all as to whether my ideas are worth preserving after my death or not. And perhaps it is ridiculous of me even to consider this question at all. But if this is ridiculous please try to excuse this foolishness of mine because it is not a superficial foolishness but the deepest of which I am capable. I see that the further I get on with this letter the less I dare to come to my Point.

But my point is this: I want to ask you to let me meet you as soon as possible and give me time enough to give you a survey of the whole field of what I have done up to now and if possible to let me make notes for you in your presence. I shall arrive in London on the 1st of Oct and shall have to be in London again on Oct 3rd (evening). Otherwise I am not fixed in any way and can meet you wherever you like. My address will be the Grand Hotel.

I know that it may be both arrogant and silly to ask you what I have asked you. But such I am and think of me what you like.

I will always be yours

L.W.

not the hand that cuts

3/5/14

Dear George Edward Moore,

Only a few lines because I’m just now in the right mood.

First of all: write soon when exactly you’re going to come to Bergen.

Secondly: come soon.

Thirdly: I’ve got out lots of new logical stuff. (I don’t dare to say more.)

Fourthly: If you see Johnson please give him my kindest regards.

Fifthly: if you see Muscio please tell him that he’s a beast (he’ll know why).

Sixthly: once more – come soon. That’s all. Yours, etc., etc.

L.W.

russelll hitting cmapus
Russell hitting the UCLA campus

2/9/19

Dear Bertrand Russell,

I don’t know your precise address but hope these lines will reach you somehow. I am prisoner in Italy since November and hope I may communicate with you after a three years interruption. I have done lots of logical work which I am dying to let you know before publishing it.

Ever yours

Ludwig Wittgenstein

students faqce
Russell at UCLA

3/10/19

Dear Bertrand Russell,

You can’t imagine how glad I was to get your cards! I am afraid though there is no hope that we may meet before long. Unless you came to see me here, but this would be too much joy for me. I can’t write on Logic as I’m not allowed to write more than 2 cards (15 lines each) a week. I’ve written a book which will be published as soon as I get home. I think I have solved our problems finally. Write to me often.

It will shorten my prison. God bless you.

Ever yours

Wittgenstein

3/19/20

Dear Russell,

It is a very long time since you heard from me. How are things with the introduction? Is it finished yet? And how is your collarbone? How did you manage to break it?

How much I’d like to see you again! I’m no longer in any condition to acquire new friends and I’m losing my old ones. It’s terribly sad. Nearly every day I remember poor David Pinsent. Because, however odd it sounds, I’m too stupid for nearly everybody.

Do write to me soon and also send your introduction.

Yours sadly,

Ludwig Wittgenstein 

betterererrereraaaaaaaaaaqa

8/13/19

Dear Wittgenstein,

I have now read your book twice carefully. There are still points I don’t understand, some of them important ones. I send you some queries on separate sheets. I am convinced you are right in your main contention, that logical props are tautologies, which are not true in the sense that substantial props are true. I do not understand why you are content with a purely ordinal theory of number, nor why you use for the purpose an ancestral relation, when you object to ancestral relations.

This part of your work I want further explained. Also you do not state your reasons against classes. I am sure you are right in thinking the book of first-class importance. But in places it is obscure through brevity. I have a most intense desire to see you, to talk it over, as well as simply because I want to see you. But I can’t get abroad as yet.

Probably you will be free to come to England before I am free to go abroad. I will send back your MS when I know where to send it, but I am hoping you will soon be at liberty.

All best wishes. Do write again soon.

Yours ever,

B. Russell

Haus Wittgensteinggg
Haus Wittgenstein

5/6/20

Dear Russell,

Many thanks indeed for your kind letter. But now you’ll be angry with me when I tell you something: Your Introduction is not going to be printed and as a consequence my book probably won’t be either. – You see, when I actually saw the German translation of the Introduction, I couldn’t bring myself to let it be printed with my work. All the refinement of your English style was, obviously, lost in the translation and what remained was superficiality and misunderstanding.

Well, I sent the treatise with your Introduction to Reclam and wrote saying that I didn’t want the Introduction printed, it was meant to serve only for his own orientation in relation to my work. It is now highly probable that as a result Reclam won’t accept my work (though I’ve had no answer from him yet). But I’ve already comforted myself on that score, by means of the following argument, which seems to me unanswerable. Either my piece is a work of the highest rank, or it is not a work of the highest rank. In the latter (and more probable) case I myself am in favour of its not being printed.

And in the former case it’s a matter of indifference whether it’s printed twenty or a hundred years sooner or later. After all, who asks whether the Critique of Pure Reason, for example, was written in 17x or y. So really in the former case too my treatise wouldn’t need to be printed. And now, don’t be angry! Perhaps it was ungrateful of me but I couldn’t do anything else.

Warmest regards from your devoted friend

Ludwig Wittgenstein

It would be marvellous if you could come to Vienna in the summer.

peace of mind ainrner
Russell in office hours

9/20/20

Dear Bertand Russell,

Thank you for your kind letter. I have now obtained a position: I am to be an elementary-school teacher in a tiny village called Trattenbach. It’s in the mountains, about four hours’ journey south of Vienna. It must be the first time that the schoolmaster at Trattenbach has ever corresponded with a professor in Peking. How are you? And what are you lecturing on? Philosophy? If so, I wish I could attend and could argue with you afterwards. A short while ago I was terribly depressed and tired of living, but now I am slightly more hopeful, and one of the things I hope is that we’ll meet again.

God be with you!

Warmest regards from

Your devoted friend

Ludwig Wittgenstein

holt-600

From Bertrand Russell

to the Council of Trinity College 5/8/30

Owing to illness I have been prevented from studying Wittgenstein’s recent work as thoroughly as I had intended to do. I spent five days in discussion with him, while he explained his ideas, and he left with me a bulky typescript, “Philosophische Bemerkungen”, of which I have read about a third. The typescript, which consists merely of rough notes, would have been very difficult to understand without the help of the conversations. As it is, however, I believe that the following represents at least a part of the ideas which are new since the time of his Tractatus: According to Wittgenstein, when anything is the case there are certain other things that might have been the case in regard, so to speak, to that particular region of fact.

Suppose, for example, a certain patch of wall is blue; it might have been red, or green, or so. To say it is any of these colours is false, but not meaningless. On the other hand, to say that it is loud, or shrill, or to apply to it any other adjective appropriate to sound would be to talk nonsense. There is thus a collection of possibilities of a certain kind which is concerned in any fact. Such a collection of possibilities Wittgenstein calls a “space”. Thus there is a “space” of colours and a “space” of sounds. There are various relations among colours which constitute the geometry of that “space”. All this is, in one sense, independent of experience: that is to say, we need the kind of experience through which we know what “green” is, but not the kind through which we know that a certain patch of wall is green. Wittgenstein uses the word “grammar” to cover what corresponds in language to the existence of these various “spaces”. Wherever a word denoting a region in a certain “space” occurs, the word denoting another region in that “space” can be substituted without producing nonsense, but a word denoting any region belonging to any other “space” cannot be substituted without bad grammar, i.e. nonsense.

A considerable part of Wittgenstein’s work is concerned with the interpretation of mathematics. He considers it false to say that mathematics is logic or consists of tautologies. He discusses “infinity” at considerable lengths and links it with the conception of possibility that he has developed in connection with his various “spaces”. He believes in “infinite possibility”, as he calls it, but not in actual “infinite classes” or “infinite series”. What he says about infinity tends, obviously against his will, to have a certain resemblance to what has been said by Brouwer. I think perhaps the resemblance is not so close as it appears at first sight. There is much discussion of mathematical induction.

The theories contained in this new work of Wittgenstein’s are novel, very original, and indubitably important. Whether they are true, I don’t know. As a logician who likes simplicity, I should wish to think that they are not, but from what I have read of them I am quite sure that he ought to have an opportunity to work them out, since when completed they may easily prove to constitute a whole new philosophy.

Bertrand Russell

map fixed version
Wittgenstein’s sketch of his house

2/18/31

Dear Piero Sraffa,

I am expecting you in my room on Friday about 7.45 as our Hall begins at 8.

Yours

Ludwig Wittgenstein

I want to talk with you about vivisection. I think it is closely related to the things we are talking about.

wittgenstein1-big

6/13/32

My dear W.H. Watson,

Thanks so much for your letter and the cutting. Yes, I believe Einstein is just a bloody journalist – I was glad to hear that you’ve got a little animal and hope he’s doing well. I’ve had a very busy term, doing lots of work and seeing pupils. But my work progresses very slowly for it’s such a huge job and I’m not equal to it.

What you wrote about your boss interested me very much, it’s such a typical thing to happen nowadays to otherwise good and kind people.

I wish I could come over some time and see you and have discussions and conversations with you.

Yours ever

Ludwig Wittgenstein

s-l1000.jpeg

11/24/32

My dear W.H. Watson,

Thanks so much for your letter and the photo. The boy looks very sweet, I must say. I don’t say this to flatter you. I’ve been feeling rather rotten for the last 2 or 3 weeks and am always afraid of a kind of mental breakdown. I haven’t been able to touch my work for about 10 days except today I’ve done a little work and perhaps I’m beginning to get better. I have however kept on lecturing the whole time.

My classes are middling. Moore still comes to them and there are two mathematicians who are rather good (you don’t know them). I’ve been to the cinema only about 3 or 4 times this term and once to the “Kinema” (Mill Rd.) to a perfectly rotten war film. Lee, whom I think you’ll remember sent me the enclosed cutting which by the way I want back for my collection but I want you to see it just to get an idea.

Let me hear from you soon again.

Yours ever

Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Dear Piero Sraffa,

I wish to say one more thing: I think that your fault in a discussion is this: you are not helpful! I am like a man inviting you to tea to my room; but my room is hardly furnished, one has to sit on boxes and the teacups stand on the floor and the cups have no handles, etc etc. I hustle about fetching anything I can think of to make it possible that we should have tea together. You stand about with a sulky face; say that  you can’t sit down on a box, and cann’t hold a cup without a handle, and generally make things difficult. – At least that’s how it seems to me.

Yours

Ludwig Wittgenstein

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From the Minutes of the Moral Science Club

10/25/40

Prof. L. Wittgenstein: “Other Minds”

The second meeting was held in Mr. T. Moore’s rooms in Trinity, with Mr. Lewy in the chair. Prof. Wittgenstein read a paper in which he discussed various problems connected with other peoples’ minds. First he mentioned several of the answers which have been given to the question “How do we know of the existence of other peoples’  minds?”, and explained why he considered the analogical argument to be unsatisfactory.

Then he discussed the nature of this question itself; and, among other things, described at some length the sort of circumstances under which he would wish to say that a person did not believe that other people had minds, or did believe that flowers felt.

A discussion followed.

Timothy Moore

From the Minutes of the Moral Science Club

10/25/40

Prof. L. Wittgenstein: “Other Minds”

The second meeting was held in Mr. T. Moore’s rooms in Trinity, with Mr. Lewy in the chair. Prof. Wittgenstein read a paper in which he discussed various problems connected with other peoples’ minds. First he mentioned several of the answers which have been given to the question “How do we know of the existence of other peoples’  minds?”, and explained why he considered the analogical argument to be unsatisfactory.

Then he discussed the nature of this question itself; and, among other things, described at some length the sort of circumstances under which he would wish to say that a person did not believe that other people had minds, or did believe that flowers felt.

A discussion followed.

another reach replacement

In Which Nella Larsen Went To Europe To Escape Her Marriage

In Quicksand

by ALEX CARNEVALE

She had just published her masterpiece, Passing, but Nella Larsen was alone every weekend in the summer of 1929. Her husband Elmer Imes was a brilliant physicist. After ten years of marriage, he vacated the premises to meet women, sometimes in faraway places like Canada. “He needs it,” she wrote sadly in a letter to her friend Carl Van Vechten. Nella was left to amuse herself in Harlem, where the heat was usually pretty sticky. She decided to learn how to swim.

Carl Van Vechten

Her husband was denied a lucrative position at the University of Michigan at the last moment, and decided to relocate to Fisk University in Nashville. She had no intention of going with Elmer. All her friends were in New York. She did long to be in a new situation, but Nashville was impossible: Nella had been expelled from Fisk as a teenager for violating the dress code, and some of those administrators were still there. She channeled her planning into her work. She would pen a novel “partly in the United States and partly in Europe,” she wrote in her application for a Guggenheim Fellowship.

As George Hutchinson notes in his phenomenal biography of the writer, Nella went on to explain that “the theme will be the difference in intellectual and physical freedom for the Negro – and the effect on him – between Europe, especially the Latin countries Spain and France. I have never been in these countries and therefore feel I am not prepared without visiting them to judge attitudes and reactions of my hero in a foreign and favorable or more unfavorable environment.”

Before her departure for the continent, she found out the name of her husband’s Nashville-based lover. It was Ethel Gilbert, a white administrator at the school. She said nothing to Elmer Imes — what could he tell her about their marriage that she did not already know? Privately, she was a mess. She spoke only to Van Vechten about the situation, and her husband consulted Carl as well. Elmer wrote to the author of the controversial Nigger Heaven that he should “cheer Nella up occasionally. She seemed a little blue about my leaving.”

Nella traveled to Nashville in May, dreading having to look the woman her husband was sleeping with in the face. Elmer knew that she was off to Europe, but she when she confronted him with evidence of the affair in New York, he begged her not to end the marriage. They agreed to separate and revisit things upon her return.

The S.S. Patria departed for Lisbon, after a brief stopover in Boston, on September 19. Nella stayed in the Avenida Palace Hotel there. The best room in the place was ten dollars a day. Lisbon struck Nella as a clean, happy city. Two white Virginians who had relocated to Nice showed her around the theater district. Much of Lisbon featured citizens darker than Larsen herself. She could not get Elmer’s affair out of her mind. It was all the more present, knowing he was with Ethel and in love while she was all alone.

She took the train to Madrid and sailed from Barcelona to Majorca, an overnight jaunt that had her arrive at dawn. She found the island a charming refuge, meant as it was to be a safe haven for expatriates and tourists. She took up residence in the Hotel Reina Victoria, a lavish outpost where she contracted a mild case of pneumonia.

the Hotel Reina Victoria

She was yet to begin her book on Europe, instead focusing her attention on a story about a cheating man living in New Jersey. She wrote to her husband and Van Vechten regularly. To the latter she suggested that she was “trying to make up my mind to take a house. I can get a very good and a servant for fifty-five dollars a month. Food for the two of us will come to about thirty dollars a month. The only thing is that I have to take the house for six months and how do I know what I’ll want to do next May?”

She ended up taking the villa until May 1. She struggled to meet people, even expats. “Perhaps being a bit lonely is doing me good,” she wrote Carl optimistically. Elmer sent Nella a check for her expenses beyond what the Guggenheim Fellowship covered; at Fisk he pulled down a salary of $5,000 a year. She spent what he sent her quite freely, troubling Elmer, who told Carl that “I am rather holding my breath and pocketbook for Nella’s needs. She has seemed to need a great deal so far.”

“The work goes fairly well,” she reported to the fellowship committee. “A little slower than is usual with me. But – I like it. Of course that means nothing because I really can’t tell if it’s good or not. But the way I hope and pray that it is is like a physical pain almost. I do so want to be famous.”

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Elmer Imes

Nella amused herself with an another self-exile, a Scotsman named Norman Cameron who had fled the civil service in Nigeria. He introduced her to Robert Graves and Laura Riding, more permanent residents of Majorca confined to their own seclusion. Norman introduced her to the local society, but she did not stay in Majorca long.

Because she did not look her age – she was 40 – Nella fit in well enough with younger people. Learning polo and going out at night left her precious time to work on her New Jersey novel, which she had titled Crowning Mercy. Her relationship with Mssr. Cameron had been unceremoniously ended by a younger German girl was living with the Graves. She went on to Paris in May, where a plan to visit Carl’s friend Gertrude Stein was foiled by problems of timing.

In Paris she met Arthur and Rose Wheeler, who had retired to Paris after Arthur had made substantial sums in the New York finance world. She heard less and less from Elmer, for whom his wife’s absence was a case of out of sight, out of mind. He was also upset about her spending and lavish Paris digs near Montparnesse (Man Ray lived underneath her). Elmer sailed to Europe with Ethel Gilbert, and they toured Austria and Italy together. Nella’s novel, now called Mirage, was rejected by Knopf.

Fisk University

By the time Nella Larsen finally returned to the United States, both parties had lost any faith in the possibility of salvaging the relationship. Nella briefly moved to Nashville to enhance her standing in the divorce case. A judge would award her alimony of $150 a month, which was around half of Imes’ weekly salary.

She wrote to her friend Dorothy Peterson,

About the divorce. I’ve about come to the conclusion to get it here. It can be done discreetly in ten days for a hundred dollars or so. Can you imagine that? There are about eight grounds for divorce in Tennessee:

1. Adultery.

2. Desertion for two years.

3. Failure of wife to remove to the state if husband is living and working in Tennessee (Note these last two. It explains a lot, especially why I am here still after coming for a mere visit).

4. Habitual drunkenness contracted after marriage.

5. Non-support.

6. Commission of a crime.

7. Bigamy.

8. Cruelty.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

Nella in nursing school, bottom row, second from left

In Which We Felt Complete In The Air

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to justhardtosay@gmail.com.

Hi,

My boyfriend (of four months) Ian, and I were at a movie last week. He brought into the theater a massive box of popcorn slathered in butter and ate the entire thing himself. I could barely focus on the film given the show that was occurring in the seat right next to me  To make things even worse he offered his sticky hand to me afterwards and I was too shocked to vocalize my disapproval. I still feel like there is butter on my hand.

I know I’m nitpicking a little and other aspects of this new relationship are a lot more positive, but it is difficult to completely put this experience in the past. Am I overreacting?

Janine H.

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Dear Janine,

A lot of binge-eaters prefer to do their most important work in the dark. The fact that Ian allowed you to view him in his natural environment was from his perspective, an important step. You can bet that Ian has serious issues with his food, all beginning when he was a young Ian growing up in the Hamlet of Saw City, Missouri. Children often escape domineering parents or uncomfortable home situations through the magic of cinema, and if they are not getting the requisite calories at home, a folksy theater vendor might slip a young boy an extra bucket of popcorn that some finicky theatergoer rejected for being too buttery.

Personally, I feel that butter is an abomination, a story that begins in Fountainhead, Montana….

There will always be things about other people we don’t like or fully understand. Getting closer to our knowledge of others and accepting them constitutes some level of personal growth.

If you’re not at that point yet, don’t blame yourself.

Hey,

As a heterosexual woman, I was wondering what the best way to give a guy your number and basically let you know that you are interested in is? In college I was used to meeting people naturally and developing a friendship. In my new city a lot of people are already in relationships and thus it’s awkward. I just wondered if there is a simple way to convey availability without coming on too strong?

Kelsey U.

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Dear Kelsey,

If you are talking about people you slightly know as acquaintances, the best thing to do is state plainly that you just broke up with your boyfriend. They will ask the reason, which is a decent conversation starter although you will quickly want to move onto other things, and so will they. The made-up reason that you should give for the breakup is usually, you moved here and did not want to do long-distance. If you have some other dealbreaker you can also mention that up front, e.g. “He wouldn’t abandon his cat Meeples!” or “He wanted me to get a hysterectomy!”

If you are talking about randoms, it is usually best to get to know them in a general sense, after which you can use the dumped gag. Telling other people your own relationship status generally gets them to reveal theirs without a minimum of fuss. If they suggest they are single, then you can offer a friendly drink. When they arrive, they will quickly realize they are at the beginning of the most important sexual and emotional journey of their lives.

 

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

In Which We Were Jewish Once and Young

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Passed Over

by ETHAN PETERSON

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
creator Amy Sherman-Palladino
Amazon Studios

maisel threeUntil she takes the stage Midge (Rachel Brosnahan, House of Cards) is unlike any character we have ever seen before on television. Her outward face, delicately applied during the early morning while her husband believes her to be asleep, is that of a Manhattan housewife whose parents (Marin Hinkle, Tony Shalhoub) live floors above her in the same building. Her two children consist of a young boy named Ethan who may be autistic and a baby with a massive head. Her husband Joel (Michael Zegen) depends on her completely, and so when he announces he is leaving, we are not the least bit surprised.

Midge measures her calves and thighs, and claims she goes through this intense process on a weekly basis for ten years. When she cooks, it is with a hat that a woman twenty years older would be far more comfortable in. In other words, she is not really comfortable with herself at all.

We saw far more of truly ethnic portrayals of Jews in decades past. Most were contrived by Woody Allen, who did the work of the ADL in showing that traditional stereotypes about the characters of Jewish people were sometimes true, sometimes false. The ways in which they were true were charming personality quirks which allowed them to survive the difficulties if their lives as American immigrants, Allen explained, and the ways in which they were false painted Jewish-Americans as hard-working, patriotic citizens in therapy for the rest of their lives.

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Midge Maisel is also somewhat religious – she refuses to eat nuts in the early morning of Yom Kippur, for example. It will be intriguing to see if she leaves her religion behind as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel goes to series, since almost every white person we see on the small screen has zero relationship with religion of any kind. Amy Sherman-Palladino’s father was Jewish, and to some extent her ways of speaking have always been rooted in the cultural and environmental proximity that forced Jews to adapt by talking quite a bit.

It is strange that the women Sherman-Palladino writes so well for rarely struggle with poverty. But then, few shows on television deal with this theme in general. There was a time in the past where Rory and Lorelai were really living hand-to-mouth, and I will never forget the astonishing episode when Lorelai’s mother viewed the place her daughter and granddaughter were living all that time. Lorelai made it, however, and hopefully The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will show us what it takes a single mother to survive on her own.

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Sherman-Palladino has never received sufficient credit for the amount of visual perfection she achieves in her hour-long dramas. Gilmore Girls had a wonderful camera and the small Connecticut town of Star’s Hollow where Rory turned into such a tragic figure was particularly evocative. On her short-lived masterpiece Bunheads, she gave us the porcelain charm of California, although we were unfortunate to spend so little time there. Given the task of creating New York in the late 1950s, Sherman-Palladino spares no expense in detailed stormfronts and meticulously wrought apartments. She never forces her characters to inhabit anything less than a fully realized world.

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After her husband peaces out, Midge takes up a stand-up career of her own. She is not completely terrible, but it is still hard to watch stand-up routines written for other people. Even being forced to view her husband stealing wretched Bob Newhart bits feels like an excruciating waste of time.

It would be better not to have to watch her perform at all, since her life off-stage is so much more exciting than what she explains of herself when she is on it. Her struggle relating to her children seems a mere proxy for her inability to directly address the world at large in something other than a costume. We completely understand why her husband left her, and we are surprised that he even made it this far. What kind of person toasts herself at her own wedding? We are wanting desperately to find out.

Ethan Peterson is the reviews editor of This Recording.

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In Which Dan Stevens Is Your Rumpled Warden For Now

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Attack by Wolves

by ELEANOR MORROW

Beauty and the Beast
dir. Bill Condon
118 minutes

beauty eightBeast (Dan Stevens) looks like a vaguely unkempt man, the sort who sleeps on a couch. He is starved for female company, or any company at all to be completely honest. His bestial qualities are not many, basically he doesn’t use utensils or say please. In this reenactment of the 1991 film, the fantastic songs of Alan Mencken and Howard Ashman are supplemented by new music that adds about as much as Emma Watson does to the role of Belle.

Now 26, Watson’s girlish charm evaporated quickly. She is now a woman in middle age. “They think I’m strange in the village,” Belle informs Dan Stevens, who is looking at her like, is it really kind to compare our two situations? The only odd thing about Belle is that she always wears the same dress. Belle does not seem to understand the reason she is stared at is because of a man: specifically her father (Kevin Kline).

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Kline’s role is rather thankless. The fact of his poor parenting makes substantially more sense in the Bill Condon version, since while an animated character pissing away her day reading books seems fine and dandy, Emma Watson doing the same is a less enviable life goal. Belle doesn’t want to marry Gaston (Luke Evans), which makes sense, since in this version Gaston is a decade her senior and Evans’ face implies he has had a hard life.

None of these actors can sing worth a shit outside of the specific ones that Condon has recruited for the purpose. Whoever is doing Watson’s vocals is particularly inept, making some of the numbers sound like the sea chantys you might hear from actual reenacters at a local seaport. The visual look of the film also suffers from this pseudo-realist aesthetic. Instead of giving us these characters reimagined in an actual society, the environments look staged and reduced from their original versions.

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Stevens is a fine Beast to the extent that he makes voice acting into a character beneath the effects. Watson is particularly awful as Belle – perhaps because she has never actually been anguished or agonized in life, her method of showing any displeasure comes to simply pursing her lips as if she is suffering a mild ulcer. She never really touches Beast or invades his personal space at all. During the sequence where Beast is recovering from an attack by wolves she seems vaguely uncaring towards him, like the main method by which any human being relates to her is one of inconvenience.

Using magic, Beast takes her to Paris, where the power of imagination allows Watson to whine about her mother dying in the city. Thus she does not ever want to return to society. Instead of forcing her to change and adapt to the world, as the lyrics of the film’s signature song suggest Beast does, it adapts to her. In Beast’s immense library, he tells Belle that she can have it if she wants. What isn’t given to her? Given that theme, maybe the choice of Ms. Watson for the role does not seem so strange.

Eleanor Morrow is the senior contributor to This Recording.

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