Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Mark Twain - The Mysterious Stranger

Another book about Satan: not as good as ‘the confidence man’ but still fun. In this book, Satan is an Angel. Yet he has no respect for Man:

“No brute ever does a cruel thing – that is the monopoly with the Moral Sense. (…) A sense whose function it is to distinguish between right or wrong, with liberty to choose which one of them he will do. Now what advantage can he get out of that? (…) There shouldn’t be any wrong; and without the moral sense there wouldn’t be any.” (Twain, 1922, pp.50-51).

Being an Angel, Satan tries to help Man. Yet, since to Satan Man’s life is a complete disaster, he helps by killing people or making them insane:

Yet towards the end, the book takes a surprising turn: it is not all black. The misery is just proof that the world doesn’t exist: ““Nothing exists save empty space – and you!” “I!” “And you are not you – you have no body, no bones, you are but thought (…) Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that you universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange because they are so frankly and hysterically insane – like all dreams: God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones” (Twain, 1922, p.139).

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Hemut Krone. The book.

Not much to say about this book. Rather than quotes I should put scans of his best ads here. And from the amount of post it you can see I will take plenty of scans. Hence, just a couple of quotes from the guy who did VW, Avis and Polaroid:

“Our mission is to sell products. We should not attempt to make advertising.” (Challis, 2004, p.252).

Something interesting on logos “I’ve spent my whole life fighting logos. Logos say I’m an ad. Turn the page.” (Challis, 2004, p.63).

On the Avis strategy: “Hertz had 75% of the rental car market and Avis, just ahead of contenders three on down, held second place with ten to eleven percent.Avis was going to take on Hertz, and polarize the market by differentiating itself from all the other little players” (Challis, 2004, p.112).

And how VW and Avis worked: “In another way, and in a harder style, another American nerve. He’d done it with Koenig in ‘Think small’ and ‘Lemon.’ – challenging two of the fundamental wisdoms of US boosterism. Now he had done it again, on being second.” (Challis, 2004, p.115).

Friday, 2 July 2010

Philip Roth - Zuckerman Bound

4 books about writing and the relationship of the writer to his subjects: from exploitation, love, stealing up to himself.

“You are a bastard. (…) To you everything is disposable. Everything is exposable. (…) To you it’s all fun and games. But that isn’t the way it is for the rest of us.” (Roth, 1979, p.257).

The books are about how people react to Zuckerman writing about them and finding their lives made public, how they remove themselves from him in order to avoid being written about.

This way he loses his subject and is thrown onto himself – which makes him ill.

Yet, it turns out, the trouble is less the lack of any subject, but the constant search for the right one, and the constant doubt whether it is good enough:

“The burden isn’t thateverything has to be a book. It’s that everything can be a book”.