April 9-10, 2014
Oh hey this band.
Curzio Malaparte /// The Skin
In my two decades of reading books about World War II, this may be the only one that truly shocked me … all the rest concern narrow forms of victimhood and villainy, survival and savagery, but Malaparte’s account of a conquered people lies outside of time: while its dialogue has the morbid zip of Catch-22, the set pieces evoke millennia of cold European dread, reaching back to antiquity in their scope. (I had to stop and check whether Vesuvius really erupted in 1944, which, surreally enough, it had.) But the most taboo aspect would be the implication, unspeakable in our own age, that this gruesome, mechanized conflict was no different from any other—just more famous.
The tasteful thickness of it.
Fun things aside, what I learned by traveling to the deep south? Humankind has no dominion over it. We were warned about bobcats and a twelve-foot gator “back in them woods.” The fish just take your bait and swim off. A bird of prey swooped down on our car that had a wingspan twice my height. I was attacked by waves of fire ants and some kind of mutant wasp with a pendulous abdomen. We saw an enormous grasshopper that, when I heard it rustling in long grass, I took for a small mammal. Someone gave it a stiff nudge, to make it fly, and it didn’t bother to move: Either eat me or fuck off.