Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 4, 1975)The Banality of evil

Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906 – December 4, 1975)

From Radical Philosophy
Hannah Arendt“And yet, as early as 1951, Arendt had explicitly stated what was at stake in her work, notably in the preface to the 1951 English edition, which was entitled The Burden of Our Time. That title is, it seems to me, a much more accurate summary of the nature of her product. Because it represented such a radical break with the political and ethical traditions of the West, the genocide also revealed itself to be one of the possible outcomes of political modernity. Inconceivable as it may have been, and as difficult to understand as it may have been within the categories of thought and intellectual action, the break had to be thought through because it revealed something that opened up a terrible possibility for humanity: the possibility of the destruction of the human.”

Adventures On Other Planets ACE S 133

The Cover attributes the book the the pseudonymous Thom Demijon.  It was written by two of the most mind expanding of Sci-Fi writers of the 1960’s, Thomas M. Disch And John Sladek.

Science Fiction like any primarily mass market paperback genre tends to get filled with examples of formulaic or otherwise product driven distortions which end up producing trivial exercises in form.  The doesn’t usually matter because almost all of the writers and readers  of these books are just doing a job.    The two responsible for black alice were not just doing a job.  They were actual writers as their linked biographies will attest to.

Personally I remember reading Disch’s 334 a couple of times and though it never hinted at anything positive like a happy or free area within the world that it depicts the book did describe a very specific kind of existence possible only beginning in the late sixties.  Though it mattered to ME as a person prone to certain mental states it did make the world seem less alien.

Thomas M. Disch ended up writing the wonderful film Brave Little Toaster in which old outmoded appliances fight the good fight,  Looking back I suppose one cannot really derive any real strength from this absurd existential piece of animation.  It makes the futile little effort the old toys go through seem somehow good naturedly life affirming but only through eyes already blinded by the overwhelming and subconsciously instilled matierialist consumer culture it derives it’s  emotional and ideological strenghth from.   But then the blanket is so cute and whoever did it’s voice……

Anyway  the Thomas M. Disch guy killed himself last year on july 4 2008 which seems fitting especially If he had to go and check out in the last few politcally disenchanting years .

It makes me sad to think he ended his career publishing poems to his live journal account.  Though I suppose that  does confirm the purity of the urge to his vocation.  I wish I could have read those poems live.

So if your looking for a way out of the current meaningless chatter and enjoy or are otherwise knowledgable about the genre this Hardcover collectable Sci-fi book I am offering Is quite the find.  I haven’t read it yet but I have read a lot of the authors other works and while niether some kind of exploration of being as perhaps the best of Philip K. Dick is(The kind of book that will change the whole world as you percieve it)  Disch evokes certain a melencholic and intellectually grasping nostalgia that can really hit home. Especially after a few drinks.