Sunday, December 19, 2021

Why Does This Santa Stuff Seem New To Wilberforce?

Mary MacLane was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on May 1, 1881. At an early age, her family helped found Fergus Falls, Minnesota. After her father died, Mary's mother married a family friend and they moved to Montana, eventually settling in Butte. Mary began writing for her school newspaper in 1898.

In 1901, shortly after high school at the age of 19, Mary MacLane wrote her first book, The Story of Mary MacLane, published by Herbert S. Stone & Co. It sold very well and was very influential to young women although more conservative outlets criticized it. The book was raw, honest, self-aware, and extreme, even by today's standards. She wrote honestly about her life, even about her love life, egotism, and bisexuality and lesbianism. Her second book, My Friend Annabel Lee, was a modest success but not as notable as her first book. She continued to write article through the early 20th Century. In 1918, she wrote and starred in a silent film, The Men Who Made Love To Me, about her life and six love affairs. The film is now considered lost.

Her last book, I, Mary MacLane: A Diary of Human Days, was published in 1917 and may have sold well but was probably overshadowed by the United States' entry into World War I. She used the money she made from her books and other writings to travel the country living her Bohemian lifestyle. It's rumored that MacLane was a partner or even spouse to editor and writer Harriet Monroe.

On August 6, 1929, MacLane was found dead in a Chicago rooming house of "unknown causes" at the age of 48. Below is one of her essays, published in her third book, I, Mary MacLane.

My Damns                                by Mary MacLane

I bear the detailed infliction of being a person with a tired mixture of patience and indifference and scorn.

I say on Monday, Damn the ache in my left foot: on Tuesday, Damn that rattling window--I hate it: on Wednesday, Damn this yellow garter--it's too tight: on Thursday, Damn my futile life: on Friday, Damn the solitude: on Saturday, Damn these thoughts: on Sunday, Damn my two dresses.

But I pronounce each day's Damn in a half-perfunctory half-preoccupied tone, more from duty and fitness than from conviction. I intently mean each Damn, but the scornful indifferent patience which is my spirit-essence leavens each one. I swear at my life's perversities with only a fatigued contempt due partly to bodily fragileness but mostly to a cold continently reckless mood which is clasped on me like a strong stupefied devil-fish. In this mood I should murmur the same gelded Damn if I found myself penniless and foodless in strange streets: if I became suddenly deaf: if my Body were being lashed with whips or raped by a Mexican bandit. I should murmur the same worn Damn if I were this moment on a gallows with the rope around my neck and life were dearly madly precious.

I mark that with my musing regrets. I remember in the strong young furies of eighteen each new day of my life was filled with passionate poetic blasphemy, protests and rebellions of youth. Those were not tired, not acquiescent, not indifferent to slings-and-arrows, but firey-blooded quick-pulsed breathless brave young Damns.

There is splendor in being brave in a fighting attitude, but in being brave through indifference there is no splendor.

But it is only toward calamity and adversity and worldly untowardness that I feel indifferent. Fighting blood is stirred in me if not against the hated things then for the loved things. I could fight and I could die, and love it, to save poet-lusters, poet-fineness, poet-beauty from the world's flat griefs. In that, which I feel warm and real and sparkling in my blood, in some splendor for me.

--and also I could die for my country: and there is fighting hatred stirred in me against its foes--

But in poetry there is nothing that evokes a lusty curse against its vulgar adversaries. Poetry floats too high upon its dazzling wings. I get delicately drunk from watching it till I can see the wings' Gold Shadow touch its foes and magically split them into dust-atoms.

So then the morale of my Damns remains perfunctory.

But they are apt and useful. They fit into the nervous rhythms of my life. They mark time in my spirit's flawed action. I begin each day with a Damn of sorts. I end each day with a Damn of sorts. At midday sometimes it's, 'Damn the terrifying ignorance of people.' In the dusk a deep-felt Damn of the blood. In the night another. And at my late eating time a negligible Damn.

A wonderful word, Damn. It means enough and not too much. It means everything in life, and roundly nothing.

Without Damn my day would lack tone. Damn richly justifies each pronouncement of itself in word-value, substance-value and musical resonance. It harms nobody and it helps me. It destroys nothing and it strengthens me. It damages my annoyances and mends me somewhat.

But--perfunctory, desultory, tiredly insolent, it would be thrilling to think the hot fire would sometime be back in my Damns. Better that than Youth's faith in my dreams. Better that than the jeune-fille beauty in my hair. Better than even Youth's ichor in my veins: Youth's fire in my Damns--

But there is dearness in this mood, which is indifferent and scornful and slightingly patient, though it wants splendor. Let my Damns be always brave, always contemptuous of disaster to me, and they will be first-water value though their kind alter never-so.

News and Notes of Movieland by Daisy Dean, a syndicated column
talking about young Hollywood. This article, reviewing Men Who Have
Made Love To Me
, appeared in the Hutchinson News in 1918.
Dennis the Menace
What's the point? I've read this comic strip most of my life. Dennis'll just leave the clothes on the floor, too.

Earl doesn't have to take this. If Earl wants to howl then either let him howl or he'll start a pissing contest a la Libby in Mary Worth.

Mark Trail
Oh, no! Mark Trail has snapped! He's going to start burning down corporations until they end their dependency on fossil fuels. How is anyone going to stop him?

Mark apparently hasn't heard that Elon Musk and/or Jeff Bezos is going to save us. They are going to help get all of us into space to either live in Earth's orbit or to colonize Mars. I'm sure we'll take good care of whichever situation we're placed in. I mean, Mars already have a lot fewer trees.

Arlo and Janis
Is...Is Janis dead and Arlo is now just a shadow of his former self seeing his dearly departed wife in places she used to always be? Or is Arlo just a sexist ass who thought "She's a woman and women belong in the kitchen"?

The Born Loser
You can't just bring up magic and elves and say "Santa has to watch his budget" when your kid wants more stuff. Santa has no budget, he and the elves make all the presents themselves. Just tell your kids when they want more stuff from Santa that they're being greedy little pigs. Santa Magic can't fix that.

Stay safe this holiday season. Get vaccinated, get boostered, get tested, and wear a mask. Do your part to keep everyone safe and healthy. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.