DoubleQuote as Match Cut

October 12th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — further passing notes in the virtual music of ideas, including meditations for glass bead game players ]

From the agile algorithmic eyes at Archillect:

A match cut or graphic match in cinema is, in Wikipedia’s words,

a cut in film editing between either two different objects, two different spaces, or two different compositions in which objects in the two shots graphically match, often helping to establish a strong continuity of action and linking the two shots metaphorically.


Perhaps it’s time to post my Meditations for Glass Bead Game Players:


First, I ask you to consider the rhyme of “womb” with “tomb” — which has the delicious property that these two words describe, if you will, the two chambers from which we enter this life and through which we leave it. Not only do the two words rhyme on the ear, in other words, they can also be said to rhyme in meaning. Meditation: if you were wearing headphones, and these two words were spoken, what would the stereophony of their meanings be?


Next, I would invite you to consider visual rhymes — known as “graphic matches” in film studies. Take, for instance, lipstick and bullet. To rephrase the opening of a book I am still working on:

The conjunction comes from a Yardley’s cosmetic advertisement of a few years back: a woman model wearing a leather bandolier with a variety of lipsticks in place of bullets. It is a powerful image partly because it plays on the visual similarity of bullets and lipsticks, each in their own metal jacket. Indeed, the visual match between them is astonishing — and the lurking Freudian visual pun only adds to our delight.

The juxtaposition of lipstick and bullet I take to be an example of a certain kind of visual logic, a visual kinship. Transposing their relationship from visual to verbal terms, one might say that lipstick and bullet “rhyme.”

But there is more than the purely visual here too… There is also a meaning rhyme that echoes in Freud’s pairing of Eros and Thanatos, in Wagner’s Liebestod, in Woody Allen, and in the opening sentence of Bedier’s Tristan and Iseult:

My Lords, if you would hear a high tale of love and death…

Meditation: what is the stereophany (by analogy with epiphany, theophany — neologism intended) of the meanings of lipstick and bullet?


Consider next musical rhymes — fugal treatment of a theme — and if you have the means, play yourself Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903, or Passacaglia and Fugue, BWV 582…


Next I would ask you to consider — briefly — rhymes between ideas themselves… Ponder, for instance, the twin themes of the myth of Narcissus, and the rhyme that exists between the idea of “echo” and that of “reflection”…


Consider rhymes between things, between names and the things they name (onomatopoeia), and between ideas and names and things and musical themes and images:

Seen together, aerial maps of river estuaries and road systems, feathers, fern leaves, branching blood vessels, nerve ganglia, electron micrographs of crystals and the tree-like patterns of electrical discharge-figures are connected, although they are vastly different in place, origin, and scale. Their similarity of form is by no means accidental.

G Kepes, New Landscapes of Art & Science

When the surf echoes and crashes out to the horizon, its whorls repeat in similar ratios inside our fleshåWe are extremely complicated, but our bloods and hormones are fundamentally seawater and volcanic ash, congealed and refined. Our skin shares its chemistry with the maple leaf and moth wing. The currents our bodies regulate share a molecular flow with raw sun. Nerves and flashes of lightning are related events woven into nature at different levels.

Grossinger, Planet Medicine

The links of association that are possible between one thing and another are extraordinary, and rhymes of the sort we have been discussing are just the beginning… On being asked:

What is the intersection of fish and flames?

my list-colleague Barbara Weitbrecht responded:

Fish being cooked … flame-colored fish … fish flickering through sunlit water like flames … things to do with water: one in it, one antagonistic to it … fish and flames both images of sleep, of subconscious ideas surfacing, of revelation … fish and flames both images of the Deity ….


Consider all things as the calligraphy of a god or gods…


Consider, finally, the stereophany between these two elegant paragraphs, one written by the contemporary American poet and naturalist, Annie Dillard, and the other by her compatriot Haniel Long:

My friend Jens Jensen, who is an ornithologist, tells me that when he was a boy in Denmark he caught a big carp embedded in which, across the spinal vertebrae, were the talons of an osprey. Apparently years before, the fish hawk had dived for its prey, but had misjudged its size. The carp was too heavy for it to lift up out of the water, and so after a struggle the bird of prey was pulled under and drowned. The fish then lived as best it could with the great bird clamped to it, till time disintegrated the carcass, and freed it, all but the bony structure of the talon.

Haniel Long, Letter to Saint Augustine


And once, says Ernest Seton Thompson–once, a man shot an eagle out of the sky. He examined the eagle and found the dry skull of a weasel fixed by the jaws to his throat. The supposition is that the eagle had pounced on the weasel and the weasel swiveled and bit as instinct taught him, tooth to neck, and nearly won. I would like to have seen that eagle from the air a few weeks or months before he was shot: was the whole weasel still attached to his feathered throat, a fur pendant? Or did the eagle eat what he could reach, gutting the living weasel with his talons before his breast, bending his beak, cleaning the beautiful airborne bones?

Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk

These are the rhymings of the ten thousand things. It is with such meditations as these that we may build the “hundred-gated cathedral of Mind” to which Hesse refers…

And that “brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back” to my post, DoubleQuotes — origins, of just a few days ago.

Whose mind hath the finer blade?

October 12th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — robert frost, the poet, or yogi berra, the player? ]

SPEC Frost Yogi


Also of interest, Frost‘s comment, quoted on the Classic Poetry Pages:

One stanza of ‘The Road Not Taken’ was written while I was sitting on a sofa in the middle of England: Was found three or four years later, and I couldn’t bear not to finish it. I wasn’t thinking about myself there, but about a friend who had gone off to war, a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn’t go the other. He was hard on himself that way.

As that page shows, I’m certainly not the first to note the overlap between Robert Frost and Yogi Berra — but it caught my attention today as I was reading a comment on Scott Aikin and Robert Talisse‘s On Some Yogisms:

And “When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” was his joking way of giving directions to his NJ home. You could get there by going either way once you reached the fork he was referring to; both roads led to his house eventually.

That gives a literal context to Berra’s flight of fancy — and yeah, some roads are looped, it’s true — but without the wit, there’s be no wisdom.


Witty Wittgenstein, as apparently quoted by Ray Monk and in the Aikin and Talisse piece:

A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.

The Ideal and the Real? Or: Doctors got there first

October 11th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — together with a hypothesis about sanctity and insanity ]

SPEC Ideal and Real

Either way, I don’t really find the idea of attacking hospitals appealing.



  • Alex Tabarrok, The Atlantic, The Case for Getting Rid of Borders — Completely
  • Tim Craig et al, Washington Post, By evening, a hospital. By morning, a war zone

  • Médecins Sans Frontières
  • Hypothesis:

    When the pent up energy of the ideal releases into the real, the impact is somewhat analogous to that of thunder and lightning: the shock-wave gets the human conductor of the discharge labelled “insane” while the flash of illumination gets the same person acclaimed as “a saint”.

    One significant differences is that here the shock-wave almost always precedes the flash of light — which can take quite a while to become generally visible..

    EXTRA, EXTRA! See all about it!

    October 11th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — a second, off-the-cuff Sunday Surprise this week ]

    Here’s your basic DoubleQuotes-formatted pair of images — Rembrandt‘s Nightwatch which you’re probably familiar with in the top panel, and Bill Benzon‘s Night Light Standing Guard which I believe he only posted today:

    SPEC then and now


    Consider the differences.. then, and now.

    I wanted them in DoubleQuotes format to make the comparison clear — but here are larger versions of the two images, still in sizes this blog column can handle:

    Rembrandt Nightwatch 602


    Benzon Night Light Standing Guard


    But for a really detailed digital looksee, click on these two links, and then if you’d like, click again for maximum magnification, very possibly too large to fit a computer screen & requiring some scrolling to catch significant detail:

  • Rembrandt, The Night Watch
  • Benzon, Night Light Standing Guard
  • Even better, you could befriend and visit Benzon, and view the Rembrandt in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Either there, or by some other means, you and I and Benzon and Rembrandt should commune. As Emerson wrote:

    The world is young: the former great men call to us affectionately.

    Sunday surprise: House of Cards meets monks and sexy riot grrls

    October 11th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — wondering if the same mind (Beau Willimon?) suggested both? ]

    Two very different modes of factual reality found their ways into the fictional world of House of Cards, Season 3, American version, and I found the two choices pretty interesting. I’ve recently found clips relating to both on YouTube, so here they are for your consideration:

    Pussy Riot:


    Tibetan monks:

    Taking those two choices together is a bit like juxtaposing Gregorian chant and punk rock — which, come to think of it, is pretty close to what I was getting at in my first ever Riot Grrls post, Pussy Riot, Holy Foolishness and Monk Punk.


    Contemplation and activism — poles apart, or one the mainspring for the other?

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