". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

*Dark Tangos* by Lewis Shiner

I picked up a copy from the library this afternoon of this Subterrannean Press publication -- a CUNY grad center colleague -- a Texas native -- told me I had to read it. Examining the book -- copyright page, etc. -- as I'm wont to do, I saw it was autographed. Then I see this is s "Deluxe hardcover edition." I wonder if there was a shelving mistake because this press's works aren't usually available for borrowing, but rather go into the humantiies research library's collections, and thus can only be requested directly from that facility and read there, in the reading room.

Like Shiner's previous novel there aren't sf/f elements in this one either. It's a suspense novel, the subject of which is Argentina's Dirty War of the 1970's. Well, it being Shiner, it's also about the lonely heart of the solitary journalist who once was a musician, and will he ever again find someone who can fill that empty heart -- while encountering immediately an exotic, mysterious beautiful woman with secrets. Location is Buenas Aires, thus that coupled with exotic mysterious beautiful woman of secrets = dark tangos. But the tango is dark, that's what its about, at least in some way. Have you ever heard of tango as frothy and opéra bouffe? Unless danced by the Marx brothers? Which I think they do, or at least Groucho does, in -- maybe, Night at the Opera?

Tangos notoriously are danced in dark, smoky clubs, often underground, and that is meant literally.

The great book of tango is Robert Farris Thompson's Tango: The Art History of Love (2005). Bob spent a lot of time in Buenas Aires working his way through the origins and significance of the form, including specifically the music and the rhythm, as well as the postures, tracing them all back to Africa. Ned conducted an extensive interview with Bob on the occasion of the book's publication, which is included in the art book collection of Bob's essays, Aesthetics of Cool: Afro Atlantic Art and Music (2011 -- though for some reason this edition is still not shipping from amazon, it is in museum stores).

Shiner's novel is available as a free pdf, if you go to his website and click the link.

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