January 27, 2013

"They knew that presently dinner would be over and a little later the evening, too, would be over and casually put away."

How do you feel about dinner? How do you feel about the remains of the day?

That sentence is from "The Great Gatsby," and it is our "Gatsby" sentence today.

I know that presently today's iteration of the "Gatsby" project will be over, and that signals to me that a little later, this day, the only January 27, 2013 that there will ever be, will be gone, consigned to the place jocosely, morbidly, existentially known as the dustbin of history

59 comments:

kentuckyliz said...

No day but today.

Broomhandle said...

Lots of folks dislike Sunday afternoons/evenings with the workweek looming and the weekend running out, but it's my favorite part of the week. Most relaxing part of the week with , usually, the best dinner.

edutcher said...

You're waxing philosophical, Madame.

Easier than waxing the floor.

(Oh, come on...)

Synova said...

It's a little awkward because it's easy to read "in the evening" when it's not there, so it takes backing up and reading over.

Putting the "evening" away, as if it were a tangible item, is an interesting twist of the language.

deborah said...

"The evening...would be casually put away" makes me think that when we are young there are presumably endless evenings ahead.

kentuckyliz said...

On Downton Abbey, the evening seems to be the peak of the day, worth dressing up for.

Maguro said...

When are we covering the part when a succulent hash arrives?

creeley23 said...

It's a nice little sentence expressing a larger truth, and probably advances the novel well.

I like that Fitzgerald is not trying to pack so much into the sentence that it becomes unwieldy, confusing or ungrammatical -- defects we have seen many times in the Gatsby Project.

ricpic said...

I read The Remains of the Day by some very famous Japanese Englishman, can't think of his name, and the whole long book boiled down to the fact that many people cherish the evening because they finally stop being hammered by the demands of the day when evening comes or falls. A truism. But this guy, this exotic Jap-Brit, you'd think he was the most brilliant brilliant who'd ever put words to paper from the way he was toasted by the literati glitterati. I didn't get it and still don't.

wyo sis said...

ricpic
It isn't just the saying. It's how it is said. The beauty of language is sometimes enough by itself. Sometimes not.

Broomhandle said...

Ricpic,
Pretty sure Ishiguro was referring to the remains of a life, and a way of life. Anyway, An Artist of the Floating World is a way better book.

Terry said...

It's hard to tell if 'casually' is meant to apply to the putting away of the evening only, or dinner and the evening both.

a SWVA liz said...

This sentence totally leaves me cold. Maybe because I never put an evening casually away. As I go to bed exhausted, hating to give up any increment of time. Reluctant to let the evening go. Can anyone be that bored. I don't believe it.

So Gatsbys obsessed. That is being driven. Not a state of nothingness.

Lem said...

How do you feel about the remains of the day?

The one time we were most assured, contundentemente improbable, the butler didn't do it.

betamax3000 said...

January 27, 2013: all our collective flitter (or bone chips, especially) swirling slowly around us as the remains of the day, settling. Then: consigned to the dustbin of history. Figurines. Sideways, upside-down: no matter. Omelets, eggs.
Fitzgerald Snow Globe Theory, consigned to the dustbin of history.
Sigh.

betamax3000 said...

___*__ __ _


_-_****___(___)


^__^:*_______*



*I had dreams of being a footnote.

Lem said...

The word that provides a little bit of hope and light in an otherwise downer of a sentence, for me, is casually.

It connotes the temporary condition of endings... there is always another dinner... its like Rh said at the 30 day ditch tread... I'd imagine the women would do the cooking and cleaning necessary in the trenches, so that they can invite people over.

It still cracks me up when I remember it.

Bender said...

All I have to ask is --

Who didn't see that coming with Lady Sybil?

traditionalguy said...

Fitzgerald is underestimating the human soul. Memories of good times with good people last a lifetime.

I can still remember every minute of supper club dinners at others houses and my own house done in love and honesty with educated people, although several men and women we knew with have since died, they are 100% alive in my memory.

Gatsby is missing honesty with Daisy as she was once missing it with him.

chickelit said...

Bender said...

Who didn't see that coming with Lady Sybil?

Stop with the spoilers! It doesn't air here for another hour .

deborah said...

Is Lady Sybil the plain one or the altruistic one?

traditionalguy said...

Sybil is the one who married the Irish chauffeur. And Lord Grantham demands a bad doctor for her who kills her in child birth, but only after all seemed OK and a normal birth, a la Lavinia's Spanish Flu death.

The writers like to go up to a disaster moment and back off; or all seems well and then disaster hits suddenly.

Lem said...

Downtown Abbey is available in Netflix on demand.

Does this mean I should watch it?

Bender said...

Stop with the spoilers!

Here's a spoiler for you --
Lady Mary is one insufferable, obnoxious bitch.

How anyone could be attracted to her at all, or have any devotion to her, is beyond me.

Lem said...

I'm out of the loop.

Dante said...

I wonder what would happen if it wasn't casual. Under control. Normal.

It might be like Britney Sphere's shaved head. People might wonder, and people might talk. And even, they might kick you out.

gerry said...

The same may be said of minutes, or seconds, or milliseconds, oh, blast them all. We're careening toward the tomb.

I watched, for the first time in my rapidly-disappearing existence, the Robert Redford-Mia Farrow "The Great Gatsby." I hope the new one is better-paced and not so long. All the characters were very physically pretty if morally ugly.

And, I must say, Tom and Daisy put most everything casually away.

betamax3000 said...

The Dustbin of History itself could be a Fitzgerald Snow Globe, the Dustbin a ceramic miniature, swirled about by flitter and bone chips.

betamax3000 said...

After today's confirmation with the Iranian Space Monkey I know I am on the right track with Fitzgerald Snow Globe Theory: I know it.

betamax3000 said...

Fitzgerald Snow Globe Theory: is there such a thing as sentimental neutrality?

betamax3000 said...

Re: "consigned to the place jocosely, morbidly, existentially known as the dustbin of history."

excerpts from Merriam-Webster on "existential":

• the experience of existence

• having being in time and space

Is this not Snow Globe?


betamax3000 said...

Fitzgerald Snow Globe Theory : every moment an author creates is frozen in that moment, to be viewed from various angles, and for the reader to shake the flitter of meaning. The Snow Globe both highlights and distances existential dread.

Fitzgerald Snow Globe Theory proposes these moments have beauty from the words that comprise the snow globe scene, even if the scene itself has no beauty.

betamax3000 said...

View Space Monkey through Fitzgerald Snow Globe Theory: the monkey may be frozen in fear in his precisely-carved capsule, but our understanding of his predicament flitters about him, simulating zero gravity, weightlessness.

WE understand his dread, yet are entranced by it at a distance.

betamax3000 said...

Contrast Fitzgerald Snow Globe Theory with Althouse Snow Globe Theory.

Ann's posts are each a self-contained moment and/or thought: Post = Snow Globe.

However, Ann's posts do not rely on the beauty of words to convey the frozen moment or thought (this is not to say that the words contain no beauty, only that the beauty is not a foremost purpose).

She sets the Snow Globe with cruel neutrality for us to shake and see patterns from the flitter. There is not the expectation of sentimentality. She is asking us to look, together; however, often there is no resolution, each reader seeing only his own flitter of understanding.

betamax3000 said...

Yes, I am proposing Althouse Snow Globe Theory.

betamax3000 said...

Contrast the following:

"It's not just Phil Mickelson — plenty of high-income athletes want out of California taxes. Mickelson was just the one who was PR-deaf enough to let us know how he feels."


with:


"Americans, while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry."



Contrast also:


"Krugman sees a "major rhetorical shift" from Romney's campaign to Bobby Jindal's recent speech."


with:


"He went out of the room calling 'Ewing!' and returned in a few minutes accompanied by an embarrassed, slightly worn young man, with shell-rimmed glasses and scanty blond hair."

betamax3000 said...

I think my point is clear.

betamax3000 said...

From 2008: Ann has a post simply titled "No Snowglobes." There is no text beyond the title, only a photo of an airport TSA checkpoint sign that has a piece of yellow paper attached to it, reading "No Snowglobes". No direct commentary from Ann: we are to shake the meaning(s) ourselves.

This may very well be the first self-awareness of Althouse Snow Globe Theory.

betamax3000 said...

I am not the crazy pseudo-investigator foraging through Bob Dylan's trash to divine hidden lyrical meanings from chicken bones and coffee grounds.

I have never been near Ann's trash.

betamax3000 said...

Contrast the following:

"Another risk of fatness: health-care professional who too readily attribute any health problem to fatness."

with:

"They knew that presently dinner would be over and a little later the evening, too, would be over and casually put away."


betamax3000 said...

Ann's Cafe posts are prime examples of Althouse Snow Globe Theory with a photograph serving as the self-contained moment and/or thought: Cafe = Snow Globe.

betamax3000 said...

Ice Dog Café = Snow Globe.

betamax3000 said...

Contrast the following:

"Gabby Giffords, ever smiling, struggles through an interview with Diane Sawyer."

with:

"Her expression was curiously familiar — it was an expression I had often seen on women’s faces but on Myrtle Wilson’s face it seemed purposeless and inexplicable until I realized that her eyes, wide with jealous terror, were fixed not on Tom, but on Jordan Baker, whom she took to be his wife."

or even:

"Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue crêpe-de-chine, contained no facet or gleam of beauty but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering."

betamax3000 said...

Contrast:

"Quite aside from the TSA and its awful problems, vaping e-cigarettes can be amusing way to do something with your mouth and hands."

with:


"He lit Daisy’s cigarette from a trembling match, and sat down with her on a couch far across the room where there was no light save what the gleaming floor bounced in from the hall."

betamax3000 said...

Questions abound: can Ann's exposure to Althouse Snow Globe Theory corrupt the Theory? Can the Theory corrupt Ann's own self-awareness?

Will this knowledge lead to self-conscious neutrality? Would the attachment of an "Althouse Snow Globe Theory" tag negate the self-awareness of a post?

betamax3000 said...

Contrast:

Let's dance like it's 1958 in Idaho"

with:

"There was dancing now on the canvas in the garden; old men pushing young girls backward in eternal graceless circles superior couples holding each other tortuously, fashionably, and keeping in the corners — and a great number of single girls dancing individualistically or relieving the orchestra for a moment of the burden of the banjo or the traps."

betamax3000 said...

Contrast:

""A breeze stirred the gray haze of Daisy's fur collar."

with:

"A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding-cake of the ceiling, and then rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea."

A-ha! A trick question: both are Fitzgerald Snow Globes.

A major difference between Fitzgerald Snow Globe Theory and Althouse Snow Globe Theory: Ann's flitter doesn't ripple.

betamax3000 said...

Perhaps I am experiencing Betamax3000 Naked Robot Theory: I may only be amusing myself...

betamax3000 said...

Would Meade every respond to an idea of Ann's by saying: "That is SO Althouse Snow Globe Theory?"


Hmm.


Maybe we should use ASGT for short.

betamax3000 said...

"That latest Althouse post is so Snow Globe."

betamax3000 said...

Contrast 2005's:


"But what about that three-men-and-a-pie picture?"


with:


"A tray of cocktails floated at us through the twilight, and we sat down at a table with the two girls in yellow and three men, each one introduced to us as Mr. Mumble."

Retropundit said...

One of the earliest uses of the "dustbin of History" phrase was by Sir Francis Cowley Burnand, in a 1874 autobiography:
http://retropundit.wordpress.com/about-2

deborah said...

Lem, the series is pretty good. I've watched only the first two seasons, but I'm glad I did not go on, according to some of things I've heard. If you've never seen it, I recommend the old version of Upstairs, Downstairs rather than Downton. Now that was a show.

Ann Althouse said...

Ha ha. I know what the 3 men and a pie thing was, without looking. It was my NYT is trying to make John Roberts seem gay.

Blogger suggested changing "gay" to "Gary." Make Roberts seem Gary. That would require a much weirder concept of the insidiousness of the NYT.

deborah said...

Ooops...thanks, tg. Sounds like a hideous show now. I hate when shows do over-the-top storylines.

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, the attitude described in that sentence is a contrast to the way Gatsby/Daisy lived.

It's a reference back to the old way of life in the Midwest.

Archilochus said...

The spirit of Jay and Daisy will live on at Princeton University reunions 2013. The proud Class of 2008's theme for its 5th reunion (a BFD) is Great Gatsby.

You in, Ann?

betamax3000 said...

Re: "By the way, the attitude described in that sentence is a contrast to the way Gatsby/Daisy lived.

It's a reference back to the old way of life in the Midwest."

Althouse Snow Globe Theory, enacted.

betamax3000 said...

"the old way of life in the Midwest": no superfluous sentimentality,no superimposed Light and Darkness.

Shake the Globe, people.