elsane: (waterloo)
[personal profile] elsane
Alternate post title: well, that made for an argumentative plane ride.

I have actually been hugely enjoying the infamous digressions, after setting aside a certain allowance for the rolling of eyes. One of the side benefits of reading La Brique electronically is that I feel blissfully at liberty to scribble mad quantities of notes and arguments in the margins. Well, the last couple of chapters I have stopped to comment on every paragraph, because these are the chapters where Hugo decides to go into great detail about how atheism destroys society.

For now I have to go be productive and stuff, so I leave you with two thoughts.

  • Dear Hugo,

    Your "proof" of the existence of a divine essence is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the mathematical concept of infinity.

    Very nettled love,
    -me.

  • "To place the infinity here below in contact, by the medium of thought, with the infinity on high, is called praying." (Vol II, Bk 7, Ch V.)

    Not so, sir! It’s called science.


(General book logging as well as a post on Waterloo: coming when things calm down a bit I swear no really)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-04 07:20 am (UTC)
cordialcount: (stock › deliquesce)
From: [personal profile] cordialcount
Applause for a proper distinction between infinity as a metaphysical concept and infinity in its various mathematical definitions. /chinhands for more thoughts in lieu of actually reading the Brick

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-04 06:59 pm (UTC)
genarti: ([avatar] thinkyface)
From: [personal profile] genarti
Heee. I think I'm glad that I haven't felt the urge to argue with Hugo much, because I'm not sure how one ever stops! (Certainly he doesn't stop arguing with the world, and also with himself.) Which is not to imply that I agree with him about everything; I just text [personal profile] skygiants with "And now he's talking about [atheism/nuns/Waterloo/love]. OH VICTOR HUGO." a lot.

So, er, yes, I have given in and joined in the great Les Mis reading! And am surprising myself by devouring it, although I'm also finding all the recent recap posts handy in knowing what to expect next, especially during the bits I'm less interested in. (Marius. Sorry, Marius.) Right now I'm probably about 2/3 of the way through! ONWARD TOWARDS THE GLORIOUS DEATH OF ALMOST EVERYBODY.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-05 07:28 pm (UTC)
genarti: Stack of books with text, "We are the dreamers of dreams." ([misc] dreamers)
From: [personal profile] genarti
I totally have. *laughing* It's fun to be doing it at the same time as so many people interested in talking meta! Even if I keep feeling vaguely sheeplike for being part of the vast group of people reading it in the wake of the movie. But whatever, I'm having fun and I'm getting meta.

Right! If it were just a polemic, I would get bored much faster. But he keeps enthusiastically arguing at least three sides of most arguments, and the main point he consistently agrees with himself about is that it's important to feed and educate everybody to a minimum level as much as possible, which I find it hard to disagree with as a philosophy.

And yes, the phrasing is beautiful. I didn't expect that to make as much difference as it does! Often I'm stuck going "yes, the prose is beautiful, but I HATE EVERYONE AND I'M BORED STIFF." And instead I keep turning pages.

(Marius is such a glorious idiot, I can't even. I keep wanting more revolutionaries though; we get a tantalizing scene, and then it's back to Marius pining around the streets or Victor Hugo's Admittedly Interesting Thoughts On Street Children or whatever.)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-06 10:54 pm (UTC)
genarti: sunbeams lighting yellow flowers, surrounded by rocks and darkness ([misc] break in the clouds)
From: [personal profile] genarti
Exactly! I can't remember the last time I was into a fandom that had this much ongoing discussion all at once. I was (and am) into Avengers too, and spent a while wrapping my head around being part of the current juggernaut fandom, but that was much less meta-filled. Which makes sense; very little lends itself to sprawling meta as much as Les Mis, at least the book! Once we've both finished we should totally pull an Amis and meet up for more meta rambling in person and over beers or something.

And yes! As often as he annoys me with his perfect devoted angels of the house or his unwashed rough masses or whatever, he redeems himself with the little human touches. I've just come to some unexpectedly delightful bits in his treatment of Cosette, of all people. Even when I disagree with his generalizations, I do think that he wants us to take every character in the book on their own terms to at least some degree, and that makes up for a lot. And all his self-contradictions mean that even when he makes characters into symbols, he's willing to undercut that with humanity and to give us other symbol-characters in contradiction, and that makes up for a lot to me too.

(Yes. Oh man. So many things I want more details about, and know I will never get! Including things I haven't yet come to, yes, but which I already know I'm going to want. Dammit, Hugo, the book's already pushing 1500 pages; couldn't you have made it a bit longer with the stuff I want?)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-08 12:38 am (UTC)
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (hello friend!)
From: [personal profile] skygiants
IF YOU PULL AN AMIS I DEMAND TO BE INVITED

....maybe by Skype, but.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-08 02:42 pm (UTC)
genarti: ([middleman] WHAT ABOUT ME???)
From: [personal profile] genarti
Oh my god, yes, you have just summed it up excellently. I have a lot of story kryptonites, but characters who are avatars and also people, and who are then put in situations where their humanity shows without diminishing their embodied symbolism, is hugely appealing for me. So, uh, I love a large percentage of the cast of this book.

And yes about skipping the synthesis. I hadn't put that into words, but you're totally right. Hugo's fundamental message about every single philosophical issue he raises is "BUT GUYS IT'S MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT--" and another messy contradictory ramble on the heels of the previous. I respect that, and agree with it, much more than any sort of moral of absolutes. (And his symbol characters aren't named, like, M. Virtue and Mme. Busybody, which I am grateful for.)

Oh, the folk etymologies. I don't know much about French etymology at any level more advanced than "this clearly comes from the Latin I learned in high school," but I am not remotely surprised about the dubious veracity of any given example.

(Oh my god, are they? I mean, of course they are. But WHY, universe? I want 1830, I want 1831, I want Valjean and Fauchelevant and Cosette in the convent, I want Javert The Police Procedural. I guess that's what we have fanfic for, and you're right that hypothetical Les Mis profic would probably just be published badfic.)

>:D EXCELLENT. I have been pretty much devouring it, as much as real life allows -- I've just hit the part of the barricades where Hugo stops digressing about insurrections and stuff starts happening -- so I expect to be at your disposal whenever you like, schedules willing!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-05 02:21 am (UTC)
carmarthen: "Would you like my hat?" (Default)
From: [personal profile] carmarthen
Oh good, I shall look forward to Hugo's Thoughts on Atheism, for a value of "look forward to" that will involve shrieking.

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