Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Brooklyn Authors: Sol Yurick & Anticipation of the Night

A fire sale at Bear Stearns. Markets in turmoil. Sub-prime disasters. IRAs and TDAs drained overnight. Crises of modern times but forseen, at least in its potentiality and broadest strokes, by Brooklyn author Sol Yurick. I remember reading Behold Metatron, the Recording Angel, an essay by Brooklyn author Sol Yurick, published by Autonomedia (Foreign Agents Press) back in 1985. I think I picked up my copy in Park Slope's Community Books, back in the day. Yurick also is the author of The Warriors, made into a classic, apocalyptic gang film, as well as the excellent novels Fertig, The Bag, Someone Just Like You, Richard A. and Confession, and other articles and essays.

Behold Metatron is heavy stuff, relentlessly visionary, the material problem seen through a lens of advanced capitalism and electronic philosophy. Picture Wired Magazine crossed with Fortune Magazine but edited by William Blake. Metaphysics, economics, art and intellect of an high order, coalescing into an interpretation of an emerging electronic universe. Forget Al Gore, perhaps Mr. Yurick conceptualized, if not anticipated, the Internet, globalization, the flow of information and data across galaxies of cable and wireless realms, sometimes directed, sometimes chaotic, but always having impact.

Mr. Yurick wrote: "...the old philosopher's stone could convert base metals into gold. now humans, real estate, social relations are converted into electronic signs carried in an electronic plasma. the dream of magical controll has never been exorcised. perhaps, after all, modern capitalism is a great factory for the production of angels."

In 1988, the journal Social Text published Mr. Yurick's The Destiny Algorithm which appeared to further mine the cybernetic/human nexus.

Globalization and the 'net got its philosophic underprinnings where else, Brooklyn NY.

Mr. Yurick was born in 1925; according to wikipedia:

"He enlisted during World War 2, where he trained as a surgical technician. He studied literature at NYU after the war. After graduation, he took a job with the City of New York's department of welfare as a social investigator, a job he held until the early 1960s, when he took up writing full time. He was involved in Stuents for a Democratic Society and the anti-war movement at this time.
His first novel, The Warriors, appeared in 1965. It combined a classical Greek story, Anabasis (Xenophon), with a fictional account of gang wars in New York City. It inspired the 1979 film of the same name. His other works include: Fertig (1966), The Bag (1968), Someone Just Like You (1972), "An Island Death, (1976), Richard A (1981), Behold Metatron, the Recording Angel (1985), Confession (1999). Mr. Yurick is still an active writer. At the present time Yurick is working on a project which analyzes all possible texts from a Marxist, evolutionist perspective."

In an item in the New York Times in 2005, Mr. Yurick offered a personal geo-biography and in doing so, gave context to the Brooklyn surreal estate of the Now:

NY TIMES

June 19, 2005
VOICES; 'Willy-Nilly, Part of a Great Social Movement'
By SOL YURICK
DURING the Depression, when I was a child, my parents moved 15 times, more or less in the same area of the Bronx. When I went to college, I moved to Manhattan, 13th Street near Eighth Avenue.

The next move was to Brooklyn Heights. Why there? All I can remember is that the rents were cheap. It was there I met my wife, who herself was fleeing the Bronx.

Then the father of a friend of mine who was a landlord in Park Slope offered us three spacious rooms for $100 a month. The great migration to Park Slope had not yet begun.

We moved once, from President Street to Garfield Place. The migration began. Rents went up. We fled rising rents to the other side of Prospect Park -- Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, a mostly black and Caribbean neighborhood. And, of course, the migration of the barbarian gentry hordes has followed us.

When we think we are being most individualistic in our choices, we are, willy-nilly, part of a great social movement. What drove the great social migrations westward across the plains of Europe, what drove the aboriginal settlers of Australia and the Americas eastward, what drove the Norsemen, is the same thing that drives us all: shrinking space and increased rents.


Sol Yurick's novels include "The Warriors."


--Brooklyn Beat

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