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:


June 19, 2005
VOICES; 'Willy-Nilly, Part of a Great Social Movement'
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

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo