We’ve always maintained that the sound of one hand clapping was either “thunder, perfect mind” or a wheedling little fart slipped out as the conversation reaches a climax, somewhere else in the room. Today’s post falls somewhere in between. Somewhere between the false dichotomy of subjectivity and objectivity. One fact does not lead to another. There is no cause and effect. But there is, as always, poetic resonance, sounding 33° towards, well, not infinity but the limits of the fishbowl known as the Laws of Silence.
In Pyramid Power, we cited the Los Angeles public library as an example of architecture parlante. This library is more specifically the Richard Riordan Central Library.
According to Wikipedia:
“Architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue designed the original Los Angeles Central Library to mimic the architecture of ancient Egypt. The central tower is topped with a tiled mosaic pyramid with suns on either side with a hand holding a torch representing the "Light of Learning" at the apex. Other elements include sphinxes, snakes, and celestial mosaics.”
According to the LA library website:
“In black unveined Belgian marble with bronze headdresses, the sphinxes symbolize the hidden mysteries of knowledge and guard the approach to the Statue of Civilization.
On the open books is inscribed in Greek, from Plutarch's Morals ("On Isis and Osiris"):
Left Sphinx - "I am all that was and is and is to be and no man hath lifted up my veil."
Right Sphinx - "Therefore the desire of Truth, especially of that which concerns the gods, is itself a yearning after Divinity."”
The library--built in 1926--was originally known simply as the Central Library. It was later named after Rufus B. von KleinSmid but re-christened after Richard Riordan in 2001.
Riordan is a millionaire that decided he needed a new play thing—politics. He ran for mayor in 2003 and won, thereafter deciding to work as mayor of LA for the minimal salary of one dollar a year. Now for some this might be an admirable gesture. But we here at LoS find it rather insulting. A politician is a public servant, a servant of the people. And the people pay their servants. By refusing the salary we have a man who would upend that role; he is no servant of the people; indeed, we assert that he saw himself as the master. It’s a simple fact of human nature: he works for us for free long enough and begins to expect we owe him something in return. There is a fine line, if any, between aristocratic largesse and an arrogant sense of entitlement.
Like having a central library named after him.
But by a gracious little mouse of fate, the evocative whimsy exuded by this Egyptianate library so redolent of mystery knowledge would come back so poetically...resonant.
On July 1, 2004, a children's library event. Young Isis D’Luciano (Isis of the Light) asks Riordan if he knew the meaning of her name.
Riordan responded, "it means stupid, dirty girl," laughed with several others in the crowd, and then asked her what it really meant. She then replied, "It means 'Egyptian goddess'," to which Riordan stated, "That's nifty." He later explained it as a failed attempt at humor.
Now, we can actually think of occasions where calling a kid stupid and dirty might be funny. A public event with a child unknown to you is not one of them. How detached from reality, how arrogant, must one be to think this could be funny in this context? It is, come to think of it....
My Pet Goat.
We like to think that in some form, Isis herself was taking the man down a notch. This man who would buy his way into the the Pharoah’s throne, secure a place at the top of the pyramid with his little psychic war of hearts and minds, lost a battle this day, as the people he pretended to represent struck back and demanded he step down.
It goes without saying, he finished his term.
Anyway, fuck this; we’re off to Magog for a week by the sea.