Beyond the Pale
Beyond the Pale
BEYOND THE PALE
by Renzo Llorente
Dimensions: 210 x 140 x 6 mm
Publication date: 28 September 2010
Compare at Wordery
"Whence the condemnation of loitering? Why this aversion to what is, after all, the definitive metaphor for 'the human condition'? To loiter: to remain in an area for no obvious reason (Merriam-Webster)."
And this is a book for loitering and loiterers. You can ramble through, or simply dip in at will. It says something about our times that the aphorism has almost but not quite disappeared from contemporary English literature, and the reason must, at least in part, be our attitude to time: "It may seem remarkable that those who have the least time — old people, the elderly — have the most patience, but this is no doubt the true hallmark of their wisdom. Having grasped that it makes no difference in the long run whether they do one thing or another, they are indifferent to the delays that prove such a torment for the rest of us."
Renzo Llorente’s aphorisms challenge the accepted faith in the free market without adopting another form of blind dogmatism: "We demand cheaper goods, knowing full well that lower wages are usually the key to lower prices; members of oppressed groups compete against one another for opportunities and benefits (…and by demanding cheaper goods); radical groups find themselves obliged to use violence in order to combat injustice and oppression: in capitalist society, moral entrapment is the order of the day."
He challenges our religious conceits in a similar manner: "Theology is the pious form of sophistry." Like many writers of aphorisms, Llorente does not provide absolutes but encourages readers to think for themselves: "It is little wonder that people are happy to grant that so-and-so — usually a writer, thinker, political activist or the like — is the 'conscience of our time': it relieves them of the responsibility of having a conscience of their own."
"While I can not personally vouch for Renzo Llorente’s sanity or his mania, his textual self, embodied in the aphorisms of Beyond the Pale: Exercises in Provocation, is unabashedly audacious, deliciously iconoclastic and insightfully satiric. With studious, phrenic brevity — a skill too often ignored and under-developed — witticism and sarcasm to match, Llorente pings his way through the plagues of U.S. modernity like a pinball. He bounces off the absurd rituals of empty religious devotion, ricochets through vacuous television, rumbles over the contradictions of self-aggrandizing patriotism, and plunders the failures and acquiescences of modern-day academic Marxists. He walks the line between being an astute observer and critic of modern public culture and a cantankerous progressive intellectual, who has unapologetically jettisoned religion, positivism and nostalgia, and is seriously considering sending liberal humanism to the same fate." — Justin Patch, The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms (273)