Sunday, January 30, 2011


Lately I've been making these posters for some reason

Well I thought I'd upload you one of them

But between Apple, Google and Adobe, one of them won't let me

Let's try this one:

There. That seemed to work.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

o well

> sO I'm giving up on my attempts to understand President O. I joined the ranks of the many exhausted when the midterm elections showed pretty much what we expected them to show, that the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity. And the best weren't so hot to begin with.
I think I understand him now all too well... he's not the man we need/ed and hope/d we were getting. Some jerky jackasses may want to think that we projected this necessity onto Obama because of his blackness, but I reject that. It wasn't unreasonable to hope that the man who said the things he said during the campaign would do those things and others that we/I think are urgently needed.
I notice that I skip a step in thinking about this. I didn't get what I hope/vote/d for - I accept that. My worst fears for where the country is going seem to be materializing - and I'm starting to figure out what I'm capable of doing about it, knowing that if I was ever capable of doing this, I'm just too old for it now.
That middle step - that I was fooled, duped, was out-and-out stupid to believe - that's the one I try to jump over.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

squaring the O

....It isn’t that [Obama]’s not fighting, he fights like hell for what he wants. He whipped incredibly aggressively for TARP, he has passed emergency war funding (breaking a campaign promise) several times, and nearly broke the arms of feckless liberals in the process. I mean, when Bernie Sanders did the filiBernie, Obama flirted with Bernie’s potential 2012 GOP challenger. Obama just wants policies that cement the status of a aristocratic class, with crumbs for everyone else (Republican elites disagree in that they hate anyone but elites getting crumbs). And he will fight for them.
There is simply no basis for arguing that Democratic elites are pursuing poor strategy anymore. They are achieving an enormous amount of leverage within the party. Consider the following. Despite Obama violating every core tenet of what might have been considered the Democratic Party platform, from supporting foreclosures to destroying civil liberties to torturing political dissidents to wrecking unions, Obama has no viable primary challenger. Moreover, no Senate Democratic incumbent lost a primary challenge in 2010, despite a horrible governing posture. Now THAT is a successful strategy, it minimized the losses of the Democratic elite and kept them firmly in control of the party....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

binary culture

> I recently watched a movie called You, the Living. That's what my Netflix instant watching queue tells me, and it tallies with my memory, so I'm sure I did.
I know it's a wry episodic comedy of short interconnected scenes, because that's what I saw. For the first half of it (approximately) I thought it was a movie with an interesting esthetic device: most of the sets were flats, either digital or actual, with working elements incorporated - a door, a chair, a table with two people at it foregrounded against an unreal background. I admired the execution of it, and how it complemented the theme of lives in physical and emotional isolation.
About halfway through (approximately), lightning struck. Figuratively speaking for me, actually in the movie. All the lighting, previously, had been quite static. Now a rain was falling in the world of the movie, and it changed the light in the movie, and the changing light in the movie changed how I saw the movie I was watching in/from the real world.
With the shifting light of rains falling and clouds moving darkness and light, the backgrounds all became digitally alive, changing texture, taking on depth within the two dimensions of my TV set. The backgrounds had not been flats, digital or actual - the movie had been digitized and compressed in a way that averaged out static elements so that they appeared unreal, manufactured or synthesized. The interesting esthetic stroke was a flaw in pixelation.
Once the rain stopped, I watched two movies, or maybe three: the movie made, with formally limited but nonetheless actual sets; the movie I could make visible by relaxing my sight and allowing the compressed pixels to become static again; and the one I made by shifting my conception of it back and forth. I moved my conception, an abstraction, back and forth in a space that was actually a preponderance of impressions altering the balance of perception - I watched a movie.
Netflix tells me that Roy Andersson, director and writer, was "[i]nspired by Goethe's poetry series The Roman Elegies." I don't know if this is true: I've seen the movie but I am illiterate in Goethe and have never read The Roman Elegies. But now that I've seen the movie I will go to Wikipedia and read about Goethe and The Roman Elegies and then I might go somewhere else (in digital space while still sitting on my couch) and read The Roman Elegies. Whatever reading is.
In the meantime, You, the Living, has fallen off Netflix's watch instantly stream, so unless the DVD has the same digital deficiencies, which it shouldn't, you won't see any of the movies I saw. By some wild freak of chance, you could see it projected from film in a theatre, as it was meant to be shown, but you won't see any of the movies I saw either. But you still might feel something for the little fat man who cries, "Nobody understands me."

The wind was flapping a temple flag, and two monks started an argument. One said the flag moved, the other said the wind moved; they argued back and forth but could not reach a conclusion.
The Sixth Patriarch Hui-Neng said, "It is not the wind that moves, it is not the flag that moves; it is your minds that move."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

o yeah

> Certainly I recognize that one of the other differences in the media treatment of the OJ and MJ cases (see King of Pain, below) has to do with racial/sexual fascination. The black man who fucks a white woman - a blonde - has always been an object of - well, really, I think fascination is the best way to describe it - to the Great White Public. The case had the controversy of race and the sexiness of miscegenation and rage.
In comparison, the case of MJ is just sad. To the degree that he was associated with sex, the attachment is at the least squirmy, at worst squalid and contemptible. No rage and no racial angle (imagine if Dr. Murray were white). Nothing to get excited about.
> You may remember OJ's lawyer, Johnnie Cochrane, at some point being asked about "playing the race card" and replying, "It's always about race." It's stuck in my mind and I've thought about it and thought about it and gone from doubting it to seeing its power as a filter. It's no less powerful phrase as "It's always about sex" AND "It's always about queerness." (I can't think of any other terms you could filter for that compare, not even "It's always about money." Close, but no. Perhaps money already is race and sex in this country.)

king o' pain, part two

> I'm trying to get away from every post rounding out as an essay. Essays are very satisfying to construct, but they take time. I want to maintain the freedom to just dash in here and drop a thing or two, at greater length than a twoot, but not always with so much care to turn a pile into a structure.
> For example, of course the inclination was to title the previous entry, on MJ, with a quote from one of his songs. But I would have to spend more time sifting through lyrics to find something non-obvious than would be fun, required or necessary for blogging. When I opened the possibilities to some other pop citation, right away I thought of "King of Pain." The first time I heard that song (sample lyric: "there's a skeleton choking on a crust of bread") I laughed and laughed. "What a sense of humor this Sting guy has," I thought. "And how cool to poke fun of his own po-faced solemnity this way." Eventually I realized that the song was not meant ironically and it became much less funny and enjoyable. But the title seemed apt for Jackson. I hadn't even noticed the echo of King of Pop. Even MJ crowning himself so was sad. And ultimately when I think of MJ, I don't think of the dancing or the singing or the pedophiliac urges, I just wonder if he ever had a really happy day in his life.
> While I was on the bus I thought of a great way to segue smoothly in one entry from MJ to King of Pain to something else and than structure back to MJ, but I forgot it by the time I got to the computer. It was one of those days when you have a million good ideas one after another but only time to do three of them and write five of them down to do later, if you're lucky.

king of pain

I find it remarkable that the manslaughter trial pertaining to Michael Jackson's death is getting so little media attention.
Michael Jackson has to be the best known person outside the political sphere to be killed at the hands of himself or another. I can hardly think of anyone to compare. Gandhi (Indira and Mohandas)? Political. Neruda? Political. John Belushi and Marvin Gaye? Not comparable to Jackson internationally. Marilyn Monroe? Comes closer, but a different time and place... no doubt an actress of similar stature today would rate a larger, more sustained fuss than back then. Compare the fuss over Lindsay Lohan's misadventures - and imagine if they led to her death.
The only comparable public figure caught up in a homicide I can think of is OJ. Why is the doctor's manslaughter trial so little a feature of the media, in comparison?
In the days after Jackson's death I think my mood matched that of the general public - sadness, sure, but shock, no, not even surprise. I think with all we knew of Jackson - his isolation, extremity in weirdness, refuge in pedophiliac relationships, his face carved and bleached to a skull - it seemed everything we knew about him as a person was pathological. Onstage, alive, yes, but offstage, no. For many of us, I think, it was as if he was already dead and the news was just getting around.
Not a hell of a lot of outrage as Dr. Murray's contribution was gradually made known. Arguably, he killed one of the most famous men in the world, but emotionally, it's as if MJ killed himself, even if by another hand.

Monday, January 3, 2011

the last happy new year

I was discussing the new year's holiday this morning with Irving, the office manager at my dentist's. It was a blah holiday for me, saved from inclusion among the very worst because there were no actual deaths in the vicinity. Irving was sick with a throat thing that's been going around. We commiserated, which gave me an idea for improving New Year's Eve, the holiday with the lowest ratio of actual to anticipated pleasure.
Rather than desperately strive to redeem the old or consecrate the new, we should resolve to have a fairly but not immoderately crappy time on New Years Eve. If you don't have that year's flu already, lay in a supply of comfort food and then acquire it. If you can't catch it, simulate it. Arrange yourself on the couch with too many blankets, smoke some bad marijuana and chase it with whisky and honey. Medicate with TV. Eat too many sweet things. Be bored. Keep the cough syrup close at hand.
I would even suggest that the week between Xmas and New Years become a traditional time for minor medical procedures: colonoscopies (there will be enough time and incentive to fast after Thankschristmas), mammograms, gum cleaning. The idea is to be able to say for the fifty-two weeks following, this sucks, but at least it's not as bad as New Years Eve.