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Friday, February 22, 2002

With a lack of something to say, you are saying it and that is poetry. If you read blogdex you can see what everyone is linking to, this meme, that one over there. The blog exercises people�s imaginations because Americans, obsessed with mediocrity, want to do something big. Win the lottery. Say to your graduating class �see how well I�ve done?� Look at me.

Sometimes embraced, sometimes rejected, mediocrity crashed our society�s democratic kegger a long time ago. We let people in. It�s what we do! But mediocrity happens along with it, along with access, along with technology. The last true elitists, the Dwight MacDonald set of the postwar, pre-60s era, opposed �mass culture� and the crap that people thought was �culture� but was, in fact, crap. They were interested in finding non-crap and praising it, "the life of the tide line where the decisive struggles for survival take place between higher and lower organisms." But that view is gone. Who today associates �highbrow� with �successful�? Highbrow means pretentious and obscure, like the modern art that evening news magazines and Tom Wolfe take pains to criticize. So if un-dangerous self-improver types write weblogs, the same nervousness about mediocrity comes to the surface. �Oh,� the op-ed writers cry, �it�s mediocre!� Uh, yeah, so what?

After WWII, many Americans (and many being sons & daughters of immigrants) thought novels in paperback, night schools and public universities would give middle and lower-middle class folks access, the chance to �become something.� Talk to parents now about what they mean when they say they want their kids to �become something�: it has little to do with education & everything to do with money. Security. Getting in that recession-proof niche, a place invulnerable to market shifts, untouched by the nervous spasms caused by almost nonexistent trade borders.

So it is with blogs. Don't bore us with culture. We are "expressing ourselves." We are always striving to �become something.� Usually we strive to be what we aren't, and never will be; our imagination just won�t let go.

"Our poetry now is the realization that we possess nothing." - John Cage


Tuesday, February 19, 2002

I was thinking the other day, "I should blog," and then I realized that no one reads this but me. No one. So it doesn't really make a difference if you read this or not because I don't believe you exist. Therefore you don't, at least not to me. Sorry.

Someone told me I need to work on my anger.

Recently rented My Darling Clementine and Sonatine. Now, Clementine was a beautiful movie. Those shots! It's one of those movies that could be silent and you wouldn't lose much. Sonatine was different. Funny, dark and funny (I'd never seen a Takeshi Kitano movie), but the sad bleakness of it all was so Japanese in character that I found myself struggling to relate. It was funny because after Kate and I turned off the VCR, The Fugitive came on (network tv). Now The Fugitive is so quintessentially American in the Clinton era: just-feeling and morally righteous and never seeing its own arrogance. God bless Harrison Ford.

Friday, February 08, 2002

Is it little things that matter? Or big things? Is there a difference?

Ok, so I broke down and bough the Strokes cd, and it is really good. If you like Television, you'll like the Strokes.

I noticed today that I am a very disorganized person. I have a lot of small responsibilities, and I handle them poorly. Why is it that the thing your mom told you about yourself continues to echo?

Friday, February 01, 2002

I keep hearing Bill Evans� playing of "My Foolish Heart." It�s the CD I play when tuck Ivy into bed. She hears it every night she gets tucked in. I used to play Miles Davis� Kind of Blue when she went to bed, but after a couple of years I got really sick of it. Now whenever I hear it (and you hear Kind of Blue everywhere), I think of when Ivy was six. Was she was six, was she more confused about the outside world, or less? I do remember talking to her about Miles Davis back then, and she wasn�t too interested. She�s still not that interested in Bill Evans. Why are the details of what music she hears important to me? Meybe she won't like, say Fred Frith, but I can't help imagining that she will benefit from knowing who he is. My dad gave me a childhood music thing. My Dad�s record collection rocks. He really loves music, and always played stuff, very cool stuff. And he was never trying to be hip, he hated hip. I remember at dinner he played George Shearing, Christopher Parkening, Liona Boyd, Joe Pass, Oscar Peterson, Carmen McRae, Rubenstein�s Chopin Preludes. And now when I eat with Ivy I always play Mozart flute concertos. It matters.

I've been reading those conservative blogs for a couple of days now and my head is starting to hurt. I think I had to re-orient myself w/ a few important facts:
:: The INS is a very fucked-up government agency, and now it seems more fucked-up than ever
:: Civil liberties are still, like, in danger
:: When conservative newspapers that say "we are at war" also say "the people on X-ray are not prisoners of war," we should be concerned. Because it is nonsense. Why is it not war when the U.S. wages it?
:: Peggy Noonan has a job

The last fact is really, really depressing to me. I guess I am a liberal.

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