“You can attract more stupid people with words than with silence.”
What’s most disappointing about contemporary Masculinisms is not the lack of consensus on what can define Millennial masculinity, but the reliance on archaic gender paradigms because of this lack of consensus. After finishing Harvey Mansfield’s 2006 mister-piece, MANLINESS, I was left with the feeling that all he was asking for was a nicer, gentler Feminism rather than calling men to revolutionize their thinking on gender and sexuality. That women should be progressive but still acquiesce to some mythic male superiority. This was a consideration Eddie Kendricks asked for 33 years earlier in Girl You Need A Change Of Mind (“Why march in pick-it lines? Burn bras and carry signs? Now I’m for women’s rights, I just want equal nights”). One should not be too surprised…Mansfield was educated and eventually taught at Harvard–a school for the classically intelligent but not the enlightened, and always a generation behind…I am thinking here of the 1994 Bell Curve study that argued White people were invariably smarter than everyone else…except Asians.
Canada is a notoriously un-Racist country…almost laughably un-Racist… Drake is what happens when an un-Racist culture produces Rap music… (This is not intended praise.)
(USB: United States of Babel) Everyone can openly agree it is foolhardy bigotry to imply that English is (or should be) America’s national tongue…it is also culturally naive and a tad disingenuous when people insist that American English is not the national language but merely a lingua franca… Given its humble beginnings as first spoken only by a marginal group of settlers, eventually graduating to the genocidal lasher of indigenous tongues, this campaign culminating as not merely a language of power but secured as one of the all-time great World languages in the history of human utterances has earned AE something of a right to nationalistic ambitions… When people the world over say “Speak English” they no longer mean the Queen’s tongue, instead like a Bostonian or Valley Girl or New Yorker or Texan. American English is the language of free speech and as such implies that one will be exercising said freedom in said dialect…no nation boasts a policy upholding a ‘freedom of language’…the body-politic would collapse in translation…
I don’t expect smart people to be smartly dressed but I do expect smartly dressed people to be smart…this bit of cognitive dissonance fucks me every time when registering first impressions.
I am not very savvy on ‘doomsday prepping’ but when I hear preppers say something like “I’m prepping for a terrorist attack”, it seems they have no real understanding of what a terrorist attack is or entails. It is not a ‘zombie apocalypse’, and its holocaustic aftermath is often quite brief in many respects. As events, terrorist attacks are tragic NOT catastrophic.
Sometimes I think belief in extraterrestial life (as opposed to life-forms) is Christianity for secularists. However outlandish the theories, there is always some lingering conciliatory notion that “we are not alone”.
You can either believe in (G)od or follow Religion…not both.
There are so many phrasings in Largo al Factotum that seem lifted right out of Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden as to make one think Rossini saw Die Zauberflöte the night before he composed Il Barbiere di Siviglia. (Of course all music after Mozart is a footnote to Mozart.)
Ancient Alien Theorists are the integrity-rapists of civilization’s greatest (HUMAN) achievements…ALL OF THEM…
When people ask me if I believe in (G)od, it’s like them properly phrasing a question in Akkadian with the right inflection but having no idea at all what they’ve just asked me…me only knowing they have no idea what they’re asking about…in Akkadian. But then I have to respond in English.
Admittedly contraceptive practice is a no-no in the Old Testament but there is no explicit prohibition against abortion in the Holy Bible. Because of the storyline and general tenor of the narrative it is taken to be a Pro-Life text. (It is not.) For this reason Pro-Lifers mistakenly lump both (abortion/contraception) in the same camp. (They are not.) Biblical ethics and morality take particular issue with the holiness of the Seed and invest comparatively marginal interest in the sanctity of the Womb. (Even the Jeremiad calling and the Virgin Birth are less about the female “vessel” and more to the mystery of the Deus ex Machina…we have to remember that the Hebrew tribal alliances from whom we inherited our monotheistic template were in the main Phallic alliances, not Goddess worshippers.) Nevertheless, one should find it odd that Right Wing Conservatism would use the Bible to advance an agenda that bans abortion and prohibits contraception being covered by health insurance, yet seems morally lax to the point of indifference on the matter of vasectomies…which according to Deuteronomy 23:1 guarantees you have lost favor with (G)od…
לֹֽא־יָבֹ֧א פְצֽוּעַ־דַּכָּ֛א וּכְר֥וּת שָׁפְכָ֖ה בִּקְהַ֥ל יְהוָֽה׃
Whenever someone feels the need to assure me of their Atheism, I chuckle to myself thinking “Such a declaration of faith…how very Christian.”
Today I overheard a man refer to a certain young woman as someone who uses “sex as a weapon”… Other than being struck by how antiquated such (sexist) thinking is–poorly masqueraded as a progressive consideration–I find it curious that men take issue with women using “sex as a weapon” when the entire historical campaign of male dominance has been about wielding “sex as a weapon”…an infliction of power…
(Le Poète et la Muse) I am never listening to the music of Dead Can Dance but reading their sounds as though penned by Homer…revisiting each note to concentrate on a different character…this time percussion…this time chorus…this time poet…this time muse… These sounds sweep over my ears like flipping pages through tomes of epic verse. These are soundtracks for the well-read.
Like Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy, Pharrell’s Happy must also be despised on principle alone…however foot-tappy, hip-swayful the sentiment. After watching the fullscale video exploit, 24 hours of Happy(ness) is proven morose. No one beyond the bounds of literary Stepford, Connecticut wants to feel that good…a fresh dose of pure euphoria every 4 minutes over a 24 hour duration is an attack The Joker might wage on Gotham City to draw out Batman. I sat through the film in four 6-hour increments–not much of a challenge for someone who can sit through a Wagner opera without the need for intermission or any of Warhol’s longer cinematic indulgences–and all that can be said is one of America’s loftiest pursuits was dragged out as the longest most meaningless video in the world.
“Technology that is ahead of its time” is one of those phrases/concepts that people fail to realize makes absolutely no sense.
The argument that the legalization of marijuana will result in the legalization of heroin, cocaine and meth is a strain of that ridiculous belief that Marriage Equality will result in interspecies mating and cohabitation…
I’m always suspicious of countries (like Canada) who criticize American Racism (however justly) yet boast no non-White national heroes as part of their own historical record. They remind me of people without children who constantly criticize parenting skills.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.“ I firmly believe that John 14:6 would have had greater poetical and theological impact were it written I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIGHT. ‘Life’ just seems this arbitrary, anti-climactic consideration that doesn’t serve to reconcile the full poetic thought. Almost awkward… And this is no light charge against a literary work that is damn near strung together by only perfect poetical phrasings…
“Atheism and Secularism are NOT the same thing…Atheism is Secularism on Meth…”
America will never successfully separate Church from State because (a) we really don’t view them as institutions representing a private and a public sphere but rather parred as two aspects of a public sphere…and (b) Americans are incapable of intellectually differentiating between the Atheist, the Secularist and the Sinner…
Women who say they “don’t need Feminism” (whatever that can possibly mean) are the same manner of comedy as Racists in the Age of Obama who long for the “good ol’ days”…one significant difference being that Racism is first a private mania that one can choose to make public forum, so one can arguably be wholly Racist today (however laughable); Feminism functions supremely as a public forum…it is the politic we are socialized under, not a private folly…to CHOOSE to NOT be a Feminist is still Feminism (despite the paradoxical stench of misogyny).
Of course those we trust the most will mislead us…only a fool thinks otherwise.
Of all the kink genre, Bondage most reclaims the original religiosity behind the term ‘Fetish’. There is something erotically Puritanical (in the manner of Puritans) about having the tempting body fully cloaked and robed–bound head to foot–marinating in its most carnal desiring. But this is not just symbolic of Protestant or Catholic sexuality…this is also how the Muslim un-strips before Allah. (For reasons largely Mosaic in nature, Jews are not really drawn to Bondage per se. They suffered a more expository carnality…a voyeuristic Yahwism.)
When the Male Homosexual identity starts self-reflecting in shades of Top and Bottom it is symptomatic of an internalized homophobia. This is the Gay man who is still mystified by the heterosexist paradigm, where the world is only made up of half-persons with fractured identities. Top/Bottom discourse is the Gay man’s sexism.
It never ceases to tickle me that people invariably look to the Marquis de Sade as a symbol of sexual liberation. The divine Marquis would be the first to laugh at this accusation. His “philosophy” examines violation, imprisonment, subjugation, degradation…order…rigidity…power… Nothing that even remotely hints at liberation. Even his heroes are bound to their perversions, unable to achieve pleasure by any other means. Rousseau was undoubtedly the liberated Hippie of the French Enlightenment, whereas de Sade was more akin to Charles Manson…a veneer of liberation… Moreover, the logical conclusion to thinking oneself too free…
Interesting that Aristotle’s philosophy and Christianity gel theologically when (monastic) celibacy is considered the highest of Christian sentiments but sex seems an essential part of Aristotelian fulfillment.
One of the most enduring heroes of the Victorian era is Henry Higgins from George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion… Beyond Six Degrees Of Separation, Pretty Woman or The Devil Wears Prada, What Not To Wear or Queer Eye, the spirit of this Shavian Svengali is articulated best as the most unlikely Muse of the Makeover, LaFawnduh Lucas in Napoleon Dynamite; even when over-the-top she still exemplifies a certain subtlety in her influence…that might also approve in the end of one being NOW good enough to do the shopping and fetch the slippers.
If you have ever found yourself saying to someone “I’m smarter than you think I am”, then you probably were not… An intellect does not have to announce itself because it is already an expression justified by everything that makes it what it is or is not…
People who only read what they like–no matter how abundantly–are not well-read individuals…just like people who only do things they enjoy are the least worldly…only pay attention to politics they agree with (however liberally), the most ignorant…only live life by established rules, the most dead.
“After my date with tragedy, I’ll let Aristotle take care of me.” Whenever I listen to ‘Jackie Onassis‘ by Human Sexual Response I always wonder if Larry Bangor really knew how clever he was being when he wrote these words…it never surprises me how casually people reference the Poetics…
(Death is the limit of sexual desiring.) Do we find necrophilia disturbing because the person is dead or because they were once alive? The former reasoning makes perfect sense as a health factor, a corpse is a toxic body. The latter seems to call into question what the once living person may have physically desired for a postmortem existence which can exercise no conscious desiring of its own…which the living only ever intuit for themselves to the degree of burial/funerary rites and organ donation. How obscene we would think it for someone to leave their body to Pornography instead of Science.
Of the four great cultural guilts–Jewish Guilt, Catholic Guilt, White Guilt and Black Guilt–Catholic Guilt is the only one not rooted in some grander Oppressor/Oppressed anxiety…just the private Hell of the oppressive family structure…it’s really not even about Jesus dying for our sins…
Fundamentalism and its un-Evil twin, Scientific Atheism, are those bumbling siblings forever incapable of compromise…producing on one end those whose faith in a poorly READ Bible justifies condemnation and on the other to condemn faith through a poorly un-READ Bible… “Strange all this difference should be ‘twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee.” (thanks John Byrom)
The enigma of R. Kelly’s Closet is not uncovering it as an oratorio or opera buffa, Rock Opera or Hip-Hopera, singspiel or just a really long song…but discovering whether it is good or not. The structural ambiguity does add to its subtle genius–which is not meant to imply “good” of course, but all grand artistic expressions however indulgent are genius (Mozart taught us that and he, too, was a pervert). Because Kelly chose the ideal opera topic of infidelity it would have been perfect had the full drama ended on Chapter 22’s Package Fugue…a rather clever musical characterization of the comparable virulence of gossip and AIDS in Black communities…
bell hooks once asked Neil DeGrasse Tyson why there were so few African-American Astrophysicists. Whatever his answer, it was irrelevant because hard sciences, mathematics and select disciplines like Philosophy do not intentionally foster racial divide…it is not until we encounter a Black person engaged that we look to the historical institution of these disciplines and declare them racist or racially structured… That is the insidiousness of Racism, we look to point out some external fault (however accurate or not) that actually began within our own awareness of difference…
The folly of Baptists’ theological identity is they never stop to think for a moment that they just might be Jews and not Christians at all…
The demand on literacy for Muslims and Jews sets them apart from most historically recorded faith practices including Christianity, which up until the rise of Protestantism almost preferred its congregants illiterate. Of course, only Christianity could weave illiteracy en masse into the Renaissance.
Preamble (A Haibun), on my La Galeria Valle haiku project site…it was too argumentative a tangent…but I didn’t want to just trash it or the idea>
In fashion I find that what intrigues me about Marc Jacobs is what has always drawn me to Prada…I am never quite certain that I dislike it, so I happily accept liking it…a lot…
(Thought for Matthew Arnold) Just out of curiosity, when “Sophocles long ago heard it on the Ægean”, did he also hear that Samuel Barber would score your splendid verse so beautifully, as to only be sung more beautifully by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau…?
Bucket lists seem to me a pastime for people who live lives rife with regret… Seneca, Diderot and Kundera would all prescribe living one’s life to its fullest as the best cure for bucket-listing…
The ‘reboot’–which evolved out of late 20th Century Hollywood’s penchant for remakes– is the prevailing trend in contemporary American cinema… Here is when Film is most like Philosophy, which is only ever “rebooting” Plato…
I have heard some outlandish geo-demographic accusations in my life–there are no Blacks in Scandinavian Europe, no Gays in Iran, no rich folk in Mexico etc. Even if these were not ridiculous hyperbole (they are), America is the only country where saying you only have Black friends or White friends or Straight friends or rich friends raises a concerned eyebrow. Socializing in the U.S. is a numbers game and the census numbers are automatically against any possibility for segregative socializing unless it is the intent of the person–from the dreariest ghetto to the lushest gated community… When I encounter Americans, however isolated, who say things like “I just never met any Blacks…I don’t know any Gays…” it occurs to me to ask them if they are aware that ‘not knowing’ in the third millennium is tantamount to willful ignorance and ignorance is the defining feature of bigotry… It is really hard not to be a bigot in America but it is even harder to avoid a fully integrated society…
However beautifully written and fascinating we take Kierkegaard’s writings to be, we should never find ourselves fully convinced of his philosophy, which on the whole deals with feelings…and although one can convince an individual that other individuals are not just nervous systems in vats but real flesh possessing feelings/emotions, it is a whole ‘nother Jedi mind-trick to convince him or her that these are of any value.
Enlightenment never seems to exhaust itself. Even when dormant, it is never from fatigue.
Marriage Equality is only a revolutionary move for socialized homosexuality if Gays can collectively get beyond Top/Bottom identity-fetishism. We fail to realize that this binarism is but another strain of the same heterosexism that has denied women experiencing their full potential as complete sexual beings for millennia… (It is our Virgin/Whore complex.) Top-and-Bottom is NOT the Yin Yang of homosexual coupling, just a label to help Heterosexuals delineate which one is the bitch.
The image of the Crucifix has no theological (therefore symbolic) relevance for Mormons…no wonder other Christians don’t trust them…
What follows the final movement of any Mahler symphony? Post-ejaculation depression.
Creating matters most when no one is paying attention…writing, when no one is yet reading…
Beck’s Algo-rhythm: E♮-F♮/Mimosis = [Mimesis+Osmosis] — Mr. Hansen’s body of work is a compendium of every great beat and riff in the POP canon. His anxiety of influence, the foot-tapping tunes of our familiar…this Harold Bloom of music.
Some ensemble moments in Hip-Hop are so well composed and classy they surpass our expectations of all music not written by a Bach or Beethoven. All About The Banjamins is something of a mass in OG major and should be republished Oratorio for Tenore, 2 Kavalierbariton, Mezzo-soprano, Basso, Guitar-hook and DJ. (Imagine how much more splendid Ludwig’s music would have been had he access to Rap?)
American soprano Renee Fleming once joked that operatic singing to a Martian would probably sound like well composed screams…I, too, am interested in the aesthetic impact music would have on otherwordly sensibilities…for example, if a Martian were to ask me to explain the effect Rock-n-Roll has on the human sentiment I would readily answer, “I don’t like the band Aerosmith UNTIL I’m actually hearing their music and suddenly I am compelled to love Aerosmith.”
(Court Composer for the Central Nervous System/Philip Glass 101) First Law of Musical Physics: Even when the body of composition is at rest it must remain teeming with vitality. The music to hear as one lays dying…not quite dead, but just as the soul begins to leave the body.
The Abrahamic god is a writer of books…it is of no consequence to him whether or not there is faith in my heart, as long as my wit is not an Atheist.
(“Prolix! Prolix! Nothing a pair of scissors can’t fix!” Nick Cave) The Bible is encyclopedic, catalogic and like all things so neurotically comprehensive collapses upon itself. There is no mystery to unravel about the lost Ark of the Covenant, (G)od simply called upon (H)is editors to refrain…it was but a literary oversight–the oversight that storing the Decalogue tablets in a construction that breaks one of the holiest commandments (Exodus 20:4) makes of the whole thing an unholy vessel. Who puts damn cherubs on a Mercy Seat anyway?
לֹֽ֣א תַֽעֲשֶׂ֨ה־לְךָ֥֣ פֶ֣֙סֶל֙ ׀ וְכָל־תְּמוּנָ֡֔ה אֲשֶׁ֤֣ר בַּשָּׁמַ֣֙יִם֙ ׀ מִמַּ֡֔עַל וַֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר֩ בָּאָ֖֨רֶץ מִתַָּ֑֜חַת
That which is comprehensible to all manner of persons needs no explanation. That which is incomprehensible, it is a most wicked evil to explain.
It was not Jesus but the ‘Gloria’ from Lou Harrison’s Mass To Saint Anthony that taught me how simple and minimalist holiness really is…the Gregorian lyricism and the velvety softness of the horn section evoke dreams of medieval monasticism…back before the West even knew of Javanese gods and percussion…
Arvo Pärt’s Collage Sur Bach vs Ferruccio Busoni’s Doktor Faustus: If a non-German is going to compose in Germanic tones then it is best accomplished in a manner more pastiche rather than outright parroting, otherwise it will come off sounding inauthentic and farcical…like when foreigners (especially the British) use American English in literal contexts–awkward, clumsy, lacking all the nuance that elevates its expressiveness…
<listening to Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd> …I never knew that a stammer could be so beautifully composed… Such longing and pain these two British queens came together and brought forth–the brood, an elegiac closure to all the unchecked sexual anxieties of that Gay American Macho…Melville, the Dickhunter. Baritones rise and tenors crash in ironic tenderness…the orchestration thrusts from quiet stillness to competitive tumult…it is the music of sex between men… None but swinging, chiming cocks as far as the ear can hear! And boys… (Wagner taught us well to love a good boy chorus.)
What I enjoy about films like Zack And Miri Make A Porno and Sex Tape is how they are a backlash to the pornographic idea that in real life experiences adventurous sex will spontaneously happen…exposing the truth that in real life experiences uninteresting porn will spontaneously happen.
Being Black and Gay I have always been quite insensitive to the ‘Gay Is The New Black’ Equality sentiment…there are unique differences in the modes of oppression levied against Blacks and Homosexuals, not the least being as visible phenomena–Blacks are targeted SOLELY on physical appearance, Gays conversely do not stand out but come into public view from secreted or camouflaged peripheries…hence the underlying anxiety of homophobia. (Compare what object fagbashers can image hunting versus what a KKK lynching mob can image hunting.) If I were to engage such political rhetoric regarding historicized oppression I would probably quip something like “Black Is The New Woman”…arguably the only other oppressed identity whose entire history in bondage is rooted in what others directly see.
“The Ignorant will never be fully extinct, but with not a little collective effort on the part of mankind they can be permanently categorized as an endangered species…”
Because the Atheist and the Fundamentalist were only able to mold their arguments around the existence of a god, they both lost the debate.
“The enemy of my friend is not my enemy too…the enemy of my friend is my friend’s fucking problem for leading a life where one should be concerned about enemies.”
<No(ir) Wave, Foetus Envy> James G. Thirlwell aka Jim Thirlwell aka JG Thirlwell aka Jim Foetus aka Clint Ruin aka… Your aliases read like you’re on the lam, the desperate and dangerous sort…maybe a homicidal rapist-carny who keeps his toolbelt on while fucking little boys behind the ferris wheel motor… Has anyone ever told you that your music always sounds like you have a big dick…? (If I remember those underground films well–and I do–you do…)
(An American Legend) Like with Copland and Pollock before him, the American aesthetic found its voice on the global stage through Ralph Lauren’s artistry. While common couturiers were still weaving frocks meant to make an entrance he was envisioning what a room should wear when being entered. Then he set forth to accessorizing space and dressing environs. Life stylist. Designer of worlds. The human condition is his dress mannequin.
(Some thoughts while looking at someone I should think quite ugly…) Whether I am gazing at Lucien Freud’s awkward portrait of her majesty Elizabeth II or Sargent’s alluring Madame X, starstruck glimpsing a supermodel at a bar or trying NOT to stare at a burn victim in the Emergency Room, I gawk at the deformed and the beautiful with the same abandon because they remind me how very ordinary are my own features… My personal physical importance becomes diminished. The space I inhabit is no longer special. The beautiful have symmetry on their side and no matter how much tastes change all peoples everywhere still become headlight-stunned deer over the same symmetrically sound individuals–blonde or brunette, ruddy or swarthy–voted as SEXIEST MAN/WOMAN of the year by whatever POP poll that’s taken on the task. We want to see them or be them… We envy them and we fantasize about them…we even coax our lovers to imitate them–or at least what we think they are like… And however it is accomplished, these visages remain idealized and emblazoned upon our consciousness. The deformed are equally transfixing and reconcile our most morbid desires to see…to look…to watch. We don’t really want to look away although we know that we should… The sight of them kidnaps our gaze and takes us to a place where we not only find that we were never at the center of the World but we were not even at the center of our own world, found otherwise surrendered to the vision before us.
<deleted opening for ‘Head Negress In Charge (HNIC): Beyonce’s ANTE-Feminist Groove’> Much like the KKK has become the iconic representation of White bigotry, the Black Panthers are likewise (mis)representative of Black politicism; in truth Black Americans are largely conservative folk, it is the history of our circumstances that have forced a radical hand. The only reason we lean Left as a demographic is because Democrats won’t kill us, but it had long been collectively suspected that the first African-American POTUS would be Right Wing (which is why we were all surprised when Powell graciously declined). Rappers do not use the language of their music around their parents or their children; Blacks are not any more or less sexually promiscuous or rapacious than other races–Black men, in particular, have notorious reputations for things they will NOT do sexually; our households are not iniquitous crackden speakeasies and (G)od help any Black person that dares to confront their grandparents on issues of faith or skip out on the pastor’s Sunday sermon. Even the very reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.–arguably the most progressive Black American of the 20th Century (and beyond)–is still believed to have been a Republican, although he had never publicly backed any candidate Left or Right. And yet, the first image that is conjured when people think of Blacks and Conservative Republicanism is an Uncle Tom or Clarence Thomas. Dick Holler’s masterful folk tune, Abraham, Martin & John, became an iconic triptych adorning the homes of Black households long before the age of the Velvet Elvis. Kennedy was a very progressive president in regards to Black interests, but it was Republican Honest Abe that gave us “interests” in the first place. (The one ironic political bond that Gays and Blacks do have is the one never considered–both hark back to Lincoln.)
It is a gross misconception that all men want the same thing…we all want variations on the same thing.
<deleted from ‘Head Negress In Charge (HNIC): Beyonce’s ANTE-Feminist Groove’> More media savvy female Pop stars tend to build a loyal fanbase with the Gay community–comrades in the struggle against heterosexist oppression–yet sexism and gender bias (like racial bigotry) is as virulent in the Gay community as in heteronormative society. Gay men, still being men informed by the same lies about the sexes, not only embrace but even exacerbate and exaggerate stereotypes and myths about the feminine–the only upside is that women do not have to sleep with Gay men and be further degraded in the bedroom.
<cognitive loop while listening to Death Valley ’69 by Sonic Youth ft. Lydia Lunch> People always misunderstand my fascination with Charles Manson…I am fascinated with the idea that people are fascinated with Charles Manson…I am fascinated by people fascinated with Charles Manson… I am as removed from being fascinated by Charles Manson as he was from the murders committed… (He was really trying to start a Race War.)
“Heteronormativity in child rearing is a form of institutionalized sexual abuse. By dictating what type of male or female your child should be is sexualizing their gender development. This is the same psychosexual dynamic that happens when adults molest children. You are not preparing your child for a world already steeped in gender binarism, you’re teaching them to perpetuate the lies of what women DO and who men ARE.”
<deleted from Head Negress In Charge (HNIC): Beyonce’s ANTE-Feminist Groove> Like most of their gender, it is standard practice for Black women who get pregnant to have the baby…nine times out of ten, they have to raise it, with or without a father. Of course, there is always that one who pawns the child off on ailing, wayward grandparents or chucks it in a dumpster–Tupac speaks more wisely on such matters–but there is a strong cultural Medea Complex that permeates Black Teen Motherhood…spoken on less often than should be… (Tyler Perry’s Madea character is less a humorous farce to people who are literate and culturally aware.)
The Help, Django Unchained, The Butler and 12 Years A Slave were all blockbusters released during the Obama administration…which begs the question, is Hollywood exploring the history of the African-American experience or exploiting it to remind Blacks of “their place”?
Chopin, Liszt, Gould and Wu-Tang: Masters in the subtle textures of the pianoforte. (Only those who really listen to music will grasp my meaning here…)
There is no lonelier or sadder figure than the un-Queered, pathologically segregative, sexist Fundamentalist. I am of the self-same (progressive) sentiment as Rabbi Hillel…certain outdated modes of being deserve extinction.
<après William A. Henry III> Snobbery = Bigotry … Elitism = [Bigotry+Enlightenment]
When we stop and consider how many mistakes each of us has made in life that were left to fester and become willy-nilly what they will, it is much easier to reason that (G)od does exist AND the universe (and everything in it) was still an accident. Mankind may just be one of the many skeletons in (G)od’s closet.
Music for the sake of making music is not art, rather some form of muzak and like muzak U2’s Songs Of Innocence is reference to a greater past but in itself is the most forgettable fire.
<Never mind the closet, here’s Queer Spirit!> I only secretly indulge Pansy Division’s music…Gay Grunge still treats homosexual identity as something derivative of a heterosexist paradigm…perhaps even more…
<listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska and The Ghost Of Tom Joad> The holiest trinity of Modern American verse is comprised of the Blacks, the Beats, and the Boss–Bard in the USA…
I like to think of listening to the talk-radio show Coast To Coast AM as slumming in the Land of KNYE. I can understand that Bigfoot, ol’ Nessie and chupacabras being mere beasts will randomly appear before whoever happens by…with or without a camera… I don’t expect animals to be savvy publicity opportunists anticipating some tourist herd or paparazzi glaring. Demonic possession and alien abduction are more touch-and-go considering these showy, Kodak-moment exhibitions are only granted to lower middle income White Midwesterners…who apparently cannot afford camera-phones… (“You didn’t get a shot of that?”) Extraterrestrials travel light years and devils cross multi-dimensional expanses in search of poor White trash, so I bet they keep mementos. (Intentional downward mobility is suspect on all worlds…in all dimensions…)
Even beyond referencing Jacobean playwrights the music of Echo & the Bunnymen is very literary…it is what literature sounds like. The tunes chime with epic tones and invoke isolated moods. The lyrics, always mischievous…chanting and teasing…like naughty boys waiting to spring from shadows and deliver a scare… In other words, good British verse–not unlike Tennyson or Coleridge or Byron. Their music had greater impact on my literacy than all the required reading for English Lit 101. It also convinced me that every Brit is a natural born writer.
<thinking on Mahler’s Andante Moderato from Symphony No. 6 in A Minor, Tragische.> Das Ist Eine Liebeslied! The tenor of love is necessary to every tragedy…for an event to be truly tragic it must whisper of some love lost. Despite any previous tumult there is always a calm soundtrack when the heart is breaking…a lush, restrained soundtrack of shimmering strings…pining and pensive horns…moody woodwinds…at times, seemingly aimless notes…all finally collapsed into rhapsodic grief. The instruments sing a torch song no human voice ever could…
“The most unfortunate feature of oppression is its most enduring characteristic–it is universal. All people everywhere encounter some form of oppression… No one has never not been held back by The Man….including The Man…”
What should intrigue my listener/reader most is not that I am intelligent (“smart”) but that I am comfortable in my intelligence…both in what I do and do not know. Those few keen enough to get beyond my Gayness and Blackness, suggestive language and innuendo, and stop listening for the Oscar Wilde moment begin to hear in me instead the naked voice of G.K. Chesterton–although I am not an Apostle of Common Sense, merely an interpreter. Those few are the ones who understand me most…who really get the gist of my efforts…for everyone else I am merely a token of something incomprehensible.
Scientists only go back to the last theory that may or may not have been proven… Philosophers always have to go back beyond that last thought that may or may not have made sense…
Forgetfulness is a species of cognitive cowardice…there is nothing I hold more in abhorrence than a bad memory. (I am not thinking here of neurological disorders or traumatic shock…just average folk who forget… I always find myself wondering how they were ever able to learn…ANYTHING!)
Although the Dave Matthews Band is a collective of undeniably talented musicians, the trick to really appreciating their music is to first sleep with fratboys and/or jocks that want to be thought of as deep and sensitive…it’s a special taste, like one has for truffles…
Surely the most deplorable kind of Racist is the one who discovers quite late in life that he’s been an idiot and spends the rest of his life pointing out this failing in everyone…as though that somehow makes up for having already led a life of poor judgement… (I uphold this same argument for the Sexist, the Homophobe and ironically the Homosexual–I often find that individuals who are openly homosexually oriented since childhood are less prone to running around outing everything in a pink shirt.)
Whenever I encounter an individual who speaks about sexuality (homo/hetero/bi) and attempts to justify the comments with “in my opinion”, I immediately know this individual has no real understanding of what sexuality is nor what constitutes an opinion.
What is always misunderstood about my aversion to being referred to as “smart” is I only detest hearing it when my flatterer is gauging me as encyclopedic or by the limits of their own knowledge…it is the sweetest compliment if one is regarding my scholarly intuition or intellectual stamina.
There are volumes written lamenting all manner of crises in modern thought and academia, especially Philosophy and Theology…but it is easily summed up, at some point after Medieval Christianity the marriage of how one thought and how one lived became so estranged to the point of divorce.
The first 3 minutes and 25 seconds of Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda experience (video+song) can be so beautifully dismantled it is almost a Structuralist excess. The musical texture is obviously Sir Mix-a-Lot, narrative styled from Li’l Kim…then there is the voice characterization which opens in a pitch of L’Trimm (Cars That Go Boom) and performativity throughout resonant of Kelis’ Milkshake video–among others. And, of course, all female Rappers who “spit” in themes praising a certain prodigiousness and street-savvy do so as collective homage to West Coast proto-gangstress Yo-Yo. This only skims the surface of Minaj’s Anaconda epistemology and its anxiety of influence…all before we can even begin to analyze the politics of the video’s mise en scene and history of her sexuality… I don’t care for anything she’s done up to now and may not like anything after, but I do enjoy her in this moment…for if nothing else Anaconda reminds me how well I read Foucault.
There are two types of people who do not fear the ‘N’ word–those who are secure in their Blackness and those who read Mark Twain (well). It is smart to be of either camp…wiser to have a foot in both (if possible)…
“People who give up too easily too soon always miss the magic that’s just about to happen.”
I often meet Atheists who put on airs of being far better educated, enlightened thinkers than their more devout brethren yet feel no personal duty toward being properly schooled on the evolution of Religion–the history of its influence on humanity, humanity’s on it–merely because they do not believe in gods. To be so willfully ignorant of the world’s oldest confession isn’t a rebellion against the faithful, it makes one no better than the fundamentalist. If all one can say is “I don’t believe in gods” how is that any different from another who can only say “I believe in (G)od”? Both have said nothing…
The recordings of Wagner’s operas made during the Holocaust and World War II possess a more chilling sound of urgency in their tone…but I’m sure it’s just history…
Realheldenlust for Jonas Kaufmann: I tell people you are the dreamiest Heldentenor like some teeny-bopper talking up her latest crush, bragging to girlfriends with a pretense to connoisseurship thinking such a title more impressive than calling you simply the latest tenor I adore. What do I know? Perhaps you are not a hero at all and just sing Wagner beautifully…there is a difference… But when all is said and done, what comes directly from within you is splendid. That voice could make any Übermensch drop trou for Parzival. (Poor fools sing sweetly as they venture beyond the angels’ turf. Supermen merely whistle.)
<listening to Mercyful Fate’s album Melissa> King Diamond comes to us at one moment demonic cantor, then the whole of a dark Gospel choir… This music is holier than Stryper’s “heaven metal” Glam, more existential Christian Rock than Creed or Evanescence…even U2… It is undoubtedly music for worship. (We forget that Satanism is also a Christian schism and the inverted crucifix was an iconic symbol of St. Peter’s saintly integrity before it was ever appropriated for Satanic excess…and all Abrahamic sects are inherently faiths of revolt…)
From time to time I find myself thinking that Bertolt Brecht–as a playwright–was Germany’s George Bernard Shaw. (Why do I think this? Politics?)
Like philosophy prepares one for death, creativity prepares one for loneliness…it is solitude’s tonic.
The only thing that sells more than sex is lies…
Hipsters are to Mods what Zombies are to Vampires.
If you cannot be poetry, then write poetry…if you cannot write poetry, then read poetry…if you cannot read poetry, then see it…everywhere… (If you cannot see it…?)
Smashing inanimate objects that merely deliver the news that facilitates your displeasure is tantamount to “killing the messenger”…it solves nothing and you will have to buy a new phone…
“And if it’s the last thing I ever do I’m gonna get you. Crash into my arms.” Many music artists have tried their hand at the Jack The Ripper metaphor–Screaming Lord Sutch, Judas Priest, Motorhead, LL Cool J, Nick Cave et al.–but in light of Russell Edwards findings suggesting that Jack the Ripper was a Polish hairdresser who died in an asylum it seems that Morrissey, the maladjusted hairdresser on fire himself, nailed it with his moody rapist-romancer…
<Monkees and Myth> One night back in the mid ’90s while drinking with some friends one put forth this elaborate story of censorship that The Monkees’ famous song about groupies, Star Collector, was originally titled Star Fucker. I was never able to verify any truth to his tale and in retrospect it seems foolish to think that a personality as artistically refined as Carole King–the song’s co-lyricist–would use language so colorfully brutal, especially when “collector” is more charmingly nuanced. Some years later–1999–Nine Inch Nails released the song Starfuckers, Inc. Foregoing subtlety this title fit not only the artist’s musical aesthetic (Davy Jones could have never pulled off “FUCKER”) but also the casual parlance of our era when speaking on the not dissimilar subject of fame and the Other. My friend’s lie became some manifestation of truth elsewhere, however coincidental (surely he and Trent Reznor never met to exchange notes on the matter)… Myths germinate in like fashion–the greater truth of the story (in this case how fame is socialized pathologically) outweighs the trivia of which hero brought it forth however, for if it is a truth it will indeed prevail…and blossom again and again… (Of course this in no way absolves my friend of telling such lies for he was no mythmaker but merely a cliche of a liar.)
<contra ZEITGEIST> I am not someone who indulges conspiracy theories. Conspiracy Theory is the Rapture thinking of global politics. I don’t believe in the capital ‘C’ conspiracy…although it is inarguable that there are select groups of people who operate clandestinely with access to privileged information. But there is no charm in the paranoia of potential New World Orders. (On the other hand, I do love a good panic and mass hysteria.)
“Greek is the eternal language of philosophy so it is incumbent upon any student of the New Testament to know more Plato than Pentateuch as the latter is in origin Torah. The Holy Bible is a complete story as a literary project, but the Old and New Testaments are two completely different schools of thought…even historically Jesus was culturally closer to Socrates than he was to Moses.”
When I encounter the lackluster–but honorable–efforts of Gay Country Music (cf. Steve Grand) or Gay Grunge (cf. Pansy Division), I’m reminded how so necessarily fixed is the sexism and gender bias of these genres that homosexual subject matter can be nothing more than pun or pathology… (Of course all Country Music is already pathological…)
“Anyone who knows me well knows well that I am not a man given to making or taking offenses… I don’t even harbor offensive thoughts, just offensive perspectives…”
<on being one of the immeasurable numbers of unique “miracles” the cosmos boasts> If there is only one universe how amazing that it chanced to be suitable enough to sustain a life form that could develop to realize that there is only one universe hosting no other comparable intelligent self-awareness. If there is only one god how amazing that (I)t took a chance on creating a life form that could evolve into a being that would one day realize there is only one god who performed this one act but once. Either way, being alone is still being alone.
It is not the ability to Reason that sets us apart in the animal kingdom but the ability to make magic, mystify and be mystified–the will to (un)Reason.
In portraiture the “ugliness” of Picasso’s Gertrude Stein or Lucien Freud’s Queen Elizabeth II has the same truth found in the “beauty” of Keira Knightley in a Chanel ad or any of Beyonce’s videos…they really don’t look like that… (Picasso prophetically proclaimed about his Stein, “Everybody says that she does not look like it but that does not make any difference, she will”)
“Sometimes my emotions seem to me like Pollock paintings, always in danger of peeling ‘cuz they were stretched after the fact.”
The wabi-sabi in Stevie Wonder’s Rocket Love: “Your body moved with grace and song/Like symphonies by Bach or Brahms”…unless Wonder is referencing Bach’s descendants or considering sinfonia rather than fully orchestrated modern symphony, Bach’s comparable composition form was ‘concerto’…yet all artistic and lyrical integrity would be lost in the correction…
Devout Atheist Richard Dawkins recently declared himself a secular Christian, “I would describe myself as a secular Christian in the same sense as secular Jews have a feeling for nostalgia and ceremonies”–whistling that tiresome Christian hymn of Anything-Jews-Can-Do-We-Can-Do-Better… Yet even with such excellent examples like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, secular Christianity is something of dialectical anecdote and doesn’t resonate with the same theological impact as secular Judaism largely because Judaism is a religion steeped in orthopraxy–it is irrelevant whether or not G-d exists, it is a religion about its people…Christianity is a faith of orthodoxy–it is imperative that one believe in (G)od, it’s the damn creed…Christianity does not allow for an intellectual space where gods do AND don’t govern, which is why it developed an Atheism loophole… (Christianity is quite Levitical in sentiment, there is a sacred and a secular world and ne’er should the twain meet.)
Watching THREADS–the Project Runway spinoff, featuring children competing in the fashion design arena–gives one the impression there are couturier prodigies waiting to be unearthed, tailoring-Mozarts suffocating somewhere in America’s Bible Belt or along the Bayou…hosted by the further suggestion that Christian Siriano is also such an embodiment, that he is heir to wunderkinds like Yves Saint Laurent or Zac Posen… This is misleading entertainment–most registered adult designers are hardly deserving of the title and prodigies in any discipline are what they are because of their gem-like rarity. I find it hard to believe a reality-show franchise that can barely produce a new Perry Ellis or Tommy Hilfiger will root out some baby Bill Blass… (The show’s intent would fare better scouting the sweatshops of Thailand, where children go straight from the womb right into counterfeiting Gucci…surely they possess some innate talent for craftsmanship at a more profound level…)
<prelude to my thinking on the Phallic guilt of Tannhäuser>The Bugs Bunny cartoon ‘What’s Opera, Doc?’ came out in 1957, anyone born after 1960 who claims they got into Wagnerian opera by any other avenue is a LIAR–excepting, of course, Wagner’s own descendants. My truth: the cartoon was how I eventually came to love the opera Tannhäuser in particular–the music from which scores some of the cartoon’s more poignant moments–and later understand Elmer Fudd as exemplar of Phallic guilt… (Bald, weapon-wielding, predatory males are the very personification of φαλλός energy.)
The subtle charm of zombie storylines is one found peculiar to Frankenstein–there is no name for Dr. Frankenstein’s monster other than ‘daemon’, zombies are not referred to as such but given other names like ‘undead’… Respective of their tales these monsters exist in cultures that do not possess a language to conceptualize and name such monstrosities…like Grendel in Beowulf… This is very different with mummy, vampire and werewolf storylines where the characters are well seasoned in the historical background of the creatures and there is an a priori guideline for engagement… How much greater the horror when you have to fight and fear something you are unable to classify–even ‘evil’ falls short as that implies some manner of will and artfulness, which zombies lack by definition…
<the sinister Gay cabal in music> Despite their outrageous flaunting of “alternative sexualities” the subtlety with which the groups Village People and Judas Priest introduced 70’s Gay subculture into more popular arenas is one of masterful finesse. Although it is quite obvious that Macho Man is a song about homosexual hedonism (like most of their catalog) what most listeners miss is this moment that happens during the closing choruses when the lead vocalist (Victor Willis) says in his background rap, “Dig the hair on my chest, dig my big-dick mustache”… This moment is invariably missed by all…even when played on the radio it slips under the radar. (NOTE: A ‘big-dick mustache’ is most iconically linked to the Hulk Hogan horseshoe style–also known as the Trucker, with aesthetic roots in the handlebar fashion. Famed NYC Leatherbar, The Eagle, used to hold Mr. Big-Dick Mustache contests in the 70s and 80s.) Rob Halford is perhaps the only Gay member of Judas Priest but obviously the band’s strongest creative force. He brought with him from the 1970s S&M Bondage culture a stylized look that became the quintessential Heavy Metal aesthetic (all other Metal style icons are mere caricatures of Sir Rob). What less savvy listeners miss in JP’s earlier lyricism are the references to such Gay Meccas as Fire Island and Washington Square in NYC’s West Greenwich Village. Further the sexual target of JP’s predatory lyrics doesn’t appear gender specific until the mid-80s, when it is feminized…but even this attempt at heteronormativity is sparse. (We just assume he is talking about a woman because that is often the matter when phallic Rock music discusses sex. It’s a safe assumption.) Judas Priest have capitalized on this “infiltration” in leaps and bounds. The Village People are iconic in music but because coupling Disco culture with Homosexuality so easily lapses into farcical fitness soundtracks we hold them in sentiment that’s locked in a particular time, place and humor. Judas Priest have transcended not only time and place but as well produced new music over the passing of decades with marginal shift musically and aesthetically, all the while maintaining a significant (and largely heterocentric) fanbase. Hats off to them both.
Minds that are easily overwhelmed should avoid Philosophy at all costs…
It should never be about who you are but always about how you think. (Who do you think you are?)
The Chainsmokers’ #SELFIE is Frank (and Moon Unit) Zappa’s Valley Girl for Millennials.
When people lament particular artists lacking originality it seems to me they are of the mindset that there is this utopian creative consciousness that exists apart from suffering the anxiety of influence…this is not so…creative people who are original are no one much like utopia is a place that exists nowhere…
Actress Rose McGowan has publicly expressed an unpopular opinion my own mother has held for decades, that Gay men are misogynist queers. Nothing could be truer…as collective bodies of protest Gay men turn out for Women’s Rights causes less frequently (and earnestly) than women do for Gay Rights issues…in Gay culture Drag parodies and caricatures Straight womanhood but it is a badge of honor to be a Gay man who’s Straight acting…Gay intellectualism is anchored ideally in an Ancient Greek worldview, which is also a staunchly misogynistic worldview… I wager this disposition of ours is not because as men we are just naturally sexist and hate women (as Naomi Wolf might surmise) nor do I think some Freudian pathology is amiss…both may be very true but I think the bolder truth is during puberty Gay young boys growing into their sexuality are often bested for the heart of some other boy by Straight young girls growing into their sexuality. (And if you think scorned women are hellish, remember that it was probably a Gay Greek who mused the Furies in the first place.) As a caveat to Miss McGowan I would recommend Gay misogyny over Straight sexism if one had to choose between the evils…Gay men have no intention of disenfranchising women politically…in fact, we revel women in power…women in power dress better…women in power wear Chanel pumps…
<Roe v Wade: The Musical> “…there’s someone down there waiting who’s only goal in life is making you sure you’re always going to be alright…” I was originally put off by the Garth Brooks song, Mom, with its subtle pro-life message interpolated within the narrative… I thought to myself, “Oh Garth, it’s not like anyone’s writing songs about having abortions…” And then I remembered the Sex Pistols’ Bodies… “She don’t wanna baby that looks like that…I don’t wanna baby that looks like that…”
Do I as a Gay man resent women? Absolutely not. Is homosexuality pathologically rooted in the hatred of women? Absolutely not. Is the personality of socialized (male) homosexuality characteristically misogynist? Absolutely–the hag/Diva divide is merely derivative of virgin/whore (hetero)sexism. Being Gay is a sexuality of maleness and as such is prone to excessive gender polarization and binarism…but women can trust at lower levels of consciousness that Gay men will not rape them and this absence of fear and internalization of potential victimization profoundly impacts the intimacy in friendship between genders…cf. the Dworkin/Stoltenberg relationship, rather the success of it…John Stoltenberg was a 100% no meat by-product homosexual but the argument could easily be made that Dworkin’s Lesbianism was a direct result of her hatred of men and not the reverse… (Okay, some instances of homosexuality can be pathological…) Their relationship outlasted many arranged marriages.
People often flatter me as someone who exhibits a charming sense of personal style and sometimes even seek my advice on matters of dress…I only ever have the same vague sagacity to impart about my own adventures in daily attire–I dress well for the same reasons I am still alive, the outside world can be hostile and my wardrobe is a metaphorical armor of sorts so I choose my outfits like I choose my battles…very wisely… The art of war and the art of dress follow the same laws of engagement…
The greatest folly of LGBTQ taxonomy is that Transgender is misunderstood as a variant of Homosexuality when in reality its desiring functions via Heterosexual impulses…think how problematic it would be for a Transgendered individual to seek out a Same-Sex relationship… Transgendered and transvestic identities are the orphans of a Heterosexist psyche. (Note that identities and personalities are not mutually exclusive but still very different psychological phenomena.)
That LIVING WITH OTHERS is HELL becomes more apparent when we gauge how much of our personality and sense of self is micro-managed by their mundane bullshit.
I am of the selfsame heart that fueled DH Lawrence’s writing–we two spirits knit in simultaneous fascination and disgust with our own gender. But I have always thought DH was fearfully Straight for the same reasons I am courageously Gay, however profound a man’s character may be or great his achievements sex is inevitably part of the package…it is how we are built, head to head. (All men at heart quip Thickean rhetoric, “What rhymes with hug me?”) And it takes a formidable spirit to contend with suffering the intimacies inflicted by men. Not all men can withstand being taken to such task…just ask any woman… (I imagine that is why there are more Straight men in general…cowardice…)
Fashion is about the body clothed…pornography is about the body unclothed (stripped)…when the naked body is used in fashion editorial then it is about the body that wears clothes, which is not pornographic…this is how we begin to understand the naked body beyond the artistic nude, as itself a broader aesthetic.
I should live the rest of my life as though I woke every day knowing the exact date of my death. (cf. The Holy Trinity of Life’s Brevity–Seneca, Diderot, Kundera)
It is common for us laymen to admonish that most despicable of legal praxis, to construct believable truths from probable falsehoods. We fail to ever acknowledge this perversion of communication as prevalent in our own day-to-day consciousness… One evening while stewing in that petri dish of social networking, Facebook, I became acutely aware of this folly in my own thinking; I posted a joke I couldn’t seem to reason–“The other day my friend was telling me that I didn’t understand what irony meant. Which is ironic, because we were standing at a bus stop.” I damn near begged for input and soon a small band of friends began to comment ideas. At one point I convinced myself (with not just a little Googling) that I came to fully understand the joke–that it was about posturing and all manner of far reaching ideas ranging from transportation to phonetics. EVERYONE participating either remained in silent or confrontational opposition to this misreading, I was undoubtedly the minority in this circumstance. The joke itself is so simple yet I over-analyzed the possibilities with merciless abandon. I concentrated on the SOUND of the word ‘irony’ which aroused a comparable auditory experience received as “iron knee”–which I discovered IS a thing, yet one not related to the concerns of the joke. Because I found some manner of correlative truth (however false contextually) to construct viable arguments this became my kernel of protest, standing my “justified” truth up against popular opinion…only to realize that sometimes there is truth to be found in the crowd (cf. Kierkegaard). But surely I am not alone–whether we call it cognitive dissonance, ignorance or old fashioned pigheadedness, one need only sit for a spell, have a clear think and realize this is how we all think about gender, sexuality, race, politics…and worst of all, religion… It is the conditioning of the human condition.
People who say “I don’t believe in (G)od” and people who say “I don’t believe in global warming” seem to me to be uttering the same species of un-statement…I always wonder if they really know what it is they mean to disbelieve.
Tarzan’s heroically savage sexuality only works in the Edwardian era coming down off the high of Victorian morality, when Western culture was still preoccupied with “civilizing”…in the 21st century people who think of the world in such a manner are considered primitive. Today’s comparable heroic male archetype as a guiding force through an unruly and merciless jungle is the Nerd/Geek–apropos of technology as a metaphorical jungle in need of taming, he is the modern Tarzan par excellence.
People only seek out the security of love because they can never secure being eternally desired…which is what everyone truly wants…
They fail as enjoyable pieces of music but succeed as excellent commentaries on the philosophy of Beethoven’s composition style, much like Nietzsche’s piano pieces fail as music but if one listens in the right way they make for really interesting aphorisms concerning the aesthetics of making sounds.
I’m always irked when people invoke that absolute dismissal “Nothing’s perfect”…I think to myself “Have they never heard of a wheel? Concept and design still not exhausted into obsolescence thousands of years later…”
I, Robot> The allure of Will Smith is undoubtedly founded in his body of work as an actor rather than the charm of his acting. Other than Nichelle Nichols, I know of no other Black actor who has such a profound resume of Sci-Fi/Fantasy work and Smith has a wider range–I, Robot…MIB…Hancock…that lame movie with his son…the other lame one with the dog. And because it is a Black actor the character he portrays requires some believability in a background narrative, which ups the ante on how many more Black actors are visibly introduced into the story…therefore the film, the genre. When Martin Luther King urged Nichelle Nichols to remain with the Star Trek cast even though it would pigeonhole her acting career, he was not only thinking about her influencing the media image of African-Americans at that time but the potentialities for influential African-American faces in all (space-)times. Today one of the most sought after male actors for Sci-Fi/Fantasy is African-American, the leading mind in Astrophysics is Neil deGrasse Tyson, also African-American. I cannot tell you who the most sought after Sci-Fi actor was when Carl Sagan was vogue in Astrophysics…but I can tell you he was probably White…
The latest vogue in broadening the horizon of what is socially acceptable as beautiful by embracing ‘plus sizes’, ethnic beauty and handicaps/amputees has done very little to influence how the public views beauty. Amputee veterans that are super ripped, overweight women who are glammed up and Black women wearing designer frocks but sporting ‘natural hair” are compensatory images, these bodies are still being presented in a fashion palatable to the aesthetics of what marks something as visibly beautiful for public scrutiny.
The pornographic arts as POP culture plateaued in the early 90s when filming sex became something everyone could do…even famous people. To date I believe I have seen every publicly available sex video or porno that has featured someone famous or who went on to become famous and I’m inclined to echo Justice Potter Stewart’s 1964 claim regarding pornographic and obscene imagery, “I know it when I see it”, with the caveat that these films are not it despite the obvious sex; famous faces upset the pornographic experience. In this age dominated by online Amateur class pornography that is largely anonymous a familiar face that seduces our consciousness via other media (e.g. Music, Cinema) makes the experience too surreal to be sexual. (Even when faces in Amateur porn become familiar it is only by means of beholding that visage in other works in only that art form. We never encounter faces from GotGayPorn or Xtube walking red carpets at the Oscars.) We embrace famous breasts and butts but there is still something of a cognitive disconnect regarding the fame of peni and vaginas. When I see the penis of R. Kelly or Colin Farrell or Tommy Lee, or spend a night in Chyna or Paris there is a sense that this experience is less about watching sex and more about me watching an “artist” flex their creative muscle…similar in kind to seeing Shaquille O’Neal in a Hollywood movie or reading a novel by Naomi Campbell, such efforts I am unable to take seriously (even a professional crossover like Naughty By Nature’s Treach I still read as a Rapper not a pornstar). And as it is something of a quiet consolation that there are things famous people cannot do–like act or write–it is likewise a relief that they also suck at sex just like the rest of us.
There’s a moment in The Boy Next Door for which the film will live on in infamy, when a high school student–Noah (Ryan Guzman)–hands a copy of Homer’s Iliad to a teacher of classic literature–Claire (Jennifer Lopez)–and she suspects it’s a first edition. This moment has become the subject of articles, critiques and the new punchline in J-Lo’s cinematic career (now Gigli can finally get some rest). It seems so absurd a moment given all the dynamics involved in the subject that one has to think it irony, yet a reading of the film’s synopsis betrays that suggestion–the storyline is not about touting blatant ironies. So perhaps they mean first edition of that translation…hmmm… There are some significant historical translations that differ in later editions and others that have set standards for translating the text. Maybe they were just being too vague in their dialogue. There is no solid way for me to prove my thesis other than approaching the screenwriter, who could just as easily lie on the matter, so I researched some background information on the writer and director. The director, Rob Cohen, doesn’t do high-art (or very smart) cinema but he did attend Harvard, I imagine he has something of an idea of the epic’s origin and I’m certain they teach about the Venetus A codex in undergrad. The screenplay was written by Barbara Curry who holds an MFA from UCLA and a JD (Juris Doctor) from Northwestern–apparently another mind of sound intellectual ability. Perhaps the fault lies with the American audience not being “intellectual” enough to deduce that ONLY Classicists read Homer in the ancient Greek while the rest of us schmucks tackle it in translation… Should Curry and Cohen have spelled this out for us?
<the phenomenological experience of listening to Can’t Get Used To Losing You> Pomus and Shuman wrote a perfect song for Andy Williams. I love it by everyone who sings it…it almost defies being performed badly. There is a difference between being a standard-performed and a song-covered, a difference found within the song itself and Andy Williams’ hit song rides that fine line…even when it wants to be a cover–cf. The [English] Beat–it is a standard performed brilliantly, however blandly (cf. Patti Page) or awkwardly (Renegade Soundwave) and works wonderfully in French (Je Ne Veux Pas Toublier by Paul Leland).
As an artist Kanye West mistakes in himself what most people mistake in talent and genius, that it is a sign of depth. Have we learned nothing from Mozart?
Bach’s Double> I want that harmonious intercourse of those two violins in my romance.
Twain famously said that Wagner’s music is better than it sounds…to piggyback on that thinking, the only experience more beautiful than hearing Wagner’s music is watching it performed.
I write with the same impediment I suffer during sex–finishing is always an afterthought…except with sex I have to stop to write about it.
During a conversation with two friends at the nearby seminary one imparted that he used to be Gay, from his teens through most of his adult life–and then babbled some generic bullshit rhetoric on sexual conversion and grace. After he left, the other gentleman felt the need to apologize and further call foul on his friend’s confession…charging that the guy is probably still secretly homosexual. I asked him if he knew of any heterosexual men or women who discovered late in life, after marriage and children and mortgage, that they were Gay. He answered yes, several in fact. I suggested then that to dismiss the possibility for the reverse effect or think it ludicrous to even consider is to subtly declare heterosexuality a more authentic sexuality than homosexuality, that the latter is but a sexual anxiety evolved only to reconcile or justify a genuine heterosexualized psyche…and we know that’s not true. There are no genuinely Straight or Gay individuals. Thinking that people cannot change their sexual orientation at all only has trapdoors that open to thinking people can change their sexual orientation at whim or with intensive therapy. Human sexual absolutism is unnatural.
<listening/watching Yuja Wang play Rachmaninoff’s 2nd piano concerto> Sometimes I listen with my eyes to Yuja Wang playing on YouTube, other times I close them…I am not able to discern how much I like her playing from how cool she is to watch play. I suffered the same confusion years ago over violinist Nigel Kennedy.
It is surprising to some that I’m not an advocate of the contemporary Men’s Rights movements, given how steeped I am academically in Phallolatry, Phallicism and related interests. (And how much I adore men.) But this movement is political, not poetical–an irony that should be noted as it’s just a few meters short of Robert Bly’s mythopoetic efforts, metaphorically speaking… A politicized male movement as a collective force is called Patriarchy, and either ends up as a fascist initiative or a scathing anecdote in Feminism 101. There is no enlightenment in such ideology, unless it’s focused on bringing marginalized males to share center stage…like Straight men standing side-by-side with their Gay brothers in the struggle for Equality, or men of color actually being judged on the content of their character. Otherwise this is just another Angry White Men Movement…and Right Wing America’s already carved out that niche.
Blurred Lines controversy and the anxiety of influence> But one type of question need be asked following the lawsuit won by Marvin Gaye’s family/estate against Pharrell and Robin Thicke (and other such dubious cases): Would Homer have sued James Joyce over Ulysses? Or Dante over Inferno? Should Shakespeare’s heirs have sued Akira Kurosawa for RAN? Should someone subpoena the Ancient Greeks on behalf of the Ancient Egyptians regarding the kouros?
The two notes separating the prelude to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde from the opening of act 1 is how ‘quiet’ is exalted over ‘silence’. Because real love does happen quietly, but rarely passes in silence.
When Shakespeare has melancholy Jacques wax on in Act II of As You Like It—“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances”–it is interesting that no mention is made of the stagehands, the work that goes on offstage…the ones that don’t have the luxury of pretense but keep the machine functioning so others can continue their farce. I am at heart this stagehand.
I had been shopping online for Patrick Nagel prints (particularly of men) when I realized it is virtually impossible after 1982 to look at any of his artwork without mentally soundtracking the imagery with Duran Duran’s RIO, the cover of which boasts his iconic touch. I went back and listened to the original UK release of RIO–which features an extended version of Hungry Like The Wolf that was only released as a 12″ stateside–and began to think that perhaps this was something of a concept album, a musical ekphrasis on the work of Patrick Nagel. This would not be too outlandish to consider, there’s Moussurgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, Mark Anthony Turnage’s Three Screaming Popes after the Francis Bacon paintings…even King Crimson’s The Night Watch from Starless And Bible Black is about Rembrandt’s De Nachtwacht. (If such was not the band’s intention, the videos from that album made the matter inarguably so…)
Whenever non-Blacks accuse Blacks of “playing the race card” the first question that comes to mind is “Isn’t being a Racist also playing the race card?”
When dashing Cary Grant level actors like Rupert Everett lose leading man appeal in Hollywood because they came out publicly as Gay, it makes me think that the entertainment machine hasn’t fully evolved into titillating all the dynamics involved in how humans fantasize…American audiences were savvy on Jody Foster’s sexual orientation long before she “came out” and that in no wise hindered the Straight male audience accepting (fantasizing) her as a leading lady–perhaps even enhanced it…certainly Gays and Lesbians have to develop conversion fantasies about their favorite film stars…are we then to understand that Straight women do not fantasize about converting Gay men, that such a pathology does not measure in the sexual psyche of the human female?
<Lady Gaga vs Cher> Clothes may not make the man but men do make the clothes that make some women famous… Cher’s career survived Bob Mackie no longer being en vogue, Lady Gaga’s career is having a tough run surviving the death of Alexander McQueen.
<Lady Gaga vs Björk> I was not able to see the Björk retrospective at MOMA but it was not critically well received. Nevertheless this event still speaks multitudes on her importance as an Artist (most musicians are not granted midlife retrospectives at such august institutions)… There is something eternal always being tapped into even in her eccentricities. When Björk is being weird we still get Leda and the Swan…when Lady Gaga is being weird we get meat.
<more about that Bass> Flatchested “skinny bitches” have only been vogue since the 1920s and that’s only commercially, which differs aesthetically from other ideas of beauty–it’s meant to conjure a particular appeal solely for marketable purposes that unites craftsman and retailer and consumer in a single vision. When making clothes became more about creating fashion then designers became more concerned over which bodies best exploit the form and cut of the clothing, but this phenomenon has barely seen a century pass. Commercial beauty is not about permanence nor is it meant to be profound or socially magnanimous, and it is to our discredit that we mistake brief instances when it possesses depth for that being the rule. To properly examine real human beauty (G)od gave us Art, mankind’s visual historical record of the beautiful–and from the 30,000 year old Venus of Willendorf to Lucien Freud’s nude portraits the female form has generally been rendered breathtakingly robust. There is NOT a fine line between voluptuous elegance and sloppy obesity…there is a vast canyon.
<the art of winning pissing contests> I was having drinks with friends and someone made the empty statement (declaration!) that Beethoven’s Ode To Joy anticipates Mahlerian symphony…it was one of those empty cocktail party sound bites that people make to appear intellectual and culturally savvy, but it’s all only smoke and rhetoric. He looked at me while stating this claim (which is how other men assure me that it is my turn next to flash the size of my brain). So as not to disappoint I leaned in and quietly said that Beethoven’s 9th is called the ‘choral symphony’, Goethe’s Ode To Joy is merely used in the choral movement…adding also that next time he might consider a more provocative and probing notion, “…perhaps how everything Mahler wrote is reconciled in the first movement of Penderecki’s 7th…”
The enduring charm of the Noah tale lies for me in the après-deluge…when naked drunken Noah is encountered by Ham, and perhaps molested. How can we know this is the case? All Bible stories are justified by a similar telling in another of the books–e.g. the story of Sodom in Genesis 19 is balanced with a comparable tale in Judges 19–and we also find the same “afterparty” experience in Noah’s situation as we do with Lot after the fall of Sodom: a drunken patriarch vulnerable, at the mercy of his pubescent offspring who all believe the world has ended with them left to repopulate. The Bible clearly states that Lot’s daughters rape him so might we assume that Ham did something “unseemly” to incur a father’s curse? Most scholars range in analyses from something borderline Oedipal–that Ham castrated/emasculated Noah so as to have at his wife–to simply citing Levitical prohibitions against seeing one another’s nudity… But these are shortsighted and seem to assume that pubescent children can simply watch animal coupling and suddenly be sexually savvy, calculating and particular. (Evidently they’ve forgotten what puberty was like…it’s a free-for-all.) The adaptations from the 1928 silent film to Evan Almighty to NOAH rarely even touch the subject with any measure of profundity or insight, which mirrors how unthinkable society finds the idea of father/son incest–more deplorable even than heterosexualized incest. No one touches the subject–Freud relegates any idea on the matter to an Oedipal struggle, de Sade offers over 600 perversions and nary a mention, nor do any of the 20th Century pioneering sexologists, and it’s not a properly specified Levitical prohibition–how amazing for a text to offer up a scenario that it won’t even touch… Remember, the myth has Ham “blessed” in the beginning…merely seeing nudity hardly justifies being cursed…even in the Bible.
Being literate is not just about knowing how to read, it’s about knowing what to read.
Americans need to stop dialoging “reverse racism” as though it were Racism proper…it’s not…it is racist but not Racism. There has never been in history a systemic denouncing of Whiteness. The charge of reverse racism, like the Men’s Rights Movement, is merely a bandaid to soothe the wounded ego of a declining paradigm.
It is good to be creative. It is better to have a talent for such endeavors. It is best to have a vision…
I once asked a friend who was a Marxist if he ever read any thinkers he disagreed with, to which he smugly answered “No.” “Well, that explains why you don’t know anything.” We find ourselves at an interesting point in modern history when believing in Marxism and believing in a (G)od that interacts with the world is the same naivete.
Karl Marx and Jesus hit high but finish low on the same note…there will always be oppression. That is all.
Michelangelo’s David is itself a kind of sculptural exegesis on Christian scripture–Jewish heroism done in the Greek style…that’s the New Testament.
No prattle irritates my ears more than hearing people say “Well nothing’s perfect.” Actually, the wheel was the perfect invention… Bizet composed the perfect opera, Tchaikovsky the perfect concerti and easily 5 of Beethoven’s 9 symphonies are LITERAL perfection. In religion Jesus embodies the perfection of faith’s hero. Socrates was the perfect thinker. Shakespeare wrote perfect sonnets… Truth be told, when you break it down there’s a lot of perfect shit out there. I think to say “nothing’s perfect” is neither apologetic nor an excuse, rather a confession that one is comfortable never exceeding expectation.
We forget to our discredit that in the history of religious consciousness moral attitudes are comparatively modern ideas. Religion was first about worshiping gods, morality and golden rules were afterthoughts applied to Western anthropomorphic divinities–when gods became more like men they became moral abstractions. Greco-Roman pantheons had manlike gods marked by immoral impulses, who demanded worship. Yahweh was still more concerned with being worshiped–the morality of the Holiness code in Leviticus is really a guideline for the state of purity a priest has to maintain in order to perform ritualistic acts of worship. The human religious impulse didn’t get truly moral until we crucified the guy next door, Jesus.
I was asked recently what I believed to be the best thing about being Christian. It is Fucking. Adherents in no other faith bring as much of their soul to the act of sex as Christians. The whole of Christian ethos is anchored in desiring and every sex act harks back to Original Sin–all Christians are sexually (orgiastically?) bound one to another in this guilt. Christian sex is the most existential because it is never about the potentiality of the human form but the history of that form’s soul. Sex is always a Heaven/Hell divide and accompanying verbalization often invokes a sense of divinity–which is not even found in Greek and Roman sex practices and they had no restrictions against calling on the names of gods. Horny Christians are self-seducing mechanisms often torn between wanting control of their own orgasm but never taking responsibility for their own desiring. Such anxiety might seem too daunting but remember that ALL passion is about suffering and yearning and fulfillment. (It is of little wonder that the most intriguing sexual icon is a Christian priest or nun fallen from grace.) Catechesis in its own way is as much a lesson exploring the dubious joys of sexual desire as the Kama Sutra.
It seems we have to start viewing modern boxing with the same raised eyebrow we hoist over WWF bouts…not as a sport but ‘sports entertainment’…much like buying a cup o’ joe at Starbucks is not really about drinking coffee but ‘coffee drinks’…
<the post-analog mind of a collector> Collecting music during the era of analog was always more about the art of music production–not just the sound of music but also the album cover art, rare and special editions… In the digital age music is produced with a grander vision–box sets, bonus tracks… A single individual can now possess the entire catalogue of Mozart or Sinatra, which is less about minutia or a retrospective of best hits and more about a complete vision of the artist… Think on the value of hearing a studio outtake of a popular tune and how that influences not only how the tune is again heard but how the artist is heard as well…you can’t get outtakes on vinyl, it almost goes against the grain of how analog music was meant to be presented… A collector of vinyl in the digital age is tantamount to viewing the private collection someone in the artworld who only collects Renaissance paintings, every piece they own is a masterpiece–78s, 45s, picture discs, colored vinyl…
The endurance of Depeche Mode and Judas Priest is marked by that rarefied occurrence of genius coupled with perfect mouthpiece for genius–i.e. Martin Gore/Dave Gahan, Glenn Tipton/Rob Halford–which also explains their ability to consistently release substantial music over multiple decades. If the bands’ other members had early fallen off we would still have those iconic Depeche Mode and Judas Priest sounds… (The same holds true for The Beatles and the Rolling Stones with the significant difference being that Lennon/McCartney and Jagger/Richards couplings shared positions of genius.)
It is crass pseudo-analysis to accuse homophobes and opponents of LGBT rights of suffering repressed homosexual tendencies…even when it is true (and often) it is nevertheless an insult to the collective homosexual consciousness, in the same sense that it is morally reprehensible to saturate a Hitler biography with conjectures of his possible Jewish ancestry as root cause of the Holocaust stemming from an underlying self-hatred, when simply declaring him a fucked-up asshole paints the character clear enough.
“…the best proselytizing is performative not presumptuous…first LEARN then SHOW people how best to be a Christian…”
It is no secret that Chet Baker’s voice left much to be desired technically but it excels in character and emotional ambition…this is why we love his voice as much as his horn playing… Emotional ambition more than talent is what truly makes an artist… (The added caveat is that one must have a talent for something.)
When asked why something appeals to your taste it is not enough to say “because I like it”, and people who think that sufficient were taught wrong–I blame parents who tell their kids “of course you’re the prettiest/handsomest/smartest”. (It is not even sufficient consolation because it is always suspect given the source.) Surely it is not wrong to encourage people to THINK of themselves as beautiful and smart but it is better to encourage people to BE beautiful and smart.
I heard someone say today that he believed some people are just born with good Christian hearts…nothing irritates me more than someone who doesn’t understand the core teachings of their own faith–IT IS THEOLOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO BE BORN A GOOD CHRISTIAN. The suggestion of goodness from birth flies in the face of what Christianity is all about…which is ‘becoming’…
Paganism is not a faith but a classification of a faith dynamic, it is folly for anyone to declare themselves Pagan–“Well what kind of Pagan are you?”… This is characteristic of Christianity (“What kind of Christian am I?) but when all is said and done there is a core Christian theology to which all Christians can subscribe and must to be considered Christian. Paradoxically, although it is laughable for individuals to be religiously Pagan–orthodoxy/orthopraxis–it is comparatively deeper for one to be spiritually Pagan… I would dare say deeper and more spiritually adventurous than most of the prevailing major world religions.
James Bond films (as opposed to the original Fleming tales) turn Shakespearean characterization on its head…whereas Shakespeare makes of foreigners truly likable and (tragically) heroic figures contrasting with his own countrymen cast as buffoons, Bond films tend to treat foreigners as buffoons…Englishmen, noble and likable… (I’m always hard pressed to call Brits heroic…)
Because Creationists are those religionists furthest exiled from the Isle of Reason they cannot fathom that a watch implying a watchmaker or a symphony speaking of a composer as an argument for Intelligent Design has no bearing as a defense against a dissenter who is adamant that the Great Weaver of the fabric of our universe is a fabrication…
There was something noble about Bruce Jenner’s transitioning until the name reveal. The ancient folk roots and mythos of naming are as powerful today as ever. Naming a child, a possession or self-renaming is always rife with subtext. That he did not choose to use ‘Kaitlyn’ is an irrelevant nuance, Bruce Jenner confesses with his name change not a man who has long suffered gender-identity crises but rather a man succumbing to Kardashian feminism–that the largest most powerful penis one can wield in contemporary media is a Vagina…especially one that begins with a ‘K’ sound… (Notice how much quieter Kanye has become since ‘Kimye’…)
That one person cannot truly tap into the feeling of continuum that is another person’s life is the inherent loneliness of personhood…the built-in isolation of beingness…
It was Tyra Banks’ booty that made it possible for Tess Holliday’s beauty to be recognized by the modeling world…but where does that leave the clothing if modeling is now fully about the body? The unapologetic anorexia in the fashion world is a necessity of art–thin models are referred to as walking/moving hangers because what matters is the aesthetic concerns surrounding lines, shapes and movement of the clothing… When the matter surrounds the body then we are no longer engaging the art of fashion but fine art…and should be wary of confounding this body politic…
Eminem is often the non-Black Rapper most lionized with Shakespearean esteem but he is a bit too bratty in sentiment and the comparison is only about clever enunciation. For what Shakespearean poesy is really about–creating a language to suit a character–we should look to B-Real from Cypress Hill. The track Break ‘Em Off Some opens with a kind of exhalation that hints of a subtle exhaustion not fully realized on the listener’s part until the line “A pig in a plain brown wrapper, he wanna bring me down”–this urban poetic way of expressing being hunted by an undercover cop helps the narrative become Shakespearean in scope, B-Real creates a language only his circumstances can justify…it could be have been uttered by the likes of Hamlet…
It is better to be a diverse society but offense is the price we pay for diversity. I am fond of telling people that Political Correctness was created for me not for me to use…in other words for the benefit of my beingness. I am free to use the ‘N’ word and pronounce something as ‘That’s so gay!’ because I am invoking the language that forces discourse on MY beingness in a bigoted society–on both conscious and unconscious levels. (Canadians are right, ALL Americans are Racists at some level… Germany is devoutly apologetic for the Holocaust because to be German does not automatically translate into being Anti-Semitic, but America as a nation has never apologized for Slavery–rather glorifies it–because at root to be American means to be Racist, and by extension generally bigoted or prejudiced.) Political Correct speech is a very noble but flimsy bandage for a very deep wound, a folly more pronounced when we see it in other contexts…using code words like ‘traditional’ instead of ‘racist’, or saying “the good ol’ days” instead of ‘when niggers knew their place and faggots kept their mouths shut’.
I am off-put by this surge in transgender concerns not because of any aversion to transgendered identities but because said identities are taken as species of homosexuality, when all of the data points to a heterosexualized psychosocial dynamic. No male-to-female transgendered individual with a healthy sexual appetite is transitioning to be sexually enticing to Gay men, since as a rule Gay men are attracted to male forms. Nor have I ever met one transitioning to become Lesbian. Transgendered identities transition to adjust physically within a heterosexist–not homosexist–binary construct that corresponds to their emotional/intimate needs. (Of course all sexual identities need a spring board, look how long Homosexuality was considered a deviant subsex of Heterosexuality…and both still deny that Bisexuality is the umbrella of all human sexuality…)
If I were to pretend that Ayn Rand’s philosophy possessed even the most subtle charm it would be found in its systematic nihilism–not the systematic rejection of all value (nihilism), but a philosophical system developed to ensure (however accidentally) that no real value ever results… Rand’s Objectivism is best suited for Corporate America where it indeed flourishes because at the end of the day the one core value that justifies corporate greed never results, money never ever exchanges hands…whether Wall Street or Silicon Valley money is the trusted god of essence and never form…
“…if my writing survives and people condescend to read it they will wonder if I’m a hack or a genius…but that the clear answer to this mystery is kept obscured behind using esoteric styles like philosophical fragments and writing in haikai forms, this makes me something of a genius…”
There is something vulgar, ignorant and un-humble about people who thank Jesus for every little joy in their lives, and invoke “(G)od’s will” in answer to every tragedy. It’s a sign that do they not fully understand the Christian trinity–if JC is blessing you, so is (G)od and if (G)od is fucking you over, Jesus is too…but worse is the apparent cognitive dissonance of believing oneself small and insignificant in the grand scheme yet at the same time so important that (G)od and the Christ single you out like heroes in Greek tragedies.
Let us invest in Derridian philosophical capital and begin to consider willful illiteracy as much an intellectual drain on society as willful ignorance–and by this charge I am not merely criticizing the banality of people who do not read “the classics” or books in general but those souls who sadly choose not to read meaning in the world they encounter.
“We really don’t have liberties in how we see, rather what we choose to look at…”
“There is only one crisis of identity and it’s not the struggle to become who/what you wish but mustering the courage to face the overwhelming possibilities of everyone and everything you’re never going to be…this is why Tolstoy wrote [books]…this is why people commit suicide…”
Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman deepens the character of Atticus Finch rather than destroys him, as most naive “fans” of To Kill A Mockingbird have suggested. We can now truly understand him in that first novel in the broader context of American Racism, bigotry and the judicial system…and this Atticus Finch will be familiar to us if we think about Denzel Washington’s character in Philadelphia, attorney Joe Miller–mysophobia notwithstanding, the attorney was not necessarily keen on homosexuality in general but it was a matter of doing what’s right and what’s just, irrelevant was one’s personal ideology. (And doesn’t Henry Drummond in Inherit The Wind actually believe in God?) The backlash that American readers are aghast at this more genuine idea of Atticus Finch reminds me of Annie Wilkes kidnapping Paul Sheldon in Stephen King’s Misery, demanding that he write Misery Chastain back to life… Is that how we have to reconcile the angst of the America’s literary retardation, tie Miss Lee to a bed and smash her ankles with a sledgehammer unless she makes Atticus nice again…?
<Confederate symbolism and Rock music> Unlike The Dukes of Hazzard, Kid Rock is a private entertainment–something one elects to experience rather than a nationally syndicated TV show meant for family viewing–ergo Kid is something of an artist, so it is rather trite for even his own fanbase to demand he too “lower” his Confederate symbolism…and even more ludicrous if that contagion spreads to classic rockers like Lynyrd Skynyrd. When the Southern cross is flying over a capitol building or emblazoned across a heroic morality, a very serious negative statement is being made about the mindset and politic of a collective…but Rock-n-Roll does not generally produce collectives and heroes, it produces individuals and anti-heroes who we expect to appropriate fringe language/imagery/ideas as symbolic of their consciousness as artists/musicians; for example, we expect Black Rappers to use the ‘N’ word but not Black politicians nor do we expect to hear it on The Cosby Show. Considering Kid Rock debuted as a Rap artist there is also a rather clever irony being overlooked in his artistic pretense… In a backwards way it’s the same species of irony we find in British Skinhead bands like Skrewdriver who appropriated Nazi symbolism in their logos and iconography… (Did they not learn about the Blitzkrieg in public schools?)
“One does not just write words in a meter and call it POETRY…”
It was recommended by several viewers that I not sit through the Director’s Cut of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac I & II…having done otherwise I discovered that to watch any other version is counterintuitive to the artistic integrity and theme of this cinematic adventure…like watching the R rated version of Tinto Brass’ Caligula or editing out all of the feces scenes in Pasolini’s Salo…however tedious certain interpretative measures are necessary to the film’s content…capturing the mood of the tale… Driving the point home as it were… (I don’t think I could stomach sitting through another version of Nymphomaniac but I am left wondering what the more palatable version comprises…or misses for that matter… Much like I’m always wondering what the original Dresden version of Wagner’s Tannhäuser sounded like…)
At the first moment Stellan Skarsgard references the “fly” on the wall, one realizes that Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac is not a film about female insatiability but about the phallus. The film blatantly confesses this over and over in its visual content, the main character’s vagina is but a vehicle to examine the variant sameness all men possess, the Penis. (As a religion scholar whose primary interest involves the rise of the Abrahamic faiths from more phallocentric roots this discovery in no wise disappointed me, even if the film was wanting…but I’ll leave such film analysis to the likes of Slavoj Zizek…) In keeping with this phallic awareness, what intrigued most me was the Hollywood male bodies. Hollywood actors of both genders who are contracted to studios often have contractual restrictions limiting how much of their real body is to be seen in any given work, even in films for another studio. For male actors full-frontals often require body doubles (‘dick doubles’, to be a vulgarian). I am not certain if this restriction carries over into the Indie and Foreign genres. It was Shia LaBoeuf’s penis that brought these ‘dick doubles’ to mind. I am not convinced the penis closeups were genuinely Shia; his character, Jerome, has a foreskin but Shia’s real life mother is Jewish (father, Creole/Cajun descent)…he wouldn’t have a foreskin… No Jewish boy has ever been Bar Mitzvah’d uncircumcised.
<lamenting Rachel Dolezal> …there’s no simply saying “Oh it’s okay, this is a free country. BE whatever you want.” It was not okay when Jim Crow era light-skinned Blacks tried it, and added the Civil rights era aversion to Blackface entertainment, why would anyone think this okay. Pretend to be from a different class, that’s fine, but Race is not just about how you personally identify yourself, it’s also about the RACIAL CONSCIOUSNESS OF EVERYONE AROUND YOU. Whenever I invoke this idea of being racially responsible I am not just speaking about showing up at police brutality protests with fried chicken and waffles, I am talking about being responsible TO (not FOR) how people will embrace you as a Black woman or Latino man or White transgender or Asian intersex… Racial identity matters because there are other people…same and different… Race is not something in a vacuum, and pretending that it is actually betrays everything about Civil Rights and Equal Rights enlightenment.
“…always have more questions than opinions…”
When human beings rush to take offense it is a sign of intellectual arrest…when the mind has stopped thinking…
…the crucifixion is the inverse salvation found originally in the Noahine narrative, but it is still the saved one saving…we have to remember that Abraham’s debate with (G)od over Sodom resonates later in the New Testament passions resulting in “Peradventure there be ONE righteous soul, wilt thou spare humanity for one soul’s sake?” This critical twist leans not toward finding a messiah but being messianic… <excerpt from a 1992 essay on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship>
The English language rule still being taught in American schools is one of Tongue-envy. The British strain of English is as dated as Latin, Koine Greek or the Egyptian hieroglyph. Richard Wright, the Beats and Gloria Anzaldua have tread the frontiers of American language and articulated vistas grander than any Oxford rule ever promised.
Rather than confront their own conscience and tackle head-on the virulent Racism that still pervades American consciousness, Americans find it much easier to just pretend they are not privately racist anymore and all social disenfranchisements will merely iron themselves out…this is like the thinking of a dysfunctional pregnant woman who suddenly decides she doesn’t want to bear a child but cannot bear the thought of having an abortion, so she just pretends she’s not pregnant… What happens when her water breaks? Well, to drive a metaphor home, that’s the levee breaking…
If Bill Cosby is truly guilty of serial rape this will crystallize America’s already deep-seeded fear of Black male sexuality…Black men will never shake off that stain of sexual predation…and like OJ in the end was found out as nothing more than a common animal, Cosby will be found out as nothing more than the lowest common denominator of male cowardice, a pill-dropping-date-raper who couldn’t take no for an answer. Cosby spoke so semi-eloquently in the past on the responsibility Black people have in this country to represent ‘our kind’ in the best light at all times…perhaps he should have heeded his own advice because the legacy he and OJ have left Black men has set us back 100 years, when we were thought of as the Scourge of White Womanhood.
Country music’s image/sound in the age of Taylor Swift’s leggy red lips and Florida Georgia Line’s grungy tattooed hipness is almost unrecognizable as Country… Blues had to give birth to R&B and Punk Rock had to spawn post-Punk, perhaps Country music after Shania Twain and Garth Brooks needs to be re-heard as PoCo…
We accept that professional basketball demands players of a certain height, that ballerinas have to be of a certain weight, why then are we so affronted by the idea that professional fashion modeling has body type demands? Because we want to believe that unlike being a baller or ballerina anyone can wield the talent of being beautiful–any size or height or weight…because we misunderstand the difference between conveying beauty and being beautiful… Modeling is often about the former not the latter–professional beauty is not one of those finer Kantian experiences, it’s not even real beauty…
What separates Bach, Beethoven and Wagner from other German composers as being specifically “Germanic” is their music clearly voices its hard worked determination…yet seems as though the hard worked determination came as natural as breathing…
<the curious case of being free in two Germanic languages> “Freedom” in English denotes that being free is a realm of active existence, like a kingdom (dom = state/condition)…a shared state… (Democracy?) In German, “freiheit” seems to consider being free a matter of essence (heit = ness)…not necessarily a shared state… (…nicht so demokratisch?)
When one speaks of such a thing as Germanic opera essentially one is speaking in a Wagnerian bombast. There is German opera and there is Wagnerian opera, which is the height of that musical aesthetic one might deem Germanic. Listen to non-German composers indulge those tones (cf. Busoni’s Doktor Faust) and all you’ll hear is a caricature of Wagner’s sound…
<listening to Soft Cell> Tainted Love is one of those interesting pieces of music where all later considerations reference not the original but the first successful cover version–like Jimi Hendrix’s All Along The Watchtower creatively trumps Bob Dylan’s original…even for Bob Dylan. Later cover versions of TL are always based on Soft Cell’s arrangement and not the original Gloria Jones version. Whether it is Coil’s manipulation of the tempo to a haunting knell or Marilyn Manson’s techno shock-Goth or The Pussycat Dolls’ unimaginative and uninspired pop flop, all renditions of the tune are in some way a response to Soft Cell. This same manner of creative appropriation can be heard in a piece like Edward Elgar’s 1919 Cello Concerto in E minor…everyone after Jacqueline du Pre tries their damnedest to play it in a different fashion, but all subsequent performances of the concerto after du Pre inevitably sound like du Pre…
“…whether poet or philosopher or prostitute, every talent or profession boasts two camps of individuals–those who revolutionize their fields and those who merely sustain the discipline…I walked away from the academy because I will never be a revolutionary thinker in philosophy or religion, just some paltry mind suffocated under piles of unpublished papers misunderstanding bolder thinkers… Admittedly I have no natural talent for the arts but I’m highly intuitive and a little clever, so even if I cannot contribute anything of lasting value to the art world my personal profit on such an endeavor will be learning to revolutionize myself…philosophy and religion have already taught me how to think and live…” <excerpt from an ongoing email exchange>
Although Anthony Burgess saturates A Clockwork Orange in Beethovenism he is a Mozart scholar. Burgess says that Mozart is essentially a Germanic composer because Salzburg was an independent city-state during Mozart’s career and that somehow imbues his music with a spirit of (political) Germanism…well, (Jewish) Mahler–another Austrian music genius–converted to Catholicism as an appeal Richard Wagner’s wife Cosima, that he might conduct at the Bayreuth opera house…surely such an existential and socio-political annihilation of his resident Jewry to appease a staunch anti-Semitic faction (Cosima was worse than Richard) should make him Austria’s most Germanic of composers.
If the internet is the “information highway” I guess libraries were the original depots.
I often here people confess their “belief” in the unconscious or science or gods…I tend to think these are all the same species of intellectual morons…one does not “believe in” science or psychology but rather what these disciplines evidence…and as for religious matters “faith” is NOT about belief because belief is about WILL.
Rather than crassly tell ignorant people to shut up I have adopted a more diplomatic approach, now I explain that no one has “a right to an opinion”…in America one has the right to be properly informed, then form an opinion…one also has the right to not like something and/or have no interest in understanding what that thing might be about, but then all that can be said is “I just don’t like it” and that is not sufficient to opine…that is merely an utterance, an inanity, which one has rights to expressing…but that means nothing, so one has a right to nothing… To speak of rights in defense of opinions is to imply that ALL opinions have validity…and that is simply not true…
When letters like ‘E’ and ‘H’ are silent it is not an absence of sound per se but silence adapted as a provisional quality that serves to heighten the potential of the surrounding letters…can you think of a better metaphor for being in the world with others?
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