Wednesday, June 29, 2005

peel off post number two

peel off posts, the new refrigerator magnets

When away at work or away away, you felt content to feel away,
but now that you have email and cellphones and everyone knows it
and you can never forget they know it you are allowed and able to feel
anytime like no one is talking to you because
usually, and quite normally, they are not. Every surprise contact
in a circumstance friends and lovers could never penetrate before
however happy and warming is nevertheless fleeting,
produces the metaphysical ring in the ears for most of the rest of
the endless time, all of the time you are knowing they
could be but are not now talking to you. And you can experience the sadness
of a large party at which everyone is having a conversation except
you - experience it anytime.

The resulting state is
well-documented not well-diagnosed.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

expert textpert

Via the video we have been having a mini-Beatlefest at our
house. It kicked off when I brought home "A Hard Day's Night"
and my four kids enjoyed it tremendously, so soon we had
watched all the movies ("Help" is their favorite I believe)
and then the 8 volume "Anthology" that was released in the mid-90's.
This was full of footage I would have died to have seen about 25 years ago,
and as it was it was still quite an experience watching it.
Some observations:

The visual history of the Beatles feels pretty different than the sonic
history. Watching instead of listening, the big move to "album rock" felt
more like a defeat or a retreat than the relative historical significance would
have us believe. There is a strong letdown of group energy around 1966,
exactly not the time I would have expected, and every year after that they
look more and more exhausted. 1966 is when they went to little
song movies instead of live performances for television, with "Rain" and "Day
Tripper," and no, despite what Paul says they still didn't invent rock video
(see The Exciters sing "Tell Him" to a polar bear at the zoo, 1962). The song
films aren't that good, with the one for "Strawberry Fields Forever" almost being an exception (almost because the song is so so so great, is only hampered by the
film), and "Hello Goodbye," which MTV picked up, is a swell little movie.

The degree to which the Beatles wrote about themselves as Beatles in so many of
their songs becomes even more obvious - and stifling - watching them on film.
The important move to non-love material becomes less important when you have
Paul explaining that the move to third person in "She Loves You" was like a
Major Move. Few lyrics are explained in the later years.

The Anthology is awfully weighted to Paul and too light on the dead John whose
ghostly voice isn't given enough space.

That said, I think I have fallen into the habit of overrating late Lennon and
underrating late McCartney, a habit that is of course endemic and understandable -
Paul is really hard to take and John Lennon just is/has such a great voice
and second so real, even when he was being stupid he was really real. One of the
reasons I especially love "Hello Goodbye" is it's this stupid/not so stupid Big Hit
Paulie song and quite winsome and then there's John's voice doing the background
answer vocals so funny.

The real nasty controversies are left out - the famous "butcher cover" and the "Paul
is Dead" thing, which I persist in believing was a deliberate hoax on the part of
the boys - maybe not every "clue" but certainly the backwards bit at the end of
"I'm So Tired" which is so blatantly John saying "Paul is a dead man miss him miss him."

Has anybody mentioned before the nasty attitude in most of George's spiritual
songs is (not a lot different than Taxman actually), or the endless put-downs in John's "All You Need Is Love"? The nastiness is the only thing that is still interesting in these songs, and it isn't much.

George Martin comes off absurd, talking up the overrated Sgt. Pepper and the
insanely overrated Abbey Road and putting down the white album, the best album of the
post-Revolver years if you ask me and nobody is. (I think I'm with Greil Marcus
that Rubber Soul is the best one except that all the British albums are different anyway and I think maybe The Beatles were at their best in their pre-brilliant statement period when it was raving crazy mixed with those gorgeous minor key ballads that the Zombies would make a minor key career of doing even more wonderfully, really.)

I got sidetracked: George Martin comes off as a foolish upholder of traditional recording values that nobody with half a brain could give a crap about any more.

The mess in the Philippines was fantastic - I'd never heard of that before.

The Anthology ends with that horrible "Free As A Bird" thing - remember that?
God that was terrible. I had forgotten all about it. Now I won't be able to,
particularly with Paulie telling George and Ringo that they had kind of had
a real Beatles reunion with that project. Kind of NOT.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Attention Deficit Isorder

"Earth Angel"
Maybe Andy has ADD and maybe he doesn't. Is dreaminess a disorder?
—By Natalie Pearson, Brain, Child
Utne Reader May / June 2005 Issue

Poor Natalie Pearson gets so close to realizing that the entire school admin worldview (children are a management problem) is as toxic as the drugs they recommend for her kid (which she gave him for awhile,ignoring the advice of his pediatrician!). She can see the outlines of the problem, but can't fill in the middle. She notes that her child Andy can spend hours studying what he wants, and is treated by the other kids as somebody who knows a lot, but he doesn't shift gears on schedule as school demands - time to stop studying that, time to start studying this. About a half-dozen or more shifts like this are built into every school day, of course, and we go about thinking of this as normal, as something kids need to get used to.

Except that nothing in one's adult life, no real achievement, is pursued in this way. What task do you accomplish on a fifty minute per-subject time schedule? Who really arranges their lives this way? No job demands this; nobody in serious study turns on and off this way. This is what I call toxic - an educational system that attempts to change the brain chemistry of children who already have the attention skills that are really needed to accomplish things while claiming that it is a lack of attention abilities that is being addressed.

But to be fair, I can think of one activity that these highly scheduled periods of attention beloved by schools prepares people very well for.

Watching television.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Stock Tips

Trend for the immediate future - very small swimming pools

Beautifully tiled, highly chlorinated,
no more than two feet long in any direction,
no more than a foot deep,
these are going to be everywhere.
Big Up. Watch for auxiliary industries: miniature
beach towels, flotation devices etc.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

peel off post number one

peel off posts are perfect for notebooks, lockers, foreheads

What the two of them shared were megawatt AM radio personalities they brought loudly to their low power FM politics. Their lack of irony was brave: they could have clung to the AM radio concerns they had been born to, but for each there had been a someone once who had shown them the shame of it, and so they were a little hurt, and they held to their remaining tastelessness as a kind of integrity. And they were convinced that they now worked for right, and distrusted every other someone who might show them up, for they had made great secret sacrifices to that viewpoint once and were done with that now.

Friday, June 03, 2005

In her frock coat & bipperty-bopperty hat

Saw The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou again last night. Like Rushmore and The Royal Tenembaums, I had to see the movie twice before I could really get a handle on it - why is it that Wes Anderson movies (aside from his easily grasped first one Bottle Rocket) have this effect on me? I think it is because unlike most stories, the ones he puts up actually do not prepare the audience for every plot bump. I recall being thrown utterly by the vehemence of Max's vengeance in Rushmore, to the point that I knew even as I was watching it that I'd have to see it the next day just to get it.

Foreshadowing in Wes Anderson is only obvious once you know what will happen - he isn't the least interested in audience comfort on this point. Few artists great or small dare this - Richard Hughes' book A High Wind in Jamaica comes to mind for the way he actually lets one of the main kids die in an accident that feels like a real accident. Combine this real life sort of experience of events (most foreshadowing in your life is obvious in retrospect only, is it not?) with extreme staginess of presentation, the post-modern interlinked histories of rock music implied by his amazing choices of song accompaniment (his namesake P.T. Anderson also shares these strengths), and what results is genuinely new.

In The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Anderson went far too far for a lot of critics and audience members (evidently). But maybe that is giving critics too much credit - I mean presuming their honest befuddlement, that the general gangup on this movie wasn't easy to foreshadow itself just by the way they loved Royal Tenenbaums so much. The negative reaction to The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou reminds me most of when The Big Lebowski was cruelly presented to the suddenly attentive middlebrow world by the Coen Brothers as their follow-up to the deliriously beribboned Fargo. It was as if they wanted to bring on the backlash at freeway speed - Lebowski is as weird and great as Willy Wonka (another movie that was completely dismissed by critics at its release) and as utterly unconcerned with the verities. The Coen Brothers needed particularly to be slapped down, and now Wes Anderson needs to be slapped down - how dare he make another movie that not only doesn't behave like we expect a movie to behave but doesn't parade a great theme (a noir theme like Fargo or a family theme like Tenenbaums) front and center and easily graspable as serious, the way serious is supposed to look. No, Lebowski and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou bury their themes beneath surface cutup, a worldview that is far past basic irony into stuff that most critics just don't get, period, and exhibits that greatest of sins in the middlebrow worldview, "self-indulgence," which can be defined as the artist obviously enjoying himself, always unacceptable in servants. The critical praise and slap cycle for artists of genuine creativity is as predictable as the tides, but it matters a lot less to the ages.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Were Here You Had To Be Wishing There

This was to be the first (I mean THE FIRST) post internet bloom is off
blog, a blog written under the presumption that nobody is looking so
might as well get naked.

My nobody knows about it blog lasted under 48 hours because I linked to
a friend's site. Now I have to presume somebody is looking, somebody
whose opinion I care about even.

So get naked anyway of course obviously. How uncourageous not to
just do it without saying anything.

Um, today I went to work again in Santa Fe where I am an accounting temp.
But next week I'll be an English teacher again with any luck (any, luck.) But
also an accounting temp too, with any, luck. I will be working more hours and
commuting more, with, any, luck.

I hate money. I hate that I need money. Whose idea was money?

Money is proof that abstraction can be as real as real gets. Total abstraction,
but just throw a ten dollar bill down under a hedge and look at it there, isn't
your heart racing at the reminder of found money? This is fake found money,
a double abstraction, yet the chemicals are moving differently in your body.

It isn't even unusual that abstraction is the big real, it is the usual.

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