Same Old Shit

I would wait for you, if only I knew what I was waiting for.

;-P in desiring another lost soul shocker.

I think what I hate most about Providence, really, the only thing I hate, is that the city is simply not beautiful enough, large enough, to provide the correct ambience for my failures. I am a critic AND victim of mediation.

If your most profound means of self-expression is wandering, lonely, to the sound of the Blue Nile, then the city that enfolds you must aspire to the same grandeur. Surely.


Dark Laughter

Cynicism is the armor of a wounded heart, and my armor is getting stronger.

Here are two things that made me "laugh" today.


"Over on the House side of the Capitol, feisty Bella Abzug of New York, eyeing a run against Senator James Buckley in 1976, publicized two government surveillance projects, code-named 'SHAMROCK' and 'MINARET,' run by a government bureau that was so secret most Americans didn't know it existed.... (The National Security Agency) had also, Abzug revealed, been monitoring both the phone calls and telegrams of American citizens for decades... (Subpoenaed private-sector executives) admitted their companies had voluntarily been turning over records and cables to the government at the end of every single day for more than forty years... Appearing in uniform, (NSA director) Lieutenant General Lew Allen Jr. obediently disclosed that his agency's spying on Americans was far vaster than what had (previously) been revealed... He admitted that it was, technically, illegal and had been carried out without specific approval from any president... He added that thanks to such surveillance, 'we are aware that a major terrorist attack in the United States was prevented'. He refused to give further details (on the thwarted attack)."

- Rick Perlstein, The Invisible Bridge

Um, two.


Claire and the Grimes

I'm thinking. Maybe this has already been said, by me, probably by others but.

Part of the problem with genres or styles not disappearing is that it's really not quite possible to react to some problem within one genre without simply becoming part of another one.

How can there be a dialectic, or a narrative, when all is always all present?

Well, there can't be.

Like, lets say that you were in a noise scene and then became infatuated with pop music, not only because, you know, at least, aesthetically, it can be excellent, but also because noise just doesn't feel especially radical. Well, cool. But then, what if you feel that the post-noise embrace of pop has gotten a bit mediocre and it's all becoming too, well, pop, and that you want to do something more radical in reaction. Maybe you want to react against the strictures of pop songwriting, maybe you want to push sonically into more abrasive territories. Well, then, maybe you've gone and made yourself a noise record, in which case, your attempt to be, well, the negation of an assertion only leads you to assert the thing you were trying to negate in the first place. In rebelling against the conformity of the post-noise embrace of pop, you have now re-conformed.

There's no total rebellion without a totality.

How can a new social subject come to exist?


Another way of pondering:

Exactly what set of extrinsic principles are there to be valorized or refuted, celebrated or defied, by the actions of individuals?


Single Of The Year?

And possibly, the decade, so far, at least for me (and the "official" release was only on 12/30/14, so forgive me if I am being a bit loose with "year" above).

I was a total Tri Angle obsessive a few years ago, so, so, it's amazing that this song escaped me upon it's original release, but, actually, not really. I'm glad I bought that Balam Acab LP instead. Snake RMX FTW btchz!


If it's not true, then please, please, send me other ideas, because I have no idea what's going on out there. I just know this blows my mind. And I also feel vaguely disappointed. Not in terms of DJ Snake, but in terms of. 

I want to get back into DJing. Why can't the underground make records like this anymore? What are the other thirty records I need to play along with this one in a set? Last time I checked, underground house and techno were still stuck in the whole "some era in the past was always better and I only use analog synths" bullshit. Or "chords and convictions are so mainstream" bullshit. Dark and digital and emotive, that's what I want. I'm getting my turntables back from repair this week. Tell me where to start looking.

I'm guessing that none of the tracks you will suggest, just like this one I love so much, will be available on vinyl. Time to get over myself and physical media?


(Oh and yeah, MK organs and vocal snippets but don't front like it's a 1990s record, for fuck's sake)


"No Doy"

As far as I can tell, this article could have just as easily been published twenty years ago, at least (via the still-magical here).

Unfortunately, I don't have time for a long post.

I don't think that when I was reading the New York Times as a teenager that I was part of the audience that those writing for the Times thought they were writing for, if only because those writers provided me with information that lead me towards having certain beliefs that they themselves would probably not have wanted me to hold at that time in my life. Namely, that higher education was bullshit.

I distinctly remember reading, somewhere around 1999 or 2000, in the year I took off between high school and college, an article about the things that parents were doing to secure places for their children at America's top schools. And those things were pretty disgusting. Though not actually. The things being done were good, but the end towards which another matter. Like.

An example: sending your teenager on a "peace mission" to Africa to "help communities" "over there". And all. I'm being pretty vague here, yes. But maybe you see the picture already. A bunch of rich kids going to Namibia ostensibly to build houses but probably to party with other rich kids at night. And even if they didn't, still. I don't think my parents had that kind of money lying around. Or did yours? And even then, even if it didn't cost that much, even if the idea of community service that only some people can afford to provide being used as a resume-builder on a college application doesn't quite get you, well, then, at least, the core issue. Well first, the article does mention how children are being forced to compete for status earlier and earlier in their lives, how meritocracy is me first, but does the author quite tie it together? Maybe I missed it, so I will. People, specifically children, are being taught to view good deeds in purely instrumental, self-advancing terms. And schools are rewarding this behavior with big, thick envelopes. Corruption begins at home.

And can't you just picture Chet, having gone to Africa at 17 to build a schoolhouse, at 25 landing a job at some big-time NGO helping developers tear that same schoolhouse down or advising local government officials that continuing to provide free education in that schoolhouse is economically unfeasible? Oh, madame, sir, I can easily picture that, and of course the money shot, the job interview whereby Chet cheerfully leverages his past for his future, "Oh you've already been to Namibia?" (Chet smiles broadly).

So already me and higher education were off to a pretty bad start before I even went (and the bad grammar in the first part of this sentence is purposeful, jerk). I'll admit some of it was petulant, childish, and that I was a snob. My whole "ideas first" principle just as much pretense. But I did believe, or at least I believed I believed. I wouldn't know myself well enough to know why else I was really miserable then until later. Though, really. I mean.

Right before I got to college I was assigned a book to read. One that all of us fresh-humans were meant to discuss at the outset. And what was it? I want you to guess. I want you to play your brain games. I mean, it's the year 2000 I am talking about. Would they go all 19th century canonical on us? Or post-modern multicultural relativism (i.e. choose a black author based on the color of their skin not on the character of their content). Or post-post-modern-relativism-fuck-it, like Moby Dick? And am I leading you down a blind ally here, forcing you assume fiction when it could have been something else? Some charming little book whereby a popular scientist explains the content and the character of the universe for laypeople without being insulting? Sounds nice, actually. Only that wasn't it. I would be flattered if you were to tell me you actually have a vague sense of anticipation right now, or have actually spent more than ten second trying to figure out the answer to this unimportant question.

So I'll just say.

Even without preceding prejudice, I knew I was fucked when I was expected to arrive at school having read, of all fucking things, Tuesdays With Morrie. A self-help book, and a maudlin one at that. Christ, at least it could have been a useful self-help book, like Here's How To Get Drunk Without Hurting Anyone Or Getting Hurt. I don't think that book exists yet, does it? If not, well, someone should write it. I can't 'cause I still don't have the answer, though, in the end, I only hurt myself, so I guess I'm doing something right, right?

I had to distract myself from what I was going to say to share that pointless tidbit. Though maybe it feeds in somehow. What was I going to say?

The author of the way-aforementioned article is right to point out that the decline in the share of those people studying liberal arts is a problem. That being said, I can't help but feel that the attitude I described way above may prevent students, even, yes, English students, from really benefitting from their contact with Good Ideas and all. Look around at the worlds of the Arts and Letters. You see the vehement dissent? The howls of protest against the world those sTEm graduates are building? Yeah, me neither. I'm guessing most Liberal Arts majors are just status-seekers attached to antiquated notions about where that status should be sought. 

Ouch. I am an asshole and I am going to stop there. Because my torrid belief in Ideas and Principle and all that, well, I have to go bartend right now.

EDIT: A better writer and thinker (not jealousy, self-criticism and objective honesty) on much of what I implied but couldn't articulate and, of course, a whole lot more...


How Does One Become A Criminal Mastermind?

I'm only half kidding.


I've been watching a bunch of "summer movies" lately and there seems to be this guy in a suit who spends his time in a nice apartment, centrally located in the most photogenic urban region of whatever country offers the best financial incentives to the makers of action movies, accompanied by the finest women and scotch and furniture. In fact, he seems to already have more money than he could ever spend given that he has already spent millions of dollars on a plan to threaten some nation or government or community with certain destruction unless they give him more millions. 

Because, well, as for me, instead of spending millions on the high-tech gadgetry and mercenaries necessary to enact my evil plot, necessarily foiled, of course, by the nonconformist government agent who doesn't play by the rules but gets things done, regardless, wearing a leather jacket and a two-day stubble instead of a navy suit, well, I would just keep the apartment and the scotch and the women and the designer outfits and then hold on to my untold millions in order to keep my exact same lifestyle going into perpetuity.

If I pretend I'm going to release poison into Chicago's water supply, um, could you give me a nice pad in Hong Kong and a few perfectly-tailored suits to go with? I promise I won't kill anyone. Just send me the lease, the plane tickets, the aspiring actresses who should stick to modeling, etc.



Something Pretty Instead

The Guardian has a nice series of photos of some impressively-futuristic looking TV sets in the UAE. Some of them actually seem to get closet to being actually futuristic as opposed to "futuristic" as a previously-contemporary aesthetic, if you know what I mean... Of course you do. Enjoy.