Let's Try That Again

Jeez no answers on the last one? No sense of humour out there? I know somebody must be amused. Maybe just one person, but still...

More content soon.
EDIT: I hate myself for using that word. Content. Ok so I am not a great writer. But eww. Probably the word was fine before the Internet. But now it just makes me think of interns rehashing press releases as stories for professional blogs. "This space needs 500 words - make something up - we need content." Complacent content. Complent. Comptent?


Click Here If You Agree With Me But Plan On Doing Nothing

This essay at Lenin and this one at the New Yorker are two nice variations on a theme, which is that unorganized and/or passive protest works within the context of negative freedom but not positive. Put another way, a protest can say "yes" or say "no" to something but try creating another option and suddenly, motive matters!


Radiator is Busted

I'm told it will be repaired Monday.
Until then, I have to convince myself that it is not that cold...


Balanced Perspective


During my hiatus here I have obviously missed a lot of opportunities to talk about WikiLeaks. Thankfully, Lenin's Tomb has written about what is, in some sense, the most important aspect of this whole story, the rape allegations and how they are treated in relation to the rest of the story.

Why the most important? After reading about WikiLeaks for months now, I feel that, at least on the Left, most could agree on the following: what has been leaked is of varying importance, but there is an inherent value in having access to primary source as a means of being able to come to our own conclusions about the veracity of stories we read in the mainstream media. And as much as these leaks may cause the tightening of the security state, it is difficult to argue that it would be better for us not to know anything about what our government is up to in order that such tightening doesn't occur.

But what still needs more examination, and what Richard is inviting us to examine, is not the corruption of others, but our own. Are we looking for heroes? Are we willing to make those that we like, or those that we view as being responsible for good acts, less responsible for the bad acts they may have committed? It is this kind of thinking that leads to despotism, regardless of whether the despot in question purports to represent the Left or the Right.

That two ultimately unrelated issues, the rape allegations and the manhunt for WikiLeaks, which calls into question the future viability of the project, have become linked with each other may be convenient for some, whether the goal is to tarnish Assange or to tarnish the state, but, ultimately, any critique that leaves the two issues connected is doomed to failure. Either you deny the emancipatory potential of WikiLeaks due to the charges or you deny the possiblity of justice for some ideal of Justice that becomes mutually exclusive from its universal application.
It's not that I disagree that the charges could be specious nor that I discount the fact that there is political motive in how assiduously they are now being prosecuted after being dropped, but neither are absolute proof of innocence or guilt, just factors that should be taken into account should a case come to trial. That there may never be one because of either resistance to extradition by Americans or because of it is a significant issue but, I think, ultimately beside the point of my "essay". Thanks.



Breaking my silence here to mention that my favorite haters are having another party tonight. They may hate war, our current political system, and the complacency that seems to be endemic throughout the USA right now but they don't hate behind the decks. So come on down and shake the bullshit out.


Break Time

I've got to take a break from this (reading and writing). It's obvious that the quality is in decline here. I type what my brain is thinking, and as inelegant sentences run into paragraphs that don't know each other, so, too, have the workings of my brain lost focus and coherency. I have a headache from reading the same thing over and over again. In the end, I may quit this job I have just for the sake of not having to look at a computer. Nevermind how much it sucks otherwise.

I am not retreating into ignorance, saying "fuck politics" and focusing on my tan. Ignorance is not bliss, but after being so overwhelmed with information, with countless dissections of frogs in order to prove frogs frogs, and my additional commentary ("frogs are frogs!") I don't really feel smarter.

That powerful people do what is in their interest is no secret and no surprise. Sometimes I feel like even writing about it is to implicitly expect otherwise. That is not to say that nobody should. Powerful people usually maintain that power by pretending that their self-interest has something to do with everyone else's. This needs exposing. But still.

I wouldn't mind something to read though. If you feel like it, why not send me a comment with the name of a book that I wouldn't have thought to read otherwise. Themes to avoid:

Politics. The state. Anything that has do with Marx or his influence. Existential angst. Nihilism. Social theory and political philosophy. Music was better in the 1960s. Music was better in the 1970s. Music was better in the 1980s. Music was better in the 1990s. Music sucks in the 2000s. Film theory. Sorry to one person who may read this, but I never got into poetry. If you want to recommend some, it has to have the same effect as consuming six or eight beers in order to break through. Even Baudelaire barely registers with me. And it should, shouldn't it?!?!

Anyways, see you next year if I have the guts to cut myself off.


Popular Demand on Wire

They've had it coming for a long time, and for lots of different reasons.

I know it's incredibly stupid of me to say this, but sometimes I figure that if there are a not of women involving themselves in something I don't like, it must be because they are generally more intelligent. There are a million problems with that logic, of course, the most important being that the problem is usually that women are underrepresented for things they actually do, which is discriminatory, as opposed to perhaps not doing that thing as often as men, which, if they are not dissuaded from doing such things (which they are in many cases), is at least a choice. The trap one can fall into when looking for parity is that the critique of whether the thing is worth doing in the first place vanishes.

But still. Whenever I go to a show and I see somebody with guitar pedals and no guitar I pray that I have a lot of money for alcohol. Does that make me conventional? Only if you believe that Wire music is not a genre at this point, a convention. What boundaries are being broken again? Western tonality? Conventions of song structure? Pre-WW1 bollocks. Ok I'm being too nasty. Certainly a few people born in the 1930s contributed, too. Also synthesizers and sampling. But whatever.

I generally think that whole point of rule-breaking in music is always missed. Go back to Coltrane, certainly a good, if obvious, reference for your average Wire reader. Why did Coltrane do away with so many conventions in Jazz in the 1960s? From what I can tell, as a listener, it is because those conventions did not allow him to fully communicate what he had to say. His records, regardless of what techniques or instrumentation is used, are fucking emotional, and unapologetic about it. I don't hear his records and imagine that he wants credit merely for not using a blues scale or kudos for having two drummers. It's all for a reason. And even if you don't like his music, his intentions are difficult to misinterpret.

Anyways, nowadays, since nobody has anything to say, they all just want credit for the lineage they attach themselves to. The references Wire music makes are more obscure and therefore the readers are more snobby. Fuck it. At least Pitchfork bands like Velocity Girl and Phil Collins and have choons.

Actually what am I saying? The Wire is AWESOME. I have 100 back issues here, dating back as far as the year 2000. Purely out of generosity, so that the clever insights contained within them can be shared widely, I will sell them all at $10/piece. You need education. If you don't own them, you are an idiot with reactionary taste in music. $20/piece. I am not worthy of them. I will be using the proceeds to replace scratched Lisa Lisa records.

Why bother?

Weekends. Leisure for some I'm sure. All I know is that I am $400 poorer, with that $400 constituting half of all the money I had access to before that $400 was spent. Results:

$220 spent on repairs to turntable. Still broken. More work necessary. And I may need a new cartridge too. Of course, they don't make the kind of cartridge I use anymore. So, because I have two turntables and the output needs to match so I can record mixes, two new cartridges. Add $160 plus further labor on turntable TBD.

$150 spent on a bookshelf from "our favorite" shitty modernist furniture non-profit. Pieces missing and all the threading too fucked to even assemble the remaining parts. Since I don't own a car I had to spend $30 to get the damn thing here. So now what? Spend another $30 to get it back? If they were to take the return, I would be short $60 for no fucking reason. Alternately, I can get a new one and spend another $30 to get that one back here for a total of $90 spent on transporting $150 worth of fiberboard that I expect to last a year. $90 not a lot it's true (lucky you). But my landlord, the same one who is not repairing the broken lights in our kitchen and our hallway and who doesn't seem bothered by the fact that the fucked up radiator in my room is pushing enough steam out of the regulator to wash clothing with and also making my room 90 degrees because it cannot be turned off, won't be happy that I will have to pay rent late. So add $25.

Now my weekend is over. Back to my job tomorrow. Total time spent making music, reading and writing: one and a half hours. Bohemia rules.


Late-breaking news

Williamsburg in gentrification shocker.

Wealthy white people who displaced upper-middle class slumming bohemians a decade ago who, previously, had displaced a community of working-class people are absolutely mortified that, after a decade of luxury condiminiums, a corporate pharmacy has arrived.
No wonder people get their news from comedians.



Keep Going

I know it means absolutely jack shit but I am really proud as in exultant. Keep on.

"Civility" is just another word...

... for "saying 'go fuck yourself' in a calmer manner".
To deal with "reality" is to forget how it came to be in the first place. To demand that the billionaires playing tiddlywinks with phantom mortgages pay for the destruction they caused is counterproductive. That happened yesterday. Which is to say not at all. "We" are in this mess and "we" need to all sacrifice.
"The most politically volatile suggestion may be to tackle military health care costs, which rose from $19 billion to an unsustainable $50 billion over the last decade."
Gee I fucking wonder how that happened? Unsustainable is a pretty fucking interesting word in this context given that it only refers to money and not why so much has been needed!


Lies To Keep Me Near

Direct Action

There has always been a disconnect in my mind between the grim portraits of the UK painted by UK Leftist writers (a few can be found at the right, and still many more from their links) and the fact that there are so many people painting those portraits. Not that, fashionable University alpha-students toting copies of the lastest Zizek notwithstanding, politics is a social club, or at least, not that it should be, but I always wonder how bad it could really be there when there are so many to at least allow for commiseration down at the local pub.
Well I think I get it now. Things are grim. But there are humans left there.



I am going to start saving now. I am going to see more than one show. One of the biggest regrets of my chilhood was not seeing them tour behind "Different Class". I was 14. I still remember the poster announcing the tour in Olsson's. I am still mad I didn't take it.
It wouldn't be me if I didn't say something negative. So here it is. Now that there is no counterculture, the majority of the people singing along to "Common People" will be hypocrites. Maybe British fans are already used to this. I will try and not let them bug me. It will be difficult unless I am towards the front row.
PIL - this year
Pulp - next year
Does anyone have Mark Hollis' address and whatever it is one would use to entice him to play?


A gift to late-night comedians

I wonder what kind of pie they will be serving?


Mid-terms is like walking into the wrong bar

...or any bar in Manhattan. Who are these people? Where did they come from? Where did they get their ideas? Vague discomfort and fascination mix and fight each other until one token too-expensive beer is consumed and out the door I go...
1. Imagine, difficult I know, some cracker declaiming Obama as a Socialist. What doesn't bug me (not really): that some cracker is not a socialist, that some cracker can't define socialism, that some cracker calling Obama a socialist is an insult to socialism, that some cracker is wrong, that some cracker will never be corrected, that some cracker can vote, that some cracker can organize, that some cracker can exist. What bugs me is that I don't know any crackers. I only know crackers declaim Obama's "socialism" because the media thinks it is worth reporting on. Liberal bias? Conservative bias? My record collection for a value judgement or at least some basic editing from the dull, earnest, pretty people on TV! In other news, the earth is apparently flat and since everyone drinks water and everyone dies, water is bad for you.
2. The media needs the two party system more than the politicians do. Enough parties would actually allow for the results of elections to broadcast the will of those who voted in them.
If only Brooks and Shields had Jamaican accents. Then their baseless speculations and pontifications and pronouncements, their hamhanded picking through tea leaves in the dark, would attain the excellence of late-night infomercials.

Sad News

RIP John Olsson (via here)

This store was so intertwined with the first 25 years of my life (as customer and employee) that it is really hard to imagine that it doesn't exist. John provided something valuable that nobody provides anymore: a truly generalist independent store that, through the diversity of its offerings, was able to ensure each and every person who walked in, regardless of their education and experience, their next favorite book or record.

Thanks, John.


Midterm midterms

The McCain/Feingold bill was one of the few bright spots of the time I spent thinking and acting within the confines of the American political system and it is really sad to see Senator Feingold ousted.

Dedicated to those Ds who remain:

Slowly Devolving

Into strident, self-righteous bullshit I know, but today I sure ain't the only one.

This is a bad

Not voting today.
It does feel weird.
The idea that it is the mature thing to do still affects my feelings even if I don't agree.
Adulthood is compromise, isn't it?
Part of the whole "just vote" thing seems to be that wanting war to end or nationalized health care or whatever is just unreasonable and that there is no reason to let the boat crash because you don't like who is steering. And I, being a bland, boring, nice guy who distrusts all his own anger and his desire for revenge and who still dumbly believes that reason could actually still work, even if he knows that the people who fuck things up are usually quite aware of what they are up to, don't want the crash. I don't call people "sheeple" and have no illusions about the chances that a slightly overweight, chain-smoking record collector could survive collapse.
But I still don't understand the mentality that seems to assume the inevitability of the present. That wakes up everyday in this world of cars and cell phones and buildings and language and says ok this is how it always was. Of course it wasn't.
War happens kiddo. It always has. But maybe it always has because last time someone said. War happens kiddo. It always has. And the last time someone said. War happens kiddo. It always has. Life is life because we define it as such.
Naive, I know, but I still think that the number of people who want to bad, who wake up with the words "fuck you" darting from their eyes, is actually pretty low. It's those of us who wake up weary, distracted, selfish or selfless, who groan "fuck it" while falling from our beds only to catch ourselves at the last minute, if only to ensure the toilet is reached before urination, who are busy, who have kids to pay and rent to feed, who let those people have their way.
I keep thinking of babies and bathwater. And this is about right. Babies shit and scream and vomit and cry and want and want and want and are only happy when you give. Exhausted, at best, you get the promise of nostalgia in return. Politicians too. But politicians never seem to turn 18. They keep playing war, cops and robbers, house, whatever, in the front yard and expect to be fed when they ask. Only their games are for real. And so we shouldn't assent. We shouldn't let their charm and promises and possibilities distract us, and we should't thank goodness that they are doing the playing for us so that we can, after long hours at work, fall onto the couch like a Muslim kissing the ground at Mecca.
They do what they want and when they break the neighbors window they cower behind us when those neighbors come over to call. Then they sneak out at night while we are asleep and run back to that neighbors house to cover it with toilet paper, all because the neighbor dared to complain about that window.
They change their thoughts, their beliefs, their principles, daily, hourly, whenever depending on whoever is around. The word compromise assumes fixity non-existent.
Why am I the kid for not indulging them?
I agree with Kohlberg. I am trying my best to be a number six. I don't want people to be blown up for no reason. Nobody I vote for will make this happen. So I will let all of those little ones and twos and threes and fours have their little party today. But I won't feed them.


At least some old bartender friends of mine made some money

DC rally writing and links below.
I wasn't there. I watched some online. Everything I wanted to say has been said better.
Having been a quiet Leftist for most of my life and an East Coast resident all of my life, I can't help but wonder why there is such a bad vision of the Left out there. Does Cold War rhetoric account for all of it? Or a complete misunderstanding of intentions? A lack of education? I guess it should be obvious. But this is one of those things I only know but don't understand, you know?
Something I forget sometimes and maybe we forget sometimes and it certainly becomes a very buried assumption when we are all together talking and especially when we are angry, which seems to be most of the time, but, for all the scope of Leftist discourse, from the little arguments about the ramifications of some footnote of some impenetrable tract to the vast, bloodlusty denunciations, aren't we in this this because we love people and want to improve the conditions under which they live, or better yet, assist in removing the impediments that prevent them from doing it themselves?
I hesitate to use the language of the enemy but maybe it's time to rebrand? Marxists: we aren't happy that your Mom has cancer because we don't want a new yacht! Marxists: we hate ATM fees too! Marxists: you'll be surprised at how much better hamburgers will taste!
At the very least, I hope that, before I die, even if we have accomplished nothing, can we just make it so that apologists for empire don't get to call us the killers?

Every Solution a Problem

My parents were urban planners, and I had a pretty strong interest in urban history and planning issues for most of the first two decades of my life. I don't think about it much anymore I guess because it seems that most of what gets built has to conform to what people with money think should be built. And, at the very least, nowadays, people with money mostly seem to be wrong. Anyways.
The main things that the typical liberal planner would have complained about for the majority of the 20th century are been 1) the anti-social nastiness of most Modern architecture, and b) suburbanization. While, even during the current recession, trees continue to be cut down to build ever more ludicrous strip malls, even while old malls languish because it seems to be cheaper to build new than to renovate, the other trend of the last decade has been, of course, the re-urbanization of cities.
I am sure that I wasn't the first person to note all of the problems inherent in New Urbanism, and I did, many years ago (basically, it's cool that beautiful old buildings get renovated but it sucks because mostly wealthy people and corporations benefit. Also, culture is only approved of in the new city as a consumer pastime, not a protest). But I am not aware if anyone has discussed the ramifications for political organization. At least on the East Coast, no matter how bad suburbanization gets, there are still cities that act as the center around which the morass is "organized". Between the move of numerous mostly white and mostly rich people back into these centers and the housing crisis that seems to exist mostly outside of them, poor people are being banished physically to the margins. The obvious consequence of this has been the closing down of public space, both to protest, and even to certain types of people, but what warrants further discussion is the difficulty of organizing those that are now being moved outside of the denser areas, away from the best transportation, and out of the spotlight (even if that spotlight was only shined by the local media as a consequence of their work to make suburbanites feel justified in their exile). How will we reach these people? How will they reach each other?



Cynical Oversimplification For A T-Shirt But Still This Is How I Feel

Why does the Western world suck so much?

It's simple.

Every day, we are asked to be the worst we can be, and we consent.


New Yorkers

My Favorite Haters are having a party this Saturday.

Come dance, drink and screw. What, you got something else to do ooh ooh? Ahh!

My Mantra

All the shit that runs through my mind every day in one paragraph. I really want to formulate a good response to this but I can't seem to devise the spine around which the flesh of my response could attach itself*.

Suffice it to say:
Why has music become significantly less important to me over the past few years? And why does it bother me less and less that this is so?
If the italicized (by me) words are true then you are lucky! If it doesn't bother you then don't let it+. As for me, I added about 300 records to my online wantlist this week just out of boredom at work which means I will be spending another year keeping myself up at night asking myself these same questions.

*A lot of my thoughts revolve around age these days. The upcoming birthday is number thirty. I have a little essay on the backburner that may never be finished, but it at least has a good title: If there is such a thing as adulthood, please explain Las Vegas.

+ I used to think the unexamined life was not worth living until I realized that I had become so busy examining that I had ceased to provide myself with the raw materials for these examinations.


Another Link

Don't know why I always forget to read this man. Who is he? Well, he writes for AMG and has written excellent reviews for the albums of many of my favorite groups that share the following traits: British, diffident, and reverb-obsessed.

Also the author of a classic list of 90s records. Under 25? Want to ride the retro-indie zeitgeist to Taco Bell endorsment deals? Figure out which record here sold the least. Download it. Figure out how it was recorded. Imitate. Imitate. Imitate. Play gigs. Release music. You owe me royalties. Thanks.


Positive Vibes

Glad to see Simon posting again. Mostly Youtube? Yeah, but you could do a whole lot worse than to have such an experienced listener making recommendations. Makes me smile.

My own contributions (and thoughts below):

Amazing that these tracks are almost 45 years old. Hard to imagine anyone in 1967 being a big fan of 1922s gems. But it's hard to give up the 1960s ghost, isn't it? All the cliches that later generations would try and discredit were still being codified; I doubt anyone could have been objective enough to see them as such. Nothing sounds faker to me nowadays than earnestness. This year is the most self-aware time in human history, except for the next one. I guess that's one reason why 95% of the music I own that comes from the last ten years is instrumental, though the last few years a lot of Germans have unfortunately found a way to bring that distancing self-regard to house music, too!

Ugh so much for positive. If you have read this far, that Jefferson Airplane song might already be over. Listen to it again.


Why Do You Come Here, When You Know It Makes Things Hard For Me?

That was a weird last entry to leave up for so long. I figured I would have something new to say fast enough to push it down the page. But no.


1. I was exchanging emails with a coworker about politics. He, a longtime Democrat, was bashfully admitting that he put the welfare of him and his first, and worried about charity only after security. While it is worth examining, and has been examined by, I don't know, every critic of consumer culture as to what, exactly, is necessary for the haves to have before they no longer feel like have-nots, that is a subject for another post. I wrote back the following: Everyone has to eat. Whether you still think that after you and yours are eating is where politics begin.

At first, after writing that, I was tempted to disagree with myself. After all, taken too literally, the idea that everyone has to eat is a fairly political one. Does that mean food stamps for everyone? A military invasion of a country that don't ensure the health and well-being of its citizens? But, ultimately, what I say is true. Because anyone who has the luxury of the time to argue for or against welfare and have their argument be heard probably doesn't need it.

2. Ponder for a moment that there is no right time for anything. Where is the revolt? Aren't you tired of how "the same" everything is? When mentioning my job frustrations, some upheavals amongst my living situation, the constant feeling of being pressed for time, the vagaries of New York City life and the commutes, my need for a vacation, for a bed frame, for a sturdier pair of shoes before the snow falls, for more alcohol, for less alcohol, for more time with friends, for more time alone, etc. to a friend (who is, yes, still a friend after all that!), I likened my life to American politics. What bugs me most is the feeling of irresolution. The tension. Does this society ever make up its mind on anything? Torture good or bad? Abortion good or bad? Lexicon or Eventide? Some days I don't even give a shit about the answers I just want the choices to no longer be available. Anti-intellectual? As if intellectualism is really itself when it repeats itself ad naseum. Marx would understand my sentiment compltely: capitalism is way too dynamic and fascinating for all of us "thinkers" to just fucking get rid of it already, or so it would seem.

3. My birthday is coming up, and it is a significant one, a milestone. I don't expect anything to happen. I can't tell if it is all my fault or just a little. I am bad at remembering other people's birthdays but most of my friends don't seem to care. I still do, though. I guess because most of my birthdays have been so crappy that I feel I am owed one or two good ones before I get old enough to not want to think about them at all.

I have been recently told that once you are past a certain age, you have to organize birthday events for yourself. Somehow that rubs me the wrong way. Come celebrate me. Blah. I tried giving gifts for a few years. Books, always books. I got sick of asking people if they had had a chance to read them yet. The answer was always no. Maybe I should just tell everyone I know to get me absoultely fucking wasted for free. All they will have to ask is whether I am drunk yet. Eventually, at least, the answer will be yes.


Slowly Cracking At Work

Can't listen to music here. Have had a jingle from a chewing gum commercial stuck in my head for hours. Haven't seen that ad on television in probably a decade. Starting to twitch involuntarily.

Help me.

I have cookies at home
I have cookies at home
I have cookies at home
I have cookies at home
I have cookies at home
I have cookies at home

Smash Your Head On The Corporate Rock

Favorite line: "I think it's much less important to wonder if Sonic Youth were ultimately "right" or "wrong" in seeking a major label deal, and more interesting to consider that the band-- in spite of its art-world and punk cred-- at it's core privileged pragmatism over ideology."
How pragmatic of them.
I miss David Brooks. (Don't see the similarities? Think harder.)
This article has no real discussion of why anyone ever thought that one should be on an independent label instead of a corporate one in the first place besides the fact that an indie would sing you and an corporate label wouldn't. Which makes it really easy to be critical of the "puritans".
But really, what is bugging me is, and there is definitely an analog in politics, why is being a "pragmatic centrist" not considered an ideological decision?


At this point...

... getting all pissy about something like this is like getting angry that not enough Japanese people speak Sanskrit. Apparently, there is no intrinsic morality to a situation like this, and therefore, nothing to violate. Why did I imagine there was?

Pick quote in reference to indie music: "Consumers feel like they are discovering something that they believe to be cool and gaining admittance to a more refined social clique."

Any me getting all whiny about it would just be my attempt to gain entry into an even more refined and exclusive social clique, right?


My 'Hood

My feeble brain is having a hard time having an opinion. It's obviously not pure gentrification. It's obviously going to raise rents without trying. And, since I don't have a girlfriend, I can't even grapple with whether "they" should just get used to public displays of affection or vice-versa.
I live a few blocks away and have for a couple of years. Even given what I have written on gentrifaction, I guess, due to the color of my skin, I am part of it. Suffice it to say I moved to Crown Heights because I can't afford $15 on pizza unless it lasts a few meals. Ok. I guess if I stopped buying records I could. But then why live in New York? There is gourmet pizza everywhere now. Anyways, increasing gentrification means that, like some other broke residents, I will have to stay in my apartment because it is already, and will be even more so, impossible to find the deal I have where I live. Why is that bad? All I can say is that I hope I have heat this Winter. Cheers.

Naughty and Nice

I updated my list of links. Gone are the links to Big City Music and Resident Advisor.
Big City Music is an online and physical music shop specializing in synthesizers. I wanted to buy one from them, a used one, a few months ago. There was no mention on the website as to whether that synthesizer had a manual or power cord. While it would have been fine had I not been able to get my hands on the former, the latter is fairly crucial. Anyways, multiple calls and emails to them warranted no help, so why bother taking the risk of giving them business?
Resident Advisor comes down because, while I have never quite agreed with their taste in music, even when I was into "micro", I always appreciated their larger thinkpieces on the state of the scene. In abscence of those, it's just a lot of information on records I generally don't care about.
I did, however add two excellent blogs, Infinite Thought and And You May Find Yourself, both of which should be familiar to the readers of the other blogs I link to, but are certainly worthy of a place regardless.

Deja Deja Deja Deja Vu Vu Vu Vu

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Now that this has happened a few times, I see a theme emerging. Is anyone else starting to get pissed that seemingly half the time this happens, it happens at some small fundraiser at some wealthy person's house. It's one thing to tell "us" to "buck up", still another to do it whilst everyone is sitting around eating gourmet food. It's all a bit "let them eat cake", huh? At least go to a fucking McDonalds or something. No? Fuck it then.


I just want to share this...

... not even funny really.

"The Entire America Political System Can Be Summed Up In A Spelling Error I Made Today While Quoting The Movie 'Heathers'"

"Corn Nuts!"
"Palin or BQ?"

Minor Thoughts

I used to write about music. And lengthy pieces about it. Before I started posting my typical three-paragrapgh rants on our lovely nation, rants that probably accomplish nothing, save getting linked to.
Why no more music coverage? A few reasons. First is that I am still working on that "big piece". I don't know when it will be done but it did double in size this past weekend from 3,000 to 6,000 words. I figure I am about halfway there. More notes became paragraphs, and some paragraphs found mates with others. I still have no writing for the following heading "Oh! Your album sounds like it was mastered to a broken VHS deck onto a VHS tape that was left in the sun in your car at the mall. You are SO FUCKING COOL" (or alternately I could write about the integration of the sound of the recoridng medium into the music as a dope-ass Brechtian distancing technique but that would just encourage them, wouldn't it, and towards the same end they are pursuing now: jack shit).
Some of the writing expands upon this critque, which, as an incomplete essay, is still, sadly, longer and more interesting than most of the writing I have been providing to you lately, dear reader(s). I do apologize.
Elsewhere someone has taken me up on my vague promise to write about Fever Ray. I will try I think. One of my turntables did come back from repair recently. I can now listen. Just wish I could go to another show of theirs to recapture some of the spirit.
Anyways, after my long essay, if it ever comes out, I will probably not write about music at all anymore unless something substantive changes in the way it is made, the way it is distributed, the way it is enjoyed, and the effect it has on Western society. Which means the Airport might become a little decrepit. Or I could just review my whole collection like everyone else. Oh yeah, Obama sucks blah blah blah.
EDIT: Forgot a few things.
Hilarious. I never liked them. I was a horrific indie snob at age 13 when the first album came out and even then, that band reekeed of the worst sort of opportunist professionalism to me. This is sort of funny in light of the conversations last year about Sonic Youth and the need for bands to just break up already (I think you should find the remnants via the links at this post). As is this.

"Forever ever?" aka "Ooooh! I Am for REE-uhl!"

The thing about "these days" is that it is hard to break out of my own cynicism as so much bad comes with the good.
This story is a great example of the kind of thing that drives my emotions to extremes on a daily basis.
I started reading, and was generally feeling positive about a judge who is willing to disallow coerced testimony from being introduced into a trial. Then I read on and become elated, straining to prevent my eye from tearing here at work:

"The court has not reached this conclusion lightly," Judge Kaplan said as he read his
order from the bench. "It is acutely aware of the perilous nature of the world in which we live. But the Constitution is the rock upon which our nation rests. We must
follow it not only when it is convenient, but when fear and danger beckon in a
different direction. To do less would diminish us and undermine the foundation upon which we stand."

Wow. I am not a nationalist, but even I get weepy thinking about the since-unlearned official history of our country, where morality, humanity, and courage appeared in the thoughts and actions of great people all at the same time. But then I kept reading:
[The Judge] added that Mr. Ghailani's status as an "'enemy combatant' probably would permit his detention as something akin to a prisoner of war until the hostilities between the United States and Al Qaeda and the Taliban end, even if he were found not guilty."
(bold is mine, yo)
I guess I could see where he is coming from. If this were WWII it would probably be prudent for the US to not send uniformed Japanese soldiers back out onto the battlefield, but, since the "War on Terror" is not a conflict with an easy resolution, or even any at all, depending on the results of the next 10 elections or so, I don't know if Al Qaeda and the Taliban will ever be off the list of bad guys regardless of how many of them are left (I bet there is still a guy in Germany who doesn't like Jews and yet the war is over). And so the indeterminate nature of a war will ensure the indeterminate imprisonment of everyone thought* to be involved.
*(admittedly the thought is less tenuously-held in this instance, but in every one?)


... little more

It's just like they think that "we" are being really unrealistic and just wanting everything to be fixed, like, now, and, it's more like, can you even just try and be an advocate for the people who elected you instead of embarased?
(Edit: And of course "the people who elected you" could easily just be not-Left as Left so this is really a rabbit hole. I just really want nationalized health care and even if I can't expect to have it any time I just get all pissy when the debate gets closed for the sake of political expediency. Again: compromise on the path towards a larger goal > "this is the last time this can be discussed for another decade or two so that Democrats can win". Of course what am I saying? I have read way too much Marx to get involved in this. It is ALL bullshit.)
And of course this is putting aside all the international shit. It's really an interesting contrast.
Domestic policy: I keep thinking try harder, things can be better than this, as if he were on my side. And then I think...
International Policy: Who the fuck are you? What the FUCK are you doing? Why did I even get roped into caring what people think of you or what you think of them?
I am just going to start assuming that all of this "left is nutz" bullshit is just bait and ignore it.
Will I have the resolve?
Also I didn't partake last time I was offered - just had a lyric in my brain.

I'm a negative "progressive" and I'm stoned

I won't even bother to link to the numerous stories on the latest silly manifestation of the weird thought now current amongst the Democratic elite that if they were to play the role of abusive husband, the Left would assent to the role of battered wife, a sort of weird twist on "if you build it, they will come", only I would unsurprisingly prefer watching baseball with Kevin Costner than getting punched. Suffice it to say that it is not much of a tactic to get me excited about participating in the elections. I never believed in "change" in the first place, and the 2008 elections were the first I did not participate in.

Still, though, I can't help but believe that all of this bitching about bitching betrays a certain cynicism towards those who actually did believe. And I find it a bit distasteful. I know my expectations are unrealistic, but I also know that, here on the fringes, even though I accomplish nothing, I am still at least, if only barely, holding down my little fort at the edge of the forest, just as tiny reminder that, yes, people used to walk in this part of the woods. But if my cynicism stems from the frustration of knowing my desires will never be realized, Washington's cynicism is towards those who don't realize that desire is just something to be manipulated and forgotten about once it has accomplished its goals. The carrot doesn't exist - what fools so many were to chase it.

Or at least that is the message I get.

Another one is, of course, surprise at the lack of gratitude. Don't us peasants know that it took a lot of catered late-night meetings to hammer out these compromises? A lot of limousines stopped traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue, on Connecticut Avenue, on M Street NW and K Street NW and, of course, Wisconsin Avenue, just so that these "solutions" could exist.

If Obama were really Kennedy, he would understand that huge compromises can be hidden in a larger narrative, that history would be kind to those who kept the fight in the front pages even while making deals behind closed doors. Only the most frustrated among us, dis-including huge swaths of independents, moderates, Democrats, liberals, progressives, Leftists, even, hear Kennedy's name and think only of the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, and an administration that utilized the (admittedly young) CIA far more than any of his predecessors. Most mostly think of Civil Rights and the famous call to service. He talked of principles even if his practice betrayed them and seemingly did his best to keep the path illuminated even as he strayed from it it.

If it really were to feel that these compromises were the prelude to something greater, battles won in a wider war, then that could only be because our leader continued to ask us to fight and to fight for us. Instead, the victory has been all his. How dare we spoil it.


Mutually-Assured Destruction (A ramble)

Probably the main reason I am so whiny about the Obama administration is that I am more concerned with foreign policy than domestic.
Look at our country. We do, really, have one of the better systems of government in the world but we don't even know how to use it.
Most of us don't vote. And for every person who has given up on the two-party monopoly, there are probably five or ten more who never gave a shit in the first place, and not because they were too smart to get involved, either. In my moral universe, the privilege of not voting while retaining my respect (worth very little, I know) is something you can only earn after being exhausted from caring.
The people who do vote mostly do so for shitty reasons. Some for well-developed shitty reasons (IE coherent policy positions that happen to not be any good), some for under-developed shitty reasons (imagine some "nice", folksy person who thinks themselves an astute judge of character [who can't even imagine the candidate outside of the marketing] worrying about who would best fit in at the local diner/bar/Denny's/mega-church/free-trade coffee shop/whatever). The media's job is to treat all of this bullshit with "respect".
Some people even think voting is not enough. They "get involved", and write their congressional representatives. I worked for congress once, back in 2000. I had to open hundreds of letters from these marvelous concerned citizens every day. My favorite came from some cracker who complained about the luxurious accommodations that government had provided that "Commie" Elian Gonzalez.
Some people even choose to really become involved, and canvas (guilty), work with their local precincts to sway voters, work on campaigns, etc. A lot of these people seem to think they are holding back the tidal wave of (insert what they oppose here) that threatens to wash over our fertile country, but their rhetoric is usually more successful for convincing themselves than anyone else. Because.
Because our country is awash with bland pragmatists, undecideds, "independents", whose navel-gazing complacency is constantly venerated as the only authentic perspective from which to view politics. If you ever find yourself on TV as part of some news story portraying some race for some office and you want to be seen as the voice of reason, just tell everyone you are just "trying to feed your family" and see the look of respect that immediately washes over the face of your interrogator. Nothing speaks to the way in which the radical nihilism of our times is hidden in plain sight, banal, ubiquitous, "moderate", cloyingly friendly, than the wide berth this not-enlightened self-interest is granted. Whether there was ever anything worthwhile about negative freedom as a means of organizing our society, it plays now like a toddler not wanting to eat his vegetables. The same level of petulance and hysterics, wrapped in the "wisdom" that is so easy for those who have never experienced a granule of what this world has to offer to convey.
So I am not surprised about our lack of nationalized health care, nor about the shitty educational system, and the shitty attempts to reform it. I am not surprised that the people who wrecked this economy are planning their next vacations while many of us are wondering if we will have one again. Nor am I surprised that there are a million people trying to spin all of this bullshit for personal gain, nor that they succeed. What I don't get is why we have to keep fucking killing people in other countries just so that we can go on pretending that all of the above is not true.



Anyone nostalgic for all of the rhetoric around Obama's campaign fundraising juggernaut? About the endless justifying by so many Liberals of the ridiculous amounts of money raised? Proof of popular support? Proof of a resurgence in the Democratic Party? Bullshit! Proof of hypocrisy. Well, I hope you motherfuckers are coprophiles!



I have been depending on someone else's WiFi at home for over two years now. This WiFi has now vanished. So I am here less but also happier. Now if I could only have a job with no computer access, I might think less about how much I want the diseased body of our political system to finally perish, and more about beer and girls. Would it really be a loss? Only if I were actually fighting instead of bitching.
But even without the computer, which has the effect of taking both "content" and my relationship to it, and chopping it up into little, un-nourishing bits, I still don't spend enough time with beer and girls.
Over this past week, I did, however, re-read The Rest is Noise, re-watch both The Asphalt Jungle and Citizen Kane. I also spent a bit of time deepening my knowledge of MIDI (oh it's simple enough if you just want to connect a few boxes but once you get into CCs and NRPNs and Event Lists...).
It is getting harder and harder to imagine that computers were ever seen as the means of radical social change. I could possibly write a lot more about it, but I just want to say this: if consumer capitalism is about spinning a humble wish into a large matrix of desires, replete with complex hierarchies filled with subtle and not-so-subtle gradations, then the computer is the greatest catalyst of that process I know of, and certainly accelerates the process to a speed that is unhealthy for mere mortals.
Perhaps it already exists, but there has to be world to describe the combination of the desire for instant gratification that is never gratified, and the complete collapse of the mind's ability to proritize that is the hallmark of extended computer use. It is amazing, on the one hand, that I can alternately fantasize about travelling to South America, research new needles for my turntables, read news from all over the world, look up new resataurants in my neighborhood, talk with friends, shop for books, comment on blogs, comment on message boards, etc, all with a few pieces of electronics, but there is something about doing all of these things from the same place in the same way, that is becoming increasingly problematic.
And don't just say I don't have a life. I live in Brooklyn. I go to shows. I am surrounded by bars. I dig for records. I take long walks. I spend time with friends. But there is always something at the back of my mind. I dunno.


:-) :-( ;-) :'(

Sometimes I forget how blinkered psychology is as a discipline.

I guess since the perspective of the article consists of raising the question of whether "the period between 20-30 is truly a new developmental chapter in human life?", the lack of detailed social and political analysis can be explained away as not part of the scope of the article. Except, of course, if one actually wants to answer that question, one has to include that analysis.

I have a lot to say about this matter, being almost thirty and having failed to find my place in the world thus far, but, if I do write on this, I would, of course, include detailed social and political analysis. So you might have to wait a bit.

But to start:

1. Articles like this always amuse me. They are the "lifestyle" version of American Exceptionalism.

2. While I would assert that young people are failing to "grow up" because of social and political reasons, I would not assert that young people are failing to "grow up" for social and political reasons. Which is why I feel so lonely in "bohemian" Brooklyn.



The New York Times wants you to know that, regardless of our new Cold War, things are STILL better. Or at least, that is what I am guessing they want you to know, because I certainly can't think of another reason to gloat about the fall of Communism right now.

Certainly I know it must have been wonderful, the liberation of personal desire from the shackles of (un)democratic societies. My cynicism only comes from the fact that the world we are living in right now is what that liberation wrought.

(Oh and yeah um it's not like, uh, those desires that were liberated were like, you know, ones biologically intrinsic to, uh, humans, and all, so yeah, like, freedom?)


... I Went

So this ended up being great.
I don't have much to add as Ebert summed up the most important aspect of it perfectly when we wrote "I've rarely seen a documentary quite like it. It has a point to make but no ax to grind."
While there are certainly notable exceptions, most of the best art and literature that tries to deal in social and political relations is of this type. Instead of supporting a cause, which risks not only alienating those who are not part of it, but also engendering complacency amongst the supporters, better to show as calmly as possible why the cause should exist in the first place.
What good would it have been to make a movie towards "Christer-baiting"? "They" would hate "us" even more and "we"* would deserve it.
* I don't drink Lattes but I have lived my entire life between DC and Boston. DC is actually the furthest South and the furthest West (!) I have ever lived.


I think I am going...

May be enjoyable and will certainly be better than what I usually do on a Friday night, ie nothing.
I tend to enjoy participating in cultural events more at times when I "shouldn't". Friday night is a good night for politics, and Super Bowl Sunday is a good day for the Opera (I did this back in 2008 - I even got dressed up. The music itself was fantastic, which is really why I went of course, but it did feel nice emerging from the Kennedy Center with no clue as to what was "really happening" in the USA).
Anyone wanna come with? Send an email!


Understanding Wealth

It has been said (pre-recession, though I am not sure how much has changed) that many, if not a majority of Americans, consider themselves wealthy, which is why class-based politics "doesn't work". How can you propose tax increases on 1% of the population when 50% of the population believes they are in that 1%?
Many of those Americans don't live in NYC, DC, SF or LA, so maybe it makes sense that they felt (feel) this way.
I have a way to put it into perspective. Maybe this will convert one or two of the fifty to one hundred and fifty million people that need to be converted.
I have a client who spent $1 million on the A/V components insalled in his residence (oh and, of course, this is not his only residence, nor even his primary one). This person's net worth is reported at around $7.8 billion (he is NOT close to being the wealthiest person in America). Granted, that is not all cash, but still...
...spending that $1 million was the equivalent of...
... spending one cent out of $78...
... spending ten cents out of $780...
... spending $1 out of $7,800...
... spending $10 out of $78,000...
... spending $100 out of $780,000.
Even if you had $780,000 to your name and were to spend in proportion to the aforementioned person, you would just barely be able to buy a decent DVD player and a cable to hook it up to... your old TV.


It's not that I'm going nowhere, it's that it is happening so slowly

Still good:

New to me as of a few months ago; now heard daily:

Waited 5 years for this to come out on vinyl since I first heard it, and they only put half on(!):

"Cynical", "Cowardly" and "Unimaginative"


I think my feelings on it are thus:
Being a big supporter of Euro-style soccer, ie those games where, to use an overused comment, soccer is really like chess, with an observable and verifiable strategy, I really felt yesterday's game was the ass end of that. The bad side of intellectualism. Calculated. Passionless. Tedious.

I never thought I would say this, but at least there was something entertaining, if infuriating, about the constant Italian dives four years ago. At least I had the opportunity to scream at the television set four years ago (and I was at work behind the bar at a nice place - I was wearing a vest AND an apron!) whereas I think I was mostly incredulous during this past game. Was that really the final? Of what?

Due to the boring overtime, which finally provided the opportunity for what seemed a pointless goal after so many minutes, I missed my bus back from Washington, DC. I took the train instead. Spain, Netherlands, you owe me $160 (or 1/3rd of all the money I had yesterday).



Quick One

(Maybe I am not the first to write this, but it bears repeating if I am doing so)
Note to any sympathetic writers, regardless of status:
Please replace the word "confidence" with the word "belief" whenever writing about economics, and more specifically, the feelings of consumers or investors. Sure, it is a subtle substitution but i think it does slightly subvert the notion that that there is any intrinsic rationality to free-market capitalism, especially when compared to other, more maligned forms of socioeconomic organization.


Netherlands Beats Brazil!

Anyone have a link to a video stream on the Internet???

I am not kidding! I don't care that I already know the result!

Please leave a comment.



Stop Saying...

Blood and Treasure
Every time I hear people talk about Afghanistan, I hear those same two words. What bugs me:
1. Always seems like a bad attempt at being more poetic by being indirect. Who uses the word treasure outside of a movie about pirates? I lose blood if I get a bad paper cut.

2. This attempt at being poetic also seems to obfuscate what is really being lost. Tax money that could be spent on improving the lives of people anywhere and everywhere, and fucking people's lives.

3. Framing the worth of the war in these words always makes it seem like the people critical of it think of it merely as a bad investment, something we are not getting a good return on, which not only ignores all of the moral and ethical issues of war, and not only places the discussion within the context of a view of life that literally cannot escape value judgments completely informed by capitalist practice, it is also that it seems to forget that success in Afghanistan would not provide the West with the kind of return on its investment that seems to be expected with this particular phrase. Because ultimately what will guarantee peace in that region are functional governments who truly work for the benefit of their people, even at the risk of not doing what we want them to.

4. And after all of that, what really gets me is just the lack of creativity. In the context of how they are being used, there are so many synonyms possible that when I hear people continue to use those same two words, it strikes me as if they are just conduits of memes without the capability for independent thought, in which case, why should they be talking about war in the first place?

R O 16 P 3

The quarterfinals are upon us, so here are the last few thoughts rattling around my brain in regards to the World Cup. I think I came up with a few jokes a few days ago but sadly they have all gone missing from my brain cells.

First off, I obviously didn't get to see the last games of the round in question.
As far as I can tell, no real surprises. Maybe some more flubbed calls? Who knows. I rarely watch the highlights of games because they are so lacking in the whole-game context that makes soccer so enjoyable to watch.

Netherlands vs. Slovakia would have been an interesting game to watch given my penchant for the Netherlands but also "eastern European upstarts." I guess it was a win-win that I didn't have to think about, though I am sorry I didn't get to see it.

Brazil won.

Secondhand reports say that both teams played rather timidly, but I would have still enjoyed watching Paraguay and Japan go to penalty kicks. It doesn't happen enough. Congrats to Japan for making it that far.

Spain vs. Portugal is a game I don't have anything to say about.

I was going to write a list describing the relative amount of frustration I would experience should certain teams win, but all I can say is that another Brazilian victory would just be boring to me unless the final game is truly one of the best I have ever seen. Really, I don't have much of an issue with most of the other teams. I would normally include Germany with Brazil, but they are younger, more diverse, and, from what I hear, playing in a different style than they used to. I want to see for myself!

So this is a boring entry but at least provides a sense of resolution. Maybe to you too.

Belated But In This Case...

... Certainly better than not at all.

The Baffler is back (and maybe has been for a while - I gave up checking the website years ago).

In case you don't know, the Baffler is a sporadically-published journal of social thought that existed mostly in the 90s and is(?)/was edited partially by Thomas Frank, who wrote some good essays and then books about the commdofication of culture back when most journalists were still "swingin' on the flippity flop with Sub Pop"* before shifting his focus to government. Especially in the 90s, The Baffler was refreshing in lacking the influence of cultural relativism and certain "French people". Check out the new essays but also be prepared to spend some time with the .pdfs of older issues, too. At least as concerned with the forest as the trees, some of those critical essays are, sadly, not as outdated as they should be.

*Plenty of Euro-Marxists were writing about that subject before Frank was even born but whereas if the focus of some of those writers might have been the contrast between high culture and the mass culture disseminated by corporations, Frank's journal, influenced by the seemingly-discredited notion that pop music could change the world, worked to contrast the mass folk culture of post-Punk (chronologically, not necessarily stylistically) Indie rock (call it Version 1.0 - the version that asked something of its participants instead of constantly reorganizing itself around their whims) against the very same mass culture that caused Adorno, et al, so much pain.

(of course the 60s and 70s and 80s happened too, but the 90s were different - you just gotta go read for yourself)


R O 16 P2

Oh well.
There are few a things I care about more than soccer. One of them is seeing some of my favorite DJs play in a not-quite legal space. Suffice it to say, at 7am on Sunday morning, I decided to sleep instead of watch. I know that prize committees and editors worldwide sighed sadly as they realized I might not be a dependable enough commentator to provide oodles of money to plus tickets to Euro 2012, etc. Sorry folks.
I did spend some time with a nice English gentleman (well not quite a gentleman given his intake that evening) who was going on about how he expected his team to lose. I told him the score would be 4-0 in Germany's favor at the end of the match (why 4-0? because I figured Germany could score and would have enough respect for what England could do instead of what they do do that they would want to insure/ensure their win with a few extra points). Even he, in all his "I left that uptight gray island to come party in America decades ago and have not been tempted back for a moment"-ness(?), he still took a bit of offence to that one. Well, England did score once, proving me wrong, and perhaps the disallowed goal would have made some sort of difference for them. I doubt I could truly know that having seen the match. That being said, the result is not surprising.
As for Argentina's win, I don't know anything about that other than my lack of surprise.
I will not be able to watch tomorrows matches at all. I will return with the third and final part of this trology to try and offer some uninformed thoughts on the quarterfinals and perhaps some (un)funny commentary as well.


R O 16 P1

This is my first time posting drunk, as opposed to soberly posting something I had written drunk and not posted. What could I do? I don't own a TV and, while I was willing to depend on the kindness of strangers for free streams of earlier matches, this is knockout time... I was at a bar from 10am to around 5pm without working there so a few beers were inevitable. I did NOT start drinking at 10am though!

The South Koreans played valiantly against a larger and more physical team. I was impressed with the way they handled the ball, and I think that, had they survived, they would have played, at the very least, an admirable match against their next opponent.

A few random writers I have read have predicted that Asian teams would become more dominant in the future, but I am still not quite convinced. Being, unfortunately, a casual observer of soccer, a person who only makes the extra effort during international tournaments, I wonder how much impact the general level of play evident in a conference matters. My hypothesis, not belief, is that European and South American teams are always a bit more ready for the World Cup because the general level of play at the intra-conference tournaments (Euro, Copa) is probably higher.

As for Uruguay, well, as I said to the only other patron who showed up for the earlier match, the game was a win-win for me: I like South Korea's pluckiness, but also Forlan. That being said, I found it quite condescending how Uruguay acted as if their one-goal lead was greater than it was. That kind of laziness this far into the tournament is unwarranted, ESPECIALLY as they let South Korea have the ball for most of the game. If you are going to run out the clock, do it on your possession. If Uruguay does the same thing against Ghana, I expect them to suffer as Ghana adds their size and physicality to the speed they share with South Korea.

As for the second game today, well, team USA almost convinced me to cheer for them. Ghana played an excellent first half, and moved the ball as well as any team I have seen recently. They passed to where the recipient was going instead of to where he already was. They did not play as well during the second half, but I still don't think the United States was quite playing the best soccer possible. If football were football, I can't help but think that team USA is a team that has a good quarterback and a few good wide receivers. Those are, of course, good things to have, but without a good ground game (ie ability to maintain control, ability to run time and control the pace of the game), things get a bit predictable and propositions become a bit too all-or-nothing. America can score when the opposing defense makes mistakes or shows weakness. The best teams can score, period. You can't win the World Cup waiting for the ball to bounce off the goalie's gloves. Or rather, you can win with that happening but that can't be your strategy!

I may post in detail about the experience of watching the games today when I sober up. Suffice it to say it was weird spending time with all of the fair-weather fans who haven't paid much attention to soccer since they were little. Message: as much as you wanted Team USA to justify the 15 minutes you spent in the bathroom mirror putting on face paint, a 5 mph dribbler towards the goalie with no other players within twenty feet is not a "chance" unless you are watching a bunch of toddlers play. Just FYI, you know?

Now that America is out I should have no problem getting a seat for tomorrows matches. See you after those.

Edit: It is the silliness of this (see the bottom) (via) that makes me think my hypothesis above might have some merit. What would the USA gain by not going to Copa? The need to practice alone more? That doesn't make any sense. I used to play a bit of basketball when I was a kid. I could shoot very accurately from long distances. If basketball didn't involve another team trying to take the ball from me, thus depriving me of infinite time and concentration, I would have gotten a scholarship somewhere I am sure! Do they not want to sustain injuries? Would a tournament be a distraction? Man, this sports thing sounds like a hassle!


World Cup Personal Progress

Eh so I haven't gotten to see as many games as I expected. What kind of country is this where people have to go to work when there is a World Cup being played?
1. I didn't get to see any Eastern European teams play, but from the results, none of them seemed to be the passionate young usptarts able to sneak their way into the quarterfinals that I was looking for. Oh well. Is Ghana any good? I hate to conflate the incredible diversity of an entire continent, and I have no idea what people in Ghana think of South Africans, or vice versa, but an African team made it into the knockout stage of the first tournament held in Africa, so I will cheer for them in the place of South Africa. Sorry USA.
2. Still haven't seen my favorite European team, the Netherlands, at all, so I have no idea if they are coasting through a relatively easy Group (seems that way) or are playing excellent football/soccer, or both. I probably won't get to see them play in the next round either.
3. US won a group, huh. England is lucky they didn't have a second-tier South American team to contend with.
I am really looking forward to this weekend and catching back up with all of this. And drinking at 10am.
Edit: Looks like I missed an exciting match. This is why I need to watch most of the games at Euro 2012. If Slovakia could beat Italy, was their tie to New Zealand a fluke? Should I get excited? I'll see I hope...


Just the worst...

He actually gets paid to write this shit. I have re-written this post thirty times now and can still not capture my anger. Here are the highlights of all the deleted posts:
1. ...like arguing with a kid who believes in Santa Claus...
2. ...does he really believe that since the majority of people believe in less government intervention there actually should have been less oversight of BP before the spill, and less intervention now? Is he planning on cleaning that shit himself?
3. ...in other (1939) news, a majority of Germans blame the Jews for the current economic crisis...
4. ..."Moderate suburban voters do not see the world as liberals do" because of bullshit columns like this that elevate the whims of selfish people to a political philosphy.
5. ...Brooks imagines this "left-wing philogist" as asking Mephistopheles for bad things to happen because he can't imagine anyone could exist outside of a cynical poltical system where it is good for bad things to happen to good people if it advances your idelogical cause.


Another obvious one

Remember when Obama's "great speaking abilities" were the gleam in the media's eye?
Obama is either the end or the beginning. Running for President and being President are two different things and this presidency shows perhaps the greatest gulf between the two ever. For all of GWB LLCs "compassionate conservatism" morphing into "I really don't give a fuck conservatism" sometime around January 2001, that doesn't really compare to the "second coming of Che Guevara"-style imagery of Obama's campaign (HOPE - CHANGE - WHOLE FOODS) and the caution that has followed. I have issues with pragmatism as a day-to-day way of living. To conflate the way things are with what is natural and then make choices within that very limited context, to not take any risks or dare to imagine profound change, has always struck me as a bit irresponsible, even if the goal of pragmatism itself is responsibility. But I digress. It is one thing to want all the facts to be in before making a decision, quite another to act as if one could not know something about a situation at all before beginning the collection of evidence, to not only ignore instinct, experience, whatever, but to actually pretend that it doesn't exist. Ideology and idea sound more similar than they are. But I am still digressing. Will Obama herald a new age of people so well trained to become President that they can't be one? Or will people look for something else?
My pragmatic answer is that so few people truly feel that this disconnect exists that, well, neither. ;-)

It's The Same Old Story, All Love and Glory...

(More World Cup this weekend I hope - haven't seen a game since my last post!)
So first off, great writers are great editors (or at least have them), and since I am certainly not the latter, I will be never be the former. Instead of letting the prospect of writing cause me anxiety, I am just going to write. That may mean more activity here. Yay. Or it may not.
Just like my compatriot, I am a bit sad from writing the same shit over and over again. It may not appear that I am doing this to you (or it may!) because I have deleted a million drafts of Typical Leftist Blogger Palaver on the typical subjects, all reading something like this:
Surprise, surprise, Obama is not a leftist. Who could have anticipated that? In other news, Democrats are hypocrites, doing the same things the Republicans did when they were in power, only not always as well (except for fundraising two years ago! Democrats in moneyloving shocker!). Who woulda thunk it?
No point in finishing half of these "essays", really. At best they come off like poking a blind man in the eye, at worst, boring, self-aggrandizing bullshit easily summarized as: hey you liberals you aren't that Left, you know. You are not harDCore like me, not at all. Blah.
I watched a documentary on Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent) recently and that feeling of being one of many grooves in a skipping record became even more overwhelming. When will things change substantially enough to require the development of a completely new critique?
News Flash: America kills innocent people with its bombs and justifies this with the complaint that the people it was trying to kill were doing the same thing or going to do the same thing (Bush Doctrine [great name for a political porn? Has someone already said that?]).
For those of you with the same malaise, ie the Left has been the same Left for too long, I propose you answer this question as a challenge so that now you may have something to write about: when do you think that being Left became a reactionary position instead of a progressive one? When did humanism and the dream of collective action become something that happened instead of something that would?
Please answer freely, and you are welcome to reject the question entirely as a means of answering. Here are a few themes:
1. The tension between horror and fascination that lies at the heart of the experience of modernization, industrialization and standardization. The weird beauty of the glow of missiles in
night vision.
2. Is the fight against oppression by oppressed groups about ending oppression or opening up the position of oppressor to more people?
3. The 70s as the reconciliation of 50s consumer capitalism and the 60s desire for intense personal experiences.
4. The collapse of the gold standard.
5. Bush I and "New World Order", aka "The End of History".
6. Clinton ("triangle of love/you gotta be careful how you start/don't be in a rush to play your part")
7. Bush II: the Murmuring.
I guess even this shit has been written about a lot; I invite personal accounts, not historical narrative. My quick "answer":
I guess I have seen these themes pop up in their own ways for quite some time, but I felt like everything really came together for me sometime in 2003 in the run up to the Iraq war. Compared to the broad, sweeping, dystopian vision of the Bush/Cheney administration, the typical liberal complaint seemed so trite, so boring (maybe it is the switch from a Left vision of empowering and fighting for rights to one of the defense of victims that has taken so much energy out of the cause). Not that I ever agreed with BC (apt) but they were certainly looking into the future and, all of a sudden, I felt I couldn't...
(and that whole liberal complaint of Republicans wanting to reenact the 50s are missing the point - the only way these sweeping visions of the future can truly be enacted is with the "50s-style" unquestioning loyalty of the people)
(but wait! fascism happens now and happened in the past? why is it easier to see the New World Order in terms of the future but not the Revolution? It's a trick. I need to read that book by Derrida that's lying around somewhere.)
A bad non-poem I thought up while getting lunch (told u ii need an eDitor):
Title of many overwrought whines = America
The thing about prison is that it's clean
Locked up twenty three hours a day
but the fresh concrete keeps the cockroach away
I guess it's better than China