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?)