It wasn't that bad

I don't want to make light of Irene as people did get hurt. But for me, it was nothing. Now I have a lot of bottled water and nothing to do with it but drink. I didn't go nuts stocking up. The aforementioned water. A bit of canned pasta. Smokes. That's it. After being one of the last neighborhoods to get plowed during the blizzard (wealthier neighborhoods had priority), it was nice to see a more equal-opportunity storm. South Brooklyn was hit hard. But so was southern Manhattan. And the suburbs. The Hamptons. Westchester. I spent Saturday morning getting my provisions and then went record shopping. Priorities, you know?

Today was anticlimax.

Still, I hope my East Coast readers are all safe and secure.

Highlights from record shopping:


Law and Order

Ironically, I have been watching the show a lot this week. The first season. Made back in 1990 when at least someone within the government (on the show) would protest when either the police or prosecutors wanted to or did break the law.

As always, most people will get caught up in who is getting targeted ("Hey I am white and live in the suburbs this has nothing to do with me") and miss the larger picture. As someone else has said, it is a mistake to conflate being ignored and being spared.




RIP Ashford

My favorite today... could be any of a number of songs tomorrow...


Lustily Oblivious!

NYT on the Rockaways from a few months ago.

"Word of the cheap rents, easy commute and underpopulated beaches spread quickly, especially among beach-starved New Yorkers who find places like the Hamptons either too expensive or too bourgeois for their tastes. " (Bold is mine.)

"a new grass-fed-burger shack"
"single-gear bicycle, Zipcar and the occasional skateboard"
"quinoa black-bean burgers and rice-milk smoothies"
"Urban wave-rider boutiques like Surf NYC in SoHo have opened. Art shows devoted to surf culture have swept Chelsea galleries."
"who owns Rockaway Taco, along with Ñ, a tapas bar on Crosby Street, and Rice, an Asian fusion restaurant in NoLIta and Dumbo"
"The lineup includes Babycakes, a vegan bakery on the Lower East Side; La Newyorkina, which makes ice pops in exotic flavors like hibiscus and horchata; and Vinegar Hill House, a rustic restaurant near the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a wood-burning oven."
"The one- and two-family units are priced between $559,000 and $899,000, and one 3,400-square-foot model includes a rental unit that can be furnished with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances."
"who found his studio apartment on Craigslist and pays $4,000 for a six-month season" (in addition to his regular rent, I'm sure)

"'Sometimes you want a rest from chic-ness.'"


Wealthy, educated "Leftists" in condescension shocker

Pere Lebrun for the fucking win. I can't overemphasize how much I was waiting for that!

Let's start from the middle. Virtually anyone who has used the word "trainers" in their article or blog post or whatever about the riots is disqualified from further comment*. As PL suggests, do you really think that taste, of all things, in looted goods, has any significance unless your goal is to either restore the law-and-order you either love as a member of the right-wing or detested as a member of the Left until that order was broken in a way that didn't support your paternalistic view of what the working class should be up to?

Ironically, the same violence that is necessary for the right wing to justify further repression, further cuts is now being used to establish hierarchy on the Left. Did it ever occur to any of you that the reason these riots don't conform to a desire engendered by years spent leisurely poring over the latest missives from teachers at the European Graduate School is that there is, ultimately, no real place for the rioters in your theoretical non-neoliberal vision of the future as well? If you think sneaker thieves idiots now, what were your plans for them tomorrow?

Damage to property is not worse than damage to humans. The violence of the state is worse than anything done within the UK so far. Take your self-satisfied brooms and go to Libya or Iraq.

*What teenagers aren't status obsessed? Fashion obsessed? What would you steal if you were a looter? Rare vinyl? Some "cool" thick-white-plastic-framed sunglasses? Do you think the guy who stole a bag of rice stupid? I think him quite practical!



Another good post at a blog many of the people who link to me have, for some unknown reason, yet to link to. If you can stand me then why not someone smarter, more eloquent and more generous of thought?

Interesting that a lot of the thoughts on the petty bourgeois that are quoted and summarized can apply equally to both right-wing agitation and the weakness of both the salaried, centrist liberal and also the petty bourgeois "socialism" of what I'll call the Northampton progressive. Especially in the latter cases, the competitiveness for credentials amongst those supposedly in sympathy with the poor seems exceedingly ironic.

Of everything quoted, this stood out the most:
(b) Spontaneism, i.e. contempt for organization, and the abstract cult of direct and ‘spontaneous’ action, no matter where or how — the expression par excellence of petty-bourgeois ‘individualism’;
Just another reminder of why I've always been miserable at any large-scale protest I have attended.

That's all for now.


Sober and Homesick

Yeah so what's up. I've deleted around ten entries since last week. I'm not bleggalgazing. I'm navelgazing. I don't doubt the efficacy of the blog as much as the person writing it. My boss is smart to not pay me more. I'd save up $5K and quit. I really need six months in the woods. I've been tempted to re-read On The Road lately. I know it's a lie. There's no freedom. There's just better and worse responsibilities. And your ability to choose them. It's the narcissistic focus on the former that forms the vast world of small differences that distract us from our relative powerlessness concerning the latter.

As for me, life assumes a familiar pattern from my unhappy and precocious childhood:
1. Do nothing.
2. Feel sorry for myself in public.
3. Receive nice comments from friends (all of whom eventually tire of this game).
4. Feel better about myself.
5. Go to 1.

This is 2. Instead of 3, I need help with 1. I don't know how to do otherwise. Except at work. Somehow, it's much easier to work for other people than myself. Of course, if I never learn how to work for myself, I'll always be working for other people.