Talk hard
Tuesday February 14th 2012, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Boozy,memory,nextish,politrix,tired,Work Tags:

A 90s movie and a large glass of wine, the perfect follow up to a big public lecture. A movie about believing in the possibility of change, in changing things, in looking around and seeing a world both blind and bland and demanding more. My talk, I’m afraid, was a rather mild protest in the history of protests, and those who asked questions challenging my generalizations (themselves convenient coinages to challenge still other [erroneous, misguided] generalizations) made clear how very, very small, if polished, my protests are. But, the decks, they clear, slowly. One shadow still lingering, and plans for a second and a third piece (or, to be honest, one of the two) over the next months. Not to mention the day-to-day drain of the ankle-biting vampires, all 160 of them. Without whom, I’m afraid, I can’t imagine doing this. A former student, from several years back, at today’s talk. I think he tried to sell me a wood carving. But he was there, and couldn’t quite obscure the pleasure and relief that I recognized him, that his outsized memories of me weren’t unmet, unreciprocated. And they weren’t, aren’t. (I worried, 20 fucking years ago, whether a few students a year or two ahead of me remembered me as they went off to college. I’ve no idea, but I’m not the sort who has ever forgotten such things. And so, to the students who must wonder, yes, I remember you. I meant it and I mean it.)

I still think something changed 20ish years ago, though I’m grateful the music and the fashion have come back around, so I can pretend to be stylish again. A longer article, on why the potentially radical and productive politics of “me” fell apart in the face of the Internet and the IPO. The “me” folks weren’t so very far away from finding the seeds of something unblind, unbland. But instead I play Bill Hicks clips for my students, hearing 1980 blamed as the year anti-intellectualism became the problem, and thinking how very modest 1980 and even fucking 2000 look by the standards of 2008 and 2012. I can skype you text you twit you twat you chat you, and there’s no need to seize the airwaves anymore. That didn’t work, the great dissolution of cannons, now that every 16 year old Polish teenage girl has written a blog and a sparkled a myspace and then got over it and merely texts and pinterests, a performance of taste rather than of thought. A radical decentering become one more way to find the center, heterogeneity the new homogenous, mid-90s rebels all with identical STP-short-hair and puffy flight jackets and docs walking side by side, rebelling against conformity in lock step. And me? I clear the decks and fancy a new pair of docs. I wonder if, yet again, this time it really is different.

3 bucks a post
Wednesday February 01st 2012, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Boozy,money,Rubbish Tags:

That’s the price for TPT, if I continue posting at the appallingly intermittent rate of 2011. I have a few premiums, though, if you call now, provided by local restaurants and businesses who also accept my special “fringe benefits” card, if you know what I mean and I think you do. Private self-indulgent blogging needs your support!

It’s pledge drive time on KCRW, always a reason to tune out, when I’m not listening with the public radio equivalent of rubber-necking at a tragic accident. The forced cheer, the feigned mirth, the good natured jesting and collegiality, and the perfume of insincerity mixed with sickly sweet smell of real fear is (courtesy the smell-o-radio in my otherwise unremarkable car) rather compelling. First of the month but not first of the year, so deep in obligations that ever smaller accomplishments are beginning to seem ever bigger, because I don’t think I can (convincingly) get there from here. I’m not sure what it looks like to phone in a large public lecture, but I (or rather, the public) may well find out.

“I said is this contagious. / You said just drink it up….I thought the past would last me / but the darkness got that too.” It’s a fucking amazing song, Leonard’s Darkness from the new/old Old Ideas. But the rest of the album doesn’t measure up, which is a shame. It’s an OK album, but some of the “old ideas” are perhaps not as old as this idea, which trots out the darkness at the center alongside getting old and passing time and caring and feigning and loving tied up neatly with a sweet organ solo and a backing chorus.

Back to my red wine and my n+1 (though I’m annoyed that the guy who didn’t hire me a decade ago, for a job I wasn’t qualified for and didn’t really want at an institution I don’t respect, cowrote a piece. Between McGurl on zombies and now the digital humanities zombies on [whatever the fuck it is they’re on about – haven’t read it yet], my cherished sense of “in”ness from reading n+1 in 2006…well…I liked them when….owned the first album/issue….may have to stop wearing the t-shirt. Sigh.