bootslack

Pure signal.

Lady Gaga Just Dancing

Lady Gaga illuminated inside California’s burning.

The heat waves of her sex shimmer the coastal sage into nothingness.

A firefighter army wetting down her canyons with stiff hoses.

She comforts the weeping, who have lost all, with Shiva’s wisdom: “Just dance!”

lady-gaga

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November 22, 2008 Posted by | People who fucking Rock, Poems | 1 Comment

Goethe and True Will

One of the beautiful things about a reading project is, of course, the incredible things you get to read.

So many things I come across that I want to share, but this one plain stopped me in my tracks:

“When, namely, the youth of a man falls into a pregnant time, when production outweighs destruction, and in him the presentiment is early awakened as to what such an epoch demands and promises, he will then, forced by outward inducements into an active interest, take hold, now here, now there, and the wish to be active on many sides will become lively within him. But now human limitation is associated with so many accidental hindrances, that here a thing once begun remains unfinished, there a thing once grasped falls from the hand, and one wish crumbles away after another. But if these wishes had sprung out of a pure heart, suited to the requirements of the time, one could quietly let them fall right and left, and be assured that not only must this be found out and picked up again, but also that many kindred things, which one has never touched, yes, and never even thought of, will come to light. If now we see during our lifetime that performed by others, to which we ourselves felt an earlier call, which we had been obliged to give up with much besides, then the beautiful feeling enters the mind that only mankind taken together is the true man, and that the individual can only be joyful and happy when he has the courage to feel himself in the whole.”
(Autobiography; Book IX)

And that is, I think, one of the best expressions of a mature concept of “True Will” that I have ever encountered. One sees themselves in a local perspective and with clear boundaries, but one actually exists in continuance of everything else that also is. If you are honest and engaged with your world, then your innermost desires come from and go out into that world — expressions which begin with you are concluded by other hands far from you. And your innermost secrets are actually thoughts you picked up from others.

October 9, 2008 Posted by | 40th Birthday Project, People who fucking Rock | Leave a comment

Homophobia is the only rational position

A great video explaining why.

If you do not understand why homosexuals should not be allowed the SAME MARRIAGE with the SAME NAME (“marriage”) as anybody else gets, then I propose you neither understand, nor deserve civil rights.

Period.

September 18, 2008 Posted by | People who fucking Rock | 3 Comments

David Foster Wallace

I have read David Foster Wallace, and I have read a great deal of what has been written about David Foster Wallace and I wonder if he did not think himself more alone than he was, because the wrong voices are being amplified in art criticism. I would like to take the opportunity of his suicide to fire everyone in the English speaking art and literature criticism establishment — academic and otherwise. You all are doing a terrible job and I hate you. Of course I don’t know that the “market” wouldn’t produce a crop just as bad if I did. And I don’t know the personal reasons behind his death, but your failure has become palpable, and even if you aren’t to blame, firing all of you would be satisfying and fun.

I would trade every page all of you have written in the last 25 years for his next novel.

September 14, 2008 Posted by | People who fucking Rock | Leave a comment

Sacrifice Everything to your Dream

I was watching America’s Got Talent with my sisters, and my older sister made a comment which I thought was interesting. There were different variety act performers, and we were talking approximately about weather it was a good idea to sacrifice the “normal” things in ones life in pursuit of success in a variety act. It brought to mind the recent Olympics, and the sacrifices that people make to be a great swimmer or a great diver — accomplishments of at best limited utility.

My sisters comment was that one should be willing to do anything in pursuit of ones dream. Of course one could create endless undergraduate philosophy ethical conundrums out of this — which would be a terribly boring line of conversation — lets be reasonable here and accept that she was saying what a reasonable person might think she was saying. One should be willing to suffer and sacrifice to achieve ones dreams. Whatever those dreams are — if the dream is to go to the Olympics, or to be a great variety performer — whatever it is. That goal is something that one should keep in ones mind, and one should be willing to let go of comfort and convenience and all manner of lesser goods to achieve.

I fervently agree — and I have had different dreams throughout my life which I have sacrificed for to different degrees. But the idea stuck with me because it occurred to me that I have not formulated clearly what my dream is in recent years. I have pursued it, even sacrificed to it. But dreams that I have articulated in the past have all fallen away from me — mostly because I perceived them as being too vain. I wanted to be a great performer, and then as I got further into performing I realized that something was missing in it — that there was something in poetry and writing besides performance. That there was something besides even publishing. I could get published without being good. I could write books without being good — it happens all the time. What I wanted was to be good.

Being good is problematic — because there are multiple standards and opinions. There are multiple kinds of accomplishments. Most of those have come into range at one point or another — and all of the ones that I have seen directly, and all of the ones that I have imagined have failed when considered under a simple test that I learned from Socrates: Do I want to be good or do I want to be perceived as good?

So if it is simple like getting published, or being well thought off. If it is moving a room with a spoken word performance, or getting a good review in the Paris Review. If it is even getting an extraordinary prize like the Nobel or Pulitzer prize — are those experiences motivating to me? Are those things that I could call “the dream?”

I have to say no. In a way I do not even care if I am ever read. In a way, of course, that is absurd — but in a different way it is absolutely true. I do not care if “I” am ever read. I do not care if “my words” survive me. They are as vain as I am — as empty and transitory. What does it matter if some detritus cast of from my existence, be it a poem or a lock of hair, persists for some years along side me, or after my death and is passed around?

But I’ll tell you what I do want — if you will pretend with me for a moment that language is a thing closer to what Plato thought it was than we think it is today, or at least Santayana. Not identical, but closer. It is my dream to know and give voice to the truth. Know is a word with sexual connotations, and truth in my usage is a dynamic — even a living, though not a supernatural, thing. To give voice to is different than to “say” or to “reveal.”

I recognize the truth as being a plural thing — as having multiple levels which are complex and even at times self-contradictory. I recognize the truth as having personal and impersonal elements to it. I recognize it as being something which is partially reached by mathematics, and partially by inspiration. I recognize that at almost no time can one be sure when one is standing in it’s presence, and that any expression of it, however confident one may be at an air-tight conceptualization or wording, will fail in some contexts. But when I experience, in small or large ways, the feeling of extending outside of myself in understanding something — and when I can bring that understanding back into a meaningful expression which others could, if they approached it with good will, find the nature of the understanding which I had in the original moment: that is my dream.

It is my dream to know and give voice to the truth.

September 11, 2008 Posted by | People who fucking Rock | 1 Comment

Sometimes the truth prevails

Well — I am exited. A question that I have been pursuing for sometime has come to a resolution thanks to the input from Steve Sailer — who is someone I am not allowed to agree with since he is kind of conservative leaning and I am kind of liberal leaning. However I have been forced to submit to his domineering mind by the power of truth. (Reference to Socrates is deliberate.)

The argument, evidence and associated discussion is provided — but you have to actually read the comments (which is where the meaty part played out.) — here — on an earlier page of my blog.

And I would like to thank Steve for caring enough about the subject to read and think and formulate an argument instead of just walking around spewing an opinion that may or may not be based on nothing.

September 7, 2008 Posted by | People who fucking Rock | Leave a comment

What I meant to say was…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asqd1H4IluQ

June 24, 2008 Posted by | People who fucking Rock | Leave a comment

Hyena Handelers

Don’t bother reading this if you aren’t going to carefully look at the pictures at the far side of the link, and read the two articles there. It is an amazing story about how people perceive things and project their own weakness and failure onto limited understanding of other peoples strengths. I promise you that if you look at all the pictures, and read the stories that I’ve linked to you’ll see something surprising – and after that feel free to consider my own response to it:

The first thing that I have to say is that I really like these men. I don’t know them, but I recognize them in a way from the pictures — I recognized them when I first saw the picture of one of the lead showmen parading a hyena down a public street in Nigeria. I feel, when I see the candid pictures of them with their animals, that they understand the animals in a way that most people do not. I feel that they are closer to their animals, for instance, than zoo keepers. We are very civilized in the west — we handle our animals through bars. I imagine that when you handle them without the luxury of bars and tazers and guns that you have to learn how to handle them very differently. It’s just a guess, but I think that anyone who handled hyenas without respect would be dead very quickly — and since they are traveling performers, and have learned the trade from their family, I suspect they have grown up with the animals and probably treat them a damn site better than you treat your dog.

Besides the respect for the animals, I suspect these men are not stupid. They are not living an easy life — they have to do a lot of navigation. They have to pay attention to the animals, and to the people the perform for. They have to know the rules and the stigmas, they have to find places to stay, they have to find food. I suspect that they show more intelligence in a day than your average office dweller shows in a month.

Another thing I can see directly in the pictures besides the respect they have for the animals, is their humor. They have the humor of the showman — there is a freedom to being an itinerant performer — it is the same in every culture — gypsies, troubadour or carny — there is a humor to finding a way out of the grind — back to a responsive (if substantially harder) life. They fool people for a living, make the animals look more out of control than they are. Like a juggler who wobbles a little to make a trick which has grown easy look hard. They are engaging human fascination — and bringing surprise and delight to people ground down from the facticity of life.

I could be kidding myself — but then so could we all about anything — I think I would feel profoundly comfortable with these men — much more so than with the metaphorical hyenas and ringmasters of the office world.

April 1, 2008 Posted by | People who fucking Rock | Leave a comment

Roberto Calasso

Roberto Calasso is amazing. I’m surprised that his penetration into American culture has been so shallow — looking around for people writing on him I don’t see very much. I think he is the most exiting thing to happen to the humanities since George Steiner. Maybe that’s why he is so little commented — he shows everybody else what we are doing wrong. When we read him, and then go and read other criticism, we can see what a shit state the discipline is in. Composed of tawdry ideas copied from one Wikipedia page to another (or what amounts to the same thing, from one Britannica page to another.) I am still in shock over the crap that I payed $3000 a quarter for at the University of Washington.

Rather than that distressing and deadening experience, Calasso offers a view of a game such that “If we no longer accepted its terms now, literature would really be that poor thing that so many zealots are so eager to despise.” Something that exists separate from and in opposition to what the humanities have become in the United States.

He exists in specific refutation of Nabokov’s ideas about “ideas” in literature. I also like the way his work defies classification. What is it — philosophy? essay? intellectual history?

Roberto Calasso moves through ideas as if they were a landscape he was walking through. A travelogue of the intellect. The way he recognizes features and shapes in others writing, and draws it into his own. One cannot summarize what it is that he said — nor would you want to. He is not “indicating” anything, like so many writers do — Marx is good or Freud is bad or whatever, he is actually getting into the pure shimmery stuff of their thought and looking around. And he is a relentless researcher — across his books he focuses on notes scribbled in margins of books, or letters, or prefaces to obscure editions. He takes it all on as if it were a vast single land of thought, and then he describes what he sees when he goes there. And he seems to see nothing wrong with taking a living fragment out of an otherwise tedious work, and addressing the work as if that one living fragment was the point.

Nabokov complains about “novels of ideas” because there is no originality to them. You are often looking at one persons summery of several other peoples summaries of an idea. Calasso digs into authors who are almost tired out from the point of view of contemporary scholarship, and gives us a fresh image of, say, the publisher returning the draft of Spengler’s work, or what Marx’s apartment looked like. Or Piaget’s office. He creates a living foothold in what would otherwise be a tedious reading list (tedious if it were not engaged, or read as living text.)

And all of that with a fluid beautiful style, which would justify the writing even if the range of thought contained within it were not so vast.

——————-

A lovely review of Calasso’s essays can be found here.

I was going to be offended by this review, but if you are the kind of person who needs to know what it is about, then the misconceptions and misreading contained therein are as close as you will ever get — and as good as you deserve.

If you in fact deserve better then look here.

March 30, 2008 Posted by | People who fucking Rock | 1 Comment

RIP William F. Buckley Jr.

If I ever appear to be open minded it is because as a young man I had the great fortune of watching Firing Line. I did not often agree with Mr. Buckley — but I could not simply say that he was stupid, and that conservatism was stupid. In fact, if you ever want to appreciate what a total ass Bill o’Reilly really is, just watch some old footage of someone who was both a real conservative, and an intellectual. Buckley was a culture warrior — o’Reilly is a bigot and a fool.

Thank you Mr. Buckley for making me a better person. I will try to repay your tremendous gift by listening to individual thinkers who are careful with their words, and broad in their reading, whatever their ideological bent.

February 29, 2008 Posted by | People who fucking Rock | Leave a comment