Don't worry. He can dish it out just as good as he can take it.
When Traveling, Ride Your Train Respectfully
We rode the Polar Express on Christmas Eve’s Eve with our granddaughter, when this character boarded with a bindle stick reminding me of the legendary train ride to New York City with Joe Schuyler over forty years ago, when I met the great-great (& a number of other greats in between, I imagine), but Susan Byssher used only two to say she was Percy Bysshe Shelley’s great-great-granddaughter, showing me underwater slides she took during her recent trip to the Caribbean, turning sea life into colorful abstract compositions, adding when she disembarked at Stamford, Connecticut, that I should call her so we could get together in the city, but didn’t. Said to this character, “Are you a hobo?” to which he answered, “Why, yes I am. I’m Hobo Joe,” sticking out his hand to shake, unveiling the mystery of his presence to the littlest ones. An Angelina is a young inexperienced child in hobo jargon. I wondered if the word hobo comes from hop boxcars? Re-minding me, too, of skipping town on the train out of Boston, & landing in Indianapolis, hair past shoulders nursing a beer over a book in the pool hall bar, where the blond Lithuanian told her husband she wanted to tell me I reminded her of Dostoevsky, which compliment I’ll take to the grave, smiling. All these train memories welling up. Standing in line for tickets to Guadalajara in the Mexicali train station, where Anna, (married to Sonora, also a poet, who sat with Neruda after a reading in Mexico City eating oysters), predicted we’d meet many interesting people on our three-month trek. Which we did.
Turning the wrong corner in a rental out of San Francisco airport, having to wait for the hundred-car train to pass the crossroad, counting them all & thinking the whole time of Kerouac & his own Railroad Earth, (The ground I [he] would have eaten in solitude…), or (In Brueghel’s time children danced around the hobo…). I’ve had 54 jobs in this life on earth. Always looked for work, a hobo’s credo, always try to look for work, & the lowest ones at that, the ones nobody else wants = cleaned out cellars & hospital furnaces, cut fish with a band saw & sharp knives, lumped 77-&-a-half-pound boxes of frozen fish 10-high in the hold of a Japanese factory ship. Dyed & dried animal skins in the leather factory. Nickel note is a five-dollar bill handed out often since. Kerouac asks, The old Divine Comedy hobo? answering The hobo is Virgil, he leadeth. Train standing in Marseille, out of which I stepped onto the platform, just to say I was there. Tokay blanket refers to drinking wine to stay warm. I recently learned of the amygdala, small primitive part of our brain governing both the sense of space & emotions. I dig that. Carry my shillelagh along the tracks to keep bone polishers (mean dogs) at bay. A recent review of my work published in France refers to how truly important place and space are in the poet’s work. Look at me (as Marguerite Duras says of her own character aboard the ferry from Sadec to Saigon) boarding the train from Paris to Cahors. Wrote Ode to New York City rocking back & forth on the train. #11 in the Hobo Ethical Code established at the 1889 National Hobo Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, states in part, When traveling, ride your train respectfully…
Your venomous monologuesHer flow only gets crazier as she lambastes the Neo-Liberal Chilean government, but I can't even pretend to give a worthy translation of her doble sentidos and other plays on words. Just listen to it.
Your colorless speeches
You don't see that we're not alone
Millions from pole to pole
To the sound of a single chorus
we will march with the tone,
with the conviction,
that the thieving ends
Your state of control
Your corrupt throne of gold
Your politics and your riches
and your treasure, no
The hour has struck
The hour has struck
We won't permit more,
more of your doctrine of shock
The hour has struck
The hour has struck
(Doctrine of shock)
Today I woke up wanting to kiss youThe song is a paean to the corporeal wonders of being in love yet it's entirely gender-neutral, which makes the video that much more powerful. The gayness of the wedding ceremony seems almostincidental, subtly making the point that love itself is gender-neutral.
I have a thirst to caress you
Entangle myself in you and not let you go
You're so intoxicating
I want to watch you without counting time
To draw you with my memories
In my mind I make your lips, your kisses
You're here once again
I love seeing you, having you, hugging you
When I'm at your side
all the goodness in me
blossoms, it's you
This magnet of beautiful energy
It's your soul sending
signals to my body
It keeps asking for that smell of yours
The one keeps me waiting
We have different plans
But you're always on my mind
Because my veins so subtly
enjoy loving you
I'm getting snacks on snacks on snacks"I Don't Like"
Yeah I'm eating all of them
By the way if you don't know J got skills flow cold like a snow cone
Boatloads of them skittles starburst fritos and doritos
But nothing can compare to them H-O-T cheetos
And them takis
So watch me go hammer
With my snack first
And I chew my food
Cuz you know I got them manners
And then I start to dance and I dougie to the floor
And now I need a snack headed to the corner store
A popped bitch, that's that shit I don't like"Okay Cupid"
I got a bad bitch, yeah that bitch right
We smoke dope all day, all night
You smoke Reggie, that's that shit I don't like
We got a fucking Audi, that bitch all white
Pull up on your bitch, bet she gonna like
Sosa bitch, yeah, I done gon' hype
Pistol toting and I'm shooting on sight
A snitch nigga, that's that shit I don't like
Your bitch want do the team bet she won't fight
Bitch, we GBE -- fuck who don't like
And we ain't gon' fight, our guns gon' fight
I don't care how long it takes to get you after meGranted, I know next to nothing about this culture of teenage girls going down the referential rabbit hole on Tumblr, but it sounds suitably complicated to me. And Pryde is way cooler than those whack posers on the radio like Kreayshawn and Iggy Azalea.
I wrote our names on my binder and everybody laughed at me
But it really doesn't matter, you are radder and cooler
A hooligan and my flattery makes me look like a fool again
You are a tool again, but you're the one that I've chosen
I'm not familiar with this type of devotion
I used to be a pimp without emotion and now you got me simpin'
And singing the Frank Ocean and thinkin bout you
Ooh no no no, I been thinkin bout you, ooh no no no
I been thinkin bout you, do you think about me?
Came through in the clutch, stomping like I’m up in LoubitonsAnd just to drive home how bad he is:
Boys they wanna paint me like I'm canvas to do sumi on
I hate bottled water but whatever I’m pouring Evian
I’m the kind of jawn closet dudes wanna go steady on
Toss my gems up, raise the bar, young phenomenon
I make a neo-nazi kamikaze wanna firebomb
I’m da bomb diggity. Got ya moms feelin' me
Tell ya man chill on me. Hang loose like literally
Wut it is? Wut is up? Wut is wut?This isn't just good because it's an "out and proud" affirmation in hip hop, which in itself is pretty cool. It's good because it's fucking good. A++.
Wut it do? Wut it don't?
I'm getting light in my loafers
And I stay getting life til life’s over
I’m butter like cocoa
L O L O L O L I’m loco
Hear my father on the radio singing "Take Me Home Again"Fuuuuck.
Three hundred miles from the Carolina coast and I'm skin and bones again
Come 'round the next cornerBeautiful dilapidation, this song.
Step off of that train
Your old black umbrella
Fades half in the rain
And good Lord if you're up there, you sure got some nerve"Mama Was Always Tellin' Her Truth"
Seems like even the wicked get worse than we deserve
We're afraid to die every goddamn one of us
I swear to God it's like you're making fun of us
When I was a kid coming in from schoolWe need as much of this kind of honest-to-goodness songcraft as we can get to combat that Old Crow Medicine Show Lumineers Mumford & Sons garbage the indutry has been pushing lately.
I said, "Ma, I'm so worried something could happen to you
If you die, oh Mama, what am I gonna do?"
She said, "Iris, just because I'm older than you
Don't be so sure you won't go before I do"
That was mama and she just told the truth
Another politician pumping out the pissLeave it to Dylan to lay a boogie down on a vulgar elegy to Jesus, accompanied by that increasingly croaking voice with that fetid stench. Tell us how you really feel, Bob.
Another angry beggar blowing you a kiss
You got the same eyes that your mother does
If only you could prove who your father was
Someone must have slipped a drug in your wine
You gulped it down and you crossed the line
Man can't live by bread alone
I pay in blood, but not my own
Before Winter Solstice
Hands clean, conscience clear. Shoveling snow from driveway recalls that task before the old man left for work, sidewalk before kids trundled past to school. Strong back back then, kicks into gear now, doing heart good. No brag, just something I like to do. Stack Florida oranges on sale this time of year, along with pomegranates, round foundation plinths, rising like the Tower of Babel, so I can say anything. Snow on key, cutting base of tree with wood saw. Watch her decorate with ornaments from African Museum in DC those first months of our relationship: four paper-mache tigers, two zebras. Handsewn musical note from Symphony Hall, when working in Boston, temp agency taking cut in wages. Matters not now. Stream Medieval music out of Norfolk, VA. Sip French Burgundy, while tree comes alive. Anything. Two Goodwill ceramic angels hold trumpets above radio, magically. Anything. Oranges & pomegranates form swirling vortex of Babel. Of animal joy. Uncivilized. Out of wilderness grunts & roars, howls & cries. Outside, everything is white. Inside, orange red green & gold. Black coffee & half an orange taken out of swirling vortex without tumbling down. Joy isn’t easy to locate inside, or out. Someone wonders while they wander. Change socks & boots after shoveling this morning. Just past noon, darkness looms.
Welcoming the Solstice
Bach in the dream just before I woke up, nothing recognizable, an improvisation. Appropriate, then, for Marilyn Crispell to appear as well, wearing the leather & brass headdress of Nike, saying she wanted to carve out an hour of Time for me. An hour of Time just before Solstice, now come & gone ten minutes ago. Winter’s here, light soon returning. This is the life I always wanted, including someone carving out Time for me on piano. More than I could ever ask for, but there they were, Bach & Crispell, welcoming the ethereal air & snow-covered ground of winter.
"I think everybody has December 21 on the back of their minds and hoping that everybody's wrong. I'm trying not to think about it...I got a lot of money in the stock market, and I'm trying to figure out whether to sell or wait until the 21st. If something doesn't happen, the stock market has got to go up, and it's got to go down before that. That's what I'm mainly watching, trying to be the head of the family here. I don't want to wake up on December 22 and have done the wrong thing."
What do you get if you ask Marle his opinion? His opinion.
Also of note is the sentence, "Indeed, for one of the kings of 'outlaw country,' he's remarkably self-realized and muses that perhaps the need to write the great song keeps him going." It seems you can't read an article about a country music artist in a Northeast newspaper without some rude and inaccurate comment thrown in about the genre, and that is Katherine Turman's brick to lay on that wall. The implication is that Outlaw Country (no need for quotation marks, thank you) is a genre without reflection that "refers as much to their lifestyle as it does to their back-to-basics approach to music and business."
But consider who, alongside Haggard, are the "kings" of the genre: Johnny Cash, "The Man in Black" who aligned himself with the poor, dispossessed and imprisoned; Waylon Jennings, who bridged the gap between country and r&b and foreshadowed punk rock by epitomizing the DIY ethic; Kris Kristofferson, the Rhodes Sholar who studied William Blake and wrote the outlaw canon of counter-culture redemption; Willie Nelson, a tremendous jazz musician and humanist philosopher; Billy Joe Shaver, the greatest poet of them all; David Allan Coe...OK, she might have a point there.
I understand the pace of writing in journalism is breakneck and that the Village Voice doesn't exactly hire people for their knowledge of a 40-year-old subgenre of a music that isn't popular in New York, but can we at least stop the single-sentence brush-offs of art we never bothered to understand? It's the kind of thing that give "East Coast liberals" their bad reputation.
Funeral of the Innocent
Trying my damndest to get as far away from it as I can, but can’t. No, I don’t want to revisit it, the death of the innocent. But someone asked for words from here, while adding at the same Time, “There are no words…” to which I would agree. Don’t let these be words, then, but drumbeats, caisson wagon wheels, imperfectly circular, rumbling on cobbled ground. In the background listen to Reverend Gary Davis moan, Death don’t have no mercy in this land. Even my own old man knew better, saying, (when in my teens I shelled out all of twenty-five dollars for an oil painting at a Cambridge thrift shop titled, Funeral of the Innocent, eight primitive hands holding a totally shrouded figure toward the sky), that he could think of no worse subject. Eventually, threw the work away. There’ll be no ten-gun salute. Death will go in any family in this land. I’m lost, where is Newtown, Connecticut? Pass through it on the way to New Haven or Manhattan? The job of mourning pays black wages. Could not fathom depths of those who experience no worse subject. Again, & again they must return to toil. Death never takes a vacation in this land. It’s dirty work. Mourning. Heft that weight. Strong that back. Primitive those hands. Unarmed that heart. Nothing but Time. After Time…
Dormant rhododendron still shivers in the wind. Spirits, dreaming? What light there is won’t last, but casts longer, more solid shadows than other times of year. One could build an old house out of those shadows swallowed up by darkness. Candles lit in the house built of shadows: abandoned cats’ eyes in attic windows. Two roses grow in memory outside the abandoned house of shadows, language of ancestors flooding through the blood. Voices barely audible. Spirits rustle in dormant rhododendron leaves & branches. No need to add name & address to cards sent to the house made of shadows. They arrive just the same.
Asking This Silent, Rhetorical Question
Bad rain out of an equally dark daytime sky approaching return of sun at Solstice ten days from now kept me housebound yesterday imagining homeless kicked out of shelters during the same hours I read, listened to music, even if Handel’s Sarabande is over the top enough to become soundtrack for an English film. Today I let myself out without a leash carrying the walking stick. Whatever kind of front it was yesterday has moved on, & now variegated clouds everywhere one sought to experience those four years in Virginia & DC, but never blew down far enough from Canada, along with these newly-arrived Common Eiders with headshakes, neck wobbles (corporeal signs instantly recognized), & quick sprints propelled by webbed-feet. Nothing common about them under this massive cloud, low-lying, protective amphitheater lit by ocean’s reflective light. Not long before I begin to look past limits of earth’s atmosphere, take a brief sojourn into broader space, away from this Time toward an unforeseen future, then plunge back down to earth. Here & now. Bones & flesh. Covered in dry clothes. Thankfully. Heading home. But there was this other guy on the path wearing blue-hooded sweatshirt with strapped knapsack too small for him, who turned around more than once, & eventually stopped completely to watch me walk by, wondering how I’ve done it, kept head above water, stayed out of prison, his own eyes asking this silent, rhetorical question, for which we both sensed I’d have no answer.
Would calling Caroline Wozniacki a beanpole polack with a five-head and an overbite be insensitive and unduly insulting? Perhaps even racist and sexist? Yes, I would say so!
So what makes it acceptable for her to do this?
Read: Teehee, the black girl has bulging bosoms and a giant ass! Not very ladylike, for sure!
Don't you love that sometimes jovial, always patronizing European-style racism? You know, the kind that follows the Williams Sisters everywhere they go? From Racialicious:
"Here are some more [aside from criticism of her figure at and immediately following the 2007 Australian Open] examples from over the years of criticism against Serena’s body and/or her actions:
Racism charges swirl as Williams sisters advance (Mar 2001)That’s just a quick Google search."
Why is the Racism and Sexism Against Venus and Serena Williams Ignored (May 2009)
Serena Williams is Fat, Says Jason Whitlock (July 2009)
Is Serena Williams Fat or Muscular?
“Lighten up, it’s the internet” (Mar 2011)
Refereeing Serena: Racism, Anger, and U.S. (Women’s) Tennis (Sep 2011)
Serena Williams Faces Racist Comments After Wimbledon Win (July 2012)
Fox Again Injects Racism Into Olympics By Attacking Serena Williams (August 2012)
Notice also the uppity negro thread that seems to follow both Serena and Venus as they do their jobs.
I guess when John McEnroe yelled at officials he was just giving that stuffy tennis culture some edge.
I guess when Andre Agassi came on the scene with obscenely bright outfits, garish sunglasses, earrings and died-blonde hair he was ushering tennis into the modern era.
What could possibly be different between the Williams Sisters and these white men?
Getting back to Wozniacki, I can understand why she's such a mean girl and hatin' ass hater. These are the facts:
WINS AGAINST THE OTHER
GRAND SLAM SINGLES TITLES
Williams: 15 (6 by Wozniacki's age)
GRAND SLAM DOUBLES TITLES
Williams: 13 (6 by Wozniacki's age)
OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALS
Williams: 4 (1 by Wozniacki's age)
From my perspective, though, the hate runs even deeper than that. See, Wozniacki is a bit of a paparazzi/celebrity media darling, being all cutesy and power-coupley with her boyfriend, golfer Rory McIlroy. That sort of thing pales in comparison to being a hero to a) black people for dominating a cracker-ass sport amidst constant undue scrutiny; b) women, for being a pillar of physical and emotional strength through all of the attacks on her body; c) poor people who see two little girls from Compton find success, wealth and fame; d) any athlete or fan who understands that single-handedly changing the way a game is played is an amazing feat; e) anybody who believes in the power of the spirit to overcome obstacles.
No. Wozniacki isn't any of that. And since she herself took this issue to body image, I'm going to go there, too. Her body isn't bomb enough to fill out a dress like this, either.
Nor is she an object of admiration in at least 70 pop songs.
Keep on hating, Caroline. Serena will just keep beating your ass, on the court and in every other human way possible.
Uncle Tony dog-whistles the slippery slope gambit:
"If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?"
Yes, that is America's whackiest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court using his signature broccoli logic to align himself with every evangelical bigot and angry homophobe in the country. Let's follow him down that path, shall we?
Let's start with definitions from "the definitive record of the English language", the Oxford English Dictionary:
1. The action or an act of killing.
a. The deliberate and unlawful killing of a human being, esp. in a premeditated manner; (Law) criminal homicide with malice aforethought (occas. more fully wilful murder); an instance of this.
b. Terrible slaughter, massacre, loss of life; an instance of this. Obs.
c. The action of killing or causing destruction of life, regarded as wicked and morally reprehensible irrespective of its legality (e.g. in relation to war, death sentences passed down by tribunals, and other socially sanctioned acts of killing); an instance of this.
2. Wickedness, sin; an instance of this. Obs.
3. Torment, punishment; severe injury or damage. Obs.
The very definition of murder says it is "regarded as wicked and morally reprehensible irrespective of its legality." And homosexuality?
The quality of being homosexual, homosexual character or nature; also, homosexual behaviour or activity.
homosexual, adj. and n.
Involving, related to, or characterized by a sexual propensity for one's own sex; of or involving sexual activity with a member of one's own sex, or between individuals of the same sex.
A person who has a sexual propensity for his or her own sex; esp. one whose sexual desires are directed wholly or largely towards people of the same sex.
I don't see any explicit moral scorekeeping there, as there is no objective harm done by the proclivity or the act. Just like heterosexuality, it is a preference in desiring one category of something over another. The only difference is which category is preferred.
So how does such a propensity or act--with no inherent immorality--get deemed immoral, Mr. Scalia? Is it through codified religious indoctrination? Well, people are free to have whatever personal moral feelings they want, but the Constitution you have taken an oath to uphold surely has something to say about turning that into law. In fact, it arguably also says much more than that, because while murder infringes upon the freedom of others homosexual sex does not. In that regard restricting the rights of people who practice homosexuality is significantly more like murder than homosexuality itself.
Even if you're given the benefit of the doubt for "stirring debate" or something, such a childish question from a Supreme Court Justice is dumbfoundingly stupid and counter-productive. That civilized adults in the 21st Century have to take your idiocy seriously is a tragedy in itself. You ought to be ashamed.
I started writing this post about a great article shedding light on the deceptive effectiveness of the greatest hun in NBA history, Kobe Bryant*. Then I asked myself, "What, exactly, is a hun?"
You know, like, "Dude, stop bein' a fahkin' hun! I've been open all day!"
Or, "He can score, but I don't want that muthafucka on my team. He's a hun."
Hun, in this context, means ball hog. It was a part of my vernacular as a kid playing pickup basketball and backyard football, which isn't surprising considering how this was the dawn of the age of the mobile quarterback (Cunningham, Young) and when everyone wanted to be like Mike. Everyone knew a kid who, upon getting the ball, acted like he was Bruce Lee about to whoop the ass of five dudes by himself. If you don't remember that kid you were that kid.
As my obsessions changed from jumpshots and button hooks to jump blues and lyric hooks, though, hun became less relevant and by the time I started talking sports again I was a young adult in a city full of transplants. Nobody knew what I meant. How'd that happen?
The authority of the etymology I'm going to run with is dubious, no doubt, but it rings true to me. The only reference I could find for hun the way I used it came from the comments section of a Universal Hub post about talking like a Bostonian:
By John Costello (not verified) - 11/13/09 - 9:54 pm
Hun - Someone who takes too big a sip of a drink from a common container or someone who holds onto an object (ball, primitive video game, etc.) for too long. Noun Example - "Don't be a hun with the watah." or as a verb; "Guy, Stop hunning the ball, pass it."
Hadn't heard it for about 20 years until a few weeks ago.
So, there is my definition, and corroboration that nobody says it anymore. But how did it come to be?
By anon (not verified) - 8/3/10 - 11:01 am
No, the etymology of "hun" is pretty clear, here. It comes from the regional practice during the World Wars (particularly the first) of referring to the Germans as "huns," as in "Atilla the."
Oh, really? From Wikipedia's entry on "Huns":
20th century use in reference to Germans
On July 27, 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion in China, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany gave the order to act ruthlessly towards the rebels: "Mercy will not be shown, prisoners will not be taken. Just as a thousand years ago, the Huns under Attila won a reputation of might that lives on in legends, so may the name of Germany in China, such that no Chinese will even again dare so much as to look askance at a German."
The term "Hun" from this speech was later used for the Germans by British propaganda during World War I. The comparison was helped by the Pickelhaube or spiked helmet worn by German forces until 1916, which would be reminiscent of images depicting ancient Hun helmets, some British found. This usage, emphasising the idea that the Germans were barbarians, was reinforced by Allied propaganda throughout the war. The French songwriter Theodore Botrel described the Kaiser as "an Attila, without remorse", launching "cannibal hordes".
The usage of the term "Hun" to describe a German resurfaced during World War II. For example Winston Churchill 1941 said in a broadcast speech: "There are less than 70,000,000 malignant Huns, some of whom are curable and others killable, most of whom are already engaged in holding down Austrians, Czechs, Poles and the many other ancient races they now bully and pillage." Later that year Churchill referred to the invasion of the Soviet Union as "the dull, drilled, docile brutish masses of the Hun soldiery, plodding on like a swarm of crawling locusts." During this time American President Franklin D. Roosevelt also referred to the German people in this way, saying that an Allied invasion into the South of France would surely "be successful and of great assistance to Eisenhower in driving the Huns from France." Nevertheless, its use was less widespread than in the previous war. British and American WWII troops more often used the term "Jerry" or "Kraut" for their German opponents.
The term "Hun" is also used by Catholics in Northern Ireland as a derogatory term to refer to Northern Irish Protestants, most of whom are descended from English and Lowland Scottish settlers, who historically spoke English and Scots respectively; both Germanic languages.
So there you have it.
Boston surely had more than its share of anti-German sentiment in the 20th Century (allegedly enough to ban Beethoven), and a bumper crop of Irish Catholics with special loathing for Englishmen and Protestants. And of course the sport was invented in Massachusetts, giving the region a long tradition of white folks playing basketball before competitions were integrated and Black America took over the culture of the sport. Put it all together and you can see how players on the court would transfer an ethnic epithet soaking in greed, violence, hubris and megalomania to that special brand of selfish, greedy, arrogant ball player.
Which gets us back to Kobe. He has long been criticized for being selfish and needing Shaq to bring out the best of his talents. The Grantland article by Courtvision brainiac Kirk Goldsberry doesn't exactly refute either of those claims, but offers an excellent argument for why neither of those are necessarily a bad thing. In short, he argues that building a system around a prolific shooter that emphasizes offensive rebounds can effectively turn missed shots into "assists" if the rebounder can put it up and in right away. This is a twist on the "role player" orthodoxy, charging them with helping the star be more effective rather than fulfilling the specific duties he cannot accomplish.
So, embrace the hun ball hog and stop fetishizing the perfectly versatile leader? I dunno, man. It makes sense considering there are only one/two perfectly versatile leaders playing in their primes today (LBJ + the incapacitated D-Rose) and you need to find a way to win with what you've got, but in my heart I still want my ballers like Mike (or Magic, or Larry).
But I'm just a relic from the waning days when they called people huns.
*! call Kobe the greatest hun in NBA history because I don't consider Jordan or Chamberlain to be huns. Jordan made every player around him better and won championships with Bill Cartwright and Luc Longley, for crying out loud. Chamberlain was his own offensive rebounder, so he doesn't count, either. Also, Iverson was just as much of a hun as Kobe, but he wasn't nearly as good.
Capsule is a weekly series featuring the writing of Robert Gibbons
Trajectoire parabolique d'une boule lancée à la main
[Etienne Jules Marey (French, 1830 - 1904), ca. 1886
albumen print, 7.00 x 16.50 cm.]
Got driven back, & went forward, staying present at the same Time. Back two & a half millennia toward The Bacchae of Euripides, where the Chorus emerges at the exact point from which Dionysos entered, that is, from the road they traveled; & forward around the Back Cove toward the talk on the ecstatic act of writing in Denmark months from now; while firmly rooted, moving in the moment, where the water there in the cove could not have been more calm; & the long row of linden trees’ bare branches traced Time’s trajectory far from any lineation, skyward via earthcore.
"In this age of technology, where you can manipulate anything, how do we retain that human element?"
And so it goes, while their less-loaded
peers struggle for subsistence in an industry gone helter-skelter, the
lions of American popular music have taken on the important task of
championing human authenticity.
Perhaps my glibness here is unfounded. After all, I do adore that warm analog sound and lament the loss of our great recording rooms like Sound City. I, too, greatly prefer the sound of instruments being played by human beings--in collaboration with others or with one's own imagination--with production techniques at most serving as accents or tools for humans to make art. It's just that, I dunno, rich guys fetishizing the good old days seems a little too Republican for me.
Marc Weidenbaum speculates about which direction this documentary will take--contemplation about how art survives technology or old fart nostalgia--in his article Recording Studios May Die, But the False Mythology Around Them May Not and comes away with the bigger question:
How much is this recent shift a story of new technology replacing old technology, and how much is it the story of new technology limiting human interaction?
Because, really, as much as Auto-Tune
sucks and even though a primitive drum machine can never do to your innards
what a trap kit does, someone as mega-talented as Kanye West can still
spill his neuroses all over them and come out with something astoundingly
human and heartbreaking:
Not many people seem to be talking about the savage murder of Jordan Russell Davis, yet another black kid murdered by a racist for NO REASON, other than being black I suppose. It seems to me—as we approach the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom—that our society still has not addressed James Baldwin's question from 1963:
"The future of the Negro in this country is precisely as bright or as dark as the future of the country. It is entirely up to the American people--and our representatives--it is entirely up to the American people, whether or not they are going to face and deal with and embrace the stranger who they have maligned for so long.
"What white people have to do is try to find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place. Because I'm not a nigger, I'm a man. But if you think I'm a nigger, it means you need him.
"The question you gotta ask yourself, the white population of this country's gotta ask itself, North and South--because it's one country and for a Negro there is no difference between the North and the South. There's just, you know, a difference in the way they castrate you, but the fact of the castration is the American fact.
"If I'm not the nigger here and you invented him--and you the white people invented him--then you gotta find out why. And the future of the country depends on that, whether or not it's able to ask that question."
Considering that these types of terror acts keep happening, and considering how we all just endured the most perniciously racist election campaign in decades (Obamaphone lies, welfare lies, campaign surrogates using racist stereotypes to characterize Obama), it's pretty clear to see that at least half of our society hasn't bothered to examine any of this.