and yet history does intrude on every word:
those with no memory, no history, no spirit, speak in mechanical tongues
old words like bridges, burned
the future story
an infinite echo
of barbarism: a return to the magic bison on the walls of the cave
Filed in culture and random linkage, philosophical ramblings | Tagged with TED, words | Comment (0)
“My turn now. The story of one of my insanities.
For a long time I boasted that I was master of all possible landscapes and I thought the great figures of modern painting and poetry were laughable.
What I liked were: absurd paintings, pictures over doorways, stage sets, carnival backdrops, billboards, bright-colored prints; old-fashioned literature, church Latin, erotic books full of misspellings, the kind of novels our grandmothers read, fairy tales, little children’s books, old operas, silly old songs, the nave rhythms of country rimes.
I dreamed of Crusades, voyages of discovery that nobody had heard of, republics without histories, religious wars stamped out, revolutions in morals, movements of races and continents: I used to believe in every kind of magic.
I invented colors for the vowels! – A black, E white, I red, O blue, U green. – I made rules for the form and movement of every consonant, and I boasted of inventing, with rhythms from within me, a kind of poetry that all the senses, sooner or later, would recognize. And I alone would be its translator.
I began it as an investigation. I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still…”
i don’t tumbl, so i just have to repost:
“He said that in his soft religion, if you have saved one life, you have saved the entire world, and if you have killed one person, you have murdered an entire community,
and when he spoke to me about his soft religion which sounded very soft I was tired after a long weekend at a conference in which I kept wanting to use my friends as pillows and all I wanted, then, was a soft pillow. I wanted a pillow that contained a soft philosophy which like his soft philosophy was a thing which was soft and easy to rest my head on and accounted for weakness, infirmity, youth, and age, men and women, the real reality of all of stakes of interrelation and space of care, a soft way of being in the world in which the weak were not the first to die, in which no one would never use humans instrumentally, in which we would never grab after glittering and impermanent objects, a soft philosophy of the world in which it could be guaranteed that we never look at our hands and find, with horror, that those hands which had always been grabbing were now empty, or worse, they were covered in blood.”
(see: my dream)Filed in culture and random linkage, philosophical ramblings | Comment (0)
a beautiful read about being young and growing older in new york, but it could be almost city, anywhere:
GOODBYE TO ALL THAT, BY JOAN DIDION
Filed in culture and random linkage, QOTD | Comment (0)
…I could make promises to myself and to other people and there would be all the time in the world to keep them. I could stay up all night and make mistakes, and none of them would count…
… at some point the golden rhythm was broken, and I am not that young anymore…
Filed in culture and random linkage | Comment (0)
“… if different languages influence our minds in different ways, this is not because of what our language allows us to think but rather because of what it habitually obliges us to think about.
Consider this example. Suppose I say to you in English that “I spent yesterday evening with a neighbor.” You may well wonder whether my companion was male or female, but I have the right to tell you politely that it’s none of your business. But if we were speaking French or German, I wouldn’t have the privilege to equivocate in this way, because I would be obliged by the grammar of language to choose between voisin or voisine; Nachbar or Nachbarin. These languages compel me to inform you about the sex of my companion whether or not I feel it is remotely your concern.
…On the other hand, English does oblige you to specify certain types of information that can be left to the context in other languages. If I want to tell you in English about a dinner with my neighbor, I may not have to mention the neighbor’s sex, but I do have to tell you something about the timing of the event: I have to decide whether we dined, have been dining, are dining, will be dining and so on. Chinese, on the other hand, does not oblige its speakers to specify the exact time of the action in this way, because the same verb form can be used for past, present or future actions. Again, this does not mean that the Chinese are unable to understand the concept of time. But it does mean they are not obliged to think about timing whenever they describe an action.
…languages that rely primarily on geographical coordinates are scattered around the world, from Polynesia to Mexico, from Namibia to Bali. For us, it might seem the height of absurdity for a dance teacher to say, “Now raise your north hand and move your south leg eastward.” But the joke would be lost on some: the Canadian-American musicologist Colin McPhee, who spent several years on Bali in the 1930s, recalls a young boy who showed great talent for dancing. As there was no instructor in the child’s village, McPhee arranged for him to stay with a teacher in a different village. But when he came to check on the boy’s progress after a few days, he found the boy dejected and the teacher exasperated. It was impossible to teach the boy anything, because he simply did not understand any of the instructions. When told to take “three steps east” or “bend southwest,” he didn’t know what to do. The boy would not have had the least trouble with these directions in his own village, but because the landscape in the new village was entirely unfamiliar, he became disoriented and confused.
…In order to speak a language like Guugu Yimithirr, you need to know where the cardinal directions are at each and every moment of your waking life. You need to have a compass in your mind that operates all the time, day and night, without lunch breaks or weekends off, since otherwise you would not be able to impart the most basic information or understand what people around you are saying. Indeed, speakers of geographic languages seem to have an almost-superhuman sense of orientation. Regardless of visibility conditions, regardless of whether they are in thick forest or on an open plain, whether outside or indoors or even in caves, whether stationary or moving, they have a spot-on sense of direction.”
If you consider any set of data without a preconceived viewpoint, then a viewpoint will emerge from the data.
–William Burroughs, in reference to…..Led Zeppelin?
“Rock Magic: Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin, and a Search For the Elusive Stairway to Heaven
By William S. Burroughs, Crawdaddy Magazine, June 1975″
so much to quote here. i think you have to have been William Burroughs to write a review of a Zeppelin concert with such laizzez-faire:
” A few special effects are much better than too many. I can see the laser beams cutting dry ice smoke, which drew an appreciative cheer from the audience. Jimmy Page’s number with the broken guitar strings came across with a real impact, as did John Bonham’s drum solo and the lyrics delivered with unfailing vitality by Robert Plant. The performers were doing their best, and it was very good. The last number, “Stairway to Heaven”, where the audience lit matches and there was a scattering of sparklers here and there,found the audience well-behaved and joyous, creating the atmosphere of a high school Christmas play. All in all a good show; neither low nor insipid. Leaving the concert hall was like getting off a jet plane.”
Since the word “magic” tends to cause confused thinking, I would like to say exactly what I mean by “magic” and the magical interpretation of so- called reality. The underlying assumption of magic is the assertion of ’will’ as the primary moving force in this universe–the deep conviction that nothing happens unless somebody or some being wills it to happen. To me this has always seemed self-evident. A chair does not move unless someone moves it. Neither does your physical body, which is composed of much the same materials, move unless you will it to move. Walking across the rooom is a magical operation. From the viewpoint of magic, no death, no illness, no misfortune, accident, war or riot is accidental. There are no accidents in the world of magic. And will is another word for animate energy. Rock stars are juggling fissionable material that could blow up at any time… ”
…I found Jimmy Page equally aware of the risks involved in handling the fissionable material of the mass unconcious.”
this interview is chock full of amazing anecdotes and weird cultural references. what ever happened to this idea of INFRA-SOUND (music you can’t hear but you can feel)??Filed in culture and random linkage, music, QOTD | Comment (0)
it’s always hard for me to tell whether synchronicity is always there, but you’re not always looking, or whether it does appear more/is manifested when you are looking for signs, seeking some direction.
first, i got an email announcement about this author/speaker via Berkeley Arts and Letters: SARA LAWRENCE-LIGHTFOOT / Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free
As Lawrence-Lightfoot notes, there are few examples in our culture to suggest how to approach exits with grace and understanding. We are focused instead on the idea of beginnings, the start of something rather than the acknowledgement of an ending. Questions of exiting are particularly timely as we live in a period when many people are leaving jobs, by choice or through circumstance, as well as a time when technology makes murkier the idea of final farewells.
a short time later that same day, someone posted this from zeFrank: An Invocation for Beginnings, which nearly made me cry.
this leads to something. stay tuned.Filed in culture and random linkage | Tagged with synchronicity | Comments (2)
i don’t have a lot to add to the post-#mayday commentary about what happened (or didn’t). some people are still really into #occupy. some people are over it. some people can take it or leave it.
(and if you are still wondering what exactly HAS #occupy accomplished? visit http://occupydidwhat.tumblr.com/ - you might be surprised.)
i’m with those who think it is probably more important as a cultural movement than a political movement. i hope #occupy is changing how people -Americans in the Land of the Free in particular – interact with their world – what they expect, what they want, what they see as possible.
for me personally, even though I have not been that directly involved, #occupy has proven a lot of what i assumed i knew about social movements, but it has taught me more about what i don’t know, and where i am weak in that regard – in really understanding and not just assuming things about the current dynamics of law, justice and politics, and then that intersection with my world of art and the creation of meaningful experiences (not just entertainment, catering to artificial mass taste). so much of how the world works now is unnatural, nonintuitive, not what it seems – we get sold values and the definitions of what things are or should be just as readily as you are sold a can of Coca Cola. the way things are framed, how they are defined and by whom (especially the by whom) create our perception and experience of the world.
we all know this – it’s part of becoming an adult, realizing that almost everyone is trying to sell you something, and not just person-to-person. that capitalism has produced a systemic, institutionalized, government-sponsored snake oil culture industry, influencing everything from what you eat and where you shop to who you vote for and how you feel about all of it.
but what is harder is figuring out what to do about it – and that is where i have really struggled with #occupy on a personal level. how to join and fight in a way that feels right, that uses our talents and desires and makes us feel empowered and engaged and excited and productive in our own way. not all of us want to take to the streets and fight the riot police. not all of us want to work tediously in committee meetings or court rooms. some of us just want to #occupyart:
“The marches are very powerful and motivating for anyone who begins in the march,” said 27-year-old librarian Jeremy Bold. “For passersby, they see people who are very vocal and angry.”
“Personally, I don’t like labels,” said 25-year-old musician Dotan Negrin. “So I don’t consider myself part of Occupy Wall Street. I’m not a protester.” Negrin has been travelling the country with a musical project called Pianos Across America. He has driven and dragged his upright piano as far as LA, Seattle and Chicago to play in open spaces and welcome people into the the performances. For the past few months, he’s been playing in Union Square Park, which has become something of a second home for the occupiers.
“I always play Union Square, so I figured I might join them,” said Negrin.
His goal in life, he said, is to “try to do something really extraordinary while trying to make the world a better place.”
“That’s my sort of protest,” he added.
YES to that. yes.
and i do know that Occupy has space for this. that if you build your own movement, it will be supported. it’s one of the great things about decentralized models. everyone can play. i think that is what makes it strong. but i have still struggled to find my voice here, through no fault but my own.
i still support #occupy 100%, and believe that we all do need to fight what is going on in the U.S. — that complacency and entitlement are social evils and killing us. i might not be in the streets, but i have put a lot of energy into this and i need to let myself stop feeling guilty – and peer pressured – to participate in #occupy in ways that don’t feel comfortable for me. i wish the same for everyone else out there who is interested and supportive of the movement, and that we all find a way to fight the good fight in our own ways.
(use the #ows tag to see all previous posts)Filed in art, culture and random linkage | Tagged with #occupyart, #occupywallstreet, #ows, capitalism | Comment (0)
re: my tweets about Childish Gambino last night: i want to clarify that i was not just being a hater. i went in with an open mind. random experience! i was ready for something new.
the Fox was all lit up for a show, and watching the crowd walk by in the time we were having dinner outside @ Rudy’s, i was trying to guess what kind of music it was (since i had no idea from the name on the marquee) based on the superficial look of the crowd – age, gender, race, fashion = 20ish, 50/50, super mixed, hoodies and skirts . collegiate. i realize that this is a tricky game, stereotyping.
there were a lot of flannel shirts, which doesn’t really scream hip hop to me, but maybe that’s because i’m a generation too old, so i guessed something grunge/punk-ish. jay said, no, it’s hip hop. so then we googled it. and yes, it is hip hop. and then a staff guy came out of the Fox and asked if we wanted free tickets to the show, and we said YES! but when we got inside, they were singing a version of Rolling in the Deep. the whole crowd was singing a capella. it didn’t seem hardcore is what i’m saying. it felt a little…..awards show.
also, my observation about the punk/grunge element was not wrong – 3 out of 4 dudes in the live band (not pictured anywhere on the websites) looked like Dave Grohl and they were playing hard rock as the backing for the MC. one was a guy with a violin. as a plus, i did totally appreciate the live band element.
there was, also, as visual reference to the tour name/theme, Camp Gambino, stage decoration in the form of some tall but fake pine trees and a small tent staked at each edge of the stage, and some background visuals of the moon/sky now and then, so as to look as if the band were playing at a campsite.
i’m all for mashups, but at a certain point i feel like the patchwork of cultural references/sights/sounds is too much. too overtly mimetic. like one of those spoof movies where the visual and character references come at you in a heavy stream of hyperbolic pop nostalgia, but with strobe lights.
i think Donald Glover is maybe overacting the part. and that is sort of where i start to define the essence of hipster: unabashedly revisionist.
In fiction, revisionism is the retelling of a story or type of story with substantial alterations in character or environment, to “revise” the view shown in the original work. Unlike most usages of the term revisionism, this is not generally considered pejorative.
i would agree that this review seems hella jaded/youkidsgetoffmylawn, and maybe it is, but i am not the only one feeling it. see: the 40-year cycles of pop culture nostalgia (kottke):
If you combine this with Kurt Andersen’s recent piece about the slowing rate of change of pop culture, perhaps there’s another lesson here other than Gopnik’s assertion that we’ll be nostalgic for the Obama age 40 years from now. Maybe we’ve reached Peak Nostalgia and in an effort to find more and more nostalgia for an ever-increasing audience, culturemakers are mining more from those eras outside of the appointed 40-year era and as a result, pop culture is feeling more timeless, echoing all eras, until it becomes a culture that can’t draw upon anything but itself.
anyway, we left before the show ended.Filed in art, culture and random linkage, music | Tagged with meme, memetic, mimetic | Comment (0)
one of my neighbors left a stack of Vogue magazines back to 2010 in the Free Pile. i took them all. i read them fast, skipping most, stopping on the amazing fashion editorials and cherry-picking the op-eds. then i put them back in the Free Pile. magazine recycling!
today’s QOTD gem:
Filed in culture and random linkage | Comment (0)
[Wasser] will never get divorced herself, because she refuses to get married. “It’s not that I have anything against marriage,” she says. “I was married when I was 25. Everybody should do it. We had a great party at the Bel-Air with ten bridesmaids, and I’ll never look that good again [the marriage lasted only fifteen months and was later annulled]. For me, it just comes down to an unwillingness to let the state of California decide how I handle my affairs.”
–Laura Wasser in Vogue July 2010
“The first follower is actually an underestimated form of leadership in itself. … The first follower is what transforms a lone nut into a leader.”
-Derek Sivers: How to start a movement (TED talk)