Friday, January 24, 2014

No Clothes, No Skin, No Flesh, No Heart, an Emperor!

  • Couldn't read last night (not slump-based, just couldn't, it happens, I've learned forcing myself to read can lead to a slump, so night off), put on GY!BE, surfed for the links below, fell asleep listening to GY!BE, woke up with GY!BE in my head.
  • Against the rage machine: To say “I deserve to be heard!” today is a vexed proposition. Right and left, tech corporations beg you to say your piece for the sake of content-generation, free publicity, hype, and ad sales. America’s speech is so free, it pays—just not you. Even when we don’t opine, just clicking around, we’re like cilia on the tracheal lining of some gross beast, and our small work of enthusiasm, liking or passing along or reiterating or linking, is like the wriggle of a hair, pushing the story down the throat of the culture, filling its lungs so that it may breathe. We can accept this. We are a hair. And we would quietly concede our $5 annual value to Facebook and Twitter, if only they stopped asking us what’s on our minds—if only they left us alone.
  • Does Discipline and Punish need a new translation?
  • Consumer manipulationConsider, first, confusion by design: Las Vegas casinos are mazes, carefully crafted to draw players to the slot machines and to keep them there. Casino designers warn against the “yellow brick road” effect of having a clear route through the casino. (One side effect: it takes paramedics a long time to find gamblers in cardiac arrest; as Ms Schüll also documents, it can be tough to get the slot-machine players to assist, or even to make room for, the medical team.)
  • HalluciNation.
  • Not that we would have driven this section of Rockville Pike tonight when we go out to dinner tonight with Hamster, but now we absolutely won't.

  • Have you laughed at Arsene Wenger today?
  • Changing our stories: Let me toss out a provocation, not for the sake of stirring the water, but because I have begun to suspect it is true: most of our finest narratives, films as well as novels, however formally innovative and politically anti-establishment, are actually conservative, even inhibiting, in their consequences and implications.
  • Evening Train.
  • Eminent hipsters: Today, when we identify a hipster, it carries entirely different connotations from the word’s original, darkly lustrous charge. “Hipster” is now a slight, because hipsters now are slight—not so much a soulful tribe as a fly-eyed pose looking for somewhere to land. Hipsters move into your locale, and before you know it, brittle quotation marks are strung everywhere. Hipsters have become little more than an advance guard for the arcadia of “hip capitalism.” Once, though, it truly mattered how hip you were. In Fagen’s day, things were different. Born in 1948, he belongs to a baby-boomer generation for whom the benediction of hip was most devoutly to be desired. It was a dark and uncertain thing, an arduous rite of passage, almost a spiritual gamble.
  • I like Steely Dan, but they were ruined for me by Kark Mantarow who, when we were tripping, played them and played them and became an asshole about playing them, would freak out and bad-trip (or fake bad-trip) if they weren't on. I stopped tripping with Kark Mantarow after the second time, but association with Steely Dan was frozen permanent.
  • Dr Z still sees Steely Dan whenever they are on tour, wears Steely Dan t-shirts when we are discing, which we haven't in a couple of months, fucking winter.
  • I do find fascinating the black licorice aspect of Steely Dan, most folk I've met dig or hate them (or did, long ago, when we were young, couldn't give a fuck either way now that we're old).
  • You're right, it has been too long since I posted a Jack Spicer poem.


Jack Spicer

Imagine Lucifer
An angel without angelness
An apple
Plucked clear by will of taste, color,
Strength, beauty, roundness, seed
Absent of all God painted, present everything
An apple is.
Imagine Lucifer
An angel without angelness
A poem
That has revised itself out of sound
Imagine, rhyme, concordance
Absent of all God spoke of, present everything
A poem is.
                            The law I say, the Law
What is Lucifer
An emperor with no clothes
No skin, no flesh, no heart
An emperor!


  1. As much as Harford is completely full of shit, you've done him a disservice with your selection of a passage. It is unsurprising and unsecret that casinos are manipulative. The base industry is disingenuous and manipulative. They're just doing a good job at being those things. And the paramedics anecdote is weak sauce to anyone who's seen security in a modern casino. The meat of Harford's review is a lame attempt to connect two things (gambling and utilities, or functions that should be utilities), neither of which is like the other, and is essentially reminiscent of the very practices he tries to take to task. Sure, the manipulation is bad. It's not affecting segments of society who can't make the choice to dispose of income that way, though, and in that sense, his position is pure nanny-state bullshit.

    WTF is this, the year of Donald Fagen knob-polishings? Didn't someone else do a big Fagen profile 3-4 months ago? (Caveat: I am totally in the tank for Steely Dan, and never suffered that thing with that guy you spoke of, and it took a moment to retrieve the memory of him at all. I found that I remember him as a fucking d-bag.)

    Arsene (I hate the man, I don't hate his team) is a fucking voyeur. Just ask The Special One (love the Man, hate his team).

    Ah, you noticed that parenthetical Arsene thing, did you? I plead fantasy futbol. My team has three Gooners, the maximum allowed by law, primarily because I refuse to take players from Chelsea or United. I'm afraid I'm nearly smitten. For her part, Ilse points out two things: that I'm a bad person, and "Breathe if you hate Arsenal."

    For the record, I'm also heavily invested in City and in that club on whose board sits Sir Paul Chipmunk Cheeks, which really makes my cheeks burn with shame.

    1. Yeah, there has been Fagen hagiography this year, not sure why, some of it a belated push back against the legacy of Steely Dan suck (which I never got, Kantarow aside) perhaps, and nostalgia too I suppose.

      I cherish Arsene simply for the photos of him the Guardian posts when he's whinging about this or that. And yes, The Special One, coach of my three least favorite clubs in the world, I look forward to his time here when Saint Benny is fired in mid-June.

      I found the casino thing interesting, having never thought about casino lay-out before and having never been in a casino. But yes, a pro-free market guy complaining about free market manipulation made me smile.

      Would have asked you and Else to dinner with Hamster and us tonight but we're going Third World so even in the imaginary world where you're not booked to the gills with obligations you probably would have declined.

  2. Yeah, I can't be having with food for non-Americans. But it would've been a non-starter for fambly reasons.

    The Special One coming here is probably the only thing that would get me to reverse my STH decision. What an awesome masturbatory fantasy. Thank you.

    You had floated some Steely Dan stuff a few months ago (earlier in the hagiography, I think, although I think that your post about them predated what I saw in...damn, I wish I could remember where). I wasn't really aware of the hatin'; I think I understand it, if it's based on the theory that any musician who makes money is a crass commercial sellout. I profoundly disagree, but I understand the origin. Regardless of one's aesthetic feelings (bouncy hooky Europop, bitchez!), not recognizing the musical and lyrical genius of Fagen and Becker bespeaks...well, probably just stubbornness, really. For myself, I'm good through about Aja (which holds a sort of hallowed place for me, based on chronology, personal associations, and pharmceutical serendipity alone), and then I pretty much lost the thread. I've got everything before Gaucho (which I dislike) on my musical playback device, and still listen. But, y'know, to each its own and all.

    1. Returning to Kark Mantarow, he displayed - as did other Steely Dan advocates now that I think about it - a hipper-than-thou, I listen to Steely Dan, it's more than Rock-n-Roll tood which probably contributed to some Dan-hating (though Kark had a exceptional hipper-than-thou tood about EVERYTHING).

      Actually gave DCU half what I owe them a couple of hours ago, will pay up in full next paycheck in two weeks. As is the plan, whenever you want to see a game buy the cheapest ticket at box office, come down to 232 with me and SeatSix (we kept 5&6 even though 6 is busted, SeatSix didn't want to change his handle).

  3. i was thinking of this beefheart lyric

    daughter, don't you dare!
    oh mother, who cares!

    1) speaking of eating in restaurants in montgomery county, last week through a combination of circumstances a relative of mine and myself - both residents of moco- were in a new england state and wanted to eat dinner someplace and through a process of 'let's go to someplace new to us, instead of a chain' ended up in 'not your average joe's'

    ironically, it IS a chain - a new england chain - but there are three non-new england locations, one of which is gaithersburg, coincidentally enough - i had the house-made butternut squash cannelloni, with a cranberry-teriyaki glaze and sautéed spinach - it was good

  4. speaking of notable hipsters of a certain age, patti smith is profiled in tomorrow's weekend edition financial times

  5. Popped my cherry to "Can't Buy a Thrill". So there's that.