Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Disdaining Age, Ignoring Pain, Avoiding Mirrors

What never got mentioned at Tuesday Night Pints: Democrats, Republicans, Barack Obama, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, the Midterm Elections; Hillary Clinton and Hillarian Inevitability, Joe Biden, Martin O'Malley, Elizabeth Warren, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, POTUS 16; Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Dianne Feinstein, the NSA, the panopticon state, the police state, the surveillance state; Glenn Greenwald, people who love Greenwald, people who hate Greenwald, people who loved Greenwald but now hate Greenwald, people who hated Greenwald but now love Greenwald, Greenwald as avatar of zeitgeist; the Koch Brothers, Pierre Omidyar, Ken Langone, Bill Gates, or any other oligarch; Vladimir Putin, Ukraine, Crimea; Hilltop, Hilltop politics, Hilltop president, Hilltop provost, Hilltop English Department, the plan to add a PhD to Hilltop English Department, professors in English Department, English Department chair; blegging, bleggal theory, bleggal compulsion, bleggal interventions, bleggal hiatus, furious and futile blegging in a dying Blegsylvania, dying Blegsylvania. None of these were mentioned, not by design but by natural flow of conversation. They never came up. It was only driving home that I thought about it. I've theories what it signifies, some positive, some negative: my nagging sense of responsibility for bitching about what I can't change is both alarmed and relieved. I'm giving up, I'm smartening up. A good time was had.

  • Number Six was born eighty-six years ago today.
  • Finding new ways to hide in plain sight: It’s strange, then, that after decades of moving toward an ever more conspicuous readability of the self, to mark out in dress and style and dialect who we are, that we’re witnessing a turn to obfuscation as a mode of individualism; this is the very trend lying behind the much-discussed idea of normcore. Outlined in a clever, insightful essay by Fiona Duncan in New York Magazine, normcore is ostensibly a shift in fashion toward a kind of deliberate blankness, one that recognizes either the increasing impossibility of true uniqueness, or that one might not be read by others at all. No ostentatious individualism for the normcore faithful, but, rather, a decided shift toward the camouflage of appearing to be ordinary.
  • The gravest threat of totalitarianism.
  • Bringing light. A friend writes about a friend.
  • UPDATE! Frances had to pull the above on the advice of her friend's lawyer. She hopes it will be live again soon.
  • Derelict ship on an asphalt sea.
  • Three days late, New Inquiry's Sunday Reads.
  • Food links.
  • Ranciere, for those of you who do: Returning to so many early influences has again reminded me to thrive in partiality. Like a good mentor, I have been prompted not to be a vampire, to not be a tourist, to make the first maneuver toward originality by looping back around and returning to where I departed, reexamining the point of origin and all the detritus that litters and hides it from me. Not to relearn what has been forgotten, but to forget what has been learned. To search deteriorated notions and oppressed positions. These microscopic transgressions form the phenomenal ground of varied arts that help me live. The message has been a relief: adhere to the indeterminate in all of us. Go small, go slow, go weird and unknown, and you won’t have to worry about being interesting.
  • Two words.
  • Brad reads Ammons, as in out loud (as all poetry should be read).
  • Listen to Ashbery read one of his poems.
  • Jason Molina died a year ago. Have some songs.
  • Prunella has Husker Du (Hart songs) and Lush for you.


Carolyn Kizer

Where did these enormous children come from,
More ladylike than we have ever been?
Some of ours look older than we feel.
How did they appear in their long dresses

More ladylike than we have ever been?
But they moan about their aging more than we do,
In their fragile heels and long black dresses.
They say they admire our youthful spontaneity.

They moan about their aging more than we do,
A somber group--why don't they brighten up?
Though they say they admire our youthful spontaneity
They beg us to be dignified like them

As they ignore our pleas to brighten up.
Someday perhaps we'll capture their attention
Then we won't try to be dignified like them
Nor they to be so gently patronizing.

Someday perhaps we'll capture their attention.
Don't they know that we're supposed to be the stars?
Instead they are so gently patronizing.
It makes us feel like children--second-childish?

Perhaps we're too accustomed to be stars.
The famous flowers glowing in the garden,
So now we pout like children. Second-childish?
Quaint fragments of forgotten history?

Our daughters stroll together in the garden,
Chatting of news we've chosen to ignore,
Pausing to toss us morsels of their history,
Not questions to which only we know answers.

Eyes closed to news we've chosen to ignore,
We'd rather excavate old memories,
Disdaining age, ignoring pain, avoiding mirrors.
Why do they never listen to our stories?

Because they hate to excavate old memories
They don't believe our stories have an end.
They don't ask questions because they dread the answers.
They don't see that we've become their mirrors,

We offspring of our enormous children.