Friday, December 19, 2014

Fellow Motherfuckers, Please Remember, THIS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE GIFTMAS SONG!

  • Word.
  • Social media is not self-expression: The difference between an inner-directed process of discovery and a kind of outer-directed pseudo-creativity that in its pursuit of attention gets overwhelmed by desperation. I’m trading in a very dubious kind of dichotomizing here, I know — artists make a lot of great work for no greater purpose than attention-seeking, and the idea that anything is truly “inner-directed” may be a ideological illusion, given how we all develop interiority in relation to a social world that precedes us and enables us to survive. But what I am trying to emphasize here is how production in social media is often sold to users of these platforms as self-expressive creativity, as self-discovery, as an elaboration of the self even, but it is really a narrowing of the self to the reductive, defensive aim of getting recognition, reassurance of one’s own existence, that one belongs. That kind of “creativity” may crowd out the more antisocial kind that may entail reclusion, social disappearance, indifference to reputation and social capital, to being someone in particular in a network. Self-invention in social media that is perpetually in search of “feedback” is really just the production of communication, which gives value not to the self but to the network that gets to carry more data (and store it, and sell it).
  • Well, duh. an important duh - one I've been duhhing, daily - but duh. I mean, I try to make it not so, try ridiculously hard and fail. That's today's monologue, much abridged.
  • And to prove the point of the duh, this would be a good time to bump VNTY'SJNKYRD one more time before I stop bumping it so shamefully.
  • Twooter is bad for you health.
  • We've been out-blogged.
  • Locked up in the complexity trap.
  • Diplomacy is shit, the president is evil, the left is trash.
  • Cash-killers of the Image Nation.
  • Aptly pointing outThe ritual citing of one's scholarly predecessors surely afflicts literary study as well, and is one of the reasons I myself largely abandoned strictly scholarly writing and don't often read it now unless I can be relatively sure the reflexive acts of scholastic obeisance will be minimal or am sufficiently interested in the subject that I'm willing to overlook them. (And overlook them I do: by now my reading eye almost automatically disregards the strings of tag phrases and extended surveys of "existing scholarship" to seek out the actual argument or analysis the book has to offer.) This egregious practice is separate from the turn away from the "literary" in literary study in favor of historicism and cultural studies that makes me less likely to read academic criticism in the first place, although both are illustrative of the way academic criticism came to be more about securing its own professional autonomy than about literature. Still, New Critics and textual scholars could certainly be as pedantic as critical theorists.
  • Robert Walser, for those of you who do.
  • Charles Olson, for those of you who do.
  • How he reads.
  • Gift ideas for the whale in your life.
  • Fellow Motherfuckers, Beefheart!


Rosemary Tonks

I have lived it, and lived it,
My nervous, luxury civilisation,
My sugar-loving nerves have battered me to pieces.

... Their idea of literature is hopeless.
Make them drink their own poetry!
Let them eat their gross novel, full of mud.

It’s quiet; just the fresh, chilly weather ... and he
Gets up from his dead bedroom, and comes in here
And digs himself into the sofa.
He stays there up to two hours in the hole – and talks
– Straight into the large subjects, he faces up to everything
It’s ...... damnably depressing.
(That great lavatory coat...the cigarillo burning
In the little dish... And when he calls out: ‘Ha!’
Madness! – you no longer possess your own furniture.)

On my bad days (and I’m being broken
At this very moment) I speak of my ambitions ... and he
Becomes intensely gloomy, with the look of something jugged,
Morose, sour, mouldering away, with lockjaw ....

I grow coarser; and more modern (I, who am driven mad
By my ideas; who go nowhere;
Who dare not leave my frontdoor, lest an idea ...)
All right. I admit everything, everything! 

Oh yes, the opera (Ah, but the cinema)
He particularly enjoys it, enjoys it horribly, when someone’s ill
At the last minute; and they specially fly in
A new, gigantic, Dutch soprano. He wants to help her
With her arias.           Old goat! Blasphemer!
He wants to help her with her arias!

No, I ... go to the cinema,
I particularly like it when the fog is thick, the street
Is like a hole in an old coat, and the light is brown as laudanum.
... the fogs! the fogs! The cinemas
Where the criminal shadow-literature flickers over our faces,
The screen is spread out like a thundercloud – that bangs
And splashes you with acid...or lies derelict, with lighted
              waters in it,
And in the silence, drips and crackles – taciturn, luxurious.
... The drugged and battered Philistines
Are all around you in the auditorium ...

And he ... is somewhere else, in his dead bedroom clothes,
He wants to make me think his thoughts
And they will be enormous, dull – (just the sort
To keep away from).
... when I see that cigarillo, when I see it ... smoking
And he wants to face the international situation ...
Lunatic rages! Blackness! Suffocation!

– All this sitting about in cafés to calm down
Simply wears me out. And their idea of literature!
The idiotic cut of the stanzas; the novels, full up, gross.

I have lived it, and I know too much.
My café-nerves are breaking me
With black, exhausting information.


  1. speaking of giftmas songs, i've always liked beach boys - little saint nick

    and speaking of movies, as harvey danger and rosemary tonks do, i was impressed by the tweet, attributed to mitt romney [i read this at ifyoucanreadthisyourelying, which i go to when i see the link here], advising sony to release 'the interview' for free over the web and ask viewers to donate five bucks to fight ebola - were i in the habit of downloading movies, i would follow that suggestion

    1. Re: Giftmas songs - see post title.

      This is true: until this week I had never heard of Seth Rogen and to this minute I could not pick him out of a line-up nor know who he was if he walked into a room and shook my hand.