Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Extreme Austerity of an Almost Empty Mind

  • On Trump's supportersThere are a number of Americans who are losers from a process of economic globalization that enriches a transnational global elite. These Middle Americans see jobs disappearing to Asia and increased competition from immigrants. Most of them feel threatened by cultural liberalism, at least the type that sees Middle Americans as loathsome white bigots. But they are also threatened by conservatives who would take away their Medicare, hand their Social Security earnings to fund-managers in Connecticut, and cut off their unemployment too.... What so frightens the conservative movement about Trump's success is that he reveals just how thin the support for their ideas really is. His campaign is a rebuke to their institutions. It says the Republican Party doesn't need all these think tanks, all this supposed policy expertise. It says look at these people calling themselves libertarians and conservatives, the ones in tassel-loafers and bow ties. Have they made you more free? Have their endless policy papers and studies and books conserved anything for you? These people are worthless. They are defunct. You don't need them, and you're better off without them.
  • Same colleague yesterday as last time I did this gag on our conversation back in November or December: Trump Cruz Trump Cruz Trump Cruz. Me in response: _____________.
  • Because I'm not going to change her mind, and she is not going to change mine.
  • Though my mind is changing - I understand the Trump phenomenon is more than a fuck you; it's still a fuck you, but a deeper, more complex, and more valid fuck you than I credited.
  • How I haven't changed my mind: The Democrats answer is..... Hillary Clinton... and fuck you, Democrats.
  • Because none of this is by accident, as in, Oligarchs may not be able to predict the particulars of public reaction to imposed precarity, but the precarity was imposed by design.
  • Bowie's favorite 25 albums.
  • Bowie impersonates Dylan, Springsteen, Iggy.....
  • Name the Get Smart allusion this band's name evokes (I assume unintentionally, but I can hope).


John Ashbery

You can’t say it that way any more.   
Bothered about beauty you have to   
Come out into the open, into a clearing,
And rest. Certainly whatever funny happens to you
Is OK. To demand more than this would be strange
Of you, you who have so many lovers,   
People who look up to you and are willing   
To do things for you, but you think
It’s not right, that if they really knew you . . .
So much for self-analysis. Now,
About what to put in your poem-painting:   
Flowers are always nice, particularly delphinium.   
Names of boys you once knew and their sleds,   
Skyrockets are good—do they still exist?
There are a lot of other things of the same quality   
As those I’ve mentioned. Now one must
Find a few important words, and a lot of low-keyed,
Dull-sounding ones. She approached me
About buying her desk. Suddenly the street was   
Bananas and the clangor of Japanese instruments.   
Humdrum testaments were scattered around. His head
Locked into mine. We were a seesaw. Something   
Ought to be written about how this affects   
You when you write poetry:
The extreme austerity of an almost empty mind
Colliding with the lush, Rousseau-like foliage of its desire to communicate   
Something between breaths, if only for the sake   
Of others and their desire to understand you and desert you
For other centers of communication, so that understanding
May begin, and in doing so be undone.


  1. The Craw made me larf. I love the pic of Olive and Fleabus. I was hoping Planet would take some Olive pictures when she was in town. I bet most of the Bowie LP choices are meh or worse for you but I actually own a number and have heard the majority of them, including the last one which was lent to me by my high school French teacher.

  2. Its Craw, not Craw!

    It seems I'm Olive's official photographer. Lucky for me she's supremely photogenic. And it's fun to watch Fleabus' shameface when she's caught playing with Olive.

    Robert Wyatt, Daevid Allen, Glenn Branca, George Crumb, Harry Partch, Mingus, The Fugs have all appeared here and all but The Fugs are on the iPod - I wasn't pleasantly surprised at the list!

    1. Um, I *was* pleasantly surprised at the list.

      It's been since I was on typepad, but I miss typepad's ability to let me edit my unproofed comments, so fuck my free blogging platform.

  3. 1) speaking of music on vinyl, just before reading bowie's top 25 i checked out the james brown biopic from the moco publib - now i see brown on the list - coincidence? destiny? it's a small world, after all - it's a small, small world

    2) at the democratic candidate joint appearances, martin o'malley seems like a nice guy

    3) earlier this week i received the following haiku from my college classmate Gene Mannacio


    I saw a leaf fall
    Even as my life will do
    Yet trees will blossom.

    i was reminded of a book

    The fall of Freddie the leaf : a story of life for all ages / Leo Buscaglia

    in the early 1980s i was teaching at the state univ of ny at buffalo and buscaglia made a local personal appearance

    a couple of students of mine went, and told me that people waited in line for an hour afterwards for a hug with leo

    i thought, they could have hugged each other and been done a lot sooner

    this was not cynicism on my part, but rather an expression of the egalitarian attitude that has resulted in my becoming a Leftist and Progressive, with the credit card receipts to prove it

    a couple years later a buffalo newspaper published a negative review of Buscaglia's book Personhood: The art of being fully human, dismissing it as "half-baked pop psychology." I wrote a letter, which they published, defending the book - saying that while it was not very long (160 pages), it was "fully baked", and incorporated insights from the great wisdom traditions and a lifetime of experience - or words to that effect

    1. Thanks for the haikus here and elsewhere.

      A repeated/updated Tony Hecht story - he told me I needed rules and concision to free my imagination as much as anyone he'd met. The product will suck, but until recently I only *thought* I understood what he meant.

    2. The Craw!

      I would say the Branca was a pleasant surprise. Mr. Biblioklept posted a video of Nile Rogers talking about Bowie's love of jazz and dance music, among other things.