February 08, 2006

ARBITRARY PEOPLE

Al and I hit Hamza Walker's paper presentation "Generational Dislocations: The Strange Case of Raymond Pettibon and Charles Manson" on Tuesday. It was an hour long and it was about 60% manson, 30% pettibon and %10 breakdown of the construct of irony and multivalent meaning. Walker contends that Pettibon's Manson work, which was his most consistant subject, of which he made 11 fanzines about, is about punk reacting to the sixties hangover, to the stagnation and hippy ill bequesthed to the next gen of youth culture, and that "the sixties last until Reagan" -- but mostly it is about how every generation resents the one before, and for Californians, that was Manson and his followers -- sooooo after the hour long powerpoint presentation that included MUCH asides on Mansonsonia -- theory and fact, the questions came. Just as I was raising my hand to say/mention/remind sir dude that, if in fact the Manson murders signalled the death of the sixties, as Didion suggests, then that completely rearranges Pettibon's Manson-trope into a reaction of another kind, maybe even one of mocking. Just as my hand went up, Walker said he disagreed with Didion and then quoted Vincent Bugliosi, about how Manson/the trials and crime would define the next thirty years, and the kid in the row in front of me interupted and was, like me, a touch incredulous about Bugliosi being a more valuble cultural reader, being a better barometer because he was Manson's lawyer, puh-leeze -- and Walker came back with a murmured "well, he's a first-hand source" and left it at that. I thought that was weak.

We bailed after that. It made me kinda wish I went to college. If I had known that college was kids arguing with adults in flippant exasperated tones, I would of gone. (My parents told me that it was a valuble experience where I could make life long friends, as a result of living in a dorm and such, that it was about transition and admitted that for them it was also about partying -- all of which was a real turn off. I hated having friends then, why would i want them for life?)

Today I spent the half day answering phones at an HIV/AIDS assistance center. It was a survey/testing day for local prostitutes, who could get paid $10 to come and get tested and answer questions with the professional folks. I got to talk and listen to some really interesting women, as the lobby with the couches is next to the work station with the phone. One of which had just brought two giant, lobster sized prawns/shrimps, and had them with her in a box, a present for her boyfriends birthday. She had just gotten off the streets and so she had just been able to qualify for SSI and a Link card, with which she had purchased the giant shrimps. She showed them to everyone. She also told me about the time she bought live crabs that pretty much died on the way home from the store, and when she got home, she put some saltwater in the tub and "resuscitated them-- you know, brought them back to life" -- and took them out of the tub and let them chase her dog around. "It was a total trip," she said. She was awesome. Some other ladies came in and I am pretty sure they were just there for the $10 testing-incentive. They were making weirdly loud/ obvious conversation about "Well, You Are The One Out Hooking All Night" and "Well, I better take a whole bunch of these condoms, FOR MY DATES" then look at me. When the tester came out and said the test was for sex workers / prostitutes only, one lady said "Oh, Hookers? Uh, yeah... Thats Us!" and pointed back and forth between her friend she came with (who had a glass eye), and her friend laughed.

Posted by Jessica at February 8, 2006 11:56 PM | TrackBack