Ms. Cheever gets closer to the heart of Didion's latest than much else of what I have read. I can't say I really even liked Blue Nights; naturally, it's hard to be a mom and read about someone losing a child. It's not the book you want to read when you are pregnant--a meditation on how utterly finite life feels at the end, about losing your child only to realize that maybe you never really heard or understood them for who they are. The topic is wholly unpleasant, I felt resistant to it, and as Didion says several time in the book, you just don't want to consider it so you don't, but it is always there whether you do or not. The ghost possibility. Topic aside, the book itself is sharp and restless, the usual Didion device of repeating some cool fact (or rather, fact coolly is how I mean) as if it's consideration makes it truer, stranger, to ruminate on how little sense it makes. The distracting facts that take her away from the actual are as much a topic as anything (and the pain of outliving your family, and later, the trouble of living)--but the facts don't bring us any deeper into her consideration. I mean, on one hand, as a reader, I think sympathetically, well, what right do I have to ask that, that's like asking her as an author to pervert her pain for the sake of a more satisfying read, or that her pain is somehow not exquisite enough... Something about the book feels transient and poemic, I wanted more arc, I suppose. But I feel like a dick for wanting that as a reader, to be satisfied in the depth of her grief, which is fairly perverted in itself. I don;t know what is goading that, my fandom of Didion, or being groomed by a dish-all celebrity culture where pain is pimped out and peacocked in books and blogs and tell-all tweets and trashterpieces. I feel unsettled by the book and by how I regard it--I don't know which weighs more, and am not sure I am willing to go back and re-read it to figure it out.
Salem Bitch Trials may have a hit on their hands. You like girls and punk, right? As Cali remarked "Great song, great topic."
Baltimore MC (or "femcee" if you rather) Chinky Miyake's "Dial Tone". Good girls go to heaven and "hoes go to voicemail".
So, finally, after owning it since I think 1999 (Myopic $8.99) and even putting it out in the 2-hour garage sale--it had been a decade and still it languished unread!--I went and fished Anita Hill's Speaking Truth To Power out of the box in the garage and WHAT A PAGE TURNER. I read 174 pages in one sitting and she is so straight ahead and lawyerly and yet it is so dishy and also IT WILL MAKE YOU HATE ARLEN SPECTOR MORE THAN YOU ALREADY DO. She makes so asides about Joe Biden's fake smile. HE CALLED HER "KIDDO". As in the night before the senate hearings he calls her and says "Oh, kiddo, I wish this wasn't happening to you," when she, like the fucking Yale Grad legal scholar she is, is pressing him for how the proceedings are going to go and how her statement is going to be used and no one will tell her straight and Biden lies to her and also decides the next day that since it's an "extraordinary" session, there will be no rules or protocol or standards adhered to and that Clarence Thomas, because his is already confirmed as a Justice, will be given "the benefit of the doubt" so that the word of anyone else is not considered equally. I watched some footage from the 20th anniversary doc about the hearings and it's infuriating, but then you read it, and you read about all the things Professor Hill had to go through just to testify on her own behalf and senators saying she was racist to bring these charges, and them deciding not to call the three other women who had been harrassed by Thomas because of "a lack of time" though they then allowed Thomas and his witnesses another two days. IT WILL WANT TO MAKE YOU BOIL THESE SENATORS ALIVE. IN A LAKE OF URINE.
One of the nastiest senators own dad called Professor Hill a few days after and apologized for his son's embarrassing behavior. Only person that didn't persecute Prof. Hill? SURPRISE? Lion of the Senate, natch. HE APOLOGIZED TO HER FOR EVERYONE ELSE WRINGING HER OUT--he was angry. Man, for all his weirdness, Kennedy was the last or perhaps only great politician of that caliber. For a man of his privilege, age and race, he was more human and reasonable than any other Senator on that panel, at the least. That's the least you can say.
Old white senatorial perverts go to voicemail.
I reviewed the new Coldplay album for The Daily. Being the biggest band on earth is not about making music or art or statements (they are not the Beatles, Stones or Nicki Minaj), though they certainly benefit by people believing that they are anything other than well-lubricated simulacrum. File under:not news.
Also, I forgot to post this earlier, when it ran--an interview with Aaron Cohen about his 33 1/3 book about Aretha's Amazing Grace. It's just a tiny scrap of the extensive ground her covers in the book. The 33 1/3 books are super hit or miss, but Cohen's really passionately reportorial and he ties together a lot of cultural and musical angles.
And in news of unbridgeable pop chasms: Why is Jackson Browne's 1977 live album Running On Empty now fascinating me? It's all about drugs and how being on the road starts to kill you, total seventies backstage time capsule but really the universal story of the before and after the show, the soundguy losing the girl he likes to the drummer, cocaine, cocaine, Glen Frey singing backups on your song about cocaine.
Made a pledge to not hear Lana Del Rey til she is oh, like, thirty, but alas, I gave in. First thing I thought is that the baby voice-d parts serve as mocking critique of RNR/pops girl since her Goffey/King (re)invention. Second thing I thought is that maybe the baby voice is her version of Prince's 'Camille" voice? Is it the generational battle rap reply to Springsteen's "Candy's Room", but written from the perspective of the patriarchal jerk-fantasy Candy? (If so, the video should be her flipping off a Sprinsteen poster and jerking off, which I am guessing it's not.) She's the Candy that makes you believe she loves you, comforts you with her ability to approximate fantasy girl--image plays the same. Dead/mythical/alive but unknowable and beyond you, so fuck you for falling for it. "So real I am beyond fake"--it's "Doll Parts" redux but with an unreliable narrator. Blonde trickster with doorknocker hoops.
"Kael didn’t just say, This is a bad movie because it fails to turn me on. Instead, she strung movies loosely together, as if mapping out the lines of tradition, and weather-tested them against a couple of things: authenticity of experience and the proved canon of noncinematic art. “Hiroshima Mon Amour,” “The Misfits,” and “La Vérité” failed the first test by moralizing and pathologizing what happened onscreen; certain clued-in viewers were supposed to feel virtuous for watching those films, she thought, which was a contrived and contingent experience. “La Notte,” “Last Year at Marienbad,” and “La Dolce Vita” failed the second test, because their anomie lacked the unmistakable logic of, say, Chekhov’s. (“At a performance of Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters,’ only a boob asks, ‘Well, why don’t they go to Moscow?’ We can see why they don’t.”) Kael was often accused of watching for plot and character more than for technical craft, and it is not hard to see why. Plot and character communicate effortlessly across time. The finer points of cinematic grammar require cultural education to be appreciated. She cared about audiences’ raw responses—amazement, laughter, recognition—because those responses indicated whether a movie could speak for itself in the long run. She was dowsing for film classics with her nervous system as a guide."
"They were an almost unnervingly attractive family, all with those oceanic blue eyes you see in old pictures of Jesus before they realized it wasn't cool to make him so Nordic. If people this beautiful could have any use at all for punk rock, maybe it was the music of everybody." Jon Dolan, a better writer than us all, on the Kim/Thurston split.
You live you life on the internet with no thought about the trail of casual bullshit you leave behind. Not just like, tweets and intentional stuff, like Facebook updates (nothing in my news but pix of the dogs of people I barely know) or your bands old Myspace page--but the stuff you just leave out there. And then, someone, like me, who is fact checking whether a comparison to Tina Turners Thunderdome outfit is correct. And then two clocks later you are in a strangers Flickr, with their serious couple portraits of them contemplating each other in a Chipoltle with a sudden, vast and full understanding about how the other half lives.
Check my Chipoltle pose.
Post-burrito sensuality face.
Romantic on a stool.
Maintaining eye contact.
Carlos says: "Act natural, guys."
They met in an acting workshop.
I am so lucky to do I SAW THAT bloggings with Regarding. She is so funny about American Horror Story that new show that stars Coach's Wife from Fri Ni Li and Dylan McDermott's wang. To wit:
"Then it turns out the gay couple murder-suicided themselves right in that very house and that’s why the house is so cheap. The house, just to let you know, looks like the fucking Getty museum or something. What is with people in movies/tv somehow being billionaires all the time? Do psychiatrists make that much money, that they can afford to buy a perfectly preserved 18-bedroom Victorian mansion in Los Angeles? how much did that murder-suicide bring the price down, like, 99%? He doesn’t even seem like a very good psychiatrist. The only two patients we see him with are (1) the girl he fucks in his wife’s bed and (2) a creepy boy who he immediately is unable to keep from sneaking into his house and corrupting his daughter seemingly every moment of the day. Probably a good tip for a psychiatrist who seems to have mostly just psychotically-troubled violent teenage boys as patients is maybe you shouldn’t hold your practice at your home address where your moody daughter is wandering around cutting herself with razor blades?"
“It’s weird, right?” Ashton said. “Like I never heard that term before, and now, I feel like it’s like, the only thing I’ve ever heard. You know?”
“You’ve never heard the phrase 'hot-tub worthy' before?” Justin laughed cruelly.
“Dude, I’ve been married to a woman in her late 40s for the last six years. She listens to India.Arie.”
“Crab salad, thanks,” Justin said to someone else. Then he said, “Who the fuck is India.Arie?”
“Some lady,” Ashton said miserably. “Anyway, if you know so much about hot-tub worthy tell me.”
“Well, it’s kind of just a feeling…”
“I need facts, “ Ashton said. “I'm not interested in feelings about hot-tub worthy. Tell me something I can use. I have to call Wilmer before he leaves for Burn 60.”
“Not too short,” Justin Timberlake said. “One of the reasons I broke up with Britney Spears is 'cause, once I got a hot tub, she was too short. Short chicks disappear in a hot tub."
“But they have those ledges. She can sit on a ledge.”
“Come on, dude. Everyone sits on the ledge. They still look like apples with hair.”