Archive for August, 2009

Hank Williams Sr./Machiavelli

August 30, 2009

Hank Williamsmachiavellihat


Vocab from The Golden Age of Political Fundraising

August 24, 2009

Snippet from The Washington Independent:

On Aug. 20, thousands of people — 1,700 have already committed — are being encouraged to donate to the younger Paul’s campaign in a “moneybomb” modeled after the single-day events that raised $5 million and $6 million for his father during the 2008 campaign.

Fave Trax: Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On

August 22, 2009


Ladies and gentlemen, Sasha Frere-Jones:

An unadorned style has served Cohen’s albums best, the voice clean and clearly audible. In 1977, for the album “Death of a Ladies’ Man,” Cohen’s uneasy collaboration with the producer Phil Spector—who excluded him from the final mixing sessions—resulted in a dreadful mix of pop, country, and some weird variant of disco. (Cohen later called it “grotesque.”)

I can only assume that “weird variant of disco” refers to this song. A turd for the argument.

Human > Dog > Pig

August 19, 2009

Remember when everyone got mad at me for asking why meat-eaters could be so upset about the Michael Vick dog-fighting mess? Well, two professional writers have the same stupid debate in today’s newspaper; not very interesting, except for this value judgment:

At the same time, though, I’m a [sic] unapologetic species-ist: I reject Peter Singer and all his works, I think that the value of animal lives is contingent and the value of human lives absolute, and I would leave a thousand pigs to die in conditions of absolute misery to save a single human infant.

What a bold hypothetical! One thousand pigs? Are you sure? I would say that a single human infant is only worth 100 tortured pigs.

“It’s time now to learn Portuguese”

August 19, 2009

The new waxpoetics is The Brazil Issue, and you are love it. There is a wonderful interview with everyone’s favorite Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil, whose latest album, btw, is called Banda Larga Cordel (“Cordel Broadband”) and who has posted all of his albums on his website for the benefit of humanity. The interview holds some nice gems, including this smile-maker:

…and then I went to Africa, in ’77, when we were invited for a big Blackarts festival in Nigeria, FESTAC. I stayed one whole month in Lagos, and I used to go every two or three days to Fela’s Shrine. And I met Stevie Wonder at the Shrine.

Q: Did you jam?


Ha, if I had a specific object for every time I was kicking the international bon vivant lifestyle in post-independence Lagos and jammed with Stevie Wonder at Felat Kuti’s compound I would not have any specific objects originating  from the if-then statement I just mentioned.

p.s. Ravachol Brown: Did we know that Gil was arrested in ’68 by the military government of Brazil for performing “Questau de Ordem” (“Question of Order”), his song about the Paris student uprisings? Caetano Velosa was also arrested for his tune “E Probido Proibir” (“It’s Forbidden to Forbid”). The pair were eventually exiled to London where they were forced to hang out with Charlie Watts, Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix. LOL, at least I have my windowless desk job!

Not Acceptable

August 18, 2009

In the current issue of London Review of Books there is a poem (“Istanbul”) by Friederick Seidel with various ludicrous-amusing rhyme schemes, such as the ABAB of “From Claridge’s and London I have come / To the holy city of Byzantium / To see Ayasofya. / I see the Blue Mosque and I see a / …”. Then, tucked into the issue’s rear pages, is a rather fawning review of Seidel’s oeuvre by some young whippersnapper who likes rather too much to quote all the nasty bits (e.g. “The smell of sperm on the edge of the axe”). Well, whatever, a large swath of Siedel’s egg is nasty bits (e.g. “The smell of sperm on the edge of the axe”), but then the reviewer gives us this ludicrous-unamusing pronouncement:

Seidel, despite all his rage, is just one more rat in a cage.

Melancholy and my infinite sadness indeed!

Now you may say, Hey, cut the author some benefit, maybe his style is on the next level. Then I’d respond to you with a run-on sentence, saying, No, we know badman has poor taste because he also remarks that the new volume of collected works is ugly (“garish”) when in fact it is decidedly solid looking, and when I say decidedly I mean decided on Baby Tristan’s birthday when he awoke to find a siamese dream twin pairing of copies given to hims by his stylish girlfriend and taste-having sister, and he in turn and in kindness gave the redundant copy to his friend I, so are you, badman, looking into my gift’s mouth? Well I beg your pardon.

Art and Science Must Be Stopped

August 14, 2009



August 13, 2009


Nancy-Ann DeParle, charged with leading the White House health effort, has a standing biweekly meeting with Mr. Baucus, while Peter R. Orszag, the White House budget director, has spent so much time in the senator’s office that he helps himself to the Coke Zeros tucked away in Mr. Baucus’s personal refrigerator.


August 10, 2009


For the author of Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism and Archaeologies of the Future, it is rather amusing to see a used copy of his unpublished book on sale for $999.99 (plus $3.99 S&H).

Under New Governance Your Majesty

August 7, 2009

Darkness from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Crack-Up” (Esquire, 1936).

In a previous article this writer told about his realization that what he had before him was not the dish that he had ordered for his forties. In fact — since he and the dish were one, he described himself as a cracked plate, the kind that one wonders whether it is worth preserving…

Sometimes, though, the cracked plate has to be retained in the pantry, has to be kept in service as a household necessity. It can never again be warmed on the stove nor shuffled with the other plates in the dishpan; it will not be brought out for company, but it will do to hold crackers late at night or to go into the icebox under leftovers…

“To hold crackers late at night”!!! Ha ha ha!!

So, since I could no longer fulfill the obligations that life had set for me or that I had set for myself, why not slay the empty shell who had been posturing at it for four years? I must continue to be a writer because that was my only way of life, but I would cease any attempts to be a person — to be kind, just, or generous. There were plenty of counterfeit coins around that would pass instead of these and I knew where I could get them at a nickel on the dollar. In thirty-nine years an observant eye has learned to detect where the milk is watered and the sugar is sanded, the rhinestone passed for diamond and the stucco for stone. There was to be no more giving of myself — all giving was to be outlawed henceforth under a new name, and that name was Waste…

The conjurer’s hat was empty. To draw things out of it had long been a sort of sleight of hand, and now, to change the metaphor, I was off the dispensing end of the relief roll forever.

The heady villainous feeling continued…

Let the good people function as such — let the overworked doctors die in harness, with one week’s “vacation” a year that they can devote to straightening out their family affairs, and let the underworked doctors scramble for cases at one dollar a throw; let the soldiers be killed and enter immediately into the Valhalla of their profession. That is their contract with the gods…

So what? This is what I think now: that the natural state of the sentient adult is a qualified unhappiness. I think also that in an adult the desire to be finer in grain that you are, “a constant striving” (as those people say who gain their bread by saying it). only adds to this unhappiness in the end — that end that comes to our youth and hope. My own happiness in the past often approached such an ecstasy that I could not share it even with the person dearest to me but had to walk it away in quiet streets and lanes with only fragments of it to distill into little lines in books — and I think that my happiness, or talent for self-delusion or what you will, was an exception. It was not the natural thing but the unnatural — unnatural as the Boom; and my recent experience parallels the wave of despair that swept the nation when the Boom was over.

* * * * *

And, a pithy retort via “When Novelists Sober Up” by Tom Shone

When Fitzgerald went public about his creative decline in Esquire, in a piece entitled “The Crack Up”—a prototype for all the misery memoirs we have today—Hemingway was disgusted, inviting him to cast his “balls into the sea—if you have any balls left”.

*  *  *  *  *

P.S. “When Novelists Sober Up” has a good bit about “Hemingway’s liver protrud[ing] from his belly like a long fat leech,” and John Berryman, a poet I’ve never had the pleasure of reading, making disingenuous and thus amusing attempts at rehabilitation before jumping off a Minneapolis bridge, “his body splitting like a melon upon impact with the ground.” (Points subtracted for so many shitty indie-rock bands being enamored with this).

P.P.S. More:

Only the advent of rehab, in the 1960s, interrupted this fall—enforced incarceration flattering the writer’s sense of drama, the Kafkaesque me-versus-the-system fable playing out in his head. John Berryman sat in rehab looking like a “dishevelled Moses”, his shins black and blue, his liver palpitating, reciting Japanese and Greek poets and quoting Immanuel Kant. When he found out the doctors around him were serious he buckled under, declaring himself “a new man in 50 ways!” and affecting an ostentatious “religious conversion” which he proceeded to pour into a series of poems to his Higher Power (“Under new governance your majesty”). Ten days after leaving he found he needed a quick stiff one to get the creative juices flowing again and downed a quart of whisky. “Christ,” was all he could say the next morning.