That a movie star could soon be the governor of California should not surprise us. Politicians are
movie stars, or at least the cream of them are. They move in the same rarefied world of luxury – big houses, big cars, fine dining in fancy restaurants, travel, three, four holidays a year in places the ordinary man saves his wages for two years to visit. They stay in hotels, they are paid small fortunes, their lives are comfortable and always will be (once booted out of office to allow another pig to get its snout into the trough, they will take up directorships, speaking engagements and their pensions).
What they are not is people like us. They don't know what it is to struggle to pay the rent, to have no real future, to have to look for a job (they may once have done but those days are gone, long gone, for them now).
Why should we feel they make decisions for us? They don't share our interests.
Like movie stars, their lives are disjointed, the pretences more important than whatever would be real if they could recognise reality any more.
They play a game of gaffes and blunders (that telling the truth could have been so reduced – that speaking your mind can be so scorned), jockeying for position, the pursuit of one another's resignation, debates that are empty substitutes for allowing us to decide our own fates because when the talking is over, the cabal at the top makes the decisions without reference to it, and toadying so sickening you wonder how they can stand to do it, until you see the rewards: seventy grand for half a year's work, seventy more for staff, twenty in subsistence, the ministerial car, first-class travel, the houses, the flats, the flunkies, your own coterie of arsekissers, your face on TV, holidays masquerading as factfinding trips paid for by lobbyists, dinners, gifts for the missus and kids ditto.
Once every four years or so we're asked to play our part in the game. It's a bit like being invited to the circus and picking which clown gets a job and which must spend the next few years heckling. This isn't democracy. It's a means of disempowering us, a means of robbing us of the ability of ever saying, actually, we'd like the circus to leave town and do the juggling, falling down and whatever else for ourselves.
Playing the Part
I have recently discovered the music of Arvo Part. I mean only by that a strictly personal discovery, because his music is well enough known. One good thing about age is that the boundaries that you built up as a kid lose their meaning, so that you become able to contrast apples and pears, and do not feel that one type of music must be a different kind of experience to another.
So for me, the aching space of Part is something akin to the glowering sullen ferocity of the Baroque music I've always loved. Yes, yes, okay, it's not very educated of me to love the Albinoni, the Pachelbel, the easy-to-listen to bits of Bach (I hope you're feeling
the wink). Where the Baroque can be full, though, Part is empty, his work an austere vastness. I adore that - you have to reach into it to make it beautiful. You cannot stand outside it. If you do, it's not there
enough. It makes you a partner (no pun intended).
It is even a cousin, albeit a distant one, to the parched figures of Joy Division (particularly the still centres of Unknown Pleasures, maybe the last third of Decades). This whole idea got me thinking. You'd think Kraftwerk were closest to the modern classical music, their repeated motifs, their mechanical quality something akin to the serial composers. But I don't think they are. Their arch commentary on the modern world somehow excludes the listener. It is full. You cannot interpose yourself to complete Kraftwerk, the way you can with Joy Division. It doesn't feel like it was written for
To cap the brilliance of his music, he also gets across, in the following quote, the belief that I share that each artist has a limit to their art, no matter how great the bound:
Perhaps there will come a moment, even for the greatest artist, when he will no longer want to or have to make art. And perhaps at that very moment we will value his creation even more--because in this instant he will have transcended his work.
In the Natural History museum, Zenella crawled across the floor, pretending to be a tiger. We took her to see the dinosaurs, but I was disappointed to see that they've moved the model T Rex into its own gallery and are charging money to see it.
Wow, said Mrs Zen, look at these bones.
I noticed that some - most - of the bones are casts. I suppose they have to be, to be out on display. What I know about curating bones you could write on a stapes, but I suppose they'd quickly crumble if they were out in the open.
It's not that Mrs Zen was wrong to be wowed, even so. A representation of a dinosaur humbles you with its great size. That such things lived! (We are talking now exclusively of the monstrous top-end dinos, not the squirty things that eventually evolved into us.)
But even the model T Rex would be no match for the model of the blue whale that dominates the mammal section. The model is something like a hundred years old, so it's out of proportion (it's the right length, but way too fat - blue whales are svelte, lithe, almost eel-like beauties). But it's quite awe-inspiring.
I know, they're just like big, dumb cows, grazing on plankton, and we romanticise them solely because of their size. Still, what's more human than to be impressed by bigness (or smallness - nothing excites the mind more than to contemplate how tiny a quark is!)?
Zenella did not like the whales, blue or otherwise. She didn't even like the faded tiger. She barely noted the kangaroo, which she insisted was a wallaby (it is a thing with her, since she learned the word "wallaby" to so identify kangaroos, and who knows why?), but the bears caught her eye. Her favourite, she said, was the dugong. I think probably that was because we had sat and watched the film about the seacows, or maybe she liked the name. Knowing too much about how a child works - how your own child works - would take away some of the magic. I am scared of knowing too much about her. If I know too much, I will want to put right what is wrong, and save her from some of the things that are too
right; I fear descending into the pit that waits for parents, of wanting to make the world too perfect, too just so
*sigh* The other night, watching her sleep, I couldn't help thinking of the times I have feared she would not wake, when I ran from my bed to her room (when she had a room of her own), to check that she was still breathing, before I managed to engage reason, reminding myself that if she had stopped, nothing in this world would start her again. And you have that melancholy feeling - I know it can't be original to me, I don't claim that - that one way or another this child will one day die, and all the energy you have invested in it will be dissipated. It doesn't mean anything, except that things come and go. Then I stop myself, because I am not feeling sorry that I have created her and endowed her with an inevitable death, I am feeling sorry for myself, and what I will lose, in a time and at a place yet to be revealed.
Play the joker
To my delight, the google ad at the top of my blog showed the following "related searches": - postmodernism - postmodernism - thomas aquinas - epicurus - stoicism - pluralism - philosophers - human nature - positivism - stuart hall
How apt I was thinking! And how did they work that out? Postmodernism, yes, I do a bit of that. Thomas Aquinas - proofs of God, like it. Epicurus, yummy. Stoicism, yes, practically an adherent. Pluralism, fond of it. Philosophers, yahoo. Human nature, abiding interest. Positivism, hmmm. Stuart fucking Hall! Lumme!
Now, if you're thinking dour Marxist commentator, turn away now. If you're thinking genius football commentator with a penchant for quoting Shakespeare, the legend who illuminated our childhoods as the cackling king of It's a knockout, you're understanding the disjunction.
Ah Stuart Hall! The whinnying laughter, the rotund northern accent, the love of spectacle. I can imagine Hall commentating on my life, his chinmike capturing his every chortle:
"Zen... Zen gets on the train, wwwwwwooooooohhh, into the breach once more, my son, a verray parfit knight he. Ah hahahahahahaha she... she.... bwahahahahahaha.... oh a sly elbow that... oh, he's seen a seat... yes, espied the siege perilous and..... ahahahahhahahaarrrgggggggghhhahahahhahahaha.... oh.... oh... ahahahhahahahah.... he didn't see her on the blindside... fat lady at one o'clock... ahhahahhahahahhaha"
How does this genius and scholar come to be a humble hack, largely confined to the surreal world of Manchester City? "I have wasted my life in every direction, really. I've made underachieving an achievement." Which one of us is not proud to say the same of themselves?
Ah, the antihubris. Get more at: the Guardian's excellent football site
Il m'est bien évident que j'ai toujours été race inférieure. Je ne puis comprendre la révolte. Ma race ne se souleva jamais que pour piller : tels les loups à la bête qu'ils n'ont pas tuée.
Rimbaud's vision of his ancestors as lazy, useless people resonates with me. I have no real idea of who I descend from - and like him I know that whoever they were, they weren't any good.
Rimbaud's poetry resonates with me, not just because I have a Romantic sensibility, but because the idea of the rootless wanderer is my picture of myself - at least in the metaphor. That sounds odd to say about a householder, a father, a husband, but as in all things it's what's in your heart that counts. I have never belonged - not to a place, nor a job, nor even to friends, family, or even myself.
Does it bother me to have bad blood? Sometimes I've wished to have the peasant life, to live quietly in a village (again, the metaphor is stronger for me than the actuality - you can make your village in a large city). Sometimes I've wished I could escape the confines of my inheritance - my "Gallic blue eyes" (IYKWIM, my eyes are not blue, of course).
But not belonging also means not having to hold on to what you wish to let go. Sometimes, that's a blessing. You can find freedom if you allow it to happen.
It also means you can wander, ceaselessly roam, in love with the world that surrounds you, wordlessly, thoughtlessly...
Par les soirs bleus d'été, j'irai dans les sentiers,
Picoté par les blés, fouler l'herbe menue,
Rêveur, j'en sentirai la fraîcheur à mes pieds.
Je laisserai le vent baigner ma tête nue.
Je ne parlerai pas, je ne penserai rien :
Mais l'amour infini me montera dans l'âme,
Et j'irais loin, bien loin, comme un bohémien,
Par la nature, heureux comme avec une femme.Sensation
Your arse is ours. At least it is if you're Norwegian. It's always been the stereotype that Spanish waiters are kings of the pinch, but it looks like these guys
could teach them a lesson.
Next: your honour, I was only rubbing my cock on the skin near her pubes...
Shiver me timbers
Why let small things like being born two hundred years too late or having both legs stop you? Grab your pirate name
and sail out on to the high seas...
Me? I'm First Mate Paul the Surly. Arrrrrhhhh, me hearties!
Some freer than others
The principle of free speech is that *all* are free to say what they wish, without any infringement. Adding "within limits" to that principle really makes speech not free.
What the proponents of Canada's hate speech legislation are saying is, I think, that to say
what is not considered acceptable by the majority is not to be permitted.
How would they feel about a law that said that those people who do
what is not considered acceptable by the majority is not to be permitted?
In a poll for the Washington Post in association with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University, reported here
, 57% of Americans said they found homosexuality unacceptable. Most Albertans agree
. I couldn't be bothered looking further, but you'd get the same story, I suspect, elsewhere in the western world.
Don't get me wrong. I don't care who fucks who. I believe equality for all in all matters is a sound principle. My sister-in-law married her girlfriend, and I'm happy they're happy. Can't really grasp why I would be otherwise.
However, the values a society holds change. They are not eternal. They are always in flux. What's "acceptable" today will not be tomorrow, and vice versa. I might believe some things are right in themselves but that is just one belief among many. We forget that sometimes.
We need only remind ourselves that there are those in the USA who believe that "traitors" should be silenced (many of the same people who believe that "terrorists" should be imprisoned in small cages without trial).
I deplore hate speech. I deplore it when I hear it in the streets, and I deplore it when I see it written. I'll confront it when I hear it, even. But I'll never tell the speaker they don't have the right to say it. On what grounds could I? That it's unacceptable to me? That makes me a censor - a position I think I wouldn't be comfortable in.
Does that mean I welcome an environment that is "anything goes"? No, it does not. I do believe hate speech should be confronted. I believe its perpetrators should be shown to be wrong. I believe we should protect our minorities, not by banning people from saying bad things about them, but by showing that we stand with them, that we think we are their equals, that the haters do not speak for us.
Above all things, if we silence the haters by using a law, I fear we are giving them the message that what they say has power, that somehow we fear it. We don't.
If we are sure we are right, our rightness should prevail. We don't need a law to make
Victory? Or a small defeat...
The irony of a bill that protects a minority from the view of a minority is lost on Canada's parliament
. But the problem with including gays in Canada's hate speech legislation is not that gays shouldn't be included, but that Canada has such legislation in the first place.
I've always believed that if you're right, you're right. You don't become right by simply silencing those who you disagree with.
Open the door to censorship by banning "hate speech" and it's wide open for the neocons who'd like to ban those who oppose wars on the beggars.
And I have to say, Svend Robinson is right and
wrong, as people so often are. Doubtless, the conservatives who opposed his bill are largely homophobes. But that's not a charge he could level at me. Or is it? Is it another trump card, another word we use to deny others any share of meaning?
Some, though, are not satisfied. This bunch of lunatics
think the USA should be at war with far more of the world than it's currently bombing. I note that the US gets a C for its lack of willingness to threaten to nuke all and sundry. (Nuke what though? Osama's mother's house? Makkah? Paris?)
Still, they'll be pleased to know our boys got 12 of the fuckers
. And hey, only 10 of them were bystanders!
War on the beggars
In John Pilger's article today for the Guardian
, he writes:
This is the Kafkaesque world that Bush's America has imprinted on the recently acquired additions to its empire, real and virtual, rising on new rubble in places where human life is not given the same value as those who perished at Ground Zero in New York. One such place is a village called Bibi Mahru, which was attacked by an American F16 almost two years ago during the war. The pilot dropped a MK82 "precision" 500lb bomb on a mud and stone house, where Orifa and her husband, Gul Ahmed, a carpet weaver, lived. The bomb killed all but Orifa and one son - eight members of her family, including six children. Two children in the next house were killed, too.
Her face engraved with grief and anger, Orifa told me how the bodies were laid out in front of the mosque, and the horrific state in which she found them. She spent the afternoon collecting body parts, "then bagging and naming them so they could be buried later on". She said a team of 11 Americans came and surveyed the crater where her home had stood. They noted the numbers on shrapnel and each interviewed her. Their translator gave her an envelope with $15 in dollar bills. Later, she was taken to the US embassy in Kabul by Rita Lasar, a New Yorker who had lost her brother in the Twin Towers and had gone to Afghanistan to protest about the bombing and comfort its victims. When Orifa tried to hand in a letter through the embassy gate, she was told, "Go away, you beggar."
Those who wish to tell the truth about our world have only a small voice - and most definitely Pilger is a truthteller, his message often painful, always impassioned, but never having the aim of misleading - easily drowned out by the liars who make it possible for people like Bush and his crew to run our world, but it's essential that they keep speaking out.
They are conning us, and by conning us, they rob us of our humanity. They tell us that they are fighting for us, ridding us of a scourge, but it is us they are fighting, those like us, the many who stand in the way of the enrichment of the few.
We are also beggars, strangers at their feast, disempowered, almost slaves. We are richer than the poor devils in Afghanistan but we do not own our world - it's long been carved up by those who seek to deny us our right to it.
You are with us or against us, they bellowed, our self-righteous leaders.
Against, I say. Against those who would kill the Gul Ahmeds of this world for gas and oil. Against those who wish the world their way and will destroy it piece by piece to have it. Against those who will not share, whatever name they masquerade behind, whatever creed they use as the veil for their greed.
With these people
, and these
, and these
. With Pilger.
Crucifying mad Mel
Mel Gibson finds himself in the news, with his production "The Passion". This article by Peter Boyer
of the NYT is very illuminating.
Gibson is accused of anti-Semitism. He says he faithfully used the Gospels as his source. His detractors say he didn't "interpret" them correctly.
A couple of points strike me. First, is it anti-Semitic to suggest that Jewish people did a thing or didn't do a thing? It seems that "anti-Semitic" means no more and no less than exactly that. It's "anti-Semitic" of Gibson to suggest that Caiaphas (who I remember well from Sunday school, when I had no idea what a Jew was or wasn't, and no idea what Israel was or wasn't except that it was the place Jesus lived and, as I read more of the Bible, the setting for the wonderful stories it contained) wanted Jesus dead. Yet that's what the Gospels said. Are the Gospels anti-Semitic?
I have no doubt that the idea that all Jews who lived then or since are somehow guilty of something because Jesus was crucified is ridiculously anti-Semitic. But the idea that's it's anti-Semitic to suggest Jews were somehow involved? That's akin to the knee-jerk reaction beloved of Barbara Amiel to any criticism of Israel. Is it anti-Italian to suggest that Mussolini was a bad guy? Anti-Austrian to say that Hitler was born in Linz? I think some people *do* make this connection; they do feel that citizens are microcosms of their states, people representatives in a unit of the nations that they are part of - so that the bad behaviour of one is indicative of an evil of the whole. But it's clearly nonsense to so dismiss the diversity, the colour, the breadth of a group of people with so tenuous a connection as conationality, or coethnicity. (And it is tenuous! I have to laugh to consider that I'm in some way connected to some of the clueless dorks who clutter up the pages of our tabloids with their comings, goings, toings and froings.)
So, let's get it straight. Caiaphas and a bunch of badboy priests might have had Jesus killed for whatever reason, but that no more reflects on Jews as an entity however defined than Hitler's being born in Linz means that Austrians are all child-murdering nutters. (Talking of which, this whole blood taint business is something we still indulge in - the suggestion that Schwarzenegger's dad was a Nazi is seen as somehow a negative for Arnie. What? It's genetic, is it? You inherit a penchant for extreme right politics from your daddy? You are somehow responsible for your parents' beliefs? I note in connection that Gibson himself is held responsible for the reprehensible Holocaust-denying of his father. Well, my dad says some pretty rank things about blacks, gays and Frenchies - where does that leave me?)
Second is the idea that the Bible needs "interpreting".
Check this, from the article:
Among the many errors that Gibson might have avoided had he followed the ecumenist guidelines is his portrayal of the two men who were crucified alongside Jesus as criminals. Although the men, described in Matthew and Mark, are identified as "thieves" in the King James Version of the Bible, as "robbers" in the International and American Standard versions, and as "plunderers" in the original Greek, the Bishops Conference prefers that they be identified as "insurgents."
I'll bet it does! But "plunderers" are not "insurgents", unless my dico is missing a definition. This is like saying Moby Dick was *really* a shark. Okay, so Melville wrote "whale" but this conference has decided he *ought to have* written "shark".
How did Gibson make an error? The book he's adapting says the guys were thieves. If he'd made them, ahem, insurgents, he'd be facing the charge of fiddling with the facts, which so annoyed many critics of Braveheart.
The Bible says what it says. It doesn't matter why it says it. It doesn't matter what the writers intended. Like all texts, it means what we take it to mean. It's not in need of "interpreting" in the sense that the "ecumenists" interpret it. It's not in need of a rewrite that makes the Romans the bad guys, any more than it needs Jesus to be reinterpreted as a potsmoking shagger
As for Gibson? Probably more misguided than bad. I'm sure his film might feed the anti-Semitism that infests some of the more conservative Christian circles. But in much the same manner flying a Union Jack is seen as feeding the racists here in the UK. This allows the Union Jack only one meaning, and insists that you must be trying to convey that meaning if you fly it, and the same reasoning insists that suggesting Caiaphas had Jesus killed is "anti-Semitic" and to portray it in a film must convey only that meaning...
I'm no apologist for Gibson. I think the guy's beliefs are dangerous. But I deplore the squeezing of meaning and the use of words like "anti-Semitic" to suppress dissent.
Swallow your pride
The next time some corporate loser asks me what I think I'll be doing five years from now, I won't be visualising his neck inch-diametered in my hands, I'll be thanking my lucky stars I'm not at this interview
I've never had a job that actually involved talking to strange people face-to-face, and yet that's the skill we prize most highly, or so it seems. Odd, huh?
Maybe they should email me the questions. I'm far better at thinking on my feet when I can write down my thoughts – although let's face it, that's because "thinking on your feet" means "repeating the correct formulae without hesitating". You can't see the smirk on the page.
made me chuckle. It shouldn't, I suppose. Employers are no longer satisfied with exploiting you, now they want your soul. What's it to them what your interests are, so long as "burning down office blocks" isn't too high on your list?
Coffee is very much in the news, which interests me, because, even if I wouldn't have the patience to grind my own
, I'm a fiend for it. Life, put simply, wouldn't be worth living without java. I'll drink any coffee - ground, instant, espresso, latte, cappa, black, white, good, shite. I barely care what I pour in... well, of course better's better, but worse is better than none at all.
These days I have a small child to feed, and as a consequence you don't often see me pissing the daily bread away in Starbucks, but if I did, I'd gladly pay an extra bit so that poor sods like me can have better daycare more readily available.
Not so, Seattle, which voted against a proposed latte tax
. The arguments against were fairly ludicrous, from the coffee shops saying that it would put them out of business (because let's face it, you're not going to bother if you have to pay an extra 10c, are you?) to those claiming that coffee is not a luxury in Seattle but a necessity (because it's cold and wet!) to those who claim you can't link coffee to childcare (because, hey, I get taxed on my income from editing and there's a clear link between editing and tanks, innit), above all because the bottom line is that the people of Seattle are selfish gits who wouldn't pay ten cents a latte for a thing that might benefit others more than themselves.
Or are they? Maybe I'm just thinking of the poor guys in Seattle, working their guts out to send their kids to the nursery down the road, the same kids that will one day be the roadmenders, sewage guys, doctors, nurses and baristas that will make the lives of the greedy shites who won't pay an extra 10c liveable.
Bright yellow bright orange
Maybe the reason the Go-Betweens
haven't had the success they deserve is that it's practically impossible to say why they are so brilliant. Anyone who hears them knows it – or if they don't know it, they don’t good music when they hear it, and if you don't know good music when you hear it, what hope is there for you? – but it's saying why that's the catch. All their good reviews – and their records are well received by the critics – say the same thing: wonderful melodies, wistful, smart lyrics, beautiful aching sentiment, but none captures the right note. There's a wonderful, luxurious yearning in this record – missing someone while you take a warm bath, wine reminding you of a wonderful holiday, a postcard from a friend whose smile you'd pay for if you didn't get it for free. At the moment, I have "Crooked lines" in my earphones and tears in my eyes. There's something heartbreakingly fallible about it. (As the guy says, "Part of me loves to fail".)
Love it. A million out of ten. If only that were enough to get them into the charts…
Sometimes people walk along the street with their head buried in a book. They don't look where they're going. It's the ultimate in selfishness.
I love to see people reading. When you ride on the tube, and you see a whole carriage with books, magazines, whatever, it lifts your heart a little, because you know there's still a market, an audience. We have not stopped reading, even if we are only doing it because we are shut inside a train with no TV, computer or other distraction (god forbid we should talk to one another).
But the guy walking down the street, head in book, is relying on the rest of us to look out for him.
Sometimes I feel I should run into those guys, and shout "Why don't you look where you're fucking going?" But the small thrill I would get from that would probably not be worth the guilt that would bother me for days afterwards. (Yes, I'm one of those sad beings – a person who cannot do wrong because of his conscience.)
The idea that selfishness is bad informs much of my moral structure. I don't know whether I didn’t share as a child and got a good hard spanking for it, but somehow the idea fixed itself in me that it's good to think of others and do things for them. It's one of those base feelings, if you like, an idea that I have without ever having really thought about it.
But it seems to me that it's how we get along. We cooperate, which means largely that we give a little. It's easily forgotten in our world, where dog eats dog and expects the eaten to be grateful for the opportunity to be dinner. But the dogs forget that no one of them on their own could make a thing – they need the dogs they are hungrily eyeing to make the world go round for them.
It's nice to read as you walk. I'd like to do it. But I don't. Because I know and can never seem to forget that if we all did it, none of us would be able to walk anywhere. The world can only stand so many hungry dogs before it's chaos.
Shouldn't laugh really, but how do you get to be this dim
My favourite bit:
Even many of them believe in a big bang starting the
universe. However, such a big bang would have damaged earth
elemental structure as the earth was created. Therefore, the earth
would appear older than could be tested.
You remind yourself that no one would reason this on their own. Someone taught the guy this. Some teacher, some preacher, someone, I don't doubt, a little more savvy, who knows that this is cock, but has an agenda that allows them to feed minds with what they know is not true to serve ends that they do believe are true.
are masters of it. Create a tradition that hates education, which provides you with an audience that is apt to believe shit like this
. It's laughable, of course. How can it be the work of an apostate to vote for an MP, but not to support the establishment of a caliph?
But we can't laugh it off. Too many people take this seriously. We - by that I mean people of good faith - end up having to stand up to it. We have to cast our voices into the maelstrom, finding ourselves robbed of the tools we rely on - reason, logic, whatever we call it. We feel compelled by the horror we feel that the world can be consumed by such fucking idiots
And whether we are talking to creationists, muhajirounistas or the prophets of profit, we know that it is in vain, that the world comes and goes for us in little more than the briefest instant, and our footprints are washed away by the tide, and we, like them, are conning ourselves that there is a better way than to watch for ourselves and be good to one another.
Don't you wish your life were scripted as a British light comedy? Everyone is so good
. Well, good in a way that doesn't permit even the merest possibility of being bad. I'm not sure that that is really all that good. There must be temptation for good to mean anything.
Do I really believe that? It seems to me that it must be true. We learn the lesson in Sunday school. Jesus has to be tempted so that his sacrifice is meaningful (and I think even as children we understand the lesson of Christ's temptation, because we learn it just as the idea of there being a right path and the possibility of straying from it begins to make sense to us).
But when I think about it, I start to wonder. Can good not be unalloyed? Can't it be real in itself? Are we saying we cannot love someone without the possibility of hurting them? We cannot love the world without conditions?
Well, I know I can't. That's not what I'm asking. I'm not saying, could I do it? I'm saying, could it not be done?
So Mrs Zen wanted to watch it for her birthday. There was nothing else showing that appealed to her, and I don't mind. I knew it would make her happy, and of course the cast was good enough to make the lamest material pass without pain.
Helen Mirren and Julie Walters are a cut above, that's plain. Neither is ever going to sell a film big, but they inhabit characters like no other women. Keep your Meryl Streep, I say. If you saw "Murder", which showed on the Beeb a year and a half or whatever ago, I think you'd say the same. In poor times for British drama, it burned the screen up.
So, it was nice
. Everyone was nice
. Even the guy who carked it was nice about it. I doubt the real story was quite as polite, but this is one of those "true" stories that would be spoiled utterly by the ring of truth.
Someone stood on Zenella’s yoghurt. Crossing Wimbledon Broadway in a hurry, a girl – a woman, but young enough… well, sue me for the term but girl fits – did not break stride and stood on Zenella’s bag that she had dropped.
It’s some sort of hurry that won’t stop for a dropped bag. It was a Safeway carrier bag, not a special bag, not a handbag or anything, but it was quite clear it wasn’t empty.
Maybe the girl was afraid. Maybe she felt that if she paused and went round, the lights would change and she would be caught on the crossing. Maybe she feared the blare of the horn.
I hate it when I judge a person. I don’t mean the kind of judging you do when you play in a newsgroup, where you’re not engaged. I mean when I judge someone in the day-to-day, when I look at another person and think “X” about them.
The other night I saw a fat woman eating a sandwich on the platform at Moorgate. I thought, shit, that woman just couldn’t wait to get home before eating. Because I wouldn’t eat on the tube, not on the platform and not in the train. It seems ill-mannered to me. But what I mean by that, of course, is that it seems like it would be ill-mannered of me
to do it. I can hardly expect that the fat woman on the platform is following the same rules as I am. We have become well enough acquainted with the fractured nature of the societies we live in, I hope, to understand that the idea we all work with a shared sense of values, morals, what have you, is just a little ridiculous. We accept that we are diverse in so many other ways, we would have to expect that we are diverse in what we think is right.
When I talk to people about the world, I like to try to let them define the code we will talk in. I admit that I try to find the flaws and fissures in that code, but I like to play on their pitch, as it were.
Why? I’m interested in how people work. Finding out their limits and pushing them a little shine a light on the machinery.
Jeez, I’ll never make a postmodernist! Always wanting there to be something beneath
. As if it would be realler, somehow.
But what it is, I think, is that I want to be able still to love the girl on Wimbledon Broadway. I want her to have different motivation to me, for me to be unable to feel that she did something wrong
Zenella was over it five minutes later. Something else caught her attention. Wimbledon’s a busy place on a Saturday afternoon – a visual feast, I suppose, if that’s what you like to look at.
I have mixed feelings about Zenella. My love for her is uncomplicated and strong – fierce and proud – about the most concrete thing in my life, a thing that never ceases to be true, which I believe will never
cease to be true. I believe, truly I believe, I will love her when I am whispering out my last breath, regardless of what passes in the years between now and then. But she infringes my freedom in a big way. I cannot make any decision about my life that isn’t a decision about her life. I cannot ever run – I must always walk so that she can keep up. I know, I know, it’s true for any parent – but it’s just another of those things they don’t tell you in antenatal class. You know you will have to surrender some of your life. But you don’t understand the leap that you will be needing to take.
I know some don’t – their lives continue much the same and their children follow in their slipstream – but they are not me.
How quickly my thinking becomes fractured and unstable! I was ready to talk about how I feel about my child, but quickly I realised my feelings are formless, inchoate, mad. And man, do I love having this thing I can’t analyse.
Sometimes I find myself talking, talking. I'm playing out the role I have: my job, being a husband, a father. And I'm realising that I have no desire to continue the talking that I'm doing. I feel helpless and utterly lonesome.
What do we do when the words are speaking us? Sometimes I want to turn my back, and I lose my sureness that turning my back would even be wrong. That sureness is what keeps you going though. I wish I could replace it.
I know I'm not making sense. I'm just talking, talking.
A radical Muslim speaks...
You're sitting here with us, but you're also out walking
in a field at dawn. You are yourself
the animal we hunt when you come with us on the hunt.
You're in your body like a plant is solid in the ground,
yet you're wind. You're the diver's clothes
lying empty on the beach. You're the fish.
In the ocean are many bright strands
and many dark strands like veins that are seen
when a wing is lifted up.
Your hidden self is blood in those, those veins
that are lute strings that make ocean music
not the sad edge of surf, but the sound of no shore.Rumi - The Diver's Clothes Lying Empty
The calm wisdom of Rumi could never drive a man to murder.
Up in smoke
First you look so strong,
Then you fade away.
The sun will blind my eyes,
I love you anyway.
First you form a smile,
I watch you for a while.
You are a vapour trail,
In a deep blue sky.
Tremble with a sigh,
Glitter in your eye.
You seem to come and go,
I never seem to know.
And all my time,
is yours as much as mine.
We never have enough,
Time to show our love.Ride - Vapour trail
Music uplifts me. It inspires me. The only people in this world I even begin to be envious of are people who can make music. I can program a sequencer - and I do - but I can never place the music in my head on to paper. The music I do make is technically correct, but it doesn't have my heart in it. Sometimes it sounds to me quite heartful, but I know it's lacking.
Does it matter that I know? Surely it only matters what it sounds like. Doesn't the birth of the listener mean the death of the musician?
"Vapour trail" is one of the life-defining songs for me. It's meaning for me is all about me. When Ride made it, nearly thirteen years ago, I needed it. I needed to feel that there were people out there that *felt*. That sounds a little silly, soft, now, but you can't help what you feel when you're a scared young man in a bad place. It never mattered to me who Ride were - although I knew they were middle-class boys from Oxford with nice homes and daddy's money -definedly not like me. What mattered was the way Vapour trail made me feel. I couldn't explain it. Words fail me. But I could hum it.
Now, my life is different. I recently bought the Best of Ride CD (because I had the albums on vinyl, and all my vinyl was sort of stolen) and when I played it I realised it still made me feel inspired, but quite differently. It sounded like something I feel about Zenella, about my aspirations for her. Jeez, I haven't grown any less ridiculous with the passing years.
But, you know, Vapour trail is still a beautiful song, and if it moves you I can love you, but if it doesn't, I'm not sure I ever really could.
I am queer
. I'm not afraid or ashamed to say it. And I reject your definition of it by saying so.
Desire is not a whole thing. No one of us can say we only want this
. I doubt any of us can even narrow down what we want to a definitive list. It changes day to day. The fractions of our desire
are the upwellings of the many tensions that make us. I cannot believe that we have a continuing whole self. It doesn't feel like that to me. I feel like I am never the same twice. I feel like I have almost an infinity of parts, which often conflict, rarely resolving even in the smallest. I'm not saying I like it, but it's what it is. I was thinking maybe that makes me like a sea, so that I can have a name, but my parts change and interchange all the time, and yes, I might have tides so that I reach the same places, slightly changed, many times. Well, that works, but I think the sea is too bounded. A formless, boundless sea, with many forms and many bounds. That is how I think of each one of us. When I say "me"?, I mean "you"?.
Being queer is not "not being straight"?. The idea that I must choose between the two seems awfully restrictive. How can I make a sea sit in one shape or another? Must I be a Canute of desire, striving to make the waves of my being stand still, so that I can be one thing or another.
Being queer is not a question of defining your sexuality. Just as desires in each of us are manifold, our sexualities are manifold. That area of our sea might seem to have one shape or another, but the waters continue to move, ceaselessly. But it is part of the picture.
Within those many fractions of desire there are doubtless some that want to fuck men. They are not the fractions that have won out in my life - maybe they are too small, tiny wavelets perhaps, the smallest of deep currents. But to deny they are there would be to belittle myself. I pride myself on being larger than life. I would never wish to be smaller than I am. It would also be dishonest. For one reason or another, I prize honesty, despite its costs in this world, and to value something - truly - we must first value it in ourselves and then in others (the same, I think, is true of any quality, so that if we must criticise, we have to begin with ourselves). So being queer, for me, does encompass desire for men, whatever form that takes. It also encompasses wanting to be loved, wanting to be hurt, the drive to destroy myself, fear & loathing, blondes with big tits, and a billion other fractions that are more or less part of me (the blondes are a big part, if any are reading and want to send photos).
More importantly, being queer means I don't have to subscribe to your definition. I permit myself to allow the possibility of freedom. I am not free - I am not making any bold claim about that, but I am saying I have the door open, and can run out into freedom if I ever gather together the will. I allow myself the belief that I could do whatever I desired if I desired it enough.
I'm going to have more to say about this, including an explanation of why I sucked my own cock, and a story about the glory hole
in the Butts shopping centre in Reading that doesn't reflect well on me.
I am British because I was born in Essex. My child is British on more slender grounds, having been born in Brisbane. Mrs Zen is not British, although she has no problem living in the UK, can work and gets by fine with the day-to-day.
I daresay I would scrape through the tests Mr Blunkett wishes for new citizens. My wife, though, would fail miserably. She has no idea how this country's constituted, and she doesn't know any British history.
Why should she? It's not as though most Brits know much history. "We won two world wars and one world cup" would be about the size of it, a history of wars, winners and losers, Agincourt, Trafalgar, bits and bobs of last century's wars.
I'm not particularly interested in Britishness. Sure, I cheer England at football, and I'll be barracking for the rugby team at the world cup. I feel lucky to have been born here – but that's not the same as feeling proud. What's to be proud of? I didn't achieve anything in getting born, and the people I come from didn't achieve any of the "greatness" that our tabloid papers so lament the diminishment of. My people were peasants, simple people with simple lives. History went over the top of their heads.
We don't live that history. We live in the here and now. When I walk home from the tube tonight, hip hop will contest the air with banghra, urban and Eurohouse. Curry will mix with liver and onions (and dogshit, it has to be said) in my nostrils – a warm, enticing smell, which means, to me, home. The people I pass will be speaking Bangla, Hindi, Urdu, Panjabi, Farsi, Turkish – some will even be speaking English. Some wear shalwar khameez, some of the women hijab, some even chador, although it's rare.
I fucking love it. I love the idea that a place can fit all that difference in and fit me too. I missed it when living in the narrow world of white Australian society, one of those places where "multicultural" means "lotsa ghettos".
I agree with Gary Younge in the Guardian
, which isn't often the case. Celebrating Britain does not mean reinforcing the narrow stereotypes that demand that we be proud of an imperial past that destroyed the lives of millions. It means celebrating a land that has always been diverse, rich in its human capital as well as the resources it plundered – rich enough to supply the world with many of its greatest writers, artists and musicians. It means loving our neighbours, because they are helping create the environment that nourishes creativity, a great stew of Britishness. I dip my spoon. I will not join Mr Blunkett in demonising the unfortunates who want to share from my bowl. I have plenty and I am proud to live in a place where sharing is not – yet – a thing we've forgotten completely how to do.
All you good good people
There must be a time
Between the well meaning
When the good will come out
And start the healing
You won't know
How well you've played
Until you've won
And if at first you find
You can't imagine
How good can heal
When you've got nothing worth healing
You won't know
How well you're made
Until you're down
And all you have is gone.
Embrace - The good will out
You know, it sounds awfully old-fashioned these days to suggest that good, feeling good, doing good, even wanting there to be goodness is, you know, a good
thing. But I do
have faith in people, in the goodness that lives in them. I haven't let the times leach that faith away, although gawd knows it takes a battering every day. It needs only awakening - I won't stop believing that. Every now and then, something inspirational is needed to keep the flame burning.
did it for me. I was down and approaching extinction when I bought it.
I will never forget rolling across the Deccan plateau on a slow, slow train, maybe an hour after dawn. with my Walkman (all trademarks are blather blather, whatever the right thing to say is when you use a trademark - although my Walkman is actually a Walkman ) shutting out just for an hour the sound of the wheels on the rails (no sound from the others in my carriage but their breathing), and the soft intro of the Good will out piling in... the lilt of the guy's voice... the soaring coda... the sheer heartfulness of it. Gospel for the godless, almost.
A couple of days later I met Mrs Zen in Chennai, our marriage was back on track, and I knew I wasn't wrong to have faith in myself.
Mind you, before you get to thinking that's a disgusting, soppy ending to a disgusting, soppy post, you should know that a week later I ruptured a disc in my back and had a week alone in a sweltering hotel room to reconsider the goodness of life.
As an example of the hypocrisy that the desire to be a winner engenders in us all, I note that shares in Madonna have seen me roar up the Celebdaq
ladder, right up to the dizzy heights of 15205th. Build 'em up, knock 'em down, innit.
I noted as I strolled the streets of Wimbledon - or at least the floor of the Centre Court mall - that Madonna's rework of Get into the groove
is to be given away with some merchandise or other. That got me to wondering. If they give away a million, does it go to number one?
In WH Smith, I noticed you can choose one of three free paperbacks if you buy something or other. The thought struck me again: will Tom Clancy or whoever shoot up the bestseller list because he's being given away? Haven't WH Smith already bought the books? (I suppose they were given them, as part of a promotional strategy, so they will have been given away twice!)
Given the low unit cost of both books and CDs, compared with the cost at the till, entertainment producers can do this. We all know how cheap it is to burn a CD of Madonna's hits (don't try it at home, kids, Dr Zen does not endorse ripping off the entire back catalogue of any artist who takes your fancy, and certainly wouldn't have anything to do with suggesting you trade MP3s of corporate fatcat artists who already have enough cash to buy your hometown) or to print out a novel-length work on our own equipment.
Recently, EMI, I think it was, paid Mariah Carey $30 million, or some such figure, just to fuck off. The papers feigned astonishment that you could be paid so much just to be released from a contract. But reading between the lines, I realised that EMI must be committed to even more than that
in promotion and marketing (not to mention the cost of indulging a prima donna's recording at the best studios with the best producers etc etc).
Hype works top to bottom, though. The Rapture release their album today. It's the hottest shot in, what do we call it, the XFM world, I suppose, the alt.music world - what would once have been the indie scene. The reviews would have you believe they're the best band since Oasis reminded us what rock is for, rather than the second-hand Cure that a reasonable description of the elements of their music would suggest. But I listened to the trailers on their site
. And was it any good?
Well, taste is subjective, and if slightly shopworn Fascination Street is your bag, you're in luck.
Meet in the street
In days gone by, a village's minor miscreants would find themselves in the stocks
, famously the target of rotten vegetables, although this would depend on the miscreant's general popularity. This was a hangover from the Anglo-Saxon notion that justice was a community affair, this being part of a scale of punishments that generally focused around one's place in a community. I'm not going to get all postmodernist misty-eyed about stocks – Anglo-Saxon England was not a golden land, and the Dark Ages weren't a golden age. Justice could also be savage, with branding and hanging features of a system that believed more in retribution than rehabilitation.
But the idea of a more public, community-based justice does appeal to me.
Our cities do not have communities analogous to the medieval village – indeed, we tend not to even know our neighbours, let alone feel any sense of community with them. This is a pity, but times have changed. The world is overwhelmingly urban and will become even more so in the future.
But we all – or nearly all - live in streets. I think we could start having "streetmoots", a modern-day equivalent of the folkmoot, where all citizens can gather and debate decisions that affect them. Some places already have community councils – it's not a terribly off-the-wall idea – but in most places apathy reigns. (It still would. I don't suppose many would bother. At first. Once it was seen that the streetmoots wielded some power, maybe…)
Our minor miscreants these days are often given "community service" as a punishment for their crimes. This serves to keep minor offenders out of the nick, while satisfying society's desire for retribution (which is fed by the screaming tabloids – often calling for the head of judges who are seen to be lenient in their sentencing). But you don't often see them doing it.
Here's my suggestion. The streetmoot decides the punishment for certain minor crimes that are committed in its area. The burgled pass sentence on the burglar. Members of the burglar's own street attend the hearing. Notice of the sentence, with a picture of the miscreant, is posted in both streets. The miscreant, who will probably be clearing dogshit, or painting fences, or weeding, must wear an orange jumpsuit.
But here, I think, is the kicker. The miscreant must wear the jumpsuit until the streetmoot allows it to be removed. Would this happen? I think so. I think people would get to talking to the bad boy (read girl also). They'd find out that he was not just
a junkie who turned their house over, not just a thief, a mugger, a loser. They'd find out that he, like them, was a human being, a member of the community.
Okay, it'll never happen. The Anglo-Saxon system of justice passed away because the state usurped all right to justice. And it isn't going to hand it back. The chance to return justice to the people came and went with Cromwell.
Groups will eat themselves
In this speech
, Clay Shirky shows why groups live and die. It's interesting for those of us who believe groups should be more or less a free-for-all, because he explains why they can't be. I suppose we know that, though.
It's interesting to compare alt.writing with misc.writing. In many ways they are sister groups, which shared and still share members, but in recent times alt.writing has more or less died, and misc.writing has thrived.
One of Shirky's main points is that groups of this type must have members in good standing. This doesn't mean members who everyone likes, or even members who post a lot. It means members who are recognised and (I shudder at how Palmeresque this will come off) are responded to. You can get to be a MIGS in a lot of different ways. You can hang around for a long time, you can post a lot, you can be a persistent and able troll. You can't get the position on your first day. This isn't necessarily a "greybeard" thing, because sometimes the admission to MIGS-hood is rapid, and I don't think it can be said that the clique can keep you from attaining it, but it is a question of being heard. You have to get on the radar (and stay there - lots of drivebys turn up, get their arses well roasted and then disappear).
I think the key to understanding why MW lived and AW died is that the MIGS of AW one by one left and weren't replaced. A couple - me included - stopped being MIGS and became more transient. Most disappeared - to other groups, other things to do, other lives. (Actually, AW was rather like the party in Shirky's piece - all sitting around bored until someone got their coat.) MW has plenty of MIGS, who more or less "out-talk" any drivebys. There is still commercial spam, the odd mad poet, schoolkids showing off, the odd "flonking" type, but nothing sticks.
Of course, you can disappear and come back. It depends how big your splash was. People like Jack Mingo and Deck Deckert are still MIGS in MW, despite their long absence.
One day, I too will walk away from Usenet. It's something I do now because I have time to fill, but there are always other ways to fill time, and one day it won't meet the need it meets now (and even now meets it less and less). I won't be missed, but maybe I'll still be MIGSed (insert your own winky).
War of the worlds
articulates in summary what many feel about 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq (let's stop calling it the war on terror - it's no such thing - since when did America mind a bit of terror), and what I know I feel. Whether the plan is as set out in the RW wishpiece that Meacher cites or something a little more nebulous that has been thrashed out in a hundred committees, it's clear that this framework makes a lot more sense than any idea that we are defending ourselves against terror. If we wanted to do that, we'd be building schools, not bombing them.
We - by which I mean our governments on our behalf - have been fighting to retain ownership of the resources of the third world for, what is it now, 500 years - since Columbus, trying to find a quick passage to the Indies (so we could trade there more cheaply, using gunboats and amphibious troops as backing), stumbled across natives wearing gold.
There's a fundamental dichotomy for anyone who lives in the rich West, which we ought to face up to. We all consume the power that is bought with blood. Our rich lives are built on the backs of the world's poor. We can pretend it isn't so, we can even try to make a "minimal impact" (whatever we think that means), but it's still true that the "war" is being fought for us, and we benefit from it.
Sorry, we gave the monkeys speed
The Observer reports
that Es are, after all, still good. Proof if any were needed that we should take reports of scientific studies with a pinch of salt. The media love a scare story, but they're less keen on the details. If you only ever read the Daily Mail
, you'd think the world was staggering from one calamity to the next, with its population unable to eat anything safe - except of course bacon and eggs on the Atkins Diet.
I was thinking about the Atkins Diet the other day. We all know it works - loads of our friends have lost weight rapidly - but we hear that it is not healthy. It's probably not the way our bodies were designed to work - after all, why have an insulin-regulated metabolism if you're not supposed to eat carbs - and there's a danger of kidney stones. But I got to thinking, do the Inuit have kidney stones? Dr Fellas in his response to a BMJ thread on Atkins
thinks not. If you look at the replies, you'll find plenty of doctors willing to say that while a whole life of eating bacon and eggs and no taters would not be good, in the short term it's perfectly okay and will lead to weight loss.
A little bit like Es, the Atkins Diet is one of those things that sounds too good to be true. Medicine, which is firmly part of our partypooping, naysaying culture, hates that, and spends its days trying to find out what's wrong with it (because they know something *must be*).
Me? I haven't done an E in a long time and I'm a vegetarian, so no bacon and eggs for me, no matter that I could do with losing a few pounds.
It's the clarion call of our age, the anthem sung by youth throughout the western world - yeah whatever
. It's a song, a poem, it's words for when you don't want words, words for when you don't need words, when they just get in the way.
It's going to be my epitaph if I don't get out of the place I'm in.
Eat yourself holy
I am food, I am food, I am food! I am the eater of food, I am the eater of food, I am the eater of food! I am the poet, I am the poet, I am the poet! I am the first-born of the cosmic order. Before the devas I was in the centre of all that is immortal. He who gives me away, he alone preserves me: him who eats food, I eat as food.
Taittriya Upanishad, 10.6
Wholeheartedness is the soul of the yoga road to nirvana. It doesn't really matter what you do, but you have to care about it.
I don't know whether words that were written two, three thousand years ago can truly apply to today - we like to believe we've transcended history, etc, but isn't it true? Isn't it something that makes us ache? We've hollowed out our lives so much that when we are struck we sound like the bell tolling for...
Well, what is it we've lost? I struggle for the word for it. I grasp around. I call it "soul", sometimes, and then sometimes "heart". As I write this I can hear the Gap ad - the Madonna jeans ad that uses "Get into the groove", and all I know is what it isn't. Madonna eats and is never eaten. Get into the groove - you're missing out - a joyous cry to be part of something. And what should we be part of today?
No, no, it's the button on the front... not that one
So, this is how the Sun
gets itself a readership.
It's easy to laugh.
But didn't bastid blogger eat my gloriously funny post about the busker at the tube earlier tonight? I could have sworn I pressed the right button...
Modernist in a postmodern world
Reading about Baudrillard
(no one in their right mind would actually read him - or at least not all of him), it occurred to me why I don't like the idea of PJ Parks
PJ Parks is not a writer. She creates digests. She writes books about books.
I realised, reading about Baudrillard, that I have a modernist view of art and writing in particular. In a nutshell, modernists believe that art should reflect life, in the sense that it should be somehow true. They believed, or if they didn't believe it, were inspired by the idea, that the world should be made a better place. They were part of a bigger project (which in the UK led to the Welfare State, the great social achievement of modernism, as well as the huge swathes of functional but ugly architecture that still blight our cities, because architects proved able to understand the idea that art should serve a purpose but totally unable to understand that art should be beautiful). By saying art should reflect life, I'm not saying it should be lifelike. Quite the opposite. The great modernist art is abstract, increasingly so as the twentieth century passed. But it should be formally beautiful, aesthetically pleasing. You can define those terms as you like. The idea is pretty much that art *represents* something, and maybe even above and beyond that, it should be personal.
In writing, we'd probably say writers had to write about the human condition. The great modernist writers wrote about the workings of the mind. They created the axioms of modern writing - no omniscient voice,
style above content, you know the kind of thing. There are still modernists today, of course. Their champions are Atwood, Carey, DeLillo, Pynchon, Franzen, McEwan.
For a modernist, writing what you know is a touchstone. Flaubert, who refused to write about sensations he had never had (so that, when he wanted to write about a night in an onion field, he had to spend a
night in an onion field), is something of a modernist god. The idea, I suppose, is that writing must reflect something real. Now, to a postmodernist, art does not reflect reality. There is no reality to be discerned in it. The signs of art don't point to anything in "the real world". They point to themselves. I won't go into the whole thing but...
An example, though, might help. Damien Hirst's shark in a tank. It's not *about* anything. It's just a shark in a tank. See, in the postmodern world, that's art. Putting an object in a tank is art because it's all about interpretation. There's no objective standard. It's art if I think it is, not if I don't. I've always despised that attitude because it means cunts like Damien Hirst get to choose who's making art and who isn't. If you're a poor unconnected soul like me, it seems just another way for the privileged to keep the door shut. Rimbaud was able to demand that Verlaine help him, because of his talent. If postmodernists can rob us of the need of talent, then there's no Rimbaud.
Suffice to say, though, that PJ's books, which are about the books she has read, are postmodernist par excellence. Her book on the Great Barrier Reef is not *about the Great Barrier Reef*. It's about the
things she has read about the Great Barrier Reef. For a modernist, it's impossible to conceive. It's as if Flaubert didn't visit the onion field. Zut alors!
If you don't know what "neo-TV" is, then go google "Eco+neo-TV"
you'll get an education. But if you do, you'll know that in a sense PJ is writing "neo-books". But here's the thing. You knew there'd be a point, and if you got this far, you need one, hey? You cannot
criticise a chat show host, because to do so is to say that his or her work is something that can be criticised (that is, that it's valid), that it qualifies in some way as TV (rather than neo-TV), which is a
ridiculous idea. A chat show host does not produce anything. He or she re-forms, packages, but above all is a conduit, an interchangeable part.
Like all modernists, I don't want to be interchangeable. I don't want my work to be interpreted, or for me to just "be a writer" in the same sense that the guy at the servo is a "pump attendant", or even that a
teacher is a teacher, no matter how good they are at that.
PJ Parks is not a writer. She's a neo-writer. She writes about writing about things. The things are not part of what she writes about because she is writing only about their representations. Part of my struggle
in writing is not to write about representations, not to fall back on our shared understanding, but to write about the things themselves.
There's nothing wrong with being a neo-writer. After all, there's nothing wrong with being a plumber.
So, like everyone else with nothing to say...
... you have a blog. And like all the other boring nonentities who infest the web, like this bunch of dullards
, you want to share the contents of your head with someone, anyone, at every moment.