Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More on the Mark than a Soviet Missile

Cabinet Magazine, Brooklyn's very own art/essay/culture behemoth, has just released "Ilf and Petrov's American Road Trip," an extended photo essay first published in the thirties in the Soviet equivalent of LIFE, OGONYOK.
Cheaply priced ($18) and with the formal quality and design of a coffee table book, it is a welcome addition to my frenzied library.Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov were collaborating novelists and photo-journalists for a decade or so, and this book documents their trip across America and their zany, often ironic, cultural remarks on life here. They seem to subscribe generally to the Soviet party-line, yet these intrepid voyagers never display chauvinism or ideologically rigid notions of society, whether American or Russian. Their observations radiate with high and low class commentaries, ecstatic flourishes about the landscape (they love deserts and canyons), and swipes at crass Western (as in 'hemisphere' as well as the
West Coast of this country) commercialism. They are always stimulating and allow a native's eyeballs to see this country anew. Order it now at:Cabinet Magazine. It's an international treasure.

j curley

Saturday, October 28, 2006

What's Become of the Ann Beatties of Yesteryear?

And for that matter, the Raymond Carvers? And the acrobatic Barthelme brothers? Do you remember when Ann Beattie was the Promised One? She was young and her characters were deadbeats and losers and were bored in a very seventies kind of way.

In the late seventies and eighties, characters used Kleenex rather than napkins and drank Sprite, not just soda. It was as if literature had noticed what ads had been positing for so long: that brands are a form of voodoo--their mere mention creates an aura. Isn't it a different sort of character who eats Frosted Flakes than one who just munches soggy old cereal? Well, isn't it?

And Raymond Carver (did it turn out that his editor actually re-wrote his stuff so extensively as to be unrecognizable from the submitted draft, or am I imagining that)? What happened to his empty-vessel strain of fiction?

Perhaps readers grew tired of the mere implication of a story rather than its actual telling. But then, did not literature need to do penance for its past glory? Didn't Tolstoy and then Wolfe and then Gaddis fill up the vessel to its allowable limit with words? That must have been the reason why Mr. Carver chose to make his characters monodimensional, and why every emotion was oblique. I think he had a pact with the literature genie: don't get too ambitious with words. Create a skeleton framework. We've all seen the movie already. We can fill in the blanks.

But that was then. We "get" the brand thing now, and we eat just corn flakes again. We suspect that being passionless and bored is kind of passionless and boring and we probably don't want to read about it all that much.

We've got our eyes on different tropes now. We're reading "memoirs" by multicultural, sexually ambivalent abuse-survivors who are into rock-climbing and have cancer. It's all rich and hearty stuff now: complicated people with complicated problems. Now we can see there was something almost too ironic about all that brand-awareness. And we've heard, haven't we, that since nine eleven, irony is dead? Wait: that's over, too.


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Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Electorate Creates the Candidate

Proverbially, politics is a mess. Always has been. And CNN now finds it advisable to run a series called "Broken Government" when "Rigged Ballot Boxes" might be more appropriate.

But this entry isn't about stolen elections. Its about how the electorate--assuming for now that we actually live in a functioning democracy--creates the mess, then complains about it.

Many citizens, and certainly those who never vote, would hardly know the difference between participatory democracy and the rule of a benign sovereign. They have signed away their right to complain. Its the ones who do vote that cause the problem.

Let me explain.

How many times do you hear voters complaining that candidates have "listened to the polls too much". Or that they are "just trying to win votes". Or "just trying to keep their job".

I can think of no dumber complaints.

In a democracy, doesn't the politician serve at the will of the people? Isn't he/she supposed to dance to the tune played out at the voting machine? Are voters genuinely surprised that candidates are anxious to curry their favor? Can they imagine it any other way?

How about this: the candidate doesn't listen to polls--doesn't care what the voters think. Is a strong man with strong convictions. None of this flip-flop for him based on poll numbers. No craven pursuit of silly voters.

Maybe that sounds admirable to the electorate--when they whine the way they do, it implies it might. To me, it sounds like Mussolini.

Wake up, voters. Politicians are supposed to be your puppets. Make them dance.


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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Sweeping View

Nobody likes a chauvinist. And its no news that some folks think New York is a pretty special place.

But here is my comment, having just flown in over the metropolis (not for the first time), a little jaded after a long trip and hoping just to land without the pressure drop making my ears go permanently deaf.

In short: if you ever needed to be reassured that New York is the most stunningly beautiful big city in the world, please make sure you come in near dusk and fly across Brooklyn heading for LaGuardia.

The way the islands of the city are connected by bridges that fly across great waters; the way the prow of Lower Manhattan proudly announces your approach to a great city; then the astonishing (ravishing?) forest of skyscrapers leaping skyward north of the brightly lit Empire State; finally the sweep and spread of the outer boroughs spun with diamond-like highways and their own great bridges. . .and you come away knowing you've been afforded a rare opportunity: to gaze in sheer wonder at what is, for all its sins and decay, one of the great achievements of humankind, the structure and the spirit of the City of New York.

Sometimes you just have to come out and say it: I Love New York.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lore O' The Fugitive Kind-part 5

Lore o' F.K.C.-Exordium(part 5)

Thus far we've been touchin' upon a few o' key
concepts essential t' be grasped,in order t' even
begin t' comprehend this phenomenon which be the
Fugitive Kind:the initial
ekyisyentchul Moment o' realization in which the
individual be overwhelmed by harsh realities o'
ekyisyence; the evolutionary breed o' Bohemianism
which the Fugitive
Kind epitomizes; the enigmatic,archaic 'n' yet always
in process o' evolvin'
spirituality which the Fugitive Kind lives 'n'
practices. Wi'in the text,these themes
will be explored 'n' elaborated on in esquisite
Now,in order t' illustrate the mystique inherent in
attemptin' t' extrapolate on the
phenomenon,the Fugitive Kind Cult,we will,through the
use o' a thesaurus 'n'
a dictionary,seek t' arrive at some kind o'
definition,a conceptual embarkation
A) CHANCE: destiny,HOODOO,VOODOO,leap in the
tempt fortune,random,undesigned,purposeless,as it may
volatile,spasmodic,for the Moment
(1)EVASION/SOPHISTRY: absence o'
reasonin'/intuition/instinct/association o'
unreasonable, gratuitous,incongrous,inconsequential,unscientific/untenable/
(2)QUIRK: obliquity o'
obsession/partisanship/clannishness/esprit de
run away wi' the notion/insular/infatuated/fanatical
camouflage,ensconce/keep from,keep t'
stealthy,sureptitious, clandestine,SUB ROSA,BETWEEN OURSELVES/LIKE

(5)SPECIOUS:"apparently good or right but
lackin' real merit"
SOPHISM:a clever but specious argument
SOPHISTRY:the use or practice o'
C)CHICANERY: "petty trickery 'n' deception"
INTERREGNUM: any interruption in
EVANESENCE: vanishin' or fadin'
away,scarcely perceptible
EPHEMERAL: lastin' a very short
time,especially for only one day
VOLATILE: tendin' t' break out into
open violence-changeable or
flighty as a disposision/explosive,unstable
D)CULT:intense,often faddish devotion t' a
person,ideal,or thing:such a
group or sect bound t'gether by devotion t' a
particular system o' religious worship...
(A)(1)MYSTERIOUS:full o' mystery/obscure
or enigmatic/arcane,cryptic,
OCCULT/inexplicable,unsc rutable
(2)MYSTERY:something that is secret
or impossible t' understand/
something that arouses curiosity through its obscure
(7)MYTH: a traditional or
LEGENDARY story,usually concerned wi'
deities or demigods/a story or belief that attempts t'
explain a basic truth/
a belief or a subject o' whose truth be accepted
(8)MYTHOLOGY: a body o' MYTHS
havin' a common source
or subject/study o' MYTHS
(B)(1)ENIGMATIC: a bafflin' 'n'
inexplicable situation or person/
a mysterious riddle
(2)INEXPLICABLE: incapable o'
being explained
(3)INSCRUTABLE:incapable o'
being searched into or scrutinized/
not easily understood or known
(4)ARCANE: mysteriously secret
or obscure
(5)OBSCURE: not clear t'
understandin'/not easily noticed or found/
not well-known or famous/indistinct t' the sight/t'
cover or hide from view/
(6)AMBIGUOUS: havin' several
possible meanings
(C)(1)CRYPTIC:intended t' be puzzlin'
or bafflin'/secret or OCCULT
(2)OCCULT: MAGICK,Astrology,'n'
other "alleged" sciences claimin'
knowledge o' "SUPERNATURAL" agencies/BEYOND THE RANGE
(3)ESOTERIC: understood by or
meant for only a select few/
private or secret
(4)INCOGNITO: wi' real identity
concealed as under an assumed name-
especially t' avoid notice/unknown

A group o' individuals o' same nature classed t'gether
'cause they have traits
in common/distinctive nature or character...

The MOOD these concepts evoke be the ESSENCE o' the
epitomized 'n' was
the HARBINGER. 'N' naturally it be the MOOD which
permeates the text t' follow.
T' pass into the CORRIDORS O' NIGHT on the HIGHWAY O'
LIFE upon which
awaken first t' the SPIRIT that be the INDIVIDUALITY
servin' lifelong sentence
t' solitary confinement in one's own lonely SKIN,yet
simuletaneously free,
one wi' Earth,Cosmos,Spirit,'n' then split 'n' ramble
that Highway...
identical t' that o' Romani
Gypsies,Hobos,'n' the Fugitive Kind...TOKENS-WILD
I been hearin' some o' y' Folk been diggin' this here
rant o' one o' the Fugitive Kind 'n' I do thank y'
from bottom(?) o' m' heart...everythin' I be sayin'
here comes from 57 years o' Livin' Blues I be here t'
tell y'...'n' I ain' ready for that boneorchard
nonetheless,tho there be s'much mo' o' this type
o' jibber jabber in m' literary Mojo Bag,I also
must say I tend t' express m'self in a
Burroughs/Gysin/Kathy Acker manner as well...
'n' in a Jim Thompson/David Goodis/Cornell Woolrich
etc. Noir mode...I even dig Bremser 'n'
Bob Kaufman,Diane di Prima ,Stu Perkoff 'n'
authentic Hipsters ,LIKE,that,Y'DIG?...
but anyHOO!,thanx fo' lettin' me lay this here
piece on y'...
love be on y',
GypsyMan AKA Gypsy James O'Toole__________________________________________________

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tariq Ali & Eliot Weinberger at McNally Robinson Booksellers

Friday, 10/20. 7 PM. 52 Prince Street. NYC (212)274-1460

Representing Islam: A Talk by Tariq Ali & Eliot Weinberger

These two fire plugs will discuss (and disclaim about!) representations of Islam in the West and the denigration of the religion and culture of Muslims by international leaders and media. Ali is a terrific rhetorician with a crypto-Marxist perspective and convivial manner. Weingberger, a translator of Octavio Paz and countless other literary masters, is a ranter, enchanter, and raconteur. They will certainly raise your hackles, free you from your shackles, and occasionally force you to elicit cackles. Each is an intellectual with rant and no cant. They will mesmerize you and force you to think delvingly about current affairs, current bigotries, and how to spurn the sore of prejudice currently affecting our citizenry like an incurable disease. The cure is conversation, illustration, and collaboration; all of these elements will be present Friday night.

McNally Robinson Booksellers New York

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Joe McElroy Reading

Fiction Magazine will be presenting a reading featuring Joseph McElroy and Mark Jay Mirsky on Wednesday, October 18th at 6:30 PM. The reading will take place at The Mercantile Library at 17 East 47th Street between 5th and Madison, NYC. For more information go to www.fictioninc.com

Joe McElroy is a native New Yorker and one of the leading novelists of his generation. He is the author of such critically acclaimed works as "A Smuggler's Bible", "Lookout Cartridge" and the the more recent "Actress in the House". His novel "Cannonball" will be published in 2007.

The Tempest highly recommends going to see Mr. McElroy read his works. It is not often one gets to hear from a writer of his caliber. As a bonus, the Mercantile Library is a great old place with wonderfully appointed facilities and a haven for anyone interested in works published by small presses.

Luchy Edwards

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Lore O' The Fugitive Kind Cult-parts 3 'n' 4

LORE o' F.K.C.-EXORDIUM (part 3)

As Val Snakeskin Xavier be epitome o' Breed-The
Fugitive Kind,it naturally follows that The
Fugitive Kind Cult are epitome o' genus,Bohemian.It
must be lucidly grasped immediately
that when we invoke concept,Bohemian,we be
extrapolatin' upon authentic historical
roots 'n' interpretation o' that particular
phenomenon-the word be originally derived
from the Romani Gypsies,'n' genuine Bohemian is in
fact a mutated version o' a Gypsy.
We'll explore this in detail in this text...the
Bohemian has always been a habitue
o' Lower Depths o' human societus,shady Underworld o'
beggars,con artists,slum-
musicians,'n' artists.
It must be emphasized at this point that although the
figure o' artist be at heart o'
Bohemianism,not all Bohemians were,are,or will be
artists! Rather,it's artist's
obsessive preoccupation wi' self-examination 'n'
self-creation which be symbolic
o' universal issues in life o' individual 'n' social
life,that be shared by all genuine
Bohemians.Bohemian's primary commitment be t'
individuality-each seeks t'
achieve a purely personal goal by sheer force o' pride
'n' imagination,rejectin' paths
traced out in advance by others,after acute
examination,assimilation,'n' discrimination.
'N' contrary t' the bigoted judgement o'
"citizens",the lowliest beggar be performin' this
personal Rite in their own peculiar Style.'N' being
that an individual o' the Fugitive
Kind be an extremist in everything,so as the
evolutionary version o' Bohemian,
they be fanatical in this Rite o' Individuality.They
honor Legacy o' Val Snakeskin
Xavier,'n' terminally study text o' his "BOOK O' LIFE"
as a sanctified guide t' Lore o'
the Fugitive Kind Cult,but not one amongst them in
their emulation o' Val,would wallow
in petty imitation-in other words,each chooses t'
eksperyence life in their own
individualistic Style,findin' their own way o'
confrontin' the scuffle o' survival.
The Fugitive Kind as Bohemian be the exemplification
o' the poetry o' the personal
style o' life,mirrorin' all inherent contradictions o'
societus which drive individuals
t' flee t' marginal realms,'n' more,a seditionary
warnin' that societus which has corrupted
values o' personal freedom,craft,'n' pleasure,be
rotten 'n' weak,'n' will have t' pay the
Piper.It be a heroic Life 'n' sometimes even can lead
t' open Revolt,yet hopes 'n'
Visions are very rarely fulfilled,rather the
individual pours one's heart out in heroic
fantasy,amidst stale atmosphere o' dread 'n'
desolation.As Symbolist poet,Pierre Quillard,
s'aptly stated in 1892:
"Whoever communicates to his brothers in suffering the
secret splendor of his dreams acts upon the
surrounding society in the manner of a solvent and
makes of all those who
understand him,often without their realization,outlaws
and rebels..."
Thus the Fugitive Kind can be identified as lucidly by
lived dramatization o' antisocial
self-consciousness as by whatever particular thing
they happen t' do in the scuffle
o' survival. For humans always need a Mirror in which
t' explore the conditions o'
LORE o' F.K.C.-Exordium (part 4)

The Fugitive Kind be a Cult in purest sense o' the
concept,that be,an intense devotion
t' a person ie. Val Snakeskin Xavier,an ideal,things
ie. TOKENS or Icons-'n' therefore,
a group or sect o' individuals bound t'gether by that
devotion,through the evolutionary
process o' their particular system o'
spirituality...its imperative that one understand
what be implied by "spirituality" 'n' thus,at this
point,one can only invoke concept
o' VOODOO/HOODOO: which means t' search deeply into
the MYSTERES o' the Cosmos-
in practice a myriad o' RITES,all
mysterious,exotic,'n' beguilin'.
This spirituality be PAGAN: which be derived from
Latin,PAGANUS: a country dweller,
which be derived from PAGUS: a rural area...thus,a
Pagan be a member o' an
indigenous Folk/Tribal religion,in which divinity be
manifest in all the processes
o' Nature; a practitioner o' a philosophy/a Way o'
Livin' in which the human individual
be a functional organ wi'in greater organism o' all
Life. A Pagan being one attuned
t' the aliveness 'n' PRESENCE wi'in Nature; one whose
goal be t' live in harmony wi' nature,'n' who
conceives o' humanity's "progress" 'n' separation from
Nature as prime source
o' alienation,who deems Ritual as the tool in which t'
end that alienation,fueled by
Romantic Vision/Fantasy/'n' Visionary Rites,empowered
by sense o' planetary crisis 'n' the IDEA that Nature
Vision is on its way t' being slaughtered by ecocidal
The Pagan be then an Occultist,OCCULT being REALM o'
NATURE: Occultist/Pagan therefore one who ventures
into hidden realms in search o' their SECRETS:MIND
being the greatest tool
o' MAGICK: Magick being SHAMANISM: knowledge o' how
emotion 'n' concentration
directed naturally effect changes in consciousness
that affect behavior o' all things
in 'n' o' Nature; t' know that everything in the world
be at one's service,t' use 'n' enjoy for the good o'
oneself as well as others,but only LOANED for a
time,by Powers o' Nature 'n' Destiny,
that these gifts came from Nature 'n' t' Nature they
will return.
What then are the Forces o' Nature?
Earth/Air/Fire/Water: these Forces ekyisted before
human appearance on this planet,
they are in fact our Spirit Ancestors who paved the
way for our emergence from the
prehistoric seas o' creation. It be
Nature,Earth,Cosmos who be the great Initiators,'n'
Pagan looks t' these for assistance/guidance in
opening one's eyes t' SEE 'n' come t'
the realization o' what has been there behind the
transparent Veil always. beyond these
four Forces be that Mysterious Principle:SPIRIT:what
be called Soul, Psyche,Self:that which
be non-material ie. does not share in death o' the
body,'n' can even achieve status o' divinity
'n' thus become an archetypal representative o' a
natural or moral principle;its the
Invisible,non-material SELF or CHARACTER o' an
individual ie. the CONCEPT O' PARTICULAR
INDIVIDUALITY,distinct from the physical body o' that
person-its the invisible action
wi'in an individual which motivates 'n' molds visible
acts 'n' expressions:is the energy 'n' action o' the
mind which,as a state o' consciousness 'n' repository
o' material 'n'
moral knowledge 'n' eksperyence,is source 'n' act o'
judgement,decision,desire,'n' o' all
motivation 'n' will projected in one's visible
since it does not ekyist
in the world o' matter,is the IMMORTAL TWIN who
survives the mortal person.Which
means that the Cosmic Drama is not a duality at
all,rather an Organic Dynamic:
a process by which all that characterizes
wisdom-evolves out o' flesh itself,substance 'n'
Spirit are eternally 'n' mutually
committed:the flesh t' divinity wi'in it,'n' divinity
t' flesh o' its origin.
Paganism be associated wi' Hedonism:or sexuality in
ecstatic religious practice-
body as a temple in which there be nothin' unclean,a
shrine for Rites o' Love ie.
PLEASURE IS NOT SINFUL!How can sexuality possibly be
anything but divine knowin'
the body be Vessel o' Spirit?
The Pagan be a Witch: one skilled in Craft o'
shapin',bendin',changin' "reality",
'n' that Craft be none other than the OLDEST RELIGION:
religion bein' any set o'
symbolic forms 'n' acts that relate human t' ultimate
conditions o' EKYISYENCE/
CONNECT-wherein there be n'distinction
between-Spirit: the POWER wi'in oneself t' create
artistically 'n' change one's life,
'n' material-sacred 'n' secular,or the CRAFT O' THE
WISE: which be as old as humanity,
'n' begins in the heart-a sense o' wonder,imagination
that responds t' Moods o' nature,a disgust wi' glib
answers o' the intellectual 'n' the materialist;
it be FOLK MAGICK: Magick o' common Folk,o' Earth or
SYMBOLISM be its language,as it be o' universal
subconscious mind,'n' its direct 'n'
t'-the-point; it be t' study a flower,a leaf,flute o'
the wind,in order t' decipher
Key o' this symbolic language which unleashes true
nature o' Magick; 'n' its TOOLS
be stones,trees,rivers,plants,earth itself,bones 'n'

GypsyMan-AKA Gypsy James O'Toole

Not the Gallic, but the American Shrug

I've seen it countless times, mostly in commercials but often enough in bad sitcoms and smug movies. It's the little hitch of the shoulders, palms up and a half-smirk on the lips. This American shrug--usually seen after the shrugger experiences the singular benefits of a consumer good--means "Don't blame me, it's not my fault I'm so lucky."

Advertisers deploy this sentiment because it connotes passive enjoyment of their product by the consumer. Advancing the shrug as an appropriate response to good fortune relieves the consumer of any potential doubts that might arise about the possible cost, pocketbook, moral, environmental or otherwise, that might result from their purchasing behavior.

This shrug has become so prevalent in commercials that I think it deserves special mention as a bellwether of our national mainstream psyche. For it isn't only in commercials where this response takes hold, but in our living rooms as well. Despite all the moaning and groaning we Americans indulge, we all know (unless we are especially dim), that compared with a huge percentage of the rest of humanity, we live in a perfect hog-wallow of riches.

Once recognized, this gross inequity implies a need for correction. The unthoughtful among us react as simple organisms, and seek a place where they can wallow more safely. Spiritually, that place is housed inside the shrug.

"Don't blame me--I didn't personally remove valuable resources from impoverished, unlucky, dictatorially-run, corporate-friendly nation-states; nor did I personally engineer their transformation into polished, relatively useless examples of material excess--I was just lucky enough to have been born into a circumstance where if I worked enough I would gain access to them."

Being able to say that to one another--shrugging our way to faux-leather oblivion--makes us feel better.


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Friday, October 13, 2006

Literary Disparities

One sad conceit in contemporary writing, particularly American fiction, is the gap between form and content. Techinque and vision are seldom now integrated; therefore, we have books filled with admirable literary tricks without a compelling story or, vice versa, narratives of suggestive ideas and actions and written without noteworthy style.

Can the situation be remedied in this post-post-modern, pre-diluvian world? Of course it can. There are exceptions to the rule but the rule stands strong. Let's discover another set of rules to guide us to grace.

We can.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Past My Summit

Ducking into a dive
I unfurled my foil (filled with confectioner's sugar)
and hopped back
wearing double-high platforms.

Nobody had me down.
I was on top of the New Year's Ball.
It fell, and so did I into the new year
not remembering my old address.

"He moved three years ago, man."
"That's a bank now."
"Tore it up for the boulevard."

I was old.
Older than my walking stick.

I hung pictures of Sunkist oranges
on my tenement wall, thinking about a pair of socks.

I finally sat next to the flies
and Uncle Sigmund d.1939
said hello.

Beyond purple.
Round-trip ticket guaranteed.

--from the Unofficial Journals of Rick Draper

From a Bus in a Small, Rainy City

The mistrialed and the parole officers
congregate on the spot without speaking.

A tumult surrounds them:
Tom Timbers, lonely and crass,
cries out ill deeds of the American dollar
and claims Rockefeller was never in the army

Old Joe Redhead sneers at everything except
his T-shirt with a map of the London Underground,
and swats missing the behind of a passing chickadee

I saw the eyes of the hunted come in.
They glanced at us and turned away:
not allowed to stay.

I saw the eyes of the frantic,
waiting for a lover or friend,
shivering in the cold as the carriage clacked by empty.

I saw the uncertain
figuring out how much to spend on their lives.
They decided to chase their own tail
as it was cheap.

Iced-tea Dick Tracy came and went,
his dumb-eyed mistress' bleach
growing back into black.

A dog chewed a pencil and taught me simple joy.

Soup is thrown and sandwiches spilt
and junkies thumb Agatha Christie.
I read Faulkner and wonder about
my biological cycles.

My emptiness spreads like Halloween smoke
through a three level mall
as they tow away a car outside
and my bus takes 45 mins to reach my home stop.

What makes me feel this way?

The mistrialed and the parole officers:
both suspecting all good intentions.

--from the Unofficial Journals of Rick Draper

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Can Katie Couric Guest-Edit for Matt Drudge?

Can Katie Couric, the new anchor for CBS News (and falling to third place rapidly against NBC and ABC), really wield journalistic power where it matters? I am talking about Matt Drudge's famous web site which, according to a recent ABC News story, is "the single most powerful news source in the nation".

There's a school of thought that the only reason the hunkered-down males running network news let a gal sit in the anchor chair is because network news doesn't mean a whole lot anymore. Anyway, not what it used to mean. Remember when Walter Cronkite was "the most trusted man in America"? If he cared, America cared. These days, who really watches the news at 6:30 anyway? It's a little bit quaint in an era of cable news, internet news and of course, blogs.

Back to the Drudge Report. Some folks accuse him of having a conservative, Republican slant. And many believe ABC news has become a sort of weak-tea version of Fox. Which would explain why ABC chose to run the big puffy story on Drudge in the first place: let's give Matt Drudge candy by doing a soft publicity spot for him. We'll call it news. He'll be nice to us--maybe even give us a scoop! And no one will notice. Will they? According the the ABC story, senior press people in the Bush Administration claim they check Drudge "thirty or forty times a day". Amazing! There's no telling when Drudge will print some fake story that he can later retract, but in the meantime can be used to smear a Democrat.

Now, back to Katie. Since the only interesting part of her getting the anchor chair is that the anchor chair ostensibly "matters" and so represents a new milestone in gender equality; but since that chair really matters less than Drudge, Editor of the "most influential news source in the nation" (according to ABC); and assuming we're all pulling for both Katie and gender equality; doesn't it make sense that to accomplish gender equality in news, Katie should Guest-Edit at the Drudge Report? At least once in a while? Or maybe they can switch places now and again.

How about a nationwide campaign to see Katie Guest-Edit the Drudge Report? And to see Drudge in his floppy hat as CBS anchor? Send emails to Katie, Matt and while you're at it, to ABC News asking why Matt Drudge is news to them.


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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Lore O' The Fugitive Kind-part 2

LORE o'C.o'F.K.-Exordium-(part 2)

Its not t' be strung out in ideologies,rather actual
Magikal Eksperyentchul Knowledge.
Not t' be caught in webs,shucks o' doubtin' one's
no individual be obligated t' be a part o' any
societus which locksteps toward
self-destruction,permeated in evil. The Fugitive
Kind's hearts pound as if wi' Voodoo
drums-the very different drummer o' Authentic Self
which the Fugitive Kind bend an
ear t' 'n' follow. Not futile the frantic Kicks o' the
Life, 'cause we live neath the
Shadow o' the Beast...
the face o' alienation,o' disaffiliation,which be that
o' the Fugitive Kind,be not s'very
bizarre nor "sick" 'n' depraved afterall. We can't
know what mad landscapes await
us,but our creations,our Legacy be testaments left in
ashes,illumination in the darkness,
t' guide survivors who come after when we be Gone
Beyond. It be a Holy Road,'n'
somewhere beyond the horizons,the true Self awaits
reunion wi' the Seeker.
One must come t' the realization that its ultimate Bad
Faith t' ignore one's personal
hassles 'n' questions that be at root o' their very
ekyisyence,they must be explored
in order t' exorcise 'n' at least t' attempt t' answer
them questions,t' learn from
that eksperyentchul knowledge, 'n' then t' do that
which be what one should be
a-doin':one's Work-whatever that be,one's creative
search for true Self. One can't
ignore or obliterate the profound anguish 'n' despair
that one feels in attempt t'
dwell in the nebulous farce that be this societus o'
oneself 'n' Others. One must
confront these negative states in one's continuum o'
Moments,'n' evolve,grow,
become spiritually healthy...
its the Coolthe o' the Fugitive Kind,that out front
knowledge that makes one strong 'n' compells one t' go
on n'matter what the consequences or the hassles that
the Fugitive Kind can't associate nor assimilate
themselves into societus,for they be
truly Lone Wolves on a Wild Road t' Legacy or
oblivion,bearin' terrible scars o' love,
total isolate beings,s' extremely
different,shattered,in tatters,like Val Snakeskin
Xavier,tired 'n' disgusted 'n' restless,crazed,'n'
equipped t' tap the Source-the
The Fugitive Kind be Refugees in this here Nex
Millenniuum-Renegade artists,
legendary,even more furtive than their
the stink o' the ashes o' genocided millions o'
Auschwitz 'n' Treblinka 'n' Bergen-
Belsen 'n' Dachau clogs their nostrils; the witchhunts
o' McCarthy; the Strange
Fruit that be AfroAmerican bodies burned 'n' lynched;
the horror o' potential atomic holocaust forces them
t' ekyist in terminal dread.
'N' yet they can do nothin' but t' Act-based on
acquired survival instincts,for they
be truly Conjurers,Magick be their Wild Creed,'n' from
out o' the Dread emerges
the Mutant,who becomes Possessed by Spirits,who stalks
the earth,who in the Heart o'
the Beast,in this amodern resurrected Babylon,be the
Adversary,the Nemesis.
The Fugitive Kind be Evangelists o' the Blues which
they live,the angst o' human
folly,the despair o' human's plunge into
self-destruct,'n' the Love-the love o' life,
the passionate Embrace,the mystical communion wi'
A weird breed o' heroes be they,androgynous,a human
Phoneix-they've been
anihililated 'n' resurrected,come down t' earth t'
create the paradise o' myth,if
they only can avoid Man's intent t' destroy anything
that deviates from his
meglomaniacal lunatic "Master Plan".
GypsyMan-AKA Gypsy James O'Toole

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Celebrating a Culture of Cruelty and Indifference

The culture is ours. The subject is how television commercials foment and support it:  a culture of cruelty and indifference.

Ad geniuses everywhere have long been accused of moral turpitude in their naked pursuit of persuasion. In the fifties they portrayed us smiling insanely while gazing at mounds of custard. In the sixties we were languid with pencil-thin cigarettes that would soon kill us. Then it got worse.

Today the hidden persuaders--often enough--play a different mind game. In many commercials products are so charged with desirable qualities, that ostensibly normal people are rapacious hooligans in their presence. In one ad, a man screeches like a skewered hyena while racing after a bundle of cash that has fallen from the sky (okay, this one is almost believable). In another, a jean-thief is run down the way a Neanderthal might have ridden a deer, and then is disrobed in a parking lot. And we've all witnessed couch-jockeys beating and choking their neighbors for a handful of salty chips.

It's become accepted practice for ads to show average-looking folks committing violent crimes in pursuit of coveted goods. As demonstrated above, it's often in the form of battery or forced confinement or both. Often, victory is not enough. Once the perpetrator obtains the product, they gloat. Preening, they enjoy their ill-gotten goods while the vanquished lie squirming at their feet. These behavior patterns are presented as if they were paradigms.

Judging by a number of indicators, we are a culture where the word "me" is easily more important than the words "life" or "liberty" or even "all men are created equal". So the message has gotten through.

Thank you, Ad Geniuses, for making your trifles catalysts for acts of unreflective selfishness; and especially, for glamorizing random cruelty. Some of us might not have known to behave disgracefully unless you'd shown us how.

You there! Step away from the Chalupa!


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Monday, October 02, 2006

Food for Political Thought

Conservatives embrace tradition but rarely create it. Their adherence to history is often skewed and always derivative. What's more, their palate is predicated on precedent but authenticity is never on their plate. Take the whole 'Freedom Fries' phenomenon in which the Congressional Cafeterias decided to lodge their chauvinism into the potato as a rebuke to the uncooperative Gallic anti-war sentiment. They were in a tradition best executed in recent memory by the Austrian satirist, Karl Kraus. For thirty-seven years (1899-1936) in the the pages of Die Fackel (The Torch), Kraus lampooned rightwingers, war mongers, opera critics, and an apathetic body politic. He also cooked up new names for various dishes so they would better exemplify the nationalistic tendencies of Middle Europe. "Macaroni" became "Perfidy Noodles," "Ragout" became "Rump-steak." You get the flavor.

Why no one on the political Left has stewed over some meaty euphemisms is beyond me.
However, it is time for Lefty Foodies to recuperate its lost tradition. Here are some examples to baste the flanks of your imagination:

"Buffalo Wings"--> "Bagdad Boondoggles"

"French Fries"--> "Pacifist Potato Piths"

"Porterhouse Steak"--> "Shithouse Surveillance Strip"

"Beef Stew w/ Guinness"--> "Irish Quagmire"

"Empanadas"--> "Duck and Covers"

"White Castle Burgers"--> "Cheap White House Eviscerated Meat Soldiers"
(2,700 burgers pre-made; more to come)

"Spaghetti"--> "Foreign Entanglements" (ak.a. "Disorganized Lines of Battle")

"Baked Alaska"--> "Imperial Ice Cream Disaster"

Thanks for dining.

--Martin Scriblerus

Genteel Reminder

When perambulating about a city scape and one is accosted by a canvasser on the corner, thrusting into your hand an ad for gyms, watches, restaurants, palm readings, etc., please take what is offered. These street workers are paid by the page and are usually being surveilled by their small business boss. They are usually grateful when you accept what amounts to paper money for them. Not only are you helping someone to keep their job--however tedious it might be-- you're also getting what for me becomes a striking saraband of stationery, different colors and shapes and all free...


The Close-knit Community

Recently there was a tragic shooting in a Colorado school. No, not that one. Another one. Some drifter with a gun came in, took hostages and shot a young woman to death. Truly disgraceful. And if you're an East Coast liberal, you're thinking "gun control".

Sure. But this post is about something else. It's about the kind of places where that sort of stuff happens. We know that kind of place here in the Northeast. It used to be us. Remember crime? We don't have so much of it anymore. Why not? Could be the bigger prisons. Or the relative wealth. Or gun control, not sure.

But whenever a small, mainly white, non-Eastern Seaboard, non-California town witnesses a senseless act of mayhem, the press rallies 'round them and calls them "close-knit". Have you noticed? "This close-knit mountain town." "This close-knit farming community."

My question is: if those places were so close-knit, how'd the drifter get into the school? How'd he get the gun? How'd those kids plan the rampage? Was it in one of the prayer-meetings? Or maybe it was during one of the Republican caucuses down at the Rotary.

The fact is, the far-flung suburbs in the Midwest and west are some of the most alienating communities on earth. They are close knit they way the Kuyper Belt is close to the sun. Neighbors never see one-another except in cars or at the mall. They think praying for an hour in some architecturally depressing airplane hangar of a church, and being self-congratulatory for having voted for Family Values, is the equivalent of being friends. The fact is, folks in those places don't really like other folks. That's why they live so far from one another. Also, they think guns are loads of fun. How close-knit is that?

Next time there's a tragic shooting in a grassy, highway-connected community and the media calls it "close-knit", understand that the reason they're calling it that is because it is inconvenient for mainstream media to admit that the opposite is true. They'd have to admit that the vast majority of newer suburbs are unconnected places where people are deeply lonesome, where the gun lobby runs the legislature, and where drifters roam around killing poeple with guns. They'd have to do a story that would shock their viewers and maybe make them think: about how random violence isn't despite the local culture, but because of it.


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How Mom and Pop Gave it Away to Wal Mart

Seems like Wal Mart can't catch a break.

Now the NY Times says they are replacing more senior, higher-paid employees with newer, lower-paid part-timers and forcing all employees to be available any time of the day or night. Kids at home? Tough. You're pulling an all-nighter. You'll get, like $72 bucks for it (and probably no health plan).

How can Wal Mart keep doing stuff like this, when it ends up making them look so bad in the big-city papers?

Two answers: the first is easy. Wall Street likes it. And if Wall Street liked slave labor (just wait a couple of years), Wal Mart would be shackling their workers in chains.

The second answer is hard, and not so gratifying. It's about Mom and Pop and their small, local shop. You know, the one that got put out of business by Wal Mart.

It's about how Mom and Pop gave the store away. Because Wal Mart didn't serve Mom and Pop an eviction notice and remove all their inventory. They just offered folks a better deal.

The truth is, in many cases Mom and Pop hardly knew how to run a store at all. Like lots of small shop owners, they were kind of cranky, and offered kind of a poor value.

I know they were because the ones that are left in at least one small town where Wal Mart has moved in, and where I spend lots of time, they still are kind of cranky.  Maybe they're under lots of pressure, running a small, low-margin business. But they often aren't very nice when you go into the store. "If you thought you were going to come in to my store with your money and just go around spending it, you've got another thing coming!" Good-bye!

Mom and Pop never have the stuff you're looking for. If you ask for a particular item, more often than not, they don't have it. And the fact that you asked, is an insult. "Why would you want to buy that?" they seem to ask. Or, they "can order it for you". It will take seven weeks. Wal Mart has thirty kinds of that item on their shelves.

Also, Mom and Pop are never open. On Saturday they close at three. Forget Sunday. When are you supposed to buy stuff? How about nine o'clock in the morning on Tuesday? Oh, you're at work too? Come back Sunday.

Yes, Wal Mart is creating a heinous new low-cost, low-wage world. Yes, its morally ambiguous to enjoy a good bargain by shopping there. But Mom and Pop never really offered you much of a choice. They took you for granted. They kind of gave away the business. Anyway, I saw them shopping at Wal Mart last week.



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