Thursday, April 07, 2005

On the Pyre, 6 April 05

(Revised 13 April 05.)

Lots of reading today. A light breakfast warm-up with Sasha Frere-Jones' March 21st New Yorker overview of grime (which I'd been only too happy to postpone, but which I wasn't too terribly appalled by). I'm requesting a moratorium on further explications of the g**** gesture, however. An aside to the hacks: plz nix the wearying fractal analogies.

(Beautiful girl with too-enormous ass enters café; my thought train derails. Oops, she's sitting with the semi-hot Kyrgyzstani lass from the quad dining hall. And now the even hotter Russian gals are piling in. The correct ass size is established... Must rub orbs. Cute domestic female leaves carrying bag inscribed with "RehabWorks" logo. Good God... The purposely geek'd glasses girl with the great legs ambles through. (Points off 'cuz she knows they're great, but points restored for moxy.) Scruffy sorority slags in soiled sweats chew gum and scream into handhelds... The red-dyed Russian is back. (Oh fuck, her arms are wayyyyyyyy too thin.) Must compose rebuke and brush-off... Three homegirls gawk over a Yin Yang Twins webcast. One of them is country as fuck, but very lovely. Her lipstick seems to be a shade of green! I'm digging.)

Noon-ish, after class, a romp through Ellen O'Gorman's New Lit. History essay "Decadence and Historical Understanding in Flaubert's Salammbô." Fave (or, most resonant) lines (at least in terms of my own research), re the sacking of Carthage in 146 BCE:

Indeed, kindling the French torch on the altar of the Capitol initially appears to have the vaguest of temporal references, but the flames of Corinth can be carbon-dated. Even at the moment of her destruction, a moment which apparently guarantees the future of civilization, shows us perhaps that Carthage as absolute irredeemable decadence is as difficult to assimilate fully into the narrative of progress as it is to utterly exclude it.

That, and a rotten apple, will buy you a date with a Dutch donkey.

(Or win you an aisle seat on Delta Song's express flashback flight to an 1848 Parliamentary debate on child labor... All hail the Thesis of Determinism by the Base!)

While putting off the creation of PowerPoint slides for a Ethics and Technology presentation, I chortled through Gordon Downe's "Aesthetic Necrophilia: Reification and the Commodification of Affectivity" broadside in the Summer 2004 ish of Perspectives of New Music.

Music of an affirmatory and conformist complexion capitulates and seeks to accommodate and reconcile itself to commodity form, by placing the very communicative fabric of music at the service of capital.

(Like, no dung!)

Still, it beats Byron Coley's recent Parade profile of M.I.A.

Really enjoyed the Barry Hannah interview in the new Paris Review; specifically, the slashed and ink-strewn manuscript proof page from his forthcoming tome Long, Last, Happy:


Clogged synapses after eight with "Off the Beaten Ring," an article on roadside oblast curiosities appearing in the Mar/Apr 2005 issue of Russian Life. (I have some familiarity with the tongue, after all, and, as some of you may have surmised, my honey lives along the Volga in one of the primary ring cities. Я говорю по-русски, да, но не очень хорошо.)

As we came into Pereslavl, we found a luxurious suburban hotel, "Lesnaya Skazka," with wonderful grounds, a pond, and plenty of trees. Along the banks of the pond, to the glee of young Katya, roamed a little white goat. Cottages were comfortably dispersed around a rather large territory. But, in a place visible from anywhere on the property, there was a small cage, in which there paced a bear, driven crazy by his confinement.

(Strictly Model-T prose, but an accurate snapshot.)

Alright, once the Moby lookalike wanders in, it's always time to bolt. Back to test prep. (Tomorrow afternoon, on the Upanishads.)

Post-Vedic, I remain yours, humbly,


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