Thanksgiving Is Ruined
May 06, 2015
TiR has no idea if the novel contains "blasphemy."
However, why does it seem that the most imaginably "blasphemous" passages are also the funniest?
Or the most bitingly ironical . . .
For me, religion is a form of public transportation which I don't take. I would rather go to God by foot, if I must do it at all, but not as part of a package tour.(p. 76)
If I may be so bold as to say it, religions horrify me. All of them! Because they skew the weight of the world. I've sometimes wanted . . to scream out: stop your whiny recitation of verses! Live in the world! Open your eyes to your own power and dignity! And stop running after a father who has fled away into the skies and who is never coming back.(p. 79)
What would I do if I had a scheduled appointment to meet God and I passed a motorist on the road who needed me to help him fix his car? I don't know. I am that guy who's broken down, not the one who's passing by in search of holiness.(p. 80)
The story is told of a certain Sadhu Amar Bharati. You've undoubtedly never heard tell of this gentleman. He is an Indian who insists that he has kept his right arm raised up in the air for thirty eight years. And as result, his arm is nothing more than a bone wrapped in skin. It will stay stuck until he dies. Maybe that's the way it goes for all of us, deep down. For some, it's arms hugging the void left by the body of a loved one. For others, it's a hand holding onto a baby that's already grown old, a leg raised above the brink of a thresh-hold that will never be crossed, teeth clenched on a word never pronounced, and so on and so on. The idea keeps me entertained . . . (p. 101-02)
I want to howl out that I am free, that God is a question not an answer, and that I want to meet Him alone, all by myself, as on the day of my birth or my death.(p. 149)
. . . Or the most sorrowful.
April 30, 2015
Why the next Philip Glass probably will never come from among the ranks of Uber drivers
from Glass's newly published Words Without Music: A Memoir:
Driving a cab was never a problem for me . . . That was in the says where the cabdriver made 49 percent of the meter, paid in a check every two weeks, and kept all of the tips (maybe thirty dollars on forty to fifty rides a night). We didn't pay insurance, gas, or tires. I remember many nights making a hundred or one hundred twenty dollars, and in the 1970s that was good money. If I worked three nights a week, I had enough to pay my rent and living expenses . . .
A lot of Einstein on the Beach was written at night after driving a cab. The days when I didn't have to drive I had time to write music in the daytime . . .
After five years, I finally quit driving a cab in 1978 when the commission to write Satyagraha for the Netherlands Opera came through.
Uber doesn’t count these drivers as employees. Uber says they’re “independent contractors.”
What difference does it make?
. . Uber drivers pay for their cars – not just buying them but also their maintenance, insurance, gas, oil changes, tires, and cleaning. Subtract these costs and Uber drivers’ hourly pay drops considerably.
from Robert Reich's "Why We're All Becoming Independent Contractors," here.
(More on Uber driver take-home pay: here, here and here.)
Reich also mentions Uber drivers' lack of "labor protections." The mid-1970s drivers, like Glass, who drove out of the Dover Taxi Garage seem not to have been formally unionized. However, the garage was the hotbed of the Taxi Rank and File Coalition, described by the NLRB in 1977 as "an activist group of taxi industry employees with participants working at various of the companies covered" by Local 3036's contract.
Mark Jacobson's classic 1975 magazine piece on Dover gives a good sense of the Coalition's militancy.
A terrific blog devoted to the Coalition, including six full years' worth of scans of its newspaper, The Hot Seat, discussing its activities, is here.
March 31, 2015
what killed Hotaling's: no more yokels
from the NY Daily News, 8/1/99:
Hotaling's, the fabled Times Square newsstand, quietly closed its landmark store . . .
Hotaling's colorful grandfather, also named Arthur, began Hotaling's News Agency in New York in 1905 on the theory that visitors and new New Yorkers wanted to read their hometown newspapers. . . .
Hotaling once complained that Broadway was being hurt by the demise of yokels. "I'll tell you what's the matter with Broadway - there's no more yokels left," he said. "There's no back-country for them to come from. The automobiles marked the end of real yokels, and everything that lived off the yokels - from Broadway to the circus - is dying."
Nothing else like that glorious place, then or since.
February 28, 2015
Why we blog so rarely
Debord put it nicely in his Considérations sur l'assassinat de Gérard Lebovici:
He who does not, of his own free will [spontanément], make himself as visible as possible in the spectacle, lives in fact in secrecy, since all current communication in society passes through this mediation. He who lives in secrecy is a clandestine person.
The translation is taken from here.
With his next breath, GD points out the historically expanding legal downside of this approach:
A clandestine person will be more and more likely to be considered a terrorist.
Hard to believe, it is, that GD published the far-thinking above in 1985.
TiR wishes that we could say that this is our favorite passage in the Lebovici book. However, we even more are charmed by those in which Debord says sweet things about his wife.
January 14, 2015
"They have to rewrite all the books again . . . "
TiR out of curiosity took a shot a englishing this new piece of writing by Kamel Daoud:
Le Point Afrique - Published 1/11/2015
December 14, 2014
"Is it because I'm nappy? Why yu suh trigger happy?"
Steel Pulse's brand new "Hands Up I Can't Breathe": here
Hit the very same day as these events.
SP's most topical tune in 30 + years?
November 27, 2014
Just how ruined is Thanksgiving?
How could such a question possibly be answered? What units of measurement would even be used? TiR has no idea.
However, perhaps the question could be indirectly answered.
So, as part of TiR's annual ruthless interrogation of its namesake proposition, here is a list of a dozen items alleged by the internet"s" to be "ruined beyond measure":
Is Thanksgiving at least as ruined as any of the above?
If "yes," than the ultimate answer is obvious.
November 23, 2014
generally funnier and more self-deprecating than expected
west on the other hand was 1st or only to mention (roughly in order) all of the following:
October 15, 2014
through confusion wisdom
Mary the maid, in Ionesco's The Bald Soprano:
Who has any interest in prolonging [faire durer] this confusion? I don't know. Let's not try to know. Let's leave things as they are.
[above rendering taken from this]
Later in the play:
Mr. Smith: Take a circle, caress it, and it will turn vicious.
one of the most observant or at least funniest works of art inspired by the attempt (and often failure) to learn a new language.
September 30, 2014
On Nerval's mad library
This is TiR's very favorite passage from Aurélia, written around 1853-4:
(above translation taken from this)
Mind you, Nerval is describing the decor of his room in a lunatic asylum. He claims his possessions in this chamber -- "an odd interior composed of palace and hovel" -- to include also a canopy bed, ornate 17th and 18th century furnishings with porcelain inlays, a crystal vase, a hookah pipe, wood paneling from his former home, oil paintings, a huge map of Cairo, and twenty years worth of various other personal momentos.
The reader at first may assume with some justification that the writer is madly hallucinating it all, as he has so much already throughout his book-journal.
Arthur Symons, in his The Symbolist Movement in Literature (1899), laid into Nerval and his library:
(Symon's whole book as .txt file = here)
Symons says this like it's a bad thing?