Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gary Snyder, You Asshole.

I keep noticing this odd subliminal phenomena and wonder if I am the only one. I've tried this a couple of times with mixed results. The most recent time was unintentional and happened last night. I was sitting on the couch with a novel when I started into a conversation with the Croft. The book's back cover was facing up and the words of praise in bold ink were visible, but only if i looked down. I was looking at the Croft, but when i spoke to her I began to use words that aren't normally found in my vocabulary. Most notably, I said the word 'Marvelous.' 'What a strange thing to say,' a part of my mind pointed out, and then I looked down and not one but two bold Marvelouses revealed themselves.

My question is this, was my brain suggestible to the words I wasn't even looking at directly? Was the fact that these words were in my cone of vision, just not being actively read have something to do with the fact that i used marvelous in a sentence? Jus how impressionable is the mind? Because this definitely is not the first time this has happened to me. Its really best that I don't even have so much as a newspaper nearby when I talk.

All this started me on a paranoid line of thought that wondered just how much every little thing I see and hear effects me deep down. Are all those shitty pop songs I've heard over the years secretly informing the way i write? Do the thousands of advertisements I've seen in my life have a sinister influence on my sketches? And does the repetition of these cultural ephemera add to their suggestive power? Because I've read the line "Read the Poet Gary Snyder, a True Elder, A Modern Age Thoreau" on the wall of the men's restroom at work so many times it has become some sort of mantra. I have no desire to read Gary Snyder, am not even sure what a True Elder is and am pretty sure Thoreau is a modern age Thoreau.

But i can't get it out of my head, I'm stuck with it, seemingly forever. Deep inside, where the knowledge of how to start a fire in the wilderness or tie a sheepshank knot or something useful and potentially life-saving, or a romantic memory might lay to make me smile on a day where things are going fairly shitty there lay that stupid bathroom graffiti. Far from wanting to read Gary Snyder, suddenly I hate him. and Thoreau. And my True Elders. Whoever the hell they might be.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

shimmy shimmy shake

love what TCM is doing the month before the Oscars. Nearly every night you are guaranteed a great movie. Last night it was Vertigo. A few days ago it was Sunrise. Made all the more poignant when interspersed between blocks of American Idol and Project Runway (we're not complete snobs, after all). makes the DVDs in my netflix queue grab their own shoulders and shiver in the cold. It also makes me remember the sheer number of great movies I haven't seen.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Dems the Breaks

I'm not an explicitly political person. I keep up with the news, try to be as informed as possible, but it's not my thing--in the scenester sense. I suppose nobody is that definitively categorizable but I certainly know folks whose religion defines everything they do as well as others who have built a lifestyle out of the music they listen to. And there are definitely folks in my life who have done the same with politics. This must be their favorite time of the year. Especially if they are Democrats.

I'm a Democrat but I'm probably more of a Liberal than anything else. People often conflate the two, and the latter has gained an especially demonic undertone under the current administration, but nothing is that cut and dry. Yes I'm for environmental protection but I'm not mega-passionate. I'd make a terrible environmentalist. I'm pro gun control but thats only because I don't think regular folks should be allowed to purchase and own weapons that can bring down small air-craft. Many of the 'sides' I've taken have been chosen because of extreme options. In the most recent example, I basically agree and would very much defend the second amendment, but keep it reasonable folks.

Same holds for abortion and the sanctity of human life. In my heart I believe people shouldn't have abortions, but I would never want there to be a law that makes it illegal. If i was a woman who was raped I'm pretty sure i wouldn't want bear a child as a consequence. Mostly I'm of the Juno school of thought. If the child was unplanned and might be detrimental to the quality of yours and its life, there are plenty of folks out there looking to adopt.

Yet there are ways in which I don't agree with Fox News defined 'the liberal agenda'. I thought the war in iraq was the stupidest thing ever and remember getting into some of the worst arguments I've ever had with my parents because of it. I nearly let it ruin an entire Christmas visit. In retrospect I was right, you can't really argue otherwise, but the idea that most Liberal's hold that we can just skip town out of Iraq in 6 months is preposterous. Preventing a war before it starts is one thing. But since we're there we may as well follow through with some of the more positive things the war was fought for. Leaving now would negate thousands of deaths and leave a country in no condition to stand up for itself. Its our responsibility--whether it should be is a different and at this point, completely irrelevant question.

I didn't begin this to talk about my political beliefs (by the way since you're asking I'm anti-death penalty, pro universal health care, think the economic stimulus package is huge joke that will only delay the descent to rock bottom, and even though I don't make a hell of a lot of money, I wouldn't mind paying more taxes--along with everyone else, proportionate by how much you earn for a living--so that we could actually mantain our basic infrastructures [bridge collapse in Minnesota/Hurricane Katrina anyone?] as well improve schools and the arts. Like i said, Liberal) but to talk about my thoughts on the democratic race for the presidential nomination.

I met Obama a few years ago at the bookstore i was working at. He wasn't yet a Senator then but was a kind of a local celebrity. He had 'something of a big deal' tattooed all over him. I was excited when he entered the Senate but had mixed feelings when he declared his candidacy last year. I thought it was too soon and for the most part I've been proven dead wrong. During the early primaries I waffled between Obama and Clinton (I actually preferred Dodd and Biden, not that they had a snowball's chance) because of Clinton's ridiculously good public speaking skills and my fear that her enemies will be able to attack her easier than Obama. Its pretty much a crap shoot as far as their actual policies. There are differences but not enough to effect my vote. What matters most to me is who stands the best chance to defeat the Republicans and most likely John McCain. here's what keeps me restlessly flip-flopping (not a pejorative this time, Conservatives).

1) Clinton has really powerful, well entrenched friends as well as lobbyists all of whom want their wills to be executed and will do everything they can to get her in office. These colleagues (desirable and undesirable) are part of the game and will be an effective weapon against anything the Republicans can throw.

2) Clinton's enemies are legion. To some folks her personality is grating and they just can't get behind her. Some even 'blame' her for her husband's tresspasses as if she was a better wife then he wouldn't have strayed and that this proves she's a weak person or some tripe. My step-father is a moderate republican and has a blind seething almost inexplicable rage of the woman approaching Newt Gingrich/Ann Coulter territory. Otherwise decent people like him will be relentless in denying Clinton. I just don't think there are very many people as adamantly opposed to Barack.

3) As such, it appears Barack has a better chance of winning independents and even luring the stray Republican or two. He is also strong in the south, a typically Republican bastion.

4) i think Clinton is actually more Liberal than Barack and every time I've seen them debate head to head I lean back toward Clinton.

In the end I'm backing Obama, I think he'd be a lock against any republican, particularly McCain, but if Clinton wins the nomination I'd be plenty happy--so long as she come through in November.

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