“See, I’m a writer, so it’s totally cool if I drink during the day. Perhaps I haven’t earned the right to drink like I’ve written the great American novel, but let me tell you something, apparently Jonathan Franzen has and the dude is duller than child scissors. I like my writers opinionated, classy, and yet hilariously drunk. The actual writing is incidental.”—
I have nothing against the author of this post. Although that final bit in the quote above is pretty stupid. Whatever.
The really inane bit comes later. I had to stop reading the piece to reblog this. I don’t think I’m going to click back.
As soon as you get to the party, get a drink. Then get some food. Then stretch that drink over the course of several hours. Then eat more food. Eat something with heavy cheese or meat. Preferably both. If you’re going to have one drink, make sure that you know you can handle it and that you’re planning on staying there for a while. Last night I drank Brandy and earned the nickname Angela Lansbury and then ate a frozen hash brown, and so what? It’s called being responsible.
This advice about How Not To Get Too Drunk just seems like… Don’t Drink. Call me crazy, but if you’re going to front like you’re “Angela Lansbury” and a “hilariously drunk” “writer,” then you probably need to be drinking more than one drink per four hours. Maybe switch the eating-to-drinking ration.
Speaking of music writing (…… ambivalent about that entire awkward lede) I and a bunch of other neat people—or if you don’t think I’m neat, then a lot of neat people and I—blurbed our favorite/top/best albums of 2010. The ones I did? Drake, Joanna Newsom, and Sleigh Bells. Ofc.
“Someone needs to put Taylor Swift, and her guitar, in a well and seal it shut.”—
Sean Fennessey can say anything he wants about Odd Future from now on (because he needs my permission, of course, to say things about things) because this is my favorite thing I’ve read about music in 2010.
10.0 Best New Music Writing
I haven’t even read the rest of this piece because I’m picturing Taylor Swift getting trapped in the Yeezy Taught You Well (which, come on, can we designate a national landmark Yeezy Taught You Well somewhere, please?) and I get distracted. Plus social media. What was I doing? I have to tweet. Put Taylor Swift in a well.
Actually, I’m pretty sure Odd Future has at least two songs (I’ve mentioned this before) about kidnapping Taylor Swift. So… hmph. Damn you, memory. Now it feels kind of creepy to have Taylor Swift kidnap fantasies. Even musico-critically. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.
If only Tumblr had some sort of paid option, so we could pay them money and then call them up and complain when they fuck our shit up. Or if only Tumblr could somehow get like $30 million in investments so they could just not fuck our shit up, and then use the fact that they have billions of impressions and millions of users in order to keep getting this free money.
Did you know that you1 can write all the posts you want, and then rather than click “Create Post” you can hit the drop down and do “save to draft,” instead. It feels almost as good as the real thing, I swear. And this way, there are no accidents.
I made a Tumblr post again! It’s odd to say, since I made one earlier today, that this marks a notable occasion. But I don’t make as many posts lately, so you should read this one for the heck of it. You’ll learn that there’s an official (officially great) music video for Palace’s “Horses” and more.
Submitted for no one’s approval: This may be the best Pavement song. This song is Pavement as fuck. No one does this sort of thing anymore. One of the big things about me is that I don’t know anything about Pavement. Nor about music in general. So when someone (usually Braud) is like,
'Oh hey dude. That guy was the part-time drummer of that band that shared studio space where the c-side of this other band’s bassist was recorded, and they started huffing asbestos and scoring junk art down in Coney Island, and that’s how Frank Zappa learned how to solo a guitar.
And I’m never, like, cognizant of that. I don’t know if this is from one of the better Pavement albums, for instance, or if there was much internal strife.
But I do remember driving around a lot with my friend Flynn, going up and down I-25 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque screaming along to the song (which sounds suspiciously like a Cake song, if you think about it…) and how it has one of those funny “mention the title of the film in the film" type moments where he goes "I can’t believe I’m still going!"
Anyway, yeah this is one of the Pavement songs I’d play to our alien overlords. Every time it comes on, I have to pause what I’m doing to listen to it. And that’s why I’m posting it to Tumblr right now. Because it’s an extremely Pavement-y Pavement song.
I don’t know if you guys know about this, but I really loathe the walking dead. I thought last week’s was ok, since it turned into Lost toward the end. And the first episode was pretty good. But I really hate the rest of it. the show sucks hard. the characters are all super annoying. i want them to all die. so walking dead—maybe the show is supposed to be about the zombies in that you root for the zombies’ success? i dont know. grimes is british. i dont care. his partner is a terrible actor. his wife is a terrible actor.
but the worst part has probably been the writing. and now all the writers have been fired. i think that’s awesome.
Once one spots the line-lifting in Suttree it’s hard to not see it. What’s marvelous is McCarthy’s power to convert these lines, these riffs, these stories, into his own tragicomic beast. An early brawl at a roadhouse recalls the “Golden Day” episode of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man; a rape victim’s plight echoes Hubert Selby’s “Tralala”; we find the comic hobos of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row–we even get the road-crossing turtle from The Grapes of Wrath. A later roadhouse chapter replays the “Circe/Nighttown” nightmare in James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Reviews of drinks I've had lately: The Gasoline Dream
8.7 Best New Drink
Forget experimenting by drinking one, two, or three Four Lokos. (Really? You’re going to drink some malt beverages and then consider yourself, what, experienced in some interesting way? That’s the most insulting form of downsized class shaming/bougie warfare I’ve seen in a long while.)1
I invented a new drink tonight. It’s a variation on the Old Fashioned.2 Rather than use rye, though, I’ve substituted Buffalo Trace’s white mash. It’s like the raw materials they use to make their bourbon, basically. The stuff they put in the barrels to age. But it’s not aged. It’s fresh. So fresh and so cool.
Shit tastes like cornflakes. Shit as in pronoun, not noun. You know how I said the other day the Old Fashioned blows up whatever you’re drinking, expanding it for your palette? In your mouth, this stuff tastes like a putty knife dipped in a high-PH solution. It kind of coats your tongue. But going down, it burns. In a reasonably good way.
The nose is like going back in time, to the pilgrim days I guess. Because of the corn. And the burning. It burns your nose a little bit. But you know how all those people are like, ‘Ra Ra Ro Ma Ma BIG CORN HIGH FRUCTOSE SYRUP RO MA MA?’ This is like that. It’s sweet, too.
This is a Manichean type drink. It’s defined by polarity. Sweet and burning. Wide and sharp. Good and bad. I could see having one, two, three of these and then passing out and waking up down south. So I don’t think I’ll do that. But as a vicious diversion, it’s hard to beat. You won’t want to drink very many of these. As a catalyst, though, it’s cold and effective. Yet… I can’t help thinking it kind of represents the opposite of the German mindset depicted in Gravity’s Rainbow, which is I guess the first thing I think of when I think of the word ‘catalyst.’ This is a very American drink. GR is an extremely European novel. They would never allow this drink in the EU. So rather than cold and sleek and powerful, let’s say that this is wide, blunt, and sweet.
I wanted to resist making American South type references. But when the name of your drink is an allusion to an Outkast song, I guess you give up that privilege. So I’ll say that drinking this drink brings with it a faint hint of sophistication, like Don Draper showing you how to make an Old Fashioned. But the bulk of it is pure (uhh…) Dirty South. Corn mash and burning and wrestling out in the yard.
This is something of a stunning reversal on my part. I’ve had my share of Four Loko. But I decided today that its recent worship by the Internet set is probably quite pernicious. Even in an unknowing way. It’s called having an open mind and being able to admit you were wrong. Look it up. ↩
For you rookies. A splash of water. Less than a teaspoon of sugar. (I find sweet sugar… like natural sugar[?] is the best.) Stir the shit out of that. It should not occupy much of your glass, but it will be very sweet. That’s called a simple Simple Syrup. Add two dashes of Angostura Bitters. Don’t put in too much. Stir once. Now add the booze. About two ounces. Glug, glug, glu—. Stir twice, and then pop in (carefully!) two ice cubes. That’s an Old Fashioned. ↩
I don’t post songs that much anymore. At least, you know back in the day when this tumblog was known as B. Michael’s Notebook Miscellany,1 part of what I wanted to do was post a song every day. Every morning. We had a morning operations meeting where we’d go over different problems and ideas and stuff. ‘Work on our strat,’ as Alex Blahh would say.
You know, though, I personally don’t really listen to that many songs on Tumblr anymore.2 And since I don’t do that, I guess I figure it’s not really worth posting a lot of songs, either. I mean, you could break down the reasons why I at least used to post songs.
I wanted to be the first to post a leak. The problem is, I don’t really have many followers, so if I was first (a perhaps unverifiable achievement, anyway), someone would post the song a few hours later and get all the reblogs. And ultimately, who cares?
I wanted to, like, write an essay or mini-ssay on a song. I still kind of do this. It’s OK. Tumblr’s interface is a lot nicer than many; you can embed the song in its little Flash player (grrrr, though) and then press play as you read whatever I wrote. The problem with this approach is that I don’t think people do that. A lot of times, people are at work, and they’re probably not big dorks like I, who sits with his headphones on all day. Also, it’s a lot of work to write an essay that really takes like 3:30 to read. Perhaps.
Annotated song lyrics. Here’s one example. And here’s another. I’m a big fan of this practice, and since hearing the song usually goes along with understanding the song, it makes sense to make these posts audio posts. They do take a while to make, though. It might be worth making a single-serving tumblog for this, but I have like a million of those. If someone wants to make one, I’d contribute occasionally. You just have to call it “B Michael’s Great Idea For This One Single-Serving Tumblog.” Jk.
I’m hearing the song right now, and the hearing it has inspired me to post it because I want to share this feeling I have right now with, as stupid as it sounds, with all my followers. I like this motive the most. Writing is whatever. I’m a terrible writer. Look, I just wrote, “Writing is whatever.” The whole reason why I’m all into writing about music is that I love music, and it speaks to me in really you know kind of voluminous, multi-valent, complicated ways. Ways by which words fail me. And posting the song is an invitation to participate in this feeling, in a unique way that’s inexpressible by means of words.
I believe strongly that the Audio feature of Tumblr is one of its unique selling propositions. Its player is much nicer than many embedable players, and it’s the only service that offers a native player (or at least it was, at the time). So I feel a little bad (or ‘bad,’ as it were) about not posting more audio posts. I’m going to get on that a bit more.
On the other hand. Really, how many people listen to the songs people post?
“Hundreds of Americans, nicknamed
the “Amazon Gypsies,” arrived in Cambellsville,
Kentucky, in RVs and campers to fill holiday orders at
an Amazon warehouse offering temporary $10-an-hour
jobs. ‘We are among the economic refugees,’ said one
temporary worker, named April McFail. ‘We are lucky to
earn enough to get our laundry done and eat macaroni and
cheese.’”—From the Harper’s Weekly. All I can say is, =(
“'Each newcomer feels obliged to do something else, forgetting that if he himself is somebody he will necessarily do that something else,' said Valéry. And Roethke told students to 'write like somebody else.' There are those usual people who try desperately to appear unusual and there are unusual people who try desperately to appear usual. Most poets I’ve met are from the latter and much smaller group. William Stafford, at his best as good as we have, is a near-perfect example. It doesn’t surprise me at all when the arrogant wild man in class turns in predictable, unimaginative poems and the straight one is doing nutty and promising work. If you are really strange you are always in enemy territory, and your constant concern is survival.”—
Some thoughts of Richard Hugo’s on Roethke as a teacher of poetry.1 I’ve been thinking about this a bit, lately, off and on. It for one speaks truth to idiocy, thereby reinforcing conventional thinking about appearances. Sometimes I wonder why, you know, group thought tends to go against the grain (which almost doesn’t make any sense when you think about it), but I suppose I can see that some thoughts aren’t reductive. They’re simply inductive. It might not be that, Oh appearances are deceiving, but that so many people have been burned by appearances that they’re like, Yeah duh. And then I realize that I have some sort of mental aphasia that prevents me from synthesizing ideas about life from my own experience, and I feel like a pretty unintelligent person.
I’ve finally been getting around to making a text mixtape, a collection of essays online that I love/are great/etc, and this piece is on there. So I’m not going to link to it! You could Google it. But I’m going to put up this stunning piece of Internet curating later this year. Probably by the end of the year. ↩
Old Fashioned made with a bit too much Johnny Walker Red
9.2 Best New Drink
I love Johnny Walker Red. I don’t know what that’s supposed to say about me. I like kind of dry, peaty-flavored alcohol that doesn’t cost that much. I wasn’t sure about using this scotch to make an Old Fashioned, though. I had been banging pretty hard on the Sazerac Rye for my Old Fashioneds, of late. But that liquor store that sells the stuff seems far away, and I don’t want to run out before I’m ready to go get some more. I don’t think I’ve ever had a scotch Old Fashioned before, and I can see why. But it’s not bad. The formula tends to blow up the characteristics of the liquor you choose, and since I’m already a devotee of this one, I like it under the looking glass.
"Brooklyn," from Alchemy in Park Slope
The problem with the Brooklyn, a variation of a Manhattan, was for one I forget what they used to make it, but it wasn’t bourbon. I think it was some sort of blended whiskey. Whatever. The main problem is it was really watery—a half-booze/half-vermouth formula. They made an additional error in omitting maraschino cherries from the mix. Whether they’re not included in the Brooklyn to begin with, or if the bar tender forgot, it was a lame move. The mistake was purely formal, though, since any further mitigation of the cocktail’s strength would have made it float out of the glass, undrinkable. All in all, it was a terrible variation on a classic, nearly un-fuck-upable drink.
Sierra Nevada IPA
Good old stand-by brew. IPAs owe their distinct dryness to their having had to have been shipped across the landscape of India by the Britishers. A more robust brew was needed to avoid spoilage. Whenever IPA and I are in the same room, spoilage is never an issue. I had a few of these while I watched Buffalo make an improbably come back then collapse then come back then collapse yesterday and it was lovely. The beer. The football was mediated by the beer, but alcohol has never significantly altered the course of history. Oh, well… At least not history on television.
Old Fashioned from Union Hall
I inquired after Sazerac Rye, but the bar didn’t stock that. The bar tender offered (ri)1 Rye expectantly, and I agreed. In hindsight, the fault of the cocktail was not its primary spirit but rather the huge amount of water (seltzer, perhaps?!) the bar tender used to make the drink. I don’t think, I wasn’t watching extremely closely, that he used any or much sugar to make the drink either. He basically just made Rye with water and crushed ice. What the fuck is crushed ice doing in my Old Fashioned? Not acceptable.
Tall boy of Old Milwaukee
The man at the bodega IDed me, and then after taking in my considerable calendar age, he remarked how I looked so young. That was nice. It made drinking this foamy, soon-to-be-hand-temperature beer a little bit nicer.
Haiti wouldn’t let Kanye West on its earthquake telethon. The Deepwater Oil Horizon platform disaster reminded everyone of Kanye West’s critical remarks on George W Bush. Nude Green Leaves and Bust, a painting by Pablo Picasso, sold for $106.500003 million more than the greatest piece of art made in the calendar year (perhaps of all-time?), My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which would eventually sell for $2.99 on Amazon.com. A creepy dude with the screen name Wikileaks leaked over 90,000 classified documents about the ramp up to America’s war in Afghanistan. This action spurred Kanye West to begin a similar leak campaign, dubbed G.O.O.D. Fridays. Kanye West subverted the “Uncle Tom” trope by making an obeisant performance on the behest of a white lady. Shouting out the “the douchebags,” his performance on a popular American music television awards show overshadowed the faux-Depression-era performance of the aforementioned white lady since many people this year actually lived in a Depression-era era. No make-up/oxidized six strings needed. Media impresario Kanye West was given free reign over 23% of still-kind-of-relevant hip-hop magazine XXL. Pre-acclaimed film maker Kanye West screened an extended proto-tainment pitch for the most anticipated album of all-time. A clean version of the most anticipated album of all time leaked to the Internet, thereby causing a mini-riot on Twitter’s trending topics chart. The American public went largely ignorant of the mindshare tremor, showing again that it’s mostly still dorks that care about Twitter/”the Internet.” A for real version of the most anticipated album of all-time leaked. To slightly less notice. A former President, a widely-acknowledged failure in some sectors, claimed his greatest professional disappointment was being put down by the Greatest Artist of the Generation, which makes a lot of sense until you consider the former President’s general lack of support for the arts. The Internet was once again set figuratively aflame when apparent taste-leaders Pitchfork gave a perfect rating to (naturally, see the very next words in this sentence) the most anticipated and generally greatest album of the decade. The “rest of the world” seemed not to notice, at least not its friends on Facebook (the ones for whom that their only website, i.e., genus non bloggicus). Kanye West and Matt Lauer engaged in a heated debate over the validity of showing clips of one’s embarrassing past behavior in a live interview context. Mothers all over the country called their children and asked, “What is that Kanye West’s problem?” all over again. The Greatest Album of All Time was finally released and feted by an exclusive community of upper class whites in New York City. On Thanksgiving, the Man of the Decade ofc. made an appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He later tweeted, “: )” to wish well-being, peace, and contentment to all the world, or his 1.69 million “Twitter” followers. Either way, he made a message of global importance.
It’s about dinner time, and it’s also crunch time. I need to continue to get a lot of work done, but I’m nearing the end of an intermission. So I thought I’d be kind of douchey and put down my thoughts about this heady day.
To begin the doucheyness, here are links to two things I’d this fall written about West on my Tumblr.
Does his being given, dispensation-like, a 10.0 stamp from Pitchfork change Kanye West in any way? No.
To think so is the definition of parking the whip in the horse’s spot. The (this is a fairly bad way to put it) critical establishment doesn’t get worked upon music. It’s the other way. NECESSARILY. Anyone who writes about music wouldn’t do so unless she really loved music. End. Of. Story. Haters to the left whatever. No one spends more than an hour writing about anything unless they like it.
Nonetheless, do I feel happy that Kanye got a 10.0? Of course. I think he’s amazing and brilliant and over the summer and fall, he’s put himself on a whole nother level of artistic credibility.
"All of the Lights" is the very definition—the noumenal object, if you will—of Nike+ iPhone App Power Song. It really is.
No, really. I know people like “All of the Lights,” and it does have one of to my ears worse(r) lines on the record, but it’s still like this towering, impressive, super amazing, ridiculously great song. Like, “All My Friends” is an epochal, great song and “All of the Lights” is like just as good—better.
And I thought “Runaway” was the OFC, best song on the album. (!!)
Ok, as of this playing of “All of the Lights,” here are my stats for the last three months.
Kanye West (813 plays)
Das Racist (279 plays)
Salem (273 plays)
The National (224 plays) [NB, I must have accidentally had The Nat’l on loop or something. This can’t be right.]
Pavement (179 plays)
Glenn Gould (179 plays)
Mitch Hedberg (150 plays)
Kid CuDi (138 plays)
Sufjan Stevens (125 plays)
The Lonely Island (118 plays) [I love the Lonely Island.]
So, to give some context. All the CuDi, Sufjan, Pavement (for the most part), and Das Racist (somewhat) plays were for work. I had to get paid to listen to CuDi, for instance. I’d have listened to Sufjan and the rest for free. I guess the point is is that for the last three months, and before that (Kanye was 2/3 of the physical CDs I’ve bought over the last, like, three years) has been dominated by Kanye West. It’s not even close. Every day since the clean leaked, I’ve listened to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy like twice. It’s really, really, really, really, really good. This album did not come out of nowhere.
It’s funny. I was really unsatisfied with the Pitchfork review. Like, I was up at 5 something this morning, and by one of those ineluctable impulses I loaded the home page and saw the Best New Music tag on it and clicked on and was like, ‘Ofc, I knew it would be 10.0, but I hoped it would be 20.0.’ And I read the review and saw it was one of those context-placing ones, and then I scrolled down quick to see the author, and I like him, so then I scrolled back up and finished the review, and it was like OK, but not that great. My P4K review would have been whatever the animated GIF opposite of the monkey passing out review would have be.
I guess my point is this: The critical love for Kanye has always been there. Are you aware of 808s and Heartbreak or literally every other Kanye West album? They were all critically-acclaimed, as the Hollywood voiceover says during awards season. It’s not a new phenomenon. I’ve run upon a few people I appreciate saying things like, ‘I’m listening to the Kanye album right now,’ or ‘I listened to the Kanye album for the first time last night,’ and my point, as well, is that this album—like his others—rewards listening to. A lot. Listen to it a lot and get rewarded a lot. It’s a great album. He makes great albums. He always has.
This one is even better.
You will be impelled by an urge to say Fuck You because now it’s got the Rolling Stone * * * * * and the Pitchfork 10.0 and everyone is at heart a populist. But give this gold cross a try. It’s awesome and great and fun and emotionally complex and a little bit bad sometimes, too. But it’s more than a number, and it really, really deserves a good try before you tell it to fuck off because of an editorial decision made by some people totally unrelated to its ontology.
The Spiral of Silence is some theory about people not piping up for fear of social ostracism or reprisal. It sounds badass and has twelve conditions:
People have a fear of being rejected by those in their social environment, which is called “fear of isolation.”
People are constantly observing the behaviors of those around them, and seeing which gain approval and disapproval from society.
People unconsciously issue their own threats of isolation by showing signals of approval or disapproval.
Threats of isolation are avoided by a person’s tendency to refrain from making a statement about something they think might attract objections.
People are more willing to publicly state things that they believe will be accepted positively.
The spiral effect begins because when people speak out confidently, the opposition feels a greater sense of fear of isolation and is further convinced to stay silent, since they are in the minority. The feelings continue to grow in either direction exponentially.
A strong moral component is necessary for the issue to activate the spiral.
If there is a social consensus, the spiral will not be activated. There must be two opposing forces.
The mass media has a strong influence on this process.
Fear and threat of isolation are subconscious processes.
The spiral of silence only “holds a sway” over the public for a limited time.
If a topic activates the spiral of silence, this means that the issue is a great threat to social cohesion.
God damnit Leah why did you post this because I was having such a productive day. And now I’m just reading comments and my heart keeps exploding through the corpuscles around my eyes and ears.
The article itself makes some reasonable philosophical points. I disagree with it, clearly, but there’s a there there as they say. The commenters, though, that’s why you read these pieces, right? For ones like
My major was not in the Humanities, but in a technical field. As I did take courses in the Humanities, and am a member in a book club that focuses on the classics, I will comment.
And, of course, all of the ethnic studies and gender studies departments have to go.
the humanities need to be protected from those who try to deconstruct them
[mega-bonus points for using the word ‘deconstruct’ when/if you clearly don’t know what it means], plus
As a current Ph.d. seeking student in the Humanities, I couldn’t agree more […] MeanWhile, Hume, Smith, Locke, Mills et al, are footnotes to their reading of history.
[SIC], which actually was not a terrible comment, but maybe he should read for a PhD in usage, and don’t forget
Why, for example, should a general audience read Aristotle’s Physics anymore? It may be useful for certain specialists, but modern science and technology really does render some old ideas obsolete.
which has a special place of contempt in my heart because, yeah Mr Reads Book Titles, it’s called Physics but it’s not whatever your Reader’s Digest Super-String Theory reader says is physics, plus
More likey of success is to just kill the department (allowing dismissal of the faculty) and then create new humanities departments ex nilo.
because clearly this one has mastered retoric (see what I did there?), and
The ironic thing is that all these Marxist professors are running up against Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”.
you’re an idiot,
Only teach traditional subjects (all courses with names like … studies, or … appreciation are gone) like classical literature (taught with reverence for that literature, not as criticism of it),
and you’re like the supreme, inbred progeny of that idiot, and
Shakespeare is Shakespeare and everything there is to know about the man and his works has already been discovered.
I did realize it was kind of pissy after I started in, but I don’t believe in revising these video replies. If you ask me another question, I will think more about it before I start to answer it. The problem was that I got to thinking about it, and I realize I think what your intent was, but then I got into a brief rabbit hole of thinking more about time travel-type questions, and then Heidegger and Hitler started seeming to be kind of similar.