Published October 18, 2016
Tags: Art, Paul Thomas Anderson, Pop Culture
In my late teens, early 20s I had a love/hate relationship with Paul Thomas Anderson. At the time I was an aspiring filmmaker and I couldn’t get over how ridiculously young Anderson was when he, not only wrote, but directed flicks like “Hard Eight,” “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia” (all released before he turned 30). I desperately wanted to find some way to dismiss this dude’s immense talent. My wish was granted when the Jealous, Ambitionless Wannabes Who Get Off On Calling Out The Derivative Qualities of Contemporary Works of Popular Art hipped me to “Raging Bull,” “Saturday Night Fever” and “Short Cuts.” Turns out this so-called ‘wunderkind’ was merely riffing on old shit?! Sometimes even lifting entire scenes from these old flicks???!!! I was so relieved; like a fat slob who thinks that if he could just get his hands on some steroids he would be just as good as Barry Bonds, but then something hit me…
PTA, early in his career, was like a virtuoso hip hop producer. His movies (most notably “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia”) were like those breathless Oscar montages where a fleeting staccato blur of the more evocative moments of several well-known movies is presented over a sweeping orchestral score. He wasn’t ‘stealing,’ he was sampling, re-appropriating the imagery of artists like Scorsese, Altman and De Palma, while adding a flavor all his own.
I really dig the groove he has settled into lately. His recent flicks feel like the kinda films an ‘extroverted’ Terrence Malick would make.
Published October 8, 2016
Tags: The Sublime
Most of the time when my brother’s cat is mewing incessantly at me I have no idea what the little dude wants and I can tell this frustrates him ’cause his mews take on an impatient, whiny tone…but in those rare moments when I figure out what he’s ‘saying’ we have these great ‘we did the damn thing!’ moments afterward. Just basking in the success of our positive ‘cultural’ exchange. Shit’s pretty dope. I just hope when house pets evolve into the ‘new humans’ they remember us allies. Like build a monument to us or something.
This ‘new humans’concept isn’t as far-fetched as you may think. Cats and dogs have evolved ‘near’ humans at a ridiculously accelerated pace and have been ‘studying’ us the whole time (just peep your dog and/or cat’s incredibly inquisitive eyes when you’re doing some human shit; muthafuckas are taking genetic notes!!!!), so it’s not ‘crazy’ to think that they could potentially evolve into ‘near humans.’ Shit, there’s even some speculation that this dude was OUR prehistoric kinfolk. Muthafucka looks like a damn possum rat!
Continue reading ‘Near Humans’
Published October 2, 2016
Fear , Gender
Tags: Fear, Gender
“Look, here’s how this is gonna go: You’re gonna pander to me, cater to all my whims, no matter how silly or self-destructive they may seem. After some time doing this I’m gonna start questioning your backbone. Even start wishing aloud that I had a stronger man. This is gonna piss you off. Like to the nth degree. You’ll put your foot down, say you’re done being my step-stool, that’s when I’ll start callin’ you all kinds’a bitches an’ shit. We’ll have a big-ass till-the-cops-come-knockin’ argument, but once the dust settles you’ll go back to pandering to me because you know what’s likely to come if you don’t, and of course I’ll eventually question your ‘manhood’ again. And no, I have no fucking clue what I REALLY want, I just know that whatever it is, most of it ain’t in you……. Hey, where are you going? Come back here. I NEED you.”
“Look, here’s how this is gonna go: You’re gonna pander to me, cater to all my whims, no matter how silly or self-destructive they may seem. After some time doing this I’m gonna assume you’re weak and that I can walk all over you. I’ll exploit this by stepping out on you countless times. This is gonna piss you off. Like to the nth degree. You’ll put your foot down, say you’re done being my step stool, that’s when I’ll start callin’ you all kinds’a bitches an’ shit. We’ll have a big-ass till-the-cops-come-knockin’ argument, but once the dust settles you’ll go back to pandering to me because I’ve proven to you—via other women wanting me—that I’m a ‘commodity.’ And no, I have no fucking clue what I REALLY want, I just know that whatever it is, most of it ain’t in you……. Hey, where are you going? Come back here. I NEED you.”
“All that hype for an MP3 player? Break-thru digital device? The Reality Distortion Field is starting to warp Steve’s mind if he thinks for one second that this thing is gonna take off.” –2001 MacRumors.com forum entry critical of the then yet-to-be-released iPod.
As I say often, ‘myopia is a helluva drug,’ but I’m gonna refrain from taking the opportunity to snark-down-my-nose-at-people-who-like-to-shit-on-vision (they’re actually necessary, they test the visionary’s resolve) that 15 years of hindsight affords; instead I wanna rap about another topic I incessantly blather on about and that is the remarkable phenomenon that makes access to such ‘ancient’ thought possible; just think: all the back-and-forth rantin’ an’ ravin’ we’re doing on this worldwide web thing is being stored and categorized and will likely be ‘excavated’ by our future descendants, and this wealth of information not only includes what we publicly share, but our email messages, social media messages, the shit-talking we do in ‘private’ groups (as well as our ‘private’ or ‘incognito’ internet browsing histories), videos, pics, and perhaps even CCTV recordings (now THAT would be crazy).
Imagine what ‘picture’ will be gleaned from the digital mark you leave behind. I’m actually not (too) afraid of this (even though I’ll probably come off like a perverted, needy, narcissistic sociopath). I put myself in the shoes of my descendants and think of how cool it would be to have access to the messy and contradictory thought processes of my ancient ancestors (their version of “I can’t believe it! In two days I’m marrying the love of my life!” on the main feed / “I can’t stand my fiance. I’m actually in love with her sister.” in the private group), instead of the our-ancestors-were-all-gods-among-men-thing-that-says-more-about-our-need-to-associate-ourselves-with-ancient-greatness-as-a-cover-for-our-low-self-esteems-than-anything-else. Screw that. I wanna know about my ancient African/Asian/European/etc. slacker, fuck-up, queer, outcast, artistic brethren. I wanna be emboldened by THEIR stories.
With all that said, this brave new world of unfettered access to ancestral mores is not one-hundred percent guaranteed; a strong coronal mass ejection (shotgun blast of electromagnetically charged particles from the sun) could wipe all this shit out, causing a ‘flood’ of sorts; ‘cleansing’ the world of our ethereal ‘sins’.
Speaking of digital and ancient stuff…
Published September 22, 2016
Tags: About Me
For years I felt I couldn’t ‘compete’ with other men for the affections of women. I didn’t feel I had ‘enough’ of what it took to ‘win’ them; I wasn’t that dominant alpha muthafucka that I thought they desired. What I’m starting to realize NOW (work-in-progress) is that being an ‘alpha’ male has nothing to do with beating someone at THEIR game, but being at the top of YOUR game. In the past I thought I had to find some ‘edge’ that I had over other dudes. I was constantly sizing them up; trying to see where we lined up and where I was ‘better’/’worse.’ This is that…
“He may be attractive an’ fit an’ have a job an’ alla that, but I bet he hasn’t read any Kafka.”
…shit. And at the time I was doing this shit I was also claiming to be so confidently ‘above it all,’ but how could I have been above anything if I was I so focused on what other dudes were doing? Why was I always firing ‘Sorry I’m not like the dumb thugs you’re used to’ bullshit at the women I was with when I felt they were moving away from me to guys that—to keep it real—I felt ‘threatened’ by? I was seeking VALIDATION from women for traits I felt I lacked (but desperately wanted). If they could boost my ego then maybe I wasn’t as ‘inferior’ as I thought. When they denied me this ‘boost’ I would overcompensate (in cringe-inducingly cumbersome ways) when I should’ve just put in the self-work to self-validate like an ACTUAL confident muthafucka would. That’s the kinda cat who is drawn to so-called ‘threats’ because seeing other people doing dope shit inspires him to step HIS game up; he competes with himself, not other dudes. This is that…
“Damn, Steph’s jumper is nice. I wonder how I can change my shot to hit threes like him. I’m not gonna copy his stroke, I’m not the same kinda player as him, but I’m gonna find my ‘own’ way to get better.”
…shit. And thing is: Dude may never develop a perimeter stroke, but the work he puts in will NO FUCKING DOUBT make him a better him.
Published September 20, 2016
The other day I came across a dude who was passionately and confidently challenging the veracity of various Bible stories in an effort to disprove the existence of God, but it came off more as a ‘response’ to how the ‘concept of god’ was most commonly ‘presented’ to him, which was more than likely by people he may have once been DEEPLY mystified by; people he once TRULY BELIEVED had ALL the answers. This is an angst I know all too well; it led to me proudly proclaiming myself an atheist, but I wasn’t a ‘true’ non-believer, as a ‘true’ non-believer would have been completely divorced from even the ‘concept of god’; not incessantly attacking the most prominent vessel in which it was presented. That’s like a guy with zero inclination to become a woman raging about his lack of tits.
Published September 18, 2016
If it seems that it is YOUR LIFE’S WORK to deconstruct the teachings that corroborate a person’s faith OF COURSE they are going to perceive you as an enemy. Maintaining faith is hard-as-hell…so why would anyone WANT to make it harder? And what does the serial deconstructionist even get out of it? Don’t they see that the person-of-faith WANTS (by any means necessary) to maintain their faith? Don’t they realize that it is the only thing keeping them sane?! What KIND of person would want to take that away from them? And it doesn’t matter if what they believe sounds like the most hogwashiest of hogwash, the question remains: ‘Why?’—Why would someone work so damn hard to destroy SOMEONE ELSE’S ‘only thing that works?’ Perhaps deconstruction is the ‘only thing that works’ for the deconstructionist; which is sublimely ironic because: although the deconstructionist may claim to want to do away with religion, a huge part of who they are is reliant on its existence (i.e. They can’t shut the hell up about it). Maybe they feel their ‘thing’ is threatened by the person-of-faith’s ‘thing’ (just like the person-of-faith may feel their ‘thing’ is threatened by the deconstructionist’s ‘thing’) and they gotta go all Highlander there-can-be-only-one on that ass.