Thursday, August 17, 2017

ESSAY AFTER ANOTHER EPISODE OF ANGRY PREJUDICE.




Some people read poems about spending a lot of time in graveyards. They don’t hate these poems. “Ooh!” they say. “I hate spending a lot of time in graveyards!” Not all poems are about loitering in cemeteries, though. Some lyrics concern a horsey, the current president, or the prevalence of vulgarity. “Vulgarity-current president,” says one ambitious verse. “Horsey-vulgarity,” goes another. Yet a third may offer, “Current president-horsey.”

If someone has died, there follows the day after someone has died. That day is almost always wintry, even if it’s the chalky cloud-swells of a wintry sky during a season of oppressive heat. Can the sky grow any oilier or smokier? In the end, there are no achievable geometries. (Can you disprove it?) Perhaps the word “achievable” should be subtracted. It supposes attainment, as in scaling a truth, or encountering a love that forever regenerates forgiveness.  

Another person has been slain. Most cessation doesn’t murder but murder almost always results in cessation. Perhaps the holy nature of stoppages kindles an impulse to envision the kingdom of the dead. Of all the unachievable geometries—wandering, sound maps, savage proximity, and slackening—only slackening can result in catastrophe. There follows the day after someone has died. That day, and every day in succession, is a white stone. Can you disprove it?

My friend, we’re all going to spend a lot of time in graveyards. Ever notice how walking is like the body through the body? Currency jangles in a coin pocket. The afternoon declares shady intervals until the curvature and curtain of disengagement. Some people read poems about the moon, its quarter-hopes and half-hopes, its hidden alertness. They don’t hate these poems. The moon tugs and we may listen in order to defamiliarize. As with any loss, how crucial the disbelief?



Sunday, July 23, 2017

CULTURAL AFFAIRS WEEK NO. 4: “ÉTUDES, BRUTE?”



Julius Caesar suspects Brutus of practicing compositions on the piano. “I heard music,” the strongman alleges. “Études, Brute?” If only our back-stabbiz had been musicians, instead. They’d of (sic) kept their steely, steely connives in their two-nix and we’d of (sic) slugged-down an Orange Julius Caesar Salad. In short, weed’a lived and it wouldn’a been uh backstabbiz atoll. Later, Caesar and Brutus haggle over which catalogue-retailer to patronize. “J. Crew, Brute?” says Caesar. They have some thought-balloons in this arena, some Ideas of Merch. To this point, the pooch hasn’t initiated a coup, a coo hasn’t emanated from the putsch. And as for empire, Romulus hasn’t reamed us out, Remus hasn’t loaded a CD-Romulus into the disc drive. Anything could happen, even détente, even breaking bread, peace-meal. It’s both terrifying and wonderful all at once, kind of like Brutus, bored out of his bust, making his late-night Bru-tay call to a gal, a Gaul pursued by the scent-o’tour, himself. Rife goes on. A gambling conference kindles-up at a hotel across the street, where someone delivers The Keno Address. When indentured servants reinsert their false teeth, they become dentured servants, no? Ever notice how antlers resemble driftwood? It’s like mature bucks are washing up on shore, waves and waves of sea-sawbucks, them and their weather-worn driftwood antlers, ten bucks a dozen in Ten-buck-two. If you have a job, or if you seek a job, then you’re under occupation. Behold the afternoon sun. It could be—a little bit—hotter before the instrument begins to fail, and it will begin to fail, the mechanism failing the person: this is our bleak future, dear citizen, all mechanisms will begin to fail. At the request of Brutus, Julius Caesar agrees to engage in the nautical guessing game, Battleship. As dick-tater, Caesar goes first, of course. “A-2, Brute?” he guesses. He guesses correctly, even though he doesn’t kitchen-sink no gravy bloat. The bodies of the other senators reflect on every bright surface, their motions unlike stabbing but in emphasis of their numbers, their jagged rationale. They attack Julius Caesar for being a crass-dressing tyranny even as they, themselves, will become tyranny, with or without the salad dressage, and they, themselves, will be slain by the residents of tyranny 2-B. Recital is a good deity, too shrewd for the mothball operas that resolve themselves (phone booth, no mouthpiece) in the public confessionals of prepaid gravity, amid the sunlit metals of confrontation.


Cultural Affairs Week 2017 Editorial Schedule
Novelty Government U.S.A.
Études, Brute?
To Be Announced


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

CULTURAL AFFAIRS WEEK NO. 3: NOVELTY GOVERNMENT U.S.A.




If only Novelty Government U.S.A. would “heart.” If only it would spray-paint. Then it could spell “i ♥ melody” in a fuzzy charcoal proclamation on the northbound side of an overpass which fjords—yes, fjords—a minor, trickly tributary. (A crick.) Novelty Government might prefer a gal named Melody. Or it might prefer the melodious through-action of music, “i ♥ melody.” Some constituents might regard the potential for two affections as ambiguous, too complicated to merit their untethered support. After all, they had voted for Novelty Government U.S.A. with the lobster-redness of exasperation, a lobster-redness that hearkened back to the single-minded exasperation of earlier generations, pioneers, men and women donning severe sugarloaf caps. Novelty Government does womanize, thus, on the one hand, professing amour (and sporting ‘under amour’ garb) for the hand of one woman in particular, might wrinkle a few lobster-red thought balloons, but as for “i ♥ melody,” the melody of song, well, just what in the Jiminy Cricket does that proclaim? And what kind of melody would Novelty Government U.S.A. prefer to heart? (Jessica Simpson cover-crooning a ditty by Scritti Politti?) One opines “if only” since Novelty Government doesn’t appear to heart, own spray-paint, hang out on the overpass, know a gal named Melody, and tap its toes to melody. It’s not difficult to imagine Novelty Government U.S.A. in the girth of a business suit, adopting poses that could be described as the “scrunched fists of seasonal desecration” or “lobster-red effort to distinguish between a bowel movement and a gasser” or “juvenile hyperventilation upon denial of favorable building permit to construct another leisure resort.” Novelty Government U.S.A. would like us to think that everything conspires against it—virulent veganism of everyday columnists, ghostly voters arising from Tammany Hall graveyards, grousing of international cultures yearning for subsistence—when instead, Novelty Government can cradle “the red telephone” anytime it chooses. It can destroy the world again, and again, and again.





 
Cultural Affairs Week 2017 Editorial Schedule
Novelty Government U.S.A.
To Be Announced

Thursday, July 13, 2017

CULTURAL AFFAIRS WEEK NO. 2: LIST OF ACTIVE CONSPIRACY THEORIES.



When we run out of liquid assets (and we will run out of beer) perhaps our bankers will lend a hand, lend an ear, you know, a personal loan from an actual body. Let’s deconstruct the moment when a man claiming to be Jackson Shiitake knocks on your door: (1) He prefers to be called “Jack” and (2) “Jack” Shiitake doesn’t know jack sheet-music about the mushrooming morel of the story. The elk prefers a member of its ilk (who is an elk) and owing to a sense that its ilk has been bilked out of funny-money honey-bunny, the Elk would like to Lodge a complaint. Behold, dear citizen, the Sneeze-Fart Combo also known as Novelty Government U.S.A. “Please refer to the press kit,” says representative of Sneeze-Fart Combo, when asked about a list of active conspiracy theories. The press kit sits beside the steamship round of beef electric carving kiosk, and contains, does the press kit, an expository essay (entitled “Meineke Kampf”) that describes the political need to muffle, to muzzle, to squelch. What’s Happening!! comes on TV. There’s Fred Perry, in the red beret and suspenders, popping around as his character, Rerun. There’s Fred Perry haplessly chasing the pickup truck, wind-milling with futility. You’re watching a rerun of Rerun running (and re-running) after the vehicle in which Raj and Dwayne have achieved a comfy existence. Nowadays, your potato rental doesn’t include utilities, your snifter rental doesn’t include utilities, your venison rental doesn’t include utilities. (You gotta pay alternating current, you gotta pay landfill, you gotta pay sports drink, you gotta pay fossil fuel.) Buddy, I know of only one society that can boast hundreds of names for “The Imbecile,” or pronounce it “IN-BUH-SOYLE,” if you prefer poetry.



Cultural Affairs Week 2017 Editorial Schedule
List of Active Conspiracy Theories


Monday, July 10, 2017

CULTURAL AFFAIRS WEEK NO. 1: EXPLAINING MY CRUSH ON AĻONA OSTAPENKO.


The winning moment at Roland Garros. Bedlam!


When unseeded and relatively unknown Aļona Ostapenko (more commonly known as Jelena Ostapenko) met No. 3 seed Simona Halep in the finals of the French Open, the sports oracles might’ve foreseen a quiet, straight-sets triumph for Halep, who, with a win, would’ve overtaken Angelique Kerber to become the top-ranked women’s tennis player in the world, a height she hadn’t yet reached. If contemplating the all-time greats, one considers the likes of Billie Jean King and Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong, Steffi Graf, and of course, the still-active Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. The nationalities—American, Czech, Australian, German, American—leave off Halep’s Romanian origins and Ostapenko’s Latvian roots. When Halep took the first set and led 3-love in the second set, it seemed as if she would become only the second Romanian woman to win a grand slam event, joining Virginia Ruzici, who also triumphed at Roland Garros in 1978. No Latvian tennis players—neither men nor women—had ever won a grand slam event.

En route to the finals, Ostapenko played four three-set matches, including a notable quarterfinal triumph against No. 11 seed Caroline Wozniacki (4-6, 6-2, 6-2). This might’ve favored Halep, who’d only faced two lengthy matches before the finals, among them a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 semifinal victory over No. 2 seed Karolína Plíšková. Down one set, and love-three in the second set, Ostapenko might’ve been content to capitulate, might’ve been content in the knowledge that she’d earned a berth in a grand slam final just a few days after her twentieth birthday. But the viewer could detect the formulation of the comeback, in Ostapenko’s expressions and gestures, from the flailing, frowning, and pouty, to the steely, sage, and jubilant. She captured six of the ensuing seven games, to secure the second set, 6-4. Her opponent was no slouch, and took a 3-1 lead in the third set, but even then, the viewer couldn’t envision a derailment. The wiry-armed Latvian was swinging for the lines.

It’s not that simple, of course. According to Reuters, Ostapenko committed 54 unforced errors to accompany her—punishing—display of 54 winners. (Halep would collect 10 and 8, respectively.) Ostapenko would lose her serve six times, but this wouldn’t deter the upstart, as she would break Halep’s serve eight times.  She didn’t just punish the ball on winners (and unforced errors) but virtually every time she swung her racket. Trailing in the match didn’t seem to matter. So long as there were more balls to clobber, she would clobber them. Ostapenko profited from a ridiculous bounce, a net cord at 3-3 in the third set, but many champions receive lucky bounces, especially those who fight the hardest. She took five straight games to close the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, her first title as a professional. The French Open champion didn’t play recklessly, but just shy of recklessness, and maybe that’s how we can define her game. Ostapenko delivered powerful ground-strokes from numerous angles, balances, and stances, just shy of recklessness. She dwelt—regally, precariously, bravely—on that edge, and won the French Open as an unseeded (and mostly teenage) player. She should never play tennis any other way.


Ostapenko’s smile is as formidable as her inside-out forehand.


It surprises me often enough when intelligent people reject the meaningfulness of athletic competition. To the contrary, the fearless vision of Aļona Ostapenko and her unwavering dedication to attacking the boundaries of the tennis court, moved me—I admit—to teary eyes, right after she scorched a backhand return of serve down the line to clinch her match versus Simona Halep. Ostapenko appears to be a kindly person and she didn’t exult in a way that mocked her opponent, yet there too, I found the celebratory imagery to radiate importance: a dazzling reward that compensated her own achievement, as well as the powerful force (Halep) arranged against her. The seasoned American announcing crew was stunned; who wouldn’t be? And who wouldn’t see this performance as a blueprint for any creative foray? There. That’s the crush. Learning from this young person to gamble—every moment—on the promise of your vision. 



Sources of Information:
NBC broadcast of the French Open women’s final
French Open match highlights, on YouTube
French Open Women’s Singles 2017 complete results at Wikipedia
New York Times article on Ostapenko’s first name
WTA listing for Jelena Ostapenko
Jelena Ostapenko Wikipedia page
ESPN story about Ostapenko’s progress at Wimbledon
Virginia Ruzici Wikipedia page
Roland Georges Garros Wikipedia page


Cultural Affairs Week 2017 Editorial Schedule
Aļona Ostapenko
Études, Brute?
To Be Announced


Sunday, June 25, 2017

RICHIE MAYO AND THE PARAMOURS GRIND US INTO THE GROUND FROM SIXTY YEARS AGO WITH THEIR SHAKER MASTERPIECE, “CRAWLIN’ (THE CRAWL)”




1. We know very little about this song and its musicians.

2. Likely personnel include: Richie Mayo (bass), Frank Perry (guitar), Mel Barnet (tenor saxophone), Mike Marrow (drums), and Don Edmonds (piano).

3. The band recorded “Crawlin’ (The Crawl)” on Varsity Music’s Campus label in Philadelphia, 1957.

4. A few years later, in 1961, a band known as the Untouchables re-recorded the song, bundled with “Benny the Beatnik,” on To-Da Music’s Rello label. While the personnel aren’t fully known, the guitar player (Frank Perry) for the Paramours appears to be part of this recording, and is given credit for composing this second version. It ain’t no slouch, as they say.

5. The original version may have been responding to The Stroll, which was both a teenage dance and an early rock ‘n’ roll song. In the dance, a line of boys and a line of girls would face each other at opposite sides of the room, akin to “reels” from other eras. One couple at a time, the dance partners would meet in the middle and stroll down the two lines, dancing while holding hands. The song, “The Stroll,” was first recorded by a Canadian band, The Diamonds, and first released in December, 1957, on the Mercury label. Ultimately, it’s a pop song, but owing to its rowdy saxophone, it reached #5 on the R&B charts. The record, the recording, would enable the song and the dance to occur simultaneously, a great triumph, perhaps, for connoisseurs of coincidence.

6. Dictionaries, as we know them, tend to define “stroll” as to “walk in a leisurely way” whereas “crawl” is typically cast as “dragging the body along on hands and knees.” The former is pleasant whereas the latter is burdened and grimy. (Ahem.) But that’s not all. The song is called “Crawlin’ (The Crawl),” as if to insist upon some slangy distance, the parentheses, between the two worlds. At the very least, “Crawlin’” is much less theoretical than “The Crawl” and to some degree must represent the unscripted form of the experience.

7. As an aside, “paramour” is defined as “a lover, especially a lover of a person who is married to someone else.”

8. Both versions of “Crawlin’ (The Crawl)” were re-released in 2013, as part of an early rock revival on Jazzman Records in the United Kingdom. Some Jazzman records emphasize the concept of burlesque, which their choice of labels—Sleazy, Sin Street, Smutt, et cetera—amply confirms.

9. “Shakers?” you ask. “SHAKERS,” I reply. Look into it.

10. In the end, here we have a suggestive song that’s crawlin’, played by a group of lovers, recorded sixty years ago, with wailing guitar and growling horn, and it’s no wonder that the band members have to shout “yeah!” at intervals. In part, those shouts acknowledge the genesis of an edgy translation, a code that instructs us to move.


Sources of Information:

YouTube comments
45cat entry for Untouchables
Wikipedia entry for “The Stroll
45cat entry for The Diamonds
YouTube video for The Stroll
Free Dictionary entry for Paramour
Discogs entry for the Jazzman reissue

LIST OF REJECTED CONSPIRACY THEORIES.




If it’s feasible, then it can be stored in the freezer. If it’s dirigible, then it can be mourned by a dirge. Too many dirges, however, might cause you to walk with a blimp. In the next room, Yokel Ono sits on a barstool and croons about life in the rural prefecture. In one of the songs, an ante-lope makes off with the poker kitty that otherwise belongs to the rubber baron. He, the rubber baron, derives great affluence from prophylactic sales, but his penile business practices draw wide condom-nation. So yeah, a different fellow wants to raise fruit trees in anonymity, and so this fellow adopts a nom de plum, or would that be a nom de prune? Sadly, he struggles at agriculture, and succumbs, mildly, to gardening of the arteries. His real name is Norman, he’s a standard fellow, and when war finally erupts, he settles on Norm de Guerre as the assumed name for his saboteur of duty. Eventually, his alias gets him on the A-List. When the Jerusalemite studies you, by the by, he got his Zion you, he got his Zion you. I hate it when the hit man, one Mr. Reaper Cussin’s, mouths off, over and over again. Finally, I have to confront the hit man, one Mr. Reaper Cussin’s. “Hey Bud,” I say, “Are you assassin’ me?”


Also see: List of Active Conspiracy Theories