April 21st, 2003

flavored with age

It's blowing you and me

A Mighty Wind was very good and very funny. Worth seeing. Most of the reviews I've read of it have been kind of misguided. I don't understand film critics sometimes.

I can't find my copy of "The Decline and Fall of the Third Reich", so I read "The Clash of Fundamentalisms" on the way to work today. I'm enjoying it so far; though it's easy to see that Tariq Ali comes from an artist's perspective and not a politician's, I'm not convinced this is a bad thing. The thing I want to know is, how the hell did I misplace a book that's 1400 pages long and weighs like 5 pounds? My apartment isn't that messy. Maybe it's in my automobile.
flavored with age

Weekend update

Aside from going to see A Mighty Wind, here's some stuff that I did over the three-day weekend.

- I didn't do as much writing as I hoped, but I did quite a bit just the same. I just started a chapter in my crappy novel that I was dreading, but it's actually turned out to be pretty fun to write. Goodness knows if it will be fun to read.

- I went to Hala Kahiki with some friends, and because I am an oaf, I bumped our table when I got up to go to the bathroom and knocked over the delicious, potent girl-drinks we were having. Happily, however, they gave us new ones for free. Lesson: knock over drinks more often. Also, when I did go to the bathroom, a Polish guy with bleach-blond spiked hair a la Fred Willard in A Mighty Wind was singing 'Smoke on the Water' to himself while he pissed. "DAH DAH DAH, DAH DAH DA-DAH!"

- Went to see an amazing concert late Friday: My Name is Rar-Rar, Caroliner and No Doctor. Spazzy free-jazz/noise-rock for everyone. Rar-Rar has incredible chops; I'm anxious to hear some new material -- and to get their album once it's released -- but it's still a joy to see them play. No Doctor was completely insane, in an enjoyable way, and I'd never heard Caroliner before but now I'm quite fond of them. Their tour diary is a pretty fun read, too.

- I planned on getting together with another friend of mine, but I kept calling her phone number and got a message that her voice mail box was full. Hmph.

- Bought many, many funnybooks (damn, Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming...what are you fools up to?), a couple of actual books, and no CDs. Dispatched the Roommate to buy even MORE funnybooks for me last night, but the plan was aborted. I'm in what's known as a "manic phase" re: the funnybooks, or, as they call it in the biz, a "big fuckin' geek-out".

- For Easter, I bought thaitea an English ivy plant and a peach pie. I also called a friend and wished her a happy birthday, and made an awesome Chinese pepper beef stir-fry. The White Sox lost to the hated Racist Cartoons, though, and Jesus didn't come back, so it was a mixed bag, as days go.

- Sunday morning, some shithead's piercingly loud car alarm went off at 6:45AM and didn't stop until 11:30AM. And yet, if I had gone and smashed his car to pieces with a red sledgehammer, I would have gone to jail. That's capitalism for you.
flavored with age

Speculate on my big fat ass

As someone who likes genre-based artforms (comics, noir/mystery, some fantasy and sci-fi) and feels guilty about it -- indeed, as someone who is writing a crappy novel which, if published, will certainly end up in the genre fiction ghetto -- I have always been, to put it politely, keenly sensitive to slights against those genres. (To put it impolitely, I am hysterical and thin-skinned.)

There's a built-in contradiction at work here, of course; no one is a bigger critic of how crappy a lot of comics are than I am. Likewise, a lot of other things I am passionately devoted to -- country and rap music, genre fiction, baseball, postmodernism -- are hovering right around 90% bullshit. A lot of it is just utter garbage. But that doesn't mean I won't start throwing blows when someone who's obviously ignorant about those things starts talking smack about them. I will write endless entries on my site about crappy comics, but if someone who clearly hasn't read them starts dissing the funnybooks, heads will fly. Likewise when people say they like "all kinds of music, except (rap/country)" or yammer about pomo when they transparently don't have any idea what it means. It's like yo' mama: it's okay for YOU to dis on yo' mama, but best believe that if someone ELSE disses on yo' mama, they better come strapped.

This went through my head when I read this entry by Brian Hogg on his Inelegant weblog. Unlike Mr. Hogg, I have read a fair amount of Margaret Atwood's books; unlike Mr. Hogg, I still have a lot of respect for her. But like Mr. Hogg, I find her comments pretty appalling.

Look, the idea that certain genres of art are inherently worthless was discredited long ago. But the good work being produced among all the dross in those genres is going to continue to be ignored as long as critics and, more importantly, talented creators keep promulgating the notion that the genres are juvenile, retarded, sub-literate nonsense for people who aren't classy enough to handle 'real' art. Comics, sci-fi, noir, etc. are going to be as good as their creators let them be. And as long as people like Margaret Atwood -- who, let us be perfectly clear, has written several very good science fiction novels -- pretend that what they're doing ISN'T genre fiction just by dint of the fact that they're doing it, they're going to be worse for it. Or, in other words, her admission that what she writes is sci-fi would make sci-fi better for her presence and makes her better by her diversity; her denial that what she writes is sci-fi makes sci-fi worse by her absence and makes her worse by her arrogance.