Friday, January 22, 2010

Umbrella Guru

I don't know what to do with any of this:

I’d like to hear a mashup of Captain Beefheart’s “Ella Guru” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” Although I don’t like mashups, especially ones that try to level pieces of music that have nothing to do with one another.

When writing fiction, my only two choices are autobiographical and dreamlike. Lately I feel called to write a novel about a sharecropper who concocts an impossible plan to sneak away with the entirety of his farm into the night, inspired by a dream I had in glorious black-and-white. More glorious than Citizen Kane, I swear!

I had another dream where my sister and I were driving down a crazy mountain road (really, it was more like driving along some high fashion garment) and despite the fog and deep snow (both at once?) she claimed she could see fine. Mom pointed out (in real life) that perhaps she will develop x-ray vision if she ends up getting Lasik surgery. A sensible connection that I would never have thought of.

I’ve kind of always wanted a family I could more easily disappoint: domineering parents who demand I become a lawyer and who cut off the trust fund while I fail to become a writer and travel the country searching out erotic adventures. Or something.

There are a surprising number of songs about being 22, but the best will always be Neil Young’s “Powderfinger.”

Do people have a genetic predisposition to preferring either fiction or non-fiction?

There was an anniversary issue of Box Office at my work that reprinted pieces from the magazine’s 90 year history. A 1929 piece about The Broadway Melody was included, and it struck me as the ideal movie review about an ideal type of movie. With great modesty (essentially disclaiming his or her writeup as entirely irrelevant), the reviewer treated what is nothing more than a big show as, yes, a big show, noting the number of skilled individuals who worked on the production and whose talents are on display. Plus, a story thrown in for good measure, but nothing that coheres, or should try to. I’ll type it up if the issue ever reappears at work.

I live for The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, so tonight is a very momentous night for me. I posited his cancellation as a defeat for young people on the order of Proposition 8, which I still believe.

Of those residents of the twentieth century who escaped war, poverty, and oppression, it will be said that they ruined it for the rest of us, but also that no one in the history of the world ever had it better.

I’ve realized I prefer neither the town nor the country, only that I don’t like them in combination. In a true city, where nature has been eradicated, one can pretend it’s always been that way, and concrete is natural. But a cluster of houses on the side of a hill is a sad reminder. (In Of Time & The City, Terence Davies says something about there being no vitality stronger than decay. Well, that’s maybe because we don’t think of decay as having intention, but if it does, a well-run city is a place where one is not often aware of a battle being waged.)

Newsweek says there might be a partisan divide over science (Conclusion: Conservatives distrust intelligent people, facts). I wonder if there is a similar divide among people who grow up as horror fans and those who grow up science fiction fans. Assuming all these people become film critics, do the former develop a stronger theoretical engagement with film, and the latter a stronger emotional one?

A bad new ‘tween punk album will be called Wake Up Get Up Grow Up Give Up.

Zadie Smith says of the Zadie Smith who wrote White Teeth a decade ago: “I find her idea of the novel oppressive, alien, useless.” I find this heartening for a couple reasons: (1) I thought I was the only one who thought that about White Teeth; (2) It suggests that progress is possible.

Vanity Fair says that Norman Rockwell has been routinely underrated, but does the fact that art critics ignore him really count? The man is beloved, and rightly so. Anyway, the article is good, and I shouldn’t complain because indeed Rockwell could never be rated highly enough.

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