Not to compare their careers or anything, but as far as party mixtapes go, I’m going to travel out on the proverbial limb and suggest that this Superchunk cover is superior. (Besides, it’s not like it’s from Diamond Dogs or Hunky Dory or something.)
Do you watch other people or do you look at them? What exactly is the difference?
It has to do with what you’re looking for. If you want to learn something about a person, you watch her. If you find her specifically interesting, then also, yes, you are watching. But if not, it’s just looking.
Some people have the privilege of watching innocently. I say “privilege” because it is unfair. A little kid can stare at anyone. A middle-aged man cannot. To children: enjoy it while you can.
Othar Turner & The Rising Star Fife & Drum Band — “Shimmy She Wobble”
"The crowd gathers, thicker suddenly, as people spill from the darkness. Othar begins to march and the drums follow. Not fast. Not slow. Snaking, serpentine, serpentine and people fall in behind them and beside them, arms raised overhead and swaying, hips shaking over the county line, forth and back, side to side, grinding and doing the do. Men hump the drums and women hump the drums. The crowd shouts, spurring the players to take them higher and further, spurring the dancers to shake with more abandon. A lady in her sixties throws herself into a push-up position and makes love to the earth. Serpentine, Serpentine. The bass drummer pounds so hard we feel it in our chests, and something is unlocked. The sound comes from the instruments, goes through us, and reverberates off the trees and in the hollows all around. We are at the mouth of a cave. We are in Morocco with the master musicians of Jajouka, on the second line in New Orleans, the funeral spirit entwined with the life spirit.
“‘The old people taught me and told me that was African,’ says Othar, ‘way back in Africa, you played the drums if somebody dead. At the funeral they march behind the casket to the cemetery.’”
—from “Let Us Eat Goat” by Robert Gordon, contained as the liner notes for Everybody Hollerin’ Goat
I can’t take much more of this. Two weeks to go, and I’m at the end of my rope. I can’t work. I can eat, but mostly standing up. I’m anxious all the time and taking it out on my ex-wife, which, ironically, I’m finding enjoyable. This is like waiting for the results of a biopsy. Actually, it’s worse. Biopsies only take a few days, maybe a week at the most, and if the biopsy comes back positive, there’s still a potential cure. With this, there’s no cure. The result is final. Like death.
Five times a day I’ll still say to someone, “I don’t know what I’m going to do if McCain wins.” Of course, the reality is I’m probably not going to do anything. What can I do? I’m not going to kill myself. If I didn’t kill myself when I became impotent for two months in 1979, I’m certainly not going to do it if McCain and Palin are elected, even if it’s by nefarious means. If Obama loses, it would be easier to live with it if it’s due to racism rather than if it’s stolen. If it’s racism, I can say, “Okay, we lost, but at least it’s a democracy. Sure, it’s a democracy inhabited by a majority of disgusting, reprehensible turds, but at least it’s a democracy.” If he loses because it’s stolen, that will be much worse. Call me crazy, but I’d rather live in a democratic racist country than a non-democratic non-racist one. (It’s not exactly a Hobson’s choice, but it’s close, and I think Hobson would compliment me on how close I’ve actually come to giving him no choice. He’d love that!)
Actually only available for subscribers, but I wanted to recommend it anyways. It’s kind of a nice companion piece to this from the Daily Howler a few days ago, in that the former suggests you can’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty when it comes to politics (and implies that it’s useless to believe in good governance if you can’t also stomach the politics that gets you into power) and the latter suggests the main obstacle to achieving an effective politics (for the Democrats) has been the long-standing dominance of the Culture Wars on public perception of politics, government, their neighbors, and pretty much everything else.
Of course, it’s not like Nixon et al invented the Culture Wars out of whole cloth, and if Obama does end up winning (as projected) it will probably be understood as a vindication of his mostly-clean campaigning. Not to mention that underneath what’s basically understood by both many of his supporters and most of his detractors as “softness” in varying rhetorical guises there exists a pretty hard-nosed, Chicago school pragmatism. Plus one gigantic freakin’ war chest.
It was the first thing we read in this morning’s Post—and it illustrates the problem. Yes, Thomas Boswell was writing about sports—about a subject we pursue for pure fun. But quickly, he heightened the sense of the drama surrounding the Rays and the Red Sox:
BOSWELL (10/18/08): Now, we can’t lose. This weekend, we may watch as Boston runs its streak to an incredible 10 straight wins in ALCS elimination games. Bend the laws of probability? The Red Sox would mangle them. The odds of winning 10 straight games against roughly equal foes are about 1,000-to-1. The Sox have now pulled off eight such win-or-go-home LCS games in the span of just three Octobers.
Well, OK. But in fact, the odds against what the Sox have done (eight straight wins of this type) stand at 256-to-1. But why say that, when you can cite odds of “ about 1,000-to-1”—thereby letting you say “incredible,” thereby making your story more thrilling? We only talk about baseball for fun. But Boswell heightened the drama as he imagined what might yet occur.
But uh-oh! Colbert King also heightened the drama in today’s Post—but he was discussing the most serious topic in all of American politics. King was discussing race and race hatred. But even as he started his piece, the gent was embellishing wildly:
KING (10/18/08): “Kill him”: the battle cry of a lynch mob and words yelled out by a man at a Sarah Palin rally in Clearwater, Fla., this month, according to my Post colleague Dana Milbank.
With this rhetorical sleight of hand, an unfortunate shout by one single person slid into “the battle cry of a lynch mob.” Having granted himself that advantage, King soon rendered a judgment which was, on its face, just absurd:
“At its best, the Obama candidacy is about ending a war—not so much the war in Iraq, which now has a momentum that will propel the occupation into the next decade—but the war within America that has prevailed since Vietnam and that shows dangerous signs of intensifying, a nonviolent civil war that has crippled America at the very time the world needs it most. It is a war about war—and about culture and about religion and about race. And in that war, Obama—and Obama alone—offers the possibility of a truce.”
— Andrew Sullivan (via azspot)
I can’t help feeling as though I have a certain amount of friendly feeling— a portion that I was dealt at birth?— that gets spread out among my friends. I only have so much goodwill (a good amount but never enough.) And it seems like someone is always being shortchanged. Not by my own hand, but by some invisible reapportioning of that goodwill.
Usually, the goodwill goes to whomever is closest to me, geographically speaking. And it inevitably gets depleted from time to time, so that someone— like a latecomer to a breadline- is always turned away without a crumb.
I’m destined to feel guilty, always! Also: I’m sorry.
I was an INFP in high school (10+ years ago, for those keeping score). Now I’m too self-conscious about what the answers to the questions are obviously pointing toward to feel like I’m answering them honestly. This probably means I’m still an INFP?