Friday, June 26, 2009

I got a funky shadow with me (miscellaneous)

So I see that I had the chronology on Bellow a little wrong. And I also see that his first success was Herzog, which I just started, and I have to say that novel's success could only happen in the sixties. I'm also amazed that Dangling Man ever got published. It's a ponderous account of a man waiting for his assignment with the army to go through written in the form of a journal (a kind of proto-blog fiction).

They're both quite brilliant. And quite ponderous. I just can't imagine a man like him being successful today. Ponderous and earnest. Two things not so much in high demand. Two things that are just absolutely so right up my alley though. So, the summer of Bellow will continue, and probably have to be extended into the fall. With a dozen novels and half a dozen short story collections and works of non-fiction, I would have to focus solely on him, which I really can't do this summer. Must make headway with the study of religion and mythology. Work that it is becoming more and more apparent is really necessary for my own novel work (to be cont'd at A the P).

I'll leave the political analysis for another day, but I did want to get into deconstruction on some op-eds from the Wall St. Journal and will. Another day.

I do want to say a few words about Micheal Jackson. I know the interweb is awash in remembrances and discussion of MJ, but I still wanted to add my own two cents because he definitely held a position of prominence in my love of music and dance.

When I was about 13, I took over my neighbor's paper route after he left for college, and after a few months I had collected together the awe-inspiring sum of seventy dollars from this endeavor. I still remember so clearly that trip to the mall. The first time ever that I had any real money of my own to spend. And I remember going into one of those shitty music stores that used to be in every mall (hey, surburbia, watcha gonna do?). And I remember being just totally overwhelmed by the amount of music available.

There were so many choices. Different genres of music and bands, just an amount of music that I could never possibly hope to listen to and absorb myself even if it was all free for the taking (as it now sorta, kinda is). It was one of the first times I realized how big the world was. How much was going on that I'd had no idea about. I admit, I was a little freaked out in that record store that day. So, I picked one artist. Really one group, and I think you can probably guess who that was. Yep, I picked the J5. And I obsessively bought every cassette tape (CD's existed but my sis had this crappy boombox that I could listen to in my room, so cassettes it was) of MJ and the J5 I could over the next year. And knowing all of their and his music top to bottom and stem to stern was a way for me to feel like I wasn't lost in a world that would always be so much bigger than I was.

It was an early coping strategy for the anxiety inducement of feeling lost and small and disconnected, which has always been a kind of mainstay in my life. And I also went out and read biographies about Micheal and read his autobio and watched MTV (this was the one time in my life when I lived in a house with cable) for the Micheal Jackson weekends. I recorded all that stuff on VHS tapes. I had Motown 25, all his music videos, early J5 stuff. So much of his stuff. And knowing his work so thoroughly made me feel comfortable that, if taken one thing at a time, I might not be drowned in information overload.

The thing about MJ that I think impressed me the most was when I found out that he was choreographing the J5 right from the beginning (at age 6 or 7). He was the one that designed their dance moves. I used to wear those VHS tapes of him and them out trying to imitate those moves. That man could dance like nobody's business. My fav is the move he does in the middle of the long form Smooth Criminal video when the song stops and he does this funky sort of moonwalk but just in place in a circle while looking at the ground and holding his white fedora. Loved that move. Practiced it endlessly. Never could nail it.

Anyway, I took a lot of shit for my obsessive love of Micheal Jackson I can tell you. Everyone thought it was off the wall odd-ballness, which it was. By that time MJ was well into his downward slide, of which is being written about plenty so I'm gonna pass by on that. The first child molestation charges came up about 7 or 8 months after I got into his stuff. And I got ragged hard, but I stood my ground and defended him tooth and nail.

I can still sing along with just about every J5 or MJ song there is right up through Dangerous, which I bought the day it was released. That was about the time that I started to move on to other things.

I guess that trip to the music store is really one of the precursors of my fanatic reading, listening, and film watching of particular artists entire body of work. It's not so much about overcoming the overwhelming nature of a global society anymore (for that I have philosophy). Now, it's more about seeing the developmental arc. And enjoying good art. And stuff. For that I am grateful, so thank you for that Micheal. Dance on into the eternal.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Still, with the Bellow

I have a whole cavalcade of quotes from Humboldt's Gift that I wanted to write down somewhere before I returned the book to the library, so I figured here is as good as anywhere. The whole book is so imminently quotable it's ridiculous. The man was profound and so earnest. Earnestness seems to be a rare commodity sometimes in our oh-so-snark-a-rific modern culture, and there is reason for that. One of earnestness' companions is often naivete. And Bellow on a certain level of practical living exemplifies the problems of earnestness in his characters. I don't want to mix up the man and his characters, but Charlie Citrine (the narrator and hero of H.G.) is a twice won pullitizer prize winning author, so perhaps a certain level of mixedupness is understandable.

The story is happening on two levels really. There's the plotted craziness that is a mainstay of Bellow's. His stories are always wild and crazy, but there's also this journey of the mind. His mind wanders through the hallways of philosophy, art, science, and ends in a mysticality he calls anthroposophy, which is apparently a term for the philosophy of Rudolph Steiner (both this word and this person were entirely new to me). Charlie C rejects rationality to a degree, but then doesn't reject it. Mostly he wants a deeper experience of living, and he goes into strange spiritualist practices to try and find this thing.

Because, of course, like the rest of us and especially like American society in the '70ies when Bellow wrote this book, Charles Citrine is finding himself experiencing a certain blaseness (with an accent on the e). Of course, as a highly emotional character with a deep intellect (I feel safe in saying this is something Bellow shares with his protagonists) this blaseness just peeps out at moments and manifests itself as this push into mysticism.

I've been reading William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience as well, and it has been quite unintentionally and synchronicitiously the ideal companion work of non-fiction for HG. One of the things James talks about is the experience of a presence, of which he chronicles many examples from various anthropological sources. This experience is just what it sounds like; A person feeling like someone else is present in the room when they are, in fact, alone.

Of course, my response to this idea is that it's surely a neurological phenomenon. The experience is in the brain, which does not mean that it's not real or valid or whatnot. It just means that this is some form of mental stimulation (how or where that mental stimulation comes from is another, more complicated question). The point I'm trying and failing to get at is that the spiritual and the religious are the means by which we can break the deadenings of the blase and reconnect with the power of the soul. Bellow's Citrine is all worked up about the fact that the soul is not to be dismissed as some relic of another time but is a real and useful concept. The reality of this soul, for me, is more in the experience of self that comes from the idea of an immortal spirit that both animates us and lives beyond our physical existence.

So, now I've gone all crazy tangential into a slight mysticism myself, but I think Emile Durkheim was right when he writes that religion has an incredible power to drive human existence (obviously, that's for both good and ill), and that the lessening of the spiritual in modernity is a potential loss of animating force within the self.

Oh right, quotes:

Artaud as the artist was a failed priest. Failed priests specialize in blasphemy.

The educated people of modern countries are a thinking rabble at the stage of what Marx called primitive accumulation. Their business is to reduce masterpieces to discourse. Artaud's scream is an intellectual thing. First, an attack on the nineteenth-century 'religion of art', which the religion of discourse wants to replace...

It seemed to me, however, that one might begin with this belief of the modern world-either you burn or you rot. This I connected with the finding of old Binet the psychologist that hysterical people had fifty times the energy, the endurance, the power of performance, the keenness of faculties, the creativity in their hysterical fits as they had in their quiet periods. Or as William James put it, human beings really lived when they lived at the top of their energies.

Someone has even written of an astronomer keeping droves of stars, the cattle of the mind, in the meadows of space. The imaginative soul works in that way, and why should poetry refuse to be knowledge?

He was definitively one of the great contemporary American novelists. Here's to earnest, profound authors who aren't afraid of the non-rational. May your soul live on forever Mr. Bellow.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can wisdom really be conventional?

This past weekend I was exposed to a high level of cable news. For myself, I haven't owned a television since my last one exploded (along with a toaster oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, DVD player, etc.) due to faulty wiring several years back, and I haven't lived in a house with cable since before the advent of 24 hour news. And I have to say, cable news is shitty and facile for the most part. Fareed Zakaria's GPS was excellent and thoughtful, but otherwise cable news appears to suck.

The story that was getting a lot of play beyond rebroadcasting Youtube videos from Iranian protests was the whole 'Obama's health care reform is on the rocks' bit because it turns out that anything close to full coverage is gonna be wildly expensive. Who would've guessed? Now, the question I've been asking myself since big B came out with his statement that he wanted a health care bill by the end of the summer was why such a rush? Why on Earth would you want to rush through what is so clearly a monumental undertaking?

And the answer that came back to me was that those moron economists he's got on the payroll have been whispering in his ear about Milton Friedman's theory of crisis as catalyst for undemocratic change. Friedman came to the idea that if you wanted to get real so-called free market reforms you needed to implement them during a crisis while people were too skittish and freaked out to resist. Once they're on the books, it's hard to undo.

The theory here might be (this is all pure, bald speculation I admit) that B's admin can use the economic crisis to push through a barrel of reforms before conservatives can get their barings and regroup. In theory this kind of makes sense, but in truth it's really idiotic. First off, universal health care is not undemocratic. The core problem is not that we're talking about trying to push through reform that only benefits a small group, it's that conservatives seem to embrace demagogic rhetorical practices to an extent that progressives tend to be uncomfortable with on principle. And those practices had been wildly successful right up to the virtual collapse of our economy.

And there's no reason to think those practices will be abandoned anytime soon. Mostly because conservatives embrace those practices on principle. The principle being that people aren't really capable of making wise political choices for themselves, and therefore have to be kind of tricked into making the 'right' choice. This is all wickedly ironic given the foundation of conservative economic theory, but not the kind of irony I would suggest laughing about.

So, really the choice was to try and counter this with a reverse Friedman political move or to somehow figure out a way to break the back of demagogery. Or to dissolve and transform the demagogic. However you want to think about it (I also freely admit that the warrior paradigm has limited use). It appears that B's admin went with the former, and it may have been the exploding cigar that the Repubs needed to lift there collective spirits and get back into the fray.

Obviously, this has all been speculation and generalization. None of which is of much value. I just thought I'd spout off a little bit about this whole thing because after listening to Obama's press conference yesterday I was reminded how smart and thoughtful this president is and how half-assedly pragmatic his admin's approach has been. The disconnect is not just a little frustrating, but I was not unprepared for that possibility (by that crappily calculated book of his The Audacity of Hope).

So there's that. Also just about through with Humboldt's Gift. The casual nature of Bellow's intelligence and the way he brings us into esoterically weird mystic teachings through a dynamic and funny story coupled with a philosophic journey of thought is quite staggering. I see now that I've started Dangling Man that, really, The Adventures of Auggie March was somewhat of an aberration (his Norwegian Wood, if you will) in that the level of philosophizing is still there but kept minimal, and the story and the sensual details of place and character are brought to the fore. Really he's at the philosophy from word one of novel one. And that's just fine.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Bellow

Owing to the TB I connected breathing with joy, and owing to the gloom of the ward I connected joy with light, and owing to my irrationality I related light on the walls to light inside me. I appear to have become a hallelujah and Glory type. Furthermore (concluding) America is a didactic country whose people always offer their personal experiences as a helpful lesson to the rest, hoping to hearten them and to do them good- an intensive sort of personal public-relations project. There are times when I see this as idealism. There are other times when it looks to me like pure delirium. With everyone sold on the good how does all the evil get done?
-Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift

A flowering of post-modernism is how I always think of Bellow, but with a depth of insight that po-mo stuff can many times lack.

Saul Bellow

He said this was a good question but it was obvious that he didn't mean it. He turned gloomy and his voice went flat -plink- as though there were one note of tin in his brilliant keyboard. He struck it now. "I may think I'm bringing an offering to the altar, but that's not how they see it." No, it was not a good question, for the fact that I asked it meant that I didn't know Evil, and if I didn't know Evil my admiration was worthless. He forgave me because I was a boy. But when I heard the tinny plink I realized I must learn to defend myself. He had tapped my affection and admiration, and it was flowing at a dangerous rate. This hemorrhage of eagerness would weaken me and when I was weak and defenseless I would get it in the neck. And so I figured, ah ha! he wants me to suit him perfectly, down to the ground. He'll bully me. I'd better look out.
-Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift

It was about two years ago that I bought a copy of The Adventures of Augie March at The New England Mobile Book Fair (an unbelievably cheap warehouse full of books). The way the Book Fair is set up it's virtually impossible to find specific books without in-depth assistance, so I usually just wander around randomly until I hit on something. March was one of those random hits. It was one of several books, but other than Sucker's Progress (a book about gambling on cards), I couldn't tell you what any of those other several books were now. I have them somewhere in closets or on bookshelves, but I couldn't easily identify them as from that last trip to the book fair.

Within twenty, ten, five, maybe even the first page I knew this book was destined to make the all time desert top five. It's just that good. So sensory it's like being in the Chicago streets of the early 1920's and onward, and the story ranges all over the place. It has this magical quality to it that made me think of magical realism even without any type of overtly fantastical reality. The real world is made magical. No small feat.

Now, last summer I dubbed 'The Summer of Murakami' because I went on an obssessive Marukami binge and read everything of his that's been translated except one or two collections of short stories. I went absolutely crazy on the writings of Haruki Murakami, and the plan is to do the same thing with Bellow this summer. So, this is 'The Summer of Bellow'. Which is so much easier, as my local library has just about all of Saul Bellow's work as well as several biographies and about a dozen critical analyses. The only Murakami they had was Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. A great collection of short stories to be sure, but hardly enough for a Summer Of kind of thing.

With Bellow, I really wanted to start with Humboldt's Gift. I think it's the one that won him the Nobel Prize in Literature. Not that that really means anything. The Old Man in the Sea won it for Hem, and I think that's the only Hemingway novel that I haven't read. Not that that really means anything either. I'm just saying. Also winning the Nobel probably was the proximate cause for Hem going all paranoid delusional because he couldn't work what with all the hoo-ha over the prize. And he might've been on the verge of breaking through stylistically with the Garden of Eden (on a certain level of meta-ness [not with the whole sexual kinkiness {although that was a new level of sex wierdness for Hem}]). All beside the point anyway. I just had a hunch about this book.

And Humboldt's Gift is clearly a treasure. I'm about sixty pages in, and the book is most firmly in that ecstatic enlightenment of literature category. Just an elegant joy, in words. To me at least. After Augie March, I had picked up some of Bellow's later writing from the 80's (Mr Sammler's Planet [got him the Pullitzer, I think] and More Die of Heartbreak) used for cheap, and it's all dense musings from an old Jewish man in New York and an early Russian lit professor somewhere in the Mid-west respectively, which is probably why they were readily available used for cheap. Books that Dave Eggers calls 'difficult' (lest we forget our labeling theory, Dave). Great books in there own right but no where near the sensual and emotional journey of March. Much more intellectual. It seems that Humboldt may have been the turning point in the development of this later, more intellectual style because it, so far, seems like a wonderful and near perfect mix of the sensual and the intellectual. So good.

And so many more. Herzog next, then Dangling Man (I believe his first novel), and after that, well, we'll just have to see.

Also read Shipping Out or A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace. Harper's magazine has all the DFW stuff they've ever printed available in PDF form over there (thanks to Infinite Summer a bunch of DFW links). It is absolutely, hilariously, deeply, thoughtfully, sincerely amazing. Such mirth and depth so playfully intertwined. Wallace is just brilliant. Just absolutely brilliant. Maybe next summer will be the Summer of Wallace.

Slow down there, Cowboy. Let's not get ahead of yrself.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gathering together my scattered brain

Scattered is my go-to euphemism when it comes to over anxious hyper-reflexivity, to be even more euphemistic about the whole thing. I have the tendency to get excited and then start going eight thousand miles per second, and eventually, after four or five months of the everything all at the same time style of life, I crash and burn for a few months of blahh and nothing and try and recharge. Unfortunately, this style of living does not match well with the whole process of aging. As I'm learning.

So, the trick is to catch yrself at the early stages of the cycle and mediate the afterburn. Try and take it slow without sacrificing the creative and/or scholastic energy. For me, this is difficult. It is not easy. I like to sprint. I don't like to jog.

The point of this is that the thing that sets me off is knowledge and ideas. Once I get on the scent of a good story or a good philosophic integrative conduit, I'm off like a bloodhound. And it's a damn the consequences I'm on the hunt kind of a thing, which is in some ways a good response. It's just that all the basics of living tend to get lost in that great cosmic hunt for understanding, at least for me.

So, I guess, what I'm saying is that sometimes it's good to jog. You can't sprint a marathon and all that. And life is a marathon. It's not 200 meters. At least, we hope it's not.

A little bit lately, I'm just running down the rabbit hole. It's a habit of mine when I'm falling into the blah mode to try to keep from going stone cold numb. I'd say it's a bad one, but truthfully I do think it's important that you go down and through and out the other side at least once in our lives. It's important to see what's under the surface. Find out what's down there and what you, yrself, are made of. That doesn't mean we should do it as a defense against apathy. There are surely other, more healthy alternatives in the struggle to remain present and not slip into the back seat of life.

And all that. So, I was informed the other day (not to harp on the Star Trek thing) that it was a black hole and not a wormhole, which is actually worse. I was giving Abrams credit. A black hole is, to my mind, substantially less interesting than a wormhole. Plus, if you went into a black hole, you would be frozen in time, sort of, and would experience that last millisecond of yr life infinitely. So time is a factor but no backwards time travel. Sorry.

Anyway, I've put aside economics for the summer and picked up William James' The Varieties of Religous Experience and Joseph Campbell's Creative Mythology. Both are heavy and serious. James is more of a philosophic exercise in the logics of spirituality while Campbell musters the evidence from all corners of the social sciences and brings them together in a kind of mystical way. They fit well together.

Also, of course, Infinite Jest. Of which, I am taking my time and moving slowly and trying not to get too far ahead (Infinite Summer). Tomorrow I'll go to the library and hopefully, fingers crossed, get my hands on three or four of Saul Bellow's novels. I really hope they have Humboldt's Gift. I am optimistic. Also that my fines are not too high.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Happy thought

Although I enjoy Hunter S. Thompson's writing immensely and his clear-eyed analysis coupled with absolute post-modern absurdism is both exhilarating and overpowering, I do know better than to read him at breakneck speeds. It's a little mentally dangerous. I picked up Fear and Loathing on the Campaign trail in '72 for whatever unclear reason, and I just tore through it in less than a week. I do. I know better than to do that.

And that's Hunter's most thoughtful work. In my opinion. Not that it's not full of gonzo insanity, and it's not that the context of his ravings doesn't make him seem painfully sane, it's just that his style is wildly manic.

Years ago I had this idea for a remake of an old Japanese film, Rashomon, w/ HST as the bit role of the traveler who's hearing the various stories from different people who happen to be in a diner, which replaces the abandoned temple, as the real story happens in multiple perspective flashback. And the whole thing would be based around Thompson's book Hell's angels. About a crime the Hell's angels may have committed. Rashomon was all about perspective. Cryptic, eh? Read the book and go see the movie and you'll see why the idea is a little controversial and would be a difficult movie to really make.

But anyway, it occurred to me that if I wanted to write as Hunter, I would have to read as much of his writing as I could. I read just about everything. Collections of letters (the man wrote three volumes of letters to friends and family over the years), his early novel The Rum Diary, FNL in LV, The great Shark Hunt, various collections from his later writings, etc. I tried to learn how to think like Hunter S. Thompson.

Let me tell you it's a very disturbing, if also enlightening, place. Not that he's wrong. Especially with Campaign. One of the great takeaways from Thompson's journalism in 1972 was that it's crazy to take politicians at surface value. And even worse, it's not objective. That's really one of the great lessons of postmodernism: rationality is not always rational. But the form of this lesson for Thompson was his life, and it made him a character. A celebrity. He could no longer practice his brand of journalism because he became the story. And he had to play a character that was intensely polarizing. It was probably ultimately a fairly self destructive character too, but only he would've know that for sure. I never did know 'em, so I couldn't rightly say.

The point of all this was that I didn't mean to be such a menace about behavioral economics, leveraged buy-outs, or the new Star Trek. It just happened to be the stuff I was thinking about while I was reading the Campaign Trail. I also shredded on the idea that Inifinite Jest is a difficult book, the difference between the progressive and conservative media approach (informative vs. demagogic?), the potential illusion of free will, and other related nonsense. I was pretty worked up by the time I got through.

I actually think the work of behavioral economics is very important. In the end, we've gotta start somewhere. The economic reform process is going to be long and hopefully fruitful. I just worry that we're picking at the scabs on our elbows while our intestines bleed out or something. Not that behavioral economics is the scab. The metaphor is never perfect. They've taken good basic research from the specialized fields of modern psychology, but the integration has to go further. Sociology, history, anthropology, really the entire field of the humanities, theology. We've gotta get the whole superstructure fit together. It's like a giant puzzle of knowledge.

In order for the social sciences to integrate, economics cannot seperate itself from the research and ideas of the wider field. It cannot be it's own seperate entity, but in order to maintain Friedman, that's what has to be done. And what this basic work that Thaler, Sunstein, Schiller, etc. are doing is showing us the the symptoms of larger philosophical problems that we cannot continue to ignore.

I really don't have any nice things to say about leveraged buy outs. So, I'm gonna move right on to the new Star Trek. It was. It was good. I enjoyed it. To a degree. I really felt like the movie should've started with the young Kirk racing down the road in the stolen car and saved the back story about his dad to be cut in along the way as self-reflective flashbacks to soften the brazenness of Captain Kirk's character. I really felt like Kirk needed a few brief flashes of self reflection. Not just that one slight aside to Uhura.

But it was still pretty smart and funny for the tent pole action/adventure genre. I would prefer if they got some of the physics right. Maybe there was some in there that I didn't notice. Abrams is definitely no slouch. I did like Spock designing the Kobayashi Maru. I felt like the rest of the stuff about the Maru was too easy. It should have been a more difficult question. Not so cut and dried. A little more sophisticated. I know that's a loaded word. It really shouldn't be. Still the new Trek was worthwhile. It was worth my time and money. For the most part.

Anyway, I've already started in on David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. Never read any of his work before, and it's clearly monumental. I am looking forward to reading this book this summer. Got to try and make it last all summer, and read other things. Comparative mythology, for example. William James. Mircea Eliade. Joseph Campbell. Some really 'difficult' books.

Anyway, that was really digressive. Sorry. I'm basically just muttering to myself under my breath in print. I probably do that too much.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Don't Believe the Hype, and other etcerated echolalia

First things first, I've been delving into behavioral economics, and I'm sadly disappointed in the lack of philosophical discipline among the fields' leading thinkers. The work lacks rigor and is for the most part just a mishmash of cognitive, social, and folk psychology applied to economics through an individualist paradigm with no accounting for the field of sociology what-so-ever. This scattershot approach to interdisciplinary work has got to stop, and the honest truth is that if philosophers weren't so Ostrich-like in their pursuit of epistemological and ontological and existential truths, they might be able to help in the superstructural coordinating project that needs to happen to take the social sciences to the quantum and cosmological level.

So there's that. Also read an interesting piece in the Boston Globe today about the huge problem of debt in the newspaper world. We all know that newspapers are struggling, and that they haven't figured out an internet model that works. But the reason that some are so far underwater is that they're drowning in the debt incurred when some larger corporation bought them out after the telecommunications act of '96 basically deregulated formerly mandated diveristy of ownership in local newspapers. That's why the Globe is so close to the edge, because the Times Co. bought them out in a leveraged deal that put over a 100 million dollars worth of debt onto the Globe's books. And it would suck something fierce if the Globe went under.

For everyone who's counting '96 was also the year that Glass-Steagall was repealed and that energy bill with the so-called Enron loophole was passed, which deregulated newly created markets (such as mortgage back securities, energy, auction rate securities, etc.). And who signed all of those things into law. That's right ladies and gents, Bill Clinton. And it looks like, scratch that, it is clear that Obama intends to continue the trend of letting the money changers take over the temple. Who in their right goddam mind hires the guy who fired Cornel West? I ask you.

Anyway, so I saw Star Trek the other day and I gotta say, I wasn't really feelin' it. That's not say there weren't moments. Simon Pegg running around like a madman, givin' it all she's got. Eric Bana as the grieving, vengeful Romulan. There was something else I liked, but I've forgotten now. Oh, yeah. Bones' intro. Classic. Here's my problem. Cap't Kirk was an ass. No holds barred, completely unself-reflective dillhole. I'm generally all about the anti-hero, but I just don't think this is the right time to be celebrating a guy who has one millisecond of self reflection in his whole universe saving adventure. He reminded me a lot of the guy who just left the white house, and frankly I do not want to be reminded of that shit right now. Or a guy who would be right at home blowing huge rails of coke and developing exotic investment instruments a la le credit default swap. These are not the type of people we should be lionizing as the defenders of the universe.

But of course I'm an unrepentant moralist. I freely admit it. I think that anyone who creates a product that is going to be potentially imbibed by millions of people around the world has a responsibility to the creation of mythic structures that help to illuminate the messy, tricky realities we all live through. I feel like that responsibility is shirked time and again. But whatever.

I also did not feel like the chemistry between Quinto's Spock and Pine's Kirk was where it should have been, and I feel like part of that was the writing for Spock. Well, really the writing for everything. The movie was like some giant rolling deus ex machina. And just for the record a wormhole could potentially bring you forward in time, but a regular wormhole could not bring you back in time. You would need some kind of reverse wormhole, like maybe if two wormholes collided. Not that wormholes move, but I just don't understand how a movie that costs millions of dollars can't get a little physics right. Take the physics as it exists and then go beyond it. Don't just grab some concepts out of the zietgiest and throw 'em in. That's a big pet peeve of mine.

Also what is the deal with Spock getting picked on as a kid? If Vulcan's are ruled by logic, then doesn't this mean that it's logical to pick on someone who's different? I don't understand how this works other than that it's necessary for later plot developments.

So, it wasn't awesome. In my humble opinion. I admit. I'm a downer a lotta times when it comes to this stuff. I am incapable of watching a film in a non-hyperly critical way. But when a film is able to make it through that hyper-critical guantlet, the enjoyment is just that much greater. But, I digress.

I see now that my tone here was pretty harsh, but I just started reading Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. I have a bad habit of slight tonal imitation. These things they happen.