Why bother.

Monday, August 24th, 2015

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“PEOPLE USED TO COME TO THESE SHOWS, WHEN IT WAS UNDERGROUND ROCK, TO GET LOOSE AND LOSE THEIR SHIT.  NOW THE MOTIVATIONS ARE DIFFERENT — THEY COME TO MAKE YOUTUBE VIDEOS ON THEIR IPHONES.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.”
[Portlander Sam Coomes (of Quasi and Heatmiser fame), as quoted in one of the local rags]
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“‘SOMETIMES,’ SAID CLAIRE, AS WE DRIVE PAST THE I. MAGNIN WHERE SHE WORKS, ‘I DEVELOP THIS WEIRD FEELING WHEN I WATCH THESE ENDLESS WAVES OF GRAY HAIR GOBBLING UP THE JEWELS AND PERFUMES AT WORK.  I FEEL LIKE I’M WATCHING THIS ENORMOUS DINNER TABLE SURROUNDED BY HUNDREDS OF GREEDY LITTLE CHILDREN WHO ARE SO SPOILED, AND SO IMPATIENT, THAT THEY CAN’T EVEN WAIT FOR FOOD TO BE PREPARED.  THEY HAVE TO REACH FOR LIVE ANIMALS PLACED ON THE TABLE AND SUCK THE FOOD RIGHT OUT OF THEM.”
[from Douglas Coupland’s novel Generation X (1991)]
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magnin pasadena

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“PEOPLE GO TO NEVADA TO LOOSEN THE BONDS OF TRADITIONAL SOCIETY AND TRY SOMETHING NEW.  WHAT HAS HAPPENED THERE OVER THE PAST TWENTY YEARS IS A PARTICULARLY AMERICAN VERSION OF THE ECONOMIC CYCLE.  EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS GET INTO TROUBLE BY OVERLOADING ON PENSIONS AND OTHER EXPENSIVE BENEFITS; AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS GET INTO TROUBLE BY PRACTICING A KIND OF CASINO LIBERALISM, IN WHICH CREDIT FLOWS TOO EASILY, EVERYBODY GOES TOO DEEPLY INTO DEBT, AND IF THE GROWTH EVER STOPS, EVERYTHING CRASHES.”
[Coupland, op. cit.]
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nevada-welcome
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“PEOPLE WANTED NOVELTY, BUT WITH NO RISK; THEY WANTED PRODUCTS TO BE EXCITING AND YET OF SOLID, SOBER QUALITY, OF HIGH PRESTIGE VALUE, BUT LOW PRICE . . . SHE WAS ALWAYS FACED WITH THE SAME PROBLEMS — HOW TO EXCITE CURIOSITY, TO ASTONISH AND AT THE SAME TIME TO REASSURE: BEHOLD THE MAGIC PRODUCT THAT WILL COMPLETELY CHANGE OUR LIVES WITHOUT PUTTING US OUT IN THE LEAST.”
[from Simone de Beauvoir’s novel Les Belles Images (1966)]
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26. Au bord de la Dordogne
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“I GUESS IT ALL STARTED FOR ME WHEN I WANDERED INTO A DEAD KENNEDYS SHOW IN THE SUMMER OF 1984.  THEY WERE PASSING THROUGH TOWN ON THEIR WAY TO DALLAS, WHERE THEY WERE GOING TO PLAY A SHOW ACROSS THE STREET ACROSS FROM THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION.  AS JELLO BIAFRA TOOK THE STAGE AT LIBERTY LUNCH AND STARTED BELTING, ‘MTV — GET OFF THE AIR, NOW!’ OR ABOUT HOW, IN RELATION TO THE STAR QUARTERBACK HAVING HIS NECK BROKEN, THE ‘COACH SAID, THAT BOY GAVE 100%,’ I FELT A SUDDEN SURGE OF ENERGY.  IN A VERY SHORT TIME, I WENT FROM THINKING (AS I HAD BEEN TOLD OVER AND OVER AGAIN) THAT MY GENERATION HAD NOTHING TO SAY TO THINKING THAT IT NOT ONLY HAD EVERYTHING TO SAY BUT WAS SAYING IT IN A COMPLETELY NEW WAY.  IT WAS A MULTITUDE OF VOICES COEXISTING AND COMBING AND ALL ADDING UP TO SOMETHING THAT CERTAINLY ‘MEANT’ SOMETHING BUT COULDN’T EASILY BE CLASSIFIED.”
[Richard Linklater, in the “Introduction” to the companion book to his debut film, Slacker (1992)]
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“FOR THE MILLIONS OF AMERICA’S YOUTH WHO HAD REPRESENTED THE TRUE UNDERBELLY OF ANYTHING MAINSTREAM IN THE 1980S, BE IT THEIR POPULARITY-STATUS SOCIALLY IN HIGH OR WITH GIRLS, OR BE IT AN ABUSIVE HOME THEY HAD TO RETURN TO AFTER BEING SCORNED AT SCHOOL, THEY TRULY HAD NOWHERE TO TURN TO — NOT EVEN IN THE LAST FRONTIER OF ESCAPE, MUSIC.  THOSE KIDS NEEDED A SAVIOR, NOT A BUDDY TO PARTY WITH.  THEY DIDN’T WANT TO ESCAPE THEIR PROBLEMS SO MUCH AS THEY SOUGHT A MUSICAL CONFIDANT TO UNDERSTAND THEM WITH, AND ULTIMATELY TO LEAD THEM THROUGH MUSICAL THERAPY TO ESCAPE.  JANE’S ADDICTION WAS THAT ADVISER, AND PERRY FARRELL’S LYRICAL GIFT HELD A MYSTICAL WISDOM AND PROFOUND RELEVANCE FOR HIS LISTENERS THAT NELSON’S AFTER THE RAIN OR FASTER PUSSYCAT’S HOUSE OF PAIN WAS NEVER CAPABLE OF.  ALTERNATIVE ROCK BECAME AMERICA’S MAINSTREAM IN 1991 NOT BECAUSE OF A TREND KIDS WERE GENERICALLY FOLLOWING, BUT BECAUSE OF A SPECIFIC MESSAGE THEY UNDERSTOOD INTIMATELY AS IT WAS THEIR OWN.”
[from Jane’s Addiction: In the Studio by Jake Brown (2010)]
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“FOR THE MOMENT, THE JAZZ IS PLAYING; THERE IS NO MELODY, ONLY NOTES, A MYRIAD OF TINY JOLTS.  THEY KNOW NO REST, AN INFLEXIBLE ORDER GIVES BIRTH TO THEM AND DESTROYS THEM WITHOUT EVEN GIVING THEM TIME TO RECUPERATE AND EXIST FOR THEMSELVES.  THEY RACE, THEY PRESS FORWARD, THEY STRIKE ME A SHARP BLOW IN THE PASSING AND ARE OBLITERATED.”
[from Jean-Paul Sartre’s debut novel, Nausea (1938)]
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“I WOULD LIKE TO HOLD THEM BACK, BUT I KNOW IF I SUCCEEDED IN STOPPING ONE IT WOULD REMAIN BETWEEN MY FINGERS ONLY AS A RAFFISH LANGUISHING SOUND.  I MUST ACCEPT THEIR DEATH; I MUST EVEN WILL IT.  I KNOW FEW IMPRESSIONS STRONGER OR MORE HARSH.”
[Sartre, op. cit.]
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“PUNK ROCK WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SOME SORT OF TEEN REVOLUTION, WHERE THE TEENAGERS ARE GOING TO TAKE BACK ROCK N’ ROLL. BUT IT NEVER HAPPENED.  IN AMERICA, THE PEOPLE WHO WERE INTERESTED IN PUNK ROCK WERE INTELLECTUALS IN THEIR TWENTIES WHO WERE LIKE, ‘OH YEAH, THAT’S REALLY GOOD, I CAN SEE THAT, YES.  VERY INTERESTING.’  WHEN I WAS AT PUNK SHOWS IN ’78, I WAS LIKE THE ONLY TEENAGER AT THE SHOW.  IT WOULD BE ALL PEOPLE IN THEIR TWENTIES AND OLDER.”
[Calvin Johnson (of K Records and Beat Happening fame) in some-book-or-other]
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“WHEN YOU FOLLOWED THE SOUND REGULARLY, YOU BEGAN TO BELIEVE THAT THE ONLY REAL SCENE FLOURISHED INSIDE THE MIDDLE EAST, T.T. THE BEAR’S, THE PARADISE, AND DELL’S DINER.  THE BORDERS OF THE SOUND‘S ROCK ‘N’ ROLL LANDSCAPE ENDED AT THE SHORES OF THE BOSTON HARBOR AND AT THE NEWTON LINE WHERE WZBC BROADCAST AND ALONG THE HAZY BORDER WHERE SOMERVILLE TURNED INTO CHARLESTOWN; BEYOND THIS CHARTED TERRITORY, ALL WAS BLANK AND HAZY, A LAND OF MISTS.  THE SOUND REPORTED ON A FIERCELY LOCAL TRIBE, SUSPICIOUS OF OUTSIDERS.”
[from Pagan Kennedy’s novel The Exes (1998)]
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“YOU’LL SEE THAT WHEN YOU WORK HERE, IT’S HARD TO IMAGINE ANY OTHER DEPARTMENTS EXIST AT ALL.  YOU STOP BEING ABLE TO REMEMBER THE OTHER PLACES YOU USED TO KNOW OR IF YOU DO, YOU THINK THEY’RE DUMB.  DO YOU KNOW WHY THAT HAPPENS?  I SURE DON’T.”
[from Stacey Levine’s novella Dra— (1997)]
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“THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF THE MONOPOLY OF VESTED INTERESTS: THEY MUST STIMULATE SEX, AND MAKE SEX DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN.  IN THAT WAY, THEY KEEP PEOPLE ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT IT, ALWAYS WORRYING ABOUT IT, AND IT KEEPS THEM FROM CAUSING TROUBLE.”
[William S. Burroughs (as interviewed by Daniel Odier) in The Job (1974)]
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Lische

Lische

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“IF MORE AND MORE PEOPLE CAN BE PERSUADED THAT THE SYSTEM OF BELIEF IS CORRECT, THEN CLEARLY IT MUST, AFTER ALL, BE CORRECT.  CONSIDER THE EXTREME CASE: IF EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD BELIEVED SOMETHING THERE WOULD BE NO QUESTION AT ALL AS TO THE VALIDITY OF THIS BELIEF.  IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT WE OBSERVE THE INCREASE IN PROSELYTING FOLLOWING DISCONFIRMATION.  IF THE PROSELYTING PROVES SUCCESSFUL, THEN BY GATHERING MORE ADHERENTS AND EFFECTIVELY SURROUNDING HIMSELF WITH SUPPORTERS, THE BELIEVER REDUCES [COGNITIVE] DISSONANCE TO THE POINT WHERE HE CAN LIVE WITH IT.”
[from Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken and Stanley Schachter’s psychological study, When Prophecy Fails (1956)]
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cognitivedissonance20

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“AT THE TIME [OF RED HAIR‘S RELEASE] AMERICA WAS STILL A CULTURALLY STRATIFIED COUNTRY, WITH CITY DWELLERS AND COUNTRY FOLK POSSESSING STEREOTYPICALLY POLAR TASTES.”
[from Clara Bow: Runnin’ Wild, by David Stenn (1988)]
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mmm123

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“IT WOULD BE A MISTAKE TO TREAT THE RANK AND FILE AS PASSIVE VICTIMS OF EXPLOITATION.  TO LEARN ABOUT THE SECULAR HUMANIST MENACE, PEOPLE HAD TO BUY BOOKS, TUNE TO RADIO STATIONS, LISTEN TO SERMONS, AND ATTEND MEETINGS.  THERE IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL PHENOMENON, SELECTIVE EXPOSURE, ACCORDING TO WHICH PEOPLE TEND TO SEEK OUT INFORMATION THAT COHERES WITH THEIR EXISTING BELIEFS AND AVOID INFORMATION THAT CONTRADICTS THEIR BELIEFS.  CONSERVATIVES WHO LIMIT THEMSELVES TO GLENN BECK, RUSH LIMBAUGH, TEA PARTY NEWSLETTERS, AND OTHER RIGHT-WING MEDIA SOURCES SELECTIVELY EXPOSE THEMSELVES TO PARANOID CONSPIRACISM.  THUS, IF THEY’RE BEING MANIPULATED, THEY ARE AT LEAST COMPLICIT IN THEIR OWN MANIPULATION.”
[from Blowing Smoke: Why the Right Keeps Serving Up Whack-Job Fantasies About the Plot to Euthanize Grandma, Outlaw Christmas, and Turn Junior into a Raging Homosexual, by Michael Wolraich (2010)]
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tunnel-vision

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“I CAN SEE AT MOVIE!  I CAN TALK ON TOP!”
or
“I CAN GOOGLE FOR ANSWER!  I CAN SAY LIKE I KNOW!
[pretty much all you can expect from the local “alternative newsweeklies” (or, as practiced: “lifestyle newsweeklies”) here in PDX, circa 2011]
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“A COUPLE YEARS AGO, I DID MANAGE TO SNAG A TEACHING GIG AT A PRESTIGIOUS AND RELIGIOUS SMALL COLLEGE IN RURAL MINNESOTA.  BORED ONE NIGHT—AND UNABLE TO FIND ANY COWS TO TIP—I DROVE AROUND THE COUNTRY SIDE AND PULLED OUT JOHN MCCAIN CAMPAIGN SIGNS FROM PEOPLE’S LAWNS.  AND THEN, EVEN MORE BORED A FEW NIGHTS LATER, I WROTE A TELL-ALL ESSAY FOR THE HUFFINGTON POST ABOUT MY THIEVERY.  AT THE [PDX RAG I USED TO WRITE FOR], SUCH BEHAVIOR WAS ENCOURAGED AND EVEN CONGRATULATED WITH PATS ON THE BACK.  BUT APPARENTLY LUTHERAN COLLEGE PRESIDENTS DON’T FIND RECEIVING 1,000 ANGRY PHONE CALLS AND EMAILS AS FUNNY AS [MY FORMER, DIPSHIT EDITOR] DOES.  I WAS ON THE FIRST PLANE OUT OF MINNESOTA.”
[former news/managing editor for one of the “alternative newsweeklies” in Portland, exemplifying — well beyond his conscious intent — the role the papers serve in harboring & perpetuating empty-headed, pseudo-“hipster” entitlement, while evidencing scarcely a clue about the larger, outside world they live in . . . ]
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