Thursday, June 30, 2005 


Since Spain doesn't have to have their parlimentary vote ratified, they're technically the third nation to allow gay marriage, and we're the fourth. But good on them (and us) regardless of chronology.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 

Woo and/or Hoo

Canada has become the third country in the world to fully officially recognize gay marriage.

Suck it, bigots.

[except, of course, they shouldn't care, because it's not as if the law will make them marry persons of their own gender or anything]


Men with prams

Interesting article over at the BBC on the beneficial effects of Iceland and Denmark's increased paternity leave.


Son of a bitch

...and now I discover that my new template in fact works just fine in IE. But not in Firefox. The gradient behind the main title looks better, too.

What the hell, people?



New journal entry up.

Edit: One thing I forgot to mention in the entry is that yesterday I finally booked an appointment for a road test to get a G2 licence. August 25th. Wish me luck.

Monday, June 27, 2005 

Part of the way there.

So, new template, again thanks to Blogger Templates. Unfortunately, as you'll see if you scroll down, it's not quite perfect. I've managed to mess around with everything else to my satisfaction - does anyone out there know how to get the background to extend all the way down? I took a look in the HTML, but it's nowhere my meagre knowledge would suggest it should be.

I spent a frustratingly long time looking for something (anything) better - is there a good site with free templates I don't know of? Eventually if I can spare the time and figure it all out I might take a page from Aaron's book and just make my own title image. We'll see.


Harper is a goddamned son of a bitch

Stephen Harper says that the Bloc Quebecois lacks "legitimacy" and that the same sex marriage bill shouldn't be passed because a majority of "federalist" MPs will vote against it.

Of course, this didn't bother him when he was planning to go against a majority of federalist MPs and trigger a fucking election, did it?

How short does he think our memories are?

Some good quotations further down in the article from Jack Layton and Scott Brison.


I owe you love

Today at the gym I listened to Six By Seven's The Way I Feel Today, and I think it really hit me for the first time that they're gone.

Man, am I going to miss them. You always feel a little propriatary about the bands you really love, even more so when it seems like no-one else does, but for whatever combination of reasons Six By Seven have been "my" band for years, more than any other (even the Delgados). I own all of their albums (including the Peveril Hotel odds and sods collection) except for the new one, which I will be ordering and soon as possible, and maybe some of their official bootlegs.

I could go on for a while, trying to encourage you to check them out, but what's the point, really? You should check them out, and I'd be more than willing to assist anyone in doing so (you can buy all of their albums from their website, so if you do wind up liking them it's easy to get some money in their hands), and anything else I add would just be a re-emphasis of that point.

As it is, I have the sneaking suspicion I might go over their whole catalog tonight when I get home.


Organize before they rise

Zombie dogs.

There are some things man are not meant to know, etc, etc...


Don't think of collapse

My review of the new A Northern Chorus disc is up.


Too perfect

Wired are building a Philip K Dick robot.

You'll have to excuse me, I'm getting a little choked up...


Technical difficulties (again)

I was going to get a lot more done here tonight (journal entry, new template) but then my computer decided to not start for 4-5 hours.

I've begun saving for a new one, hopefully I'll get to my target fairly soon.

Saturday, June 25, 2005 

"Releasing the hounds"

I'm off to go watch Land Of The Dead and drink, and it's been a slow couple of days, but I just had to link today's Girls Are Pretty. It's all downhill after that title, yes, but still great.

Friday, June 24, 2005 

She sure couldn't paint, but she could kiss...

Sometimes, I have to listen to Hefner's "Painting And Kissing". It's just this thing I need to do from time to time. Don't ask me to explain.

Thursday, June 23, 2005 


Why is my blog's
template suddenly
causing all text to
shunt down below the

I didn't change anything,
it just started happening.

I hope it stops soon.


Holy shit dept.

"The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development."

What the fuck? I can't believe I'm agreeing with Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas, but this is insane. And I don't mean just that one-line blurb - the details in the full story are plenty disturbing too.



I'm actually a little surprised at how badly I'd like to see this. I wonder if it'll come to the Bookshelf.


Leap into the irrational

Interesting article at Slate on Chuck Palahniuk's new book and newfound appreciation of Kierkegaard. Kind of.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 

Free music dept.

I'm a model you know what I mean
And I do my little turn on the catwalk Stypod
Yeah on the catwalk Stypod on the catwalk Stypod yeah
I do my little turn on the catwalk Stypod

[w/apologies to Right Said Fred]


Existence precedes essence

Worth it for the title alone.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 

Wrong side of the pond

This whole series of concerts All Tomorrow's Parties is putting on looks great - but the Stooges are going to be performing Fun House (my fifth favourite record ever at last count) in full live? And I can't see it?



Monday, June 20, 2005 

Book meme

Alf Soto asked me to do this, so it's his fault.

Total number of books I've owned: a quick scan around the apartment reveals 216 volumes, although:

- That doesn't count comic books
- Omnibus editions that are 2-5 books in one were counted as one
- I have no way of knowing how many books I have owned and haven't kept.

As with CDs, I don't keep a book just because I enjoy it or think it's good (I can always go back to the library, in most cases); I keep them if I think I need to own them due to my wanting to read and re-read them, or if I think I couldn't find it easily again if I ever did want to read/lend it again.

The last book I bought: Thomas Pynchon's great, great The Crying of Lot 49, which yes I read due to the Yo La Tengo song "The Crying Of Lot G"; but that got me into Pynchon, so who cares why I did it? The library lost the copy I'd read a few years back and I finally purchased my own because I had the money, I really liked the cover art of this edition (mostly white, with red packing-crate lettering and a billboard with a trumpet on it), and I'd been putting it off for a year or so.

The last book I read: Philip K. Dick's Confessions of a Crap Artist, one of his overlooked non-science fiction works, although now I've moved on to Lee Child's Persuader; I don't like many action thrillers (or whatever you want to call them) but Child's Jack Reacher series is good fun.

Five books that mean a lot to me (in no particular order)
Baruch de Spinoza, Ethic. I'll stop listing it when it stops being one the most profoundly transcendant experiences I've ever had. But I won't just list five volumes of philosophy here, or yet more Dick and Pynchon - they've all been mentioned by now.

Gene Wolfe, The Fifth Head of Cerebus. I guess Wolfe technically writes science fiction, but anyone who likes language and story and writing in general needs to read this. I finished it over a long, sleepless night in a hostel in Edinburgh, and I can't wait to read it again, to see if this time I can keep it from outsmarting me. And Wolfe writes some truly gorgeous prose.

glenn mcdonald, The War Against Silence. Okay, technically it's not a book per se, but it's at least book length and anyone who reads all of it, #s 1-503 (the last added almost posthumously; but it's not a book, so glenn can add to it whenever he likes), can begin to understand why I bother to write at all, let alone about music. I wish the world was full of people like glenn, although I'm sure he'd be able to point out all the ways in which that's a bad idea. I don't think I "sound" like him, but you can definitely catch echoes.

Judy Jones and William Wilson, An Incomplete Education. My mom got this from some book club and eventually gave it to me because I kept stealing it. I've got the "Completely Revised" edition. Some sections (Science) I'd skip for being hard to enjoy and probably at this point out of date, but mostly it just fostered my love of learning. Jones and Wilson are often flip but never mean (see also Anthony Lane), and best of all I can't say this really formed any prejudices; instead it presents itself as something to help you get oriented with, and to come back to for pleasure, but not something to establish dogma. Still a real joy to read.

Peter Dickinson, The Flight of Dragons. My copy (no dust jacket, huge, crumbling, bound together with red safety tape) actually comes from my grade school library. In the six years I was there no-one else took it out, and I knew the librarian since I was in there all the time, and she gave it to me as a graduation present. I still have it. I suppose the Amazon rundown gives you an idea, but I cannot describe for you the chill that went down my spine the first time I finished the first chapter, upon the line "in order to fly dragons must have been almost weightless". Doesn't sound thrilling, but in context it was. Wayne Anderson's art is almost as wonderful as Dickinson's writing. This, along with Raymond Brigg's Fungus the Bogeyman and Will Huygen and Rien Poortvliet's Gnomes, ignited my childhood imagination.

Tag three people and have them fill this out on their blogs

I'd love to see Ben, K, Aaron, Jer, Joy or any of the gang from high school take a crack at this. Or, and I do mean this honestly, anyone I read and/or work with at Stylus (actually... Mike Powell should do this). I'd be equally interested to see pretty much anyone's. If you don't have a site, use the comments. And let me know if you do it elsewhere, will you?


The paradox of The Paradox of Choice

Virginia Postrel has written a really excellent refutation of the idea that more choice is something humans just can't cope with. She's managed to convince me, at least.


Running late

The journal has again been updated.

Friday, June 17, 2005 

Mixtapes & the glass teat

The electricity here has gone haywire enough to shut off my alarm (no, for real) so I'm in a bit of a hurry, but I'll post two quick things: Firstly, my summer 2005 mix is up on Stylus today, down at the bottom; Also, here's something I wrote a few days back on Harlan Ellison's The Glass Teat. This was originally going to be the first part of my piece on "Until Then", but after writing very slowly for a few hours I came to the sudden conclusion this wasn't the direction I wanted to go in (too much thought, not enough feeling), scrapped it all, and half an hour later had the finished piece.

But I think it's still worth while.


One of the most enlightening things I’ve read in a long time is The Glass Teat, Harlan Ellison’s seminal collection of writings on the television of 1968-70. Not so much for the actual television content (although Ellison is as powerful, insightful and cheerfully misanthropic on that as on everything else) but for the feeling of powerless, throttled rage that Ellison feels. He was living in a state (California) with a governor (Reagan) he loathed who was elected by over a million votes, and during the period in which The Glass Teat was written Nixon, who Ellison seems to hate only slightly less than Hunter S. Thompson did, became President of the United States.

When and where I grew up, it was taken for granted that Nixon was a bad man, maybe an evil man, that his administration had done some very shitty things but that as a result of those things Nixon and the equally loathsome Spiro Agnew had been toppled from power. All that was left were my dad’s old Mad magazines and the dim shadow of what it must have been like to live then.

Well, Ellison did live then, and he was scared. He was terrified. At the time it seemed like there was nothing to be done – hell, the first edition of The Glass Teat was pulled off the shelves thanks to Agnew! Things had seemingly hit bottom and kept going, and no matter how blatant Nixon and his cronies were about their abuses of power it seemed like nobody cared, that those who protested were voices crying in the Silent Majority wilderness. At one point, Ellison wrote with total sincerity that he fully expected civilization to come to an end in the near (then) future. What had seemed to me growing up the sort of dead certainfait accompli that only exists in history was in fact a desperate battle, one that Ellison and doubtless many of his comrades in arms thought they were losing, and losing badly, even as the tide slowly turned.

I'm sure you can imagine why this sort of thing would be a true comfort for me these days. Maybe decades from now we'll look back and realise the turning point was 2008, or 6, 4, or even 2001. Who knows? "Press on regardless" is the message I take from this book, and it's a comforting one.

But other than the "same as it ever was" effect of The Glass Teat, there is something else salutary about Ellison’s rage: It is the rage of the person who sees how it could all be better, how things could work for so many more people if it weren’t for weakness, greed, ignorance, and the myriad other factors that lumped together grotesquely swell into what we may call human evil. The sort of rage that inevitably winds up being channeled into something approaching productivity.


And then I would have somehow started talking about the song. I'm still not sure how I would have worked it.

Thursday, June 16, 2005 

New forms

Excellent thought provoking essay/post by Alex Thomson over at NYLPM. It feels more and more as if we're at some sort of pivot-point, not so much in criticism, as in how we conceive of criticism (well, "conceive of" may be a bit vague, but I'm not sure how to be more precise). I think/hope one thing that we'll see more of, and see discussed more often, is not only the sort of "narrowcasting" Alex talks about, but a move to more personal criticism as well (which is, of course, one of the things Stylus tries to do, and one of the reasons I gravitated to it (I think)); just as fewer and fewer writers are going to try (or at least try and succeed) to be "central" in the way Alex talks about, maybe they'll stop trying to be so "objective"?

(Yes, objectivity in music criticism is good, but also bad, that's a wholly separate topic and one I don't have the time/desire to write about right this instant, partly because it's so complicated...)


Charts... OF DEATH!

Norway is up.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 

Other people's horns

I'd like to think my piece on Stylus today is pretty good, but having read the rest of today's offerings I can confidently say today is pretty fucking awesome even if mine sucks; all four reviews are great, but if nothing else check out Peter Parrish and Bryan Berge's efforts; and both other articles are fantastic: A great review of Au Hazard Balthazar by Josh Timmerman and the best essay on Rockism yet by Mike Powell.

Days like this, I'm flattered I get to write for this site.


If you think everything is yours...

Seconds piece up today on Broadcast's "Until Then". The song is quite good, even if I spent at least half of the piece talking about other things.


Final word?

So Schiavo's autopsy is out, and it shows pretty much exactly what I had expected, except that an eating disorder may not have been responsible for her collapse (the ME "could not definitively say what caused the collapse", although he doubted the eating disorder diagnosis). Let's review, shall we?

At the time of her death, Terri Schiavo:
1. Had a brain half the size of a healthy, functioning brain
2. "This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons" (to quote the ME)
3. Was blind - because the "vision centres of her brain were dead" (so all that visual tracking stuff was, indeed, crap)
4. Was, in the ME's opinion, in a persistent vegitative state, which mean: "She was incapable of surviving without her feeding tube, Mr Throgmartin said, adding that she was blind and incapable of thinking, feeling or interacting with her environment" (emphasis mine)
5. Was absolutely dependant on the feeding tube: "Removal of her feeding tube would have resulted in her death whether she was fed or hydrated by mouth or not"

I am sure this won't stop the poor woman from being a rallying point for non-reality-based nutjobs for years and decades to come, but to anyone paying attention this hopefully puts the matter to rest (no pun intended).

Some quotes in this post were taken from the CBC and BBC stories in addition to the one linked above.


Just call me Mr. Butterfingers

There is a new entry up at the journal; actually, it's been up since 12:30 this morning, but it slipped my mind.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 

You utter piece of fuck

Oh no, Pat O'Brien and his homophobic friends weren't going to bring down the government over gay marriage. Of course not. I never thought I'd say this, but I might actually vote Liberal next time (and only next time), because they clearly need to have more seats to get this thing passed. And because those who are toying around with taxpayers' money and time deserve to get slapped down in the next election.


"Neither more nor less than illness, but illness merely"

Excellent article at the Chronicle of Higher Education by the author of Listening To Prozac about the whole "what if Nietszche (or Poe or Kierkegaard or whoever) had been given antidepressants" question.


Lines in the sand

It's things like this that make me despair, that make me fear that non-insane Christians are in fact in the minority. That non-fundamentalists are surrounded. This is what we're fighting against.

Monday, June 13, 2005 

Light at night

I've been busy all day (that's now Mr. Ian Mathers B.A. to you, sir), but I should note that Stylus has my review of Pat Deighan's suprisingly wonderful first album up today. If you're at all intrigued you can find streaming samples of all the tracks at his page over at his record label.

Saturday, June 11, 2005 

What if we were that good?

I was looking forward to the possible Global Frequency show (now officially never happening), and I hadn't even realised a few things:

Michelle Forbes, brilliant as Dr. Julianna Cox on Homicide, was going to be playing Miranda Zero (trust me, this is perfect).
John Rogers, genius, had written the pilot.

He now describes with heart-wrenching clarity what a loss this was. The bit at the end is just amazing, and I'm going to excerpt it in full:

One quick story: There's a sequence in the show, when Aleph gets everyone on the Frequency, and they figure out what the problem is. All these citizen-experts, pitching in to save strangers' lives. To get a good feel for the timing, all the actors were kind enough to show up on that shoot night (Aimee shot separately) at 3 am and do their parts LIVE. So it played out, just like on the show -- the call went out, people responded, voices chiming in, all in one, long flawless take ... like it was actually happening.

It was incredible, one of those alchemical moments were it stopped being television, stopped being a performance, and actually took us to another world.

Nelson calls "cut". I step into the set, basically this glorified warehouse, and realize that there's a weird silence. Cast and crew are spooked. Some people are tearing up, I actually hear a little sniffling. I turn to one of the show staff and say "Hey, you okay? What's wrong?"

And she bursts into tears. "I was just ... what if it were real? Wouldn't it be beautiful if people could really ..." And she fades out, wipes her eyes. Whispers: "It would just be so amazing if it were real."

That's right. For two glorious minutes in a waterfront shed in Vancouver, the Global Frequency was real. And it
destroyed people. For just the chance at that, I'm glad I tried.

Friday, June 10, 2005 

This is why we can't have nice things

Hey, I didn't realise there was such controversy over the nature and contents of the proposed September 11th monument in New York. The original post at that site contains the line:

She asked that question ["Ground Zero has been stolen, right from under our noses. How do we get it back?"] because there are powerful forces in this country that believe Ground Zero should be the forum for their political ideology.

Why yes. Yes there are. And even if I bought 100% into that site's crap about the International Freedom Center's secret desire to turn it into a "we must understand how we brought this on ourselves exhibit", which I don't, it would still occur to me that the goddamn liberals aren't the only "powerful force" in the States that want to use Ground Zero as a "forum for their political ideology". Not only is that exactly what is trying to do, it's what Bush and his government is doing 99 times out of a hundred when the word "freedom" spouts from their mouths.

But it gets better. This quotation, from this section of the site, is meant as a damning indictment of the IFC's goals and methods:

To the IFC’s organizers, it is not only history’s triumphs that illuminate, but also its failures.

Is this a joke? Did left-wingers secretly create this site to mock the right? It's this lust for certainty and superiority (in an "I know I'm absolutely correct" sort of way) in a world that does not correspond to human notions of logic, rightness or correctness that is going to destroy modern Western culture if anything ever does (and if it does, I'm hopeful it will eventually be replaced with something better).

You know what? That's it. Between this and various comments about the Holocaust American politicians have been bandying around recently (see here, and Orac also responded (and quite excellently) to a "fourteen-year-old Creationist" who displays the kind of hunger for certainty that makes political and/or religious fundamentalism so attractive to so terribly many people these days), I'm willing to call time.

Western civilization doesn't get to have monuments any more. Scrap the Holocaust museums. Tear down the Vietnam wall. Get rid of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I don't care how important the cause was, or how terribly vital it is that we remember these events and no longer repeat them (I'm looking at you, Holocaust), having actual monuments these days just means multiple groups of jackasses have a tangible site to focus their jackassery on. So take away the monuments. Maybe they'll pick something else. Fine, take it away. If we wind up reducing civilization to rubble because the jackasses can't stop being fundamentalists, well, I guess it turned out there were too many of them and too few of the rest of us for our continent to survive.

And don't forget, all fundamentalists are esssentially, that is fundamentally, the same. Even the geeky ones.


"They are lying / And I am lying too." is a cop out

So I've now heard "Entertain" by Sleater-Kinney. "All you want is entertainment", they sing, and earlier

"So you want to be entertained?
Please look away
We're not here 'cause we want to entertain"

Well. Oddly enough, I do in fact want to be entertained* when I listen to music, and seeing as how Sleater-Kinney are above that, and the song is pretty boring to boot, we can part ways happily.

Seriously though, go read the lyrics - S-K used to write better ones than these. I mean, come on: "The lines are drawn / Whose side are you on?" Who the fuck does that remind you of? And since when has buying into that kind of bullshit false dichotomy been a laudable thing?

*I am willing to admit that my definition of "entertained" may be broader than the one used by the band in this song, but I think the point remains.

Thursday, June 09, 2005 


I feel like death, but I should mention my review of the Dudley Corporation disc is up at Stylus.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005 


In my wallet: Two tickets for Pete and to see Caribou, Four Tet, Junior Boys, the Russian Futurists and Sunburned Hand of the Man at the Opera House this Saturday, June 11th. A mere $17.50 plus fees apiece.

Also, a bus ticket to Toronto for the same night.

To quote that sample from kid606's "The Illness":

"Is it on? It's on!"


It's been a bad year for this sort of thing

Six By Seven have split up - bad enough news, but it was a bit of a shock finding out through Nick Southall's review of their last album.

It's a very good review, says all that needs to be said, but it was still a nasty surprise.


Damn, man

Aaron sounds like he's going to have a very grueling, albeit profitable, summer. There are worse fates, but right now I like working 3 1/5 days a week instead and looking for work. But damn, go read his description of the job he has to do.

[PS to Aaron: I've got a Spencer book if you'd like it - email or comment me]

Tuesday, June 07, 2005 

BBC Radio 1, give this man a job

Only one man would juxtapose a big-in-Britain techno single called "l.i.p.s.t.i.c.k." and Prolapse (the brilliant "Visa For Violet And Van", specifically) and love them both. That man is William B. Swygart, and you can listen to him for free, at least until the entry is removed. He should absolutely, 100% be in radio.


Plug pulled

I'm not sure whether I'm pissed off or relieved about this.



A new journal entry went up last night.

Monday, June 06, 2005 

Short sighted

If Pat O'Brien wants to leave the Liberal party because he's against same-sex marriage, that's all well and good. But to insinuate as he does that he might bring down the government over it...

Look, how much do you have to hate gay people before you are willing to waste millions of taxpayer dollars (not to mention our time) just to prevent their access to equal rights? And assuming he's otherwise on board with the Liberals, has he thought at all about what losses he'll be taking in a Stephen Harper-led government just to gain a win on gay marriage?

Sunday, June 05, 2005 


My computer has decided to die, so updates will probably be minimal for a while. You'll all soldier through somehow, I'm sure.

Friday, June 03, 2005 

The non-lecture and seminar kind of class

K passed on to me the New York Times current series on class, which is interesting and infuriating in equal measures. Then she passed along this pretty damning critique of it by the Boston Pheonix. Both are well worth your time, although for the NYT you may want to use BugMeNot.



As much as I like how much time switching most of my reading over to Bloglines saves me, I kind of regret the fact that the only way I can keep things straight is to delete things off the side. It's more visible when there are actual links right there, and I don't want people to think I've stopped reading them (unless I have). And then I'll add new reads and for the most part they go straight into bloglines. Case in point: Although Mike Powell's Peanut Butter Words and Ha-ha Breath and Thomas Inskeep's Oh, Manchester, So Much To Answer For have both been added today, unless you look at my feeds, you'd have no idea I'm reading Powell. And yet I prefer blogs with RSS feeds.

Of course, I know this bugs nobody but myself, but it bugs me enough to mention it. Also, OMSFTAF, which I've been meaning to start reading for months, is proof that I'm shallow enough that if you start writing for Stylus, I'll probably start reading you.


You know I'm a sucker for these things

From Scalzi:

Total volume of music files on your computer: Right this instant I've got 4,854 MP3s on here, totalling 352 hours and 42 seconds. That's a little over two weeks of continuous play. They're all scattered in different directories, though, and if you think I'm going to track down how many gigs I have you're insane. Everything on my computer only takes up 31.4 gigs, though.

The title and artist of the last CD you bought: The soundtrack to Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, although I'm hoping to buy some Dirty Three and Hood albums tomorrow if they're in stock. Say what you will about the movie, but it's got a great soundtrack.

Song playing at the moment of writing: "The Block Alone" by Readymade. I loaded all thoose MP3s into Winamp and hit "random", so this is quasi-coincidence, not more boosterism for one of my favourite bands. Whoops, now we're on "G Turns To D" by Sloan - two Canadian bands in a row. Cool.

Five songs you have been listening to of late:

Hood - "The Negatives" (thanks, Rollie!)
Ben Folds - "Bitches Ain't Shit" (Rollie again, actually)
Minotaur Shock - "Motoring Britain"
Plumtree - "Racing Gloves"
Gorillaz - "Feel Good Inc."


Back and forth

Josh Love and I take on this week's singles for Stylus. I think it turned out pretty well.



A couple of days ago I was reading Harper's in the Ontarion offices (the June 2005 issue) and got to read David Mamet's "Bambi v. Godzilla: Why Art Loses in Hollywood". It's kind of muddled in places and has all the focus of a not-very-focused thing but some parts of it are really top-notch, particularly the section where Mamet details the way in which the traditional political oppositions really mask our retreat from our hidden belief that things would be perfect if it was us in charge:

Guelph or Ghibelline, Red or Blue, Capital or Labour, Free Trade or Protection, the big Choices, then, can be seen as a sham, the true choice not between them but between them and a different level of abstraction. Not: Which to choose to make the world perfect, but: How do I live with my own desire to mutiny and take it all into my own wise hands?

(I told you it ranged a little far)

But there's a brief section where Mamet briefly writes of critics where Mamet has entirely, if you'll excuse the phrase, lost the plot. A single line from there, I think, proves my point:

Critics derive sustenance from opposing growth.

Well, either he's redefining "critic" to refer to a subspecies of writers on the arts that the rest of us really would prefer not to be associated with and that I certainly don't recognize in the writings of my peers (i.e. the people I read online), or else he simply has lost touch with what criticism is. To be critical is to investigate why and how something works, not necessarily to say that it doesn't. I'm sure there are people who think they are critics who fit what Mamet is thinking of here (although even they don't always fit his statement), but then again that's like saying that scientists are people who believe in evolution like it's a religion. I'm sure there are people who think they are scientists who do that. But real scientists abhor them.

No, what we have here is the sound of someone bitter at their reviews, and what surprised me the most about this sentence and the rest of the paragraph (which sadly I don't have here to quote in full) was its petulance. I suppose it shouldn't, but it always shocks me when artists so fundamentally misapprehend what criticism is about and like, especially when it almost invariably is because they've been hurt by bad reviews. I'm not denying those hurt - I'm saying that the number of artists who can only deal with that by condemned en masse those who write about art is truly depressing.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 


A much-needed discussion about the Ying Yang Twins' "Wait" (and by extension, music in general) has been happening for the last little while, as I've previously mentioned (the first post also has a link to my blurb on the song for the old-skool Stylus Singles Jukebox, where I gave it a 0, just so you know what perspective I'm coming at it from). Currently the most interesting parts of it that I'm aware of are happening at Anthony Miccio and Justin Cober-Lake's blogs (with the always excellent David Drake tossing in the odd comment, although he hasn't posted anything on his blog (not that he has to)), but while tons of things I agree with are being said on both sides, I don't really see some sort of conclusion being reached. Not that a conclusion is or should be the goal, but I think we're due to start going around in circles about four posts from now. If we haven't already.



I'm just linking to The Doorman right now because I think I'm going to start reading it and want the link to be around when I get home. So, yeah.


Charts... of DEATH!

This time, it's The Netherlands. The end of the post is clipped off now, but Edward will fix it soon. I'm IM, if you can't figure that out.


The Ultimate Nullifier

This post by John Rogers may be ostensibly about Baptists and public schools, but really it's about the force that really drives much of human interaction. Good stuff.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005 

Being sucked in again

He's not back in operation or anything, but it's nice to see another War Against Silence entry from glenn mcdonald, in which he gives up on not stealing music. At last. His list of reasons for stealing corresponds pretty exactly (in an almost scary fashion) with mine.



Aside from archiving reference to my own work there I don't tend to link to Stylus too often because (a) it would feel a bit like egotism, weirdly enough and (b) it's linked on the side and you should all be reading it anyway. But if you don't, take some time out of your busy day to read Ned Raggett's (of Freaky Trigger fame) excellent essay on rockism. If nothing else, you'll get a better idea of what I'm on about.

I should also note that Ned's piece is part of a series of essays we started a while back, and the quality there has been uniformly excellent. I take part (on a different topic, it changes every month) in August, so look forward to/avoid that, depending on your preference.


Fallacy city

I figured Bush would just ignore the Amnesty report that condemns Guantanamo and all that, but instead he calls it "absurd". And furthermore, it must be fuelled by "people who hate America, people that have been trained in some instances to disassemble, that means not tell the truth" (I presume he means the inmates, not Amnesty International, although you never know). That's a nice excuse: "well, of course they're accusing us of restricting their rights, not giving them a fair trial, even torturing them - they're our enemies! What do you expect?"

But no, what really makes me angry is Cheney's comment:

"I think the fact of the matter is the United States has done more to advance the cause of freedom, has liberated more people from tyranny over the course of the 20th century and up to the present day than any other nation in the history of the world"

Even if that's true (and I'm not saying it's false, but really, with such vague benchmarks how can one tell?), what on earth does that have to do with this?

Let X stand for all the good freedom stuff the American government has done, past and present.
Let Y stand for the possibility that the American government have in fact set back the cause of human rights in recent years.

X does not prove anything about Y; it in a tenuous sense suggests that all else being equal Y probably isn't true, but with the existence of proof or at least claims that need to be investigated regarding Y, it's not a counter-argument.

Watch the American media, and section of its public, ignore this fact entirely.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.

About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

Contact Me:
imathers at gmail dot com

My profile
Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates