Disruptive Juxtaposition

Friday, June 03, 2005

No one's hoping for better days

Held my last class as a teacher this a.m. Weird, isn't it, how students who all term haven't worn an expression other than :-| suddenly come to life with smiles and praise and well-wishes when you're up there bidding them adieu.

A very effective day, although one devoid so far of poetry. I'll get to that later, around duskish, I should think. Big things crossed off my to-do:

1.) Sent back a stack of NWR rejections (sorry if you were in it. If it makes you feel better, I was rejected by CutBank this past Monday).

2.) Reorganized my CDs! Always tremendous fun. The writer and wit D. Douglas Elridge, still of Boston I believe (please sir, drop me a line) would celebrate this as a true occasion. I'd come home with a new CD case, having run out of room for new records, and he'd do a Han Solo-sort of grin and say "Hey, hey! Congratulations!" as though you had just become the father of a healthy baby girl. I've been doing it Alphabetically ever since the Great New York Thievery of 2004, although having recently watched High Fidelity got me thinking about other possibilities. Autobiographically? There's a reason Dick responds, "No fucking way." But I think that Alphabetically allows for a collection's eclecticism to shine: Etta James, Jamiroquai, Matthew Jay, Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson, Carole King.

3.) Re-formatted my thesis. Which remained a silly task in my mind somewhat, because "the thesis" has ever been a standard / milemarker not of my own design. I have a manuscript now. It's in need of some triage, yes, but an ms. goes beyond the sort of rote & arbitrary requirements of the Graduate School. Whose employees, to be fair, are very helpful when you ask nicely.

4.) Rocked out to Built To Spill's "The Weather" off Ancient Melodies of the Future, which is actually what I'm doing right now! Built to Spill, Eugene OR, next Thursday night at the WOW Hall. Be there or be just sad that you missed it, it was a killer show, dude.

5.) Kicked around the idea of making the site prettier. Ideas?

6.) Kicked around the idea of making the site a center for various reviews: books, poems, lit mags, records, lit crit. Lord knows I've got some backlog. If there's expressed interest, and more than likely if there is not, I'll expand DJ to Galactus-scale. (Galactus, that is, Eater of Galaxies. Don't you know Marvel's Secret Wars?)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Most Dangerous Books of the 20th Century

...according to Human Events Online, a conservative journal to which I won't be subscribing today, thanks anyway. I haven't given much space on Disruptive Juxtaposition to wax political, but this list of "dangerous books" contains too many books from my coursework and "to-read-soon" list for me not to laugh. One choice highlight from the warning on Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male: "Five years later, [Kinsey] published Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. The reports were designed to give a scientific gloss to the normalization of promiscuity and deviancy." Right, I mean, of course that's what they were designed to do! They were scientific reports based in ideology and lefty agenda-making, dark tracts in pursuit of making modern Gomorrahs of our cities and Main Streets. Kinsey was nothing short of a bondage-clad devil smashing his rubber stamp of approval on the vilest brands of fluid exchange! I mean, what else could he have been doing? Trying to, I dunno, understand human sexuality?

Lists, and thinking, of this sort represent to me a frightening level of if not ignorance than unwillingness to consider the particulars. Yes, Kinsey's research on human sexuality may have been read as lending authentication to certain taboo sexual practices, but to a) disregard any potential scientific worth in his study altogether and b) ascribe virtueless motive to that study smacks, smacks of the authors' fear that any sort of sober analysis, that to grant the straw-man opposite viewpoint any quarter, will finally and forever pierce the big, beautiful, fragile and ultimately imaginary bubble of American Christian Morality.

Then again, I'm a Dan Savage faithful. To take the sex & politics discussion in another direction, Dan has some important things to say regarding the threatened nature of sexual privacy in this country these days.

I dunno. I start thinking and writing about politics as I see them and find myself flashing back to the morning after the election last November. I walked around campus feeling unwelcome - not on the campus, but in the country. That's a melodramatic way to feel, and it isn't offered as anything more than an anecdote. Still, I don't wish to feel that alienation again; neither do I wish it on others. Talking about social class this morning, much of what we had to say made use of the handy Red / Blue shorthand that's entered the local and even global lexicon. It's troubling, is all I have to say for now.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Into good music writing?

Well God knows I might not be able to provide it. I can however point you to the critical stylings of one Stephen Thomas Erlewine, whose review of Oasis's new "Don't Believe the Truth" must be read to be believed. Granted, it's likely that I esteem this review in large part because STE, who knows what's what, loves the album for a variety of very very good reasons. After all, I was a bloke for Oasis back in the heady days of 1996-8, when who knew what I'd be doing or like, and that band on What's the Story (Morning Glory) and Be Here Now came colossally stomping through my earphones as I assembled plastic replicas of Star Destroyers and what not, idly musing on what it must be like to be Cool, to Sing Big Songs about Love and what was happening All Around the World. Then they lost me with Standing On the Shoulders of Giants. Still, that caveat aside, it's some stand-up good criticism. Context provided, sober analysis, I mean, honor him, the Erlewine, whose name sounds like a regent's title.