Monday, February 08, 2016

Primary Day is Here

I don't have much taste for writing about politics anymore and maybe I will never write about them in the future, but tomorrow is Primary day and it is still a big event where I live, so I suppose I ought to try to explain what I think about what it is going on as much as I can.

I've thought a lot in recent years about giving up voting, since I don't seem to be able to grasp the most important issues and most salient facts about the candidates, adequately explain my votes or positions to rational people, and so forth. I haven't committed to doing this yet because I believe it is still to my benefit, as well as that of the nation as a whole, to take some part in the process than to leave it entirely to the more serious and impassioned people, whom I do not entirely trust to always act with more perfect wisdom in my behalf in spite of their apparent superior grasp of the constitution, economics, justice, the voting and legislative history of the candidates, and all of the other components of political debate.

I will confess that I am almost certainly going to vote for Sanders, barring a last minute semi- miraculous revelation with regard to the heretofore hidden greatness and necessity of one of the other characters. I have spent more time examining the revulsion I experience at the thought of voting for Hillary Clinton than I should have. Ultimately, it is her job as a candidate to make the public desire to support her, not the public's to have to justify themselves for not wanting to support her. Would she be a terrible president? Probably not I guess, assuming events remained on a normal track, though I have not seen anything that leads me to believe she would be a great leader in any kind of major crisis. That is not to say that Bernie Sanders shows any signs of being Churchillian either, but he at least comes off as having more affection for the people and the country overall, disdain for the financial 0.1 percent aside--hey, in the books written in the 40s, 50s, and 60s that I grew up reading, it never said that we had to love J.P. Morgan and Jay Gould to be patriotic Americans, anyway--and the Clintons and their various allies ran off everyone else from running.  The entitlement with which her entire campaign has been run to this point is unbelievable. When her canvassers call or come to your door, they are insistent in trying to get you to commit yourself to vote for Hillary, and then if you give them that of course they harass for all kinds of other personal data about you, all very technocratic, and all executed, in the character of many of the candidate's, and her camp's, own observations about her possible defeat in our state, with an ominous air suggesting that disloyalty, or rejection, as the case may be, will be punished in good time. Jeanne Shaheen, our hapless Democratic senator and apparent lapdog of the Clintons, has been put to work shilling for Hillary in various commercials and at events with the kind of exaggerated enthusiasm that suggests that the details of these endorsements were hammered out in a windowless room under heavy florescent lighting in a warehouse somewhere in Northern Virginia. I am also aware that Bernie Sanders (probably) can't get elected, that his proposals will never be implemented, that if they were implemented the country would immediately be bankrupted, all societal organization would collapse entirely, and we would be essentially laying ourselves open to foreign invasion, of both the military and emigrant varieties, and we would be defenseless before them. I guess I don't care anymore. What are my objections to Hillary Clinton's positions? Well, I can't recall her saying anything that made me say, 'yes, that would be good, I would really like to see that issue pushed or promoted'. It's always how her way is better or smarter than other people's. Bernie Sanders at least talks somewhat about specific things that people are actually concerned about. I don't think his free college plan is particularly brilliant, but, I understand that 'college' in the sense he is using it here is going to be more of a no-frills, high school like experience intended either to qualify people for the decent-paying jobs that they cannot get currently or to press the national media and political and business establishments to concede that the real state of things with regard to paid employment for most people going forward (is bleak?) and to begin to re-organize society accordingly. The college system on the macro-scale (i.e., not my alma mater; we are outside the system of course) does not seem sustainable, and its current role in society probably needs to be re-evaluated. Seriously, I thought in 2008 that the student debt crisis would have forced major changes by now. (My oldest kid was 6 then, now he's almost 14, and nothing seems to have changed as that looms on the horizon)...

I received a robocall the other day with a recording of Jared Taylor speaking in support of Donald Trump. Jared Taylor is, I believe, fairly well known as something of a white supremacist, and I do not tar people with that label as easily as some others might. But Jared Taylor comes off as actively not liking other kinds of people and promoting a kind of unpleasant militancy among white people, which is different from standing up for yourself and having some pride and a sense of dignity with regard to who you are and where you have come from when this is merited, which I don't think is objectionable.

We've been hearing a lot in recent weeks around Ted Cruz's incredible intelligence, which might even be more rawly powerful than Hillary Clinton's, given how reporters and other pundits seem to be cowering in awe before it. Other than mastering how to navigate power structures to most benefit them, these brilliant people don't seem to have a lot of very interesting thoughts about anything, that they care to share with the public anyway, though if they understandably don't want to share their deepest insights, it seems like there must be some level at which they would be free to give a glimpse of the light...But I am out of time now.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Music Death Spiral and Not Finding the Cure For What Ails Me

It's time for another music video post but I seem to have either run out of things I like or, in keeping with my general weariness of life, have ceased to like anything at all. The old familiar veins appear to have been mined clean, I have not hit on any new lodes in recent months that perk me up, and I am not hearing anything randomly or on the radio that is nudging me in new directions. The AM station I have been listening to in the car changed its format from Golden Oldies to political talk, which has left me with a plain old Oldies station which, besides having worse music, does not even have hourly syndicated news broadcasts or affable program hosts. This has been more of an ongoing cause for sourness with me than I might have realized. The differences between Oldies and Golden Oldies may appear minor, but "Golden Oldies" covers a much broader range of songs, from the crooners of the 50s to the Rat Pack and Nat King Cole to movie themes and showtunes as far back as Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman and Judy Garland and even mixing in some modern elevator music and versions of standards and other new releases by museum acts, while "Oldies" is restricted pretty much to top ten pop hits from the 60s. It would seem that the time would be ripe for me to begin a serious immersion in the real classic genres of music, Bach and untamed-period Louis Armstrong and all of those kind of people, but if I am going to write about them I need to connect with them in some way that is both meaningful with regard to what they really are and I don't think I am in the right mind frame to do this right now, I am too distracted, jittery, disorganized--I need a program for this serious music like I have for other serious things--to reach my aim.

I had not known that Pat Boone and Laurence Welk came together one night in 1961. I always kind of liked this song ("Moody River"--it evokes things about the texture of life at the time that I associate with my grandparents' houses, their neighborhoods, the books and furniture they had, that holds some pleasantness for me) though like "Love Letters in the Sand", I never realized the singer of the most familiar version was Pat Boone until I was well into adulthood. If I had caught this at a more intense and impressionable age when if I knew anything I knew that it was of vital importance to despise the music of Pat Boone, I think I would have taught myself to despise them, as I learned around the age of fourteen/fifteen that it was meet to despise Billy Joel's music, and found it easy enough, if not quite to hold the man and his fans in absolute contempt, to be indifferent to and unmanipulated by his efforts. It is very odd, but I am much more fascinated by Pat Boone than I ever was with the late David Bowie, who was clearly a man made to speak to other people. But with Boone there is just as much to marvel at in the perfect execution of supposed Caucasian inoffensiveness (though his existence has certainly always been plenty offensive to many), the clothes, the extreme state of clean cut-ness--his haircut and shave are so pointedly neat and unthreatening as to be almost belligerent. In these old clips too the sexual attraction that the girls and women feel for him seems to be genuine as well, the lesson of which is that if women are sheltered enough from real, pulsating sexuality, they will go for any surprisingly weak version of it that may offer itself...

Depeche Mode, "People are People". They've been playing this a lot lately both on the "80s on 8" and alternative/mew wave channel on satellite radio, I find the sound bearable, though the message of brotherhood and love, delivered with a perfect sneer, doesn't sound as if it is intended to include me. But I keep telling myself, it is I who am strong, who (undeservedly) has everything everybody else wants. who has all the power and backing of society, if I ever want to tap into it. They are hostile to me because they fear me, and my latent superpowers.

This was on in the supermarket the other day. I always liked this song, though it doesn't fit with any particular memories or times or experiences, and doesn't seem like it could fit with any such things, it is a song that evokes an eternal waiting for something to happen, in which nothing ever does or could happen.

Failure to produce art is a failure at living and understanding life and being human, one kind of failure among myriad others, but a significant one insomuch that it is a failure that collectively weakens and diminishes the surrounding culture.

I had run out of Lennon Sisters videos, and hadn't found anybody else who could cheer me up in quite the same way, but then I came across this. It is not a secret than many of the cuter girls you will meet are at bottom rather corny. I don't mind it obviously though the corny types don't usually go much for me, as they prefer someone more demonstrably masculine in all ways. It is not like there is a type that consistently goes for me as it is, but most of the women who seem inclined to at least put up with me (and are not insane) seem to be pretty matter of fact, self-directed, witty, do not need to be constantly entertained and excited, etc.

I was tagged on Facebook a few weeks back to write 25 things about myself. Being a narcissist and luster after attention of course I was interested in doing it, rationalizing the undertaking by saying it was a good exercise, but I don't really have time to do it there (the thing would take several hours to write and you don't seem to be able to save posts in progress), and the nature of that space makes me wary--the majority of the people who seem to read and comment on everything I write there tend to be the people I am least interested in letting in on my secrets, and they are never the people I am thinking of when I am considered whether to put something up. But this is such a private space--I think my last comment was in 2012--that I am considering maybe doing it here, for as far as I know, the people who read this blog are not the people I am trying to avoid on Facebook, though you never know I guess. I'm not sure if there are 25 things about me that anybody who reads this would not know or have guessed already however.