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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Something I've been circling around: The 2-3 mos. I took off from this blog, the first long gap since I let its existence get around, changed my attitude. On returning, I realized that it had been freeing not to weigh in on every rock-crit meta-debate that came around. Ex: Nostalgia-as-heroin, KS's NYT "rockism" piece. Not that I couldn't have found much too much to say about the latter: EMP screeners came this close to reading a proposal called "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been A Rockist?" But not feeling the need to impose myself, to hear my own voice -- just fine.

So, I'm going to stop apologizing for the personal tone I take here, and for the fact that most trains of thought initiated in this venue will not be followed out. If you're still inclined to visit, you're more than welcome; but we're all very busy, I realize. This was begun half as diary, half as place to put stuff -- a file -- and in this fashion, it will continue, for a while.

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The personal committment required to master a discipline tends to invest its practitioners with the conviction that it is foundational. Philosophy, mathematics, physics, certainly; but also psychology, cog. sci., sociology. The only obvious exceptions would be what are sometimes called the "special" natural sciences, e.g. geology. Related tendency of critics to argue (no, assume) that either history or the au courant, according to their preference for and expertise for the other pole, is not worth their attention.

How often do you say yourself: I don't know anything about X, and in some sense should? (Not with self-loathing, but with perspective.) How often do you admit it to others -- can you admit it in your work, yet keep working? Or would not believing that you've got what needs to be known/known about in lockdown already be a weakness (or a ineffectual relativism in disguise)?

(This is an abstraction from my annoyance at the tone of many blogs.)

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Against this, pleased to see Third Factory recording his observations a bit more fully. (How does the inframince/thin differ conceptually from the subliminal? I tried to write some infrathin imagery into a song about Stammheim prison, but I can't remember why I thought there was a relationship, never found a hook, and was ripping off Luke Haines anyway.) (And, strangely, I was singing "Zip" on the street the other day myself -- and just suggested to theater blogger Maya that Pal Joey would be a decent musical to revive cheaply.)

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Behrle : Foetry :: this defunct magic* blog; this forum.

*As in prestidigitation, legerdemain, conjuring. Something I haven't talked about here -- last month, after doing a few card tricks for friends and family for the first time in a long while, I've gotten back into this old interest. It was a matter of time: Where I used to recite lyrics to myself to get to sleep, I had recently begun doing routines I used to know in my head. I've been down the street to Hollywood Magic a couple of times since, and bought a couple of recent books of card material (which aren't cheap but seem less outlandishly priced than when I was a kid). To change comparisons, some aesthetic (I should say, methodological) distinctions about magic map onto musical ones : Sleight-of-hand ; tracking live in a room :: trick deck ; Pro Tools. I do prefer working with a borrowed deck -- producing an offhand miracle appeals to me more than an obviously prepared one, though the effect may be similar in each case. Nothing up my sleeve.

(Warning about the above links -- magic humor has about as much general appeal as, well, academic/poetry humor.)

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And I forgot to ask Jordan how the Go4 were. Jordan, how were the Go4? (Since I have no principled anti-reunion stand, I think I'd see them if I had an opportunity other than Coachella, but this thing in the Pareles article about re-recording their old songs with "better equipment" -- how can that not turn out badly?) (No, I have a stand, which is to decide on a case-by-case basis.)

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De Palma's Body Double: I must have seen this once, because much of it seemed familiar, but I had completely blocked the porn-set set-piece set to "Relax," complete with Holly Johnson. Otherwise, I don't quite see what the director thought he was adding to Vertigo, other than stage blood, tits, and winking. Deservedly forgotten lead actor Craig Wasson is Guttenbergesque in his blandness.

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Recently heard, on separate occasions, Bob Welch's "Ebony Eyes" and Atlanta Rhythm Section's "Imaginary Lover." Had to ask someone who each was by, but could sing along with a dismaying proportion of both.

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One problem with arguments against self-ownership (Cohen, Attas) which aim to block the move, via Lockean labor arguments, to external property (Nozick) by cutting it off at the root: It isn't obvious that a conception of self-ownership needs to include all the 'sticks' in the 'bundle' of rights often associated with property; most significantly, rights to transfer one's property rights to another, and to waste or destroy it if one chooses. Locke himself denies that we have such privliges under "natural law" (I think he thinks it's conceptually impossible to sell oneself into slavery, as does Mill) but he still takes himself to be defending the idea of a property right "in oneself," which might well be a weaker subset of the modern 'bundle.' (In any case, the argument from self-ownership to external property is a mess.)

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Come back.

Not here.

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