Monday, September 23, 2019

I’ve been on a weird Beatles kick lately. What’s weird about it is I never used to like the Beatles. Indeed, when pressed, I was openly contemptuous of the band, preferring the Rolling Stones in that little argument. Nowadays, after the crap that’s been their last couple records (and especially Mick Jagger’s tedious solo Goddess In The Doorway & the insufferable promo package that came with it) I really can’t take the Stones seriously past Charlie Watts & Ronnie Wood.

 Part of the kick is “The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill” has been stuck in my head for the past couple of days. The other part is I’ve given up being snobbish about music in my dotage. There used to be a number of bands & musicians that I, being the Insufferable Music Snob (hat tip, Amanda Marcotte) that I was, would turn my nose up at. For the most I’ve gotten over it. I don’t hate the Eagles anymore, I’ve grown to appreciate the simple boogie joy within a good disco tune, & hell, I can let myself enjoy the John Denver & Neil Diamond my mom played incessantly when I had to ride to school with her in junior high.

Another group I’ve grown to appreciate since I’ve more or less cut myself off from the rest of society is the Flying Burrito Brothers. I used to loathe Gram Parsons, partly because the average hipster in whom’s circle I used to run used him as as the starting point for country music. This upset me because I’ve been a country music fanatic since almost birth. I remember the pre-American Recordings days when not only hipsters didn’t pretend to like country music, but also the pre-Garth Brooks days before my cracker contemporaries started wearing boot cut Levis & Western shirts.

Now, I still don’t really care for Parson’s solo stuff, but I’ve lightened up on the Burritos. I used to have a professor/buddy in college who’d say that Chris Hillman never made any bad music, & for what it’s worth, I’m only really enthusiastic about the Burritos first three records & their live Last Of The Red Hot Burritos. Of course, that record & the Burritos’ self-titled third didn’t have Parsons & instead featured Hillman & replacement singer-guitarist Rick Roberts, & the band’s stuff post Hillman is just dull, but there you go. And I will be the first to admit that Parsons wrote some killer tunes.

Part of that, as well, is a richer appreciation of The Byrds. I never disliked the band, per se, but I dig them much more than I used to. From their earlier stuff to the laterRoger McGuinn had a pretty good band.

What’s all this mean? Well, nothing really. I’m just writing, filling up space. I used to do this a lot before I came unwound. I’d just write & write to see if anything interesting came out. It didn’t always happen, but frankly, apart from reading, writing’s all I’ve ever really enjoyed doing. Sure, video games are fun & sex used to be a major distraction, but when you get right down to it, all I’ve ever got joy from was reading & writing. Sucked at sports & outdoors stuff, I’m good at cooking but I hate to do it, & I’ve always been too much a loner to develop any other hobbies or talents.

One of the problems, if it indeed was a problem, with all this is that none of it is conducive to forming any real connections or relationships. Sure, sex does, but I don’t really care about that anymore (whether that’s due to middle age, depression or some other factor, I don’t know) & I am not getting into any online/co-op video game stuff. “Gamers” are small, tedious hateful little assholes & I want nothing to do with that community.

So, I guess it makes sense I’d be going through middle age more or less alone. I have a fantastic support group, though, don’t get me wrong. My family’s great & I know they’ve always got my back & have some time for me, despite how weird they think I am. It’s unfortunate we’re so spread out, but I have a great group of friends. People I really love & trust as much as I trust anyone. One of the great things about life in the modern age is that just about everyone I give a damn about keeping in any sort of contact with are online in some form or fashion.

But let me tell you, neighbors, I have never understand getting married & being around one person all the time. I don’t mean having different sexual partners, I mean sharing a bathroom with the same person or having to worry about someone else’s tastes when I go to a restaurant. This was really in evidence on the recent Big Trip, where I wandered across the country just as I damn well pleased, not worrying if someone else was tired of traveling. I prefer life like that. It’s lonesome, but that never has bothered me. Lonesome is different than lonely, y’all.

Ah, me. Getting a little too heavy here. Do we want to get into the news? Sure, why not, but first, I have a couple of good reads to share. First, there’s this piece by physicist Sean Carroll. It’s an excerpt from his new book Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds & The Emergence of Spacetime, & if anyone wants to buy me a copy, I’d be much obliged. It’s a fascinating piece that explores the concept of morality in a Many-Worlds Universe, & I think that stuff is just neat.

The other is this excellent article in The New Republic by Osita Nwanevu, “The ‘Cancel Culture’ Con”. I strongly recommend checking it out. It pokes holes in the whole idea that “cancel culture” is hurting the careers of comedians who can’t handle criticism when they try to “push the envelop”, since most of them that piss & moan the loudest have regular gigs & Netflix specials.

It also notes that any comparisons to what comedian Lenny Bruce went through when the law tried to shut him up are fucking stupid, because there’s no fear of Dave Chappelle or Bill Burr being prosecuted by the law rather than having to take criticism, much less taking a morphine overdose because of the stress.. Check it out & if afterwards if you still think “cancel culture” is a thing, well, then fuck off, I have no use for you.

Okay, what else. Been pretty quiet today, except for Trump constantly putting his foot into it. To expand on what I said yesterday, I don’t know if the Democrats will nut up & go for impeachment, though I doubt a full conviction with pictures & audio would make a dent in his faithful’s devotion. I don’t know what, if any, long game Pelosi is playing here, but I can’t help but imagine she can hold it off much longer. Maybe waiting until closer to the election, I don’t know.

What else. Well, this Greta Thunberg is giving conservatives fits. For me, I find it completely unsurprising that wingnuts are pulling out the guns for her. The reality of global climate change goes against one of the fundamental concepts of American conservatism. That is, they’re convinced that instead of being part of this world, we’re the owners of it & can do what we like with it. They’re blindingly, obviously wrong – just look the increased heat & hurricane season we’re seeing this year – & doing something constructive about it would do little more than make the world a little more pleasant. Ah, it’ll also cut just slightly into the profits of corporations & the ultra rich, & we can’t have that.

Going back to the “cancel culture” nonsense above, if you have to ask & I have to pick, I know who’s side I want to be on. I maybe a middle-class, bourgeoisie straight white male, but I’d rather do what I can to ride with those that conservative culture fears & loathes than otherwise. I know who’s right & who’s wrong, & them that have a problem with that, well… let’s not get vulgar, huh?

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