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Sunday 12/19/21

I'm really going deep into Dragnet. Learning new things. It's a show that can help one with one's problem solving skills. At times it reconfirms things I know but puts them in different terms, or shows variants on the theme from different parts of life. For instance, I know that if you have 100 people, and they read the same simple sentence, the chances are low that more than a few of them will think that sentence means the same thing. Doesn't matter what it is. You have to find a way to get it through--or enough of it through--almost despite these people, but on behalf of these people.

That's also how I know that when you have these awful books by awful writers that bill themselves as "experimental," or whatever nonsense, that there are not two people in the world capable of "getting" it. No one thinks it's any good. No one gets anything from it. Two people can't understand the sentence, "I had an apple for lunch." But people "get" the word slop that means nothing?

No. What these people are doing is pretending to get something, so that they can pretend they are smart. They are deep. They are smarter and deeper than other people. They need this. It's their entire sense of self, and it's a manufactured sense of self, because they have no real self. It's all make-believe, with zero basis in reality. The praise. Lies and make-believe. Anyway, at one point in a Dragnet episode, Friday says that when you have nine witnesses who say they saw the same thing, that means they're on the take, or in cahoots. He goes on to add that you hardly ever get two people who think they saw the same thing.

The Pat Hobby stories—about a Hollywood writer whose time—and life—has passed him by, were among the last works of fiction written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Remarkably—and tellingly—he considered them comedies.

I know this person who is one of the very best people I've ever known. I admire them and look up to them. And yet, they are the very definition of what I mean by, "Why lick?" They will praise any work--music, writing, doodles--as brilliant. Publicly. Everything is brilliant to them. I'm not sure why they do this. I think, perhaps, they're lonely, and being this supporter of everyone gives them something to do. But I also don't know. Maybe it gives them something to do, distracts them from other things. Is a survival mechanism. A coping technique. But there is a larger idea at work, and it's a deleterious one, I believe. Ironically, if they say anything to me about my work, it will be a left-handed compliment or a bare minimum. Everyone else, no matter how bad the work is, from any amateur, gets the "brilliant." I'll get the "I liked that" or "That was good." Rarely, too. I don't think this person believes that any of these people possess any ability. We're talking like the guy doing awful music at the coffee shop and you just want him to stop--that kind of bad. But maybe they do, because they've surrounded themselves with so much of this work, and so much of this kind of attitude, if you will, that they can no longer tell. Perhaps. I don't know. I just know that they're going to speak about my work differently than anyone else's, in this flat, perfunctory, "nothing to see here" way. Everyone does. I bring it out even in the people who like me best. But what this person doesn't realize they're doing, I think, is that they're really not helping anyone by lying to them about their abilities. It's okay to say to someone they don't have it. Do something else. Or to say nothing. When you encourage people with no ability by telling them they're brilliant, you set them up to fail, or to only get things that someone gives them for some other reason. The endless cronyism of the publishing system, for instance. And you're making the world worse. Because you're just pushing the shit out there. That's a great thing about sports--shit doesn't get pushed out. It's a meritocracy. People less skilled fall aside. The best product goes on the field. It's more important for our society and culture that this happens with art, with idea-based work, beauty-based work, truth-based work. This isn't a participation trophy, and this person seems to think they're the patron saint of encouraging everyone to think that they're brilliant. While essentially insulting me, but that's just what people do. I mean, this individual has never talked about what I do like they talk about that awful singer at the cafe. They have their reasons. They're intimidated by me, they don't know what to say, they can't find lofty enough words, they figure I already know. Whatever it is. I don't know. I just know that's what happens. This isn't dream quashing either. Most people who make anything "artistic" do so at this point as a dabbler. They're not serious about it. You think they're up at four in the morning on a Sunday like I am busting my ass? No. They hardly try. They're in it for the community. For the pretending. So they can have an identity because they don't really have their "thing" and you can fake this shit as your thing, and people will help you fake it. So they can belong to something. And it's a way to lie to yourself and tell yourself you're special without needing to be in this area. Because people just lie to you. Then they say, "It's subjective." And it's not. None of it is. Things are things. That awful singer at the cafe with the laughable songs and his pretend angst isn't Bobby Dylan circa 1962. Sorry. That's a little something called reality. So why say he's brilliant? So he can see that on social media and feel licked? Why lick? What is that doing for that guy? Maybe he's actually good at other things and he's neglecting those things because his entire sense of self is now based on these lickings? You help no one when you lick to lick. You don't help yourself either. Because you're just filling up your days with bad shit and if life isn't too short, I would say that it's too precious--or it should be. Fill them up with better things worth your time, that facilitate your growth. There are all kinds of ways to be nice and to be kind. There are better ways to be actually nice and actually kind. Truer ways. The bare minimums, speaking for myself--especially in contrast to what else is said--do grind me down, but many things do. It's all filed away in my mind, of course. Not much I can do about it now. I don't have anyone on my side, pretty much, so I have to roll with certain things. For the moment.

I have a problem in that I'm not good at being fake. I'm incapable of it, near about. I've done it when I had to for my work in emails to get some masterpiece for the ages read--and it wasn't going to be read anyway, because it came from me (and yet I did this with just the worst, the most evil kind of person, that I shouldn't even be walking across the street to spit on, let alone addressing this way, begging and bowing for years, to not be treated like excrement as I offer them something better than anything else they've ever received)--but that's my work. I'll do anything for my work. Because I believe the world needs my work. Not in that cliched, "We need your voice!" way, which you'll see someone say to you and then you'll see them saying it elsewhere to two dozen other people, because they really mean this cliched thing, and by world they mean like fifteen people, of which they're one. They're setting up this coterie ethos, which is comforting, I suppose, because they themselves have this membership in the coterie they've set up, so they're sort of saying it to themselves, too. I mean, I believe civilization actually needs--n-e-e-d-s--what I do. Civilization. Not thirty-seven people. Which is unlike anything anyone else can do. But in life, in general, I am awful at being fake, and maybe that's a huge problem. I struggle to lie. I struggle so much to say untruths. I feel disgusted with myself even as I imagine scenarios in my head where I could do that as I run stairs. I feel fucking horrible. I feel ashamed. I just don't have it in me. I don't approach anyone to be cruel to them. I think the way I sound on the radio--and that's one reason why I do it--is what you get with me. That's my manner, my way, my interaction style, I guess you could say. But I can't go out of my way to lie to someone. Or to lie. I can't pretend that something is the opposite of what it is. Do you have to to be successful? To make a lot of money? To have a platform? Yes. In every case I can think of, the answer is yes. I am scared, of course, that I've set so much of my life up on the premise--premises--of being the exception to how everything has ever gone. I have this friend who says that's normal and how it should be with me. He always says the same thing: "It's you. There has never been anything like you." I'll say that's not how it has ever been, and it wasn't that way for Shakespeare, for Dickens, for the Beatles, and he says it doesn't matter. "You're not Shakespeare, you're not Dickens, you're not the Beatles. You're the greatest artist who has ever lived." Then he tells me it will work out. And it's not. But he's adamant it will. And we hash it out every single day. The situation. The world. The industry. How people respond to me. In all of the areas of my life. Every day we hash it out. Discuss the evidence, the new evidence, these pages, that story, that editor, the mores of this world, how people are now.

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is a cornerstone carol. In both A Charlie Brown Christmas and 1951’s Scrooge it’s used almost as a parody mass, lending vital thematic heft. In Scrooge, composer Richard Addinsell infuses it with atonality to underscore how wrong Scrooge has gone.

Jackie Robinson and Carlton Fisk hit the same number of inside-the-park home runs: 1.


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