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Tuesday 12/17/19

The only Star Wars film worth an artistic damn is the first one. People will say The Empire Strikes Back, but it's a whole lot of disparate pieces--a giant jumble--jammed together. It's kind of like Casablanca--a highly flawed, incongruous film that has cultural touchstone moments, and those touchstone moments get conflated with the idea of a coherent work of art. It's gap-y, badly paced, patchy, jumpy, skitter-y. But it has Yoda, "I know," and "I am your father." The plot is largely, "run away!"

Watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. Every time Charlie Brown says, "good grief," what he really means is, "fuck this shit." Try it--substitute it in for every single last "good grief." Works.


I composed 1500 words of a story today with work on "Push Shadow"; listened to like ten Sam Cooke albums; talked on Downtown about "Mint State 87" in Salmagundi.

They had to call me twice tonight to get me for Downtown, because I was on the phone with a publisher. I should not be having to do things like this, at this point, reviewing some book in a 400 word piece, no matter the venue--famous, venerated one in this case--but the situation is what it is, so I go to get a review copy, which has thus far involved three emails--all ignored--and three phone calls and voicemails--all ignored--and now a fourth phone call. There was no answer at the general phone number today--usually they patch me through to the utterly incompetent publicist, who does nothing with my voicemails--so I left a message there, which is the only reason they called back. They ask me if I'm a professor. Nope. I give the name of the famous, venerated venue--not that fame or veneration means jack shit here--and this woman had clearly never heard of it. She tells me they have no record of any emails from me nor voicemails. I have said, both in multiple emails and voicemails, that this was due a while ago, the piece is going to fall through, unless I can get the bloody book. I mean, what the fuck? It's coverage in a place of this nature for your book. And I have to beg you, publishing house, and publicist, multiple freaking times, to send me the review copy. So Downtown is calling, and this woman is trying to write down my email address, and each time she reads it back--like four times--she has it wrong.

Linus's speech at the end of the Christmas special strikes me, ironically, as the only thing on television with any balls that is not pandering tripe. And this isn't some "magic man in the sky" thing. I don't care about that. What matters is that it's honestly, earnestly, about something larger than one's own bellybutton, or courting the favor of people obsessed with their own bellybuttons. Honest. Which is now a radical concept. And powerfully delivered, lips and security blanket and all. Whether you are Linus, or King Wenceslas, or a wassailer, I think about the best we can say about someone at Christmas is, "good for them."


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