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Foundations

Thursday 6/11/20

Okay--I've completed "Crossing Deer." 4000 words. It's a major work. Kind of hard to believe that "The Roll of Words" and "Crossing Deer" were written in back-to-back weeks, but there it is.


"'Patterns are about particulars,” her father told her, 'same as a hunt, the way we track, the way we follow. Miss one particular and no pattern holds. It’s just something with a hole in it, sense that is harder to fill in. Focus, Lanna,' he’d conclude, talking about the ground that they read together—the snapped twigs, the prints, the fur—but also the space between people, common ground that pain made uncommon, tainted, friable, as foundations fell away."


Here is Tuesday's Downtown segment, in which I talked about what a martyr really is, Gimme Shelter, torture porn, how we hunt humans now, rapists, Joan of Arc, John Coltrane, Orson Welles, Jesus Christ, a short story from 100 years ago. I don't think I'm being especially provocative in suggesting that one can hear nothing at all like this on the air anywhere. Where are you going to hear a discussion like this? Who is going to be able to move from subject to subject and say these things? And then just drop great sports talk on you the next time. Seems to me that there should be a demand for such a person, a thinker, a "personality," call it what you will.


Does every single thing now have to be about who hooks you up and your connection? Is it impossible now for people out there in management to say, "Good damn, that is something, can we get that person, can we hire them, what's it going to take?" The world actually used to work that way. You were good, someone heard it, read it, someone reached out to you, hired you, paid you, put you in a place of max visibility, and you were on your way, and then your talent took you as far as it could. That was once actually a thing. I think the people who hire now are completely apathetic to talent.


I don't think they care, I don't think they are ever looking to improve their product, I think they want to do the bare minimum, get paid, go home, that's the end of it. I think they are surrounded by such slop all of the time, and people who perform no better than anyone else would if they were tossed into the gig, that they can't even tell what is good anymore and who has talent. If they were baseball scouts, I think they could go to 100 games with Mike Trout playing center field and not be able to tell he was any better than a player who couldn't hit above .198 with no range and an OPS of .542.


I think, in essence, that everything has become a big blur. In radio, TV, and certainly in publishing. When it's all a blur, then it becomes entirely about other things: Are you my friend? Are we related? What are your identity politics? How many Twitter followers do you have? Are you like me? Are you someone who would never challenge me to get better? Are you mediocre so that I could never feel threatened by you?


Then they just pump in the same old, same old, and none of it is special, nor shot through with unique ability. It's not dynamic, it's not compelling, it's just there. Blah. Just there. Perpetual filler. Just blah there.


I also wrote a nonfiction piece today I'm trying to sell, but the people I sent it to likely won't let anything through by me, and the money is negligible-to-nonexistent. The piece is one that people would like a lot--a very sweet piece; touching, inspiring, short, with a "craft" or process element--but you're not going to get some of these people to take the junk of their little cronies out of their mouth. Why send it? You never know. And sending it allows me to completely undress someone on here, if need be. What's the penalty for that? There's no penalty. I know what's happening, I know why. I know why such and such is in the magazine--that person has often told me why. But what are you going to do? Hate me more when you already hate me when you're some tyrant at some small circulation venue? That means nothing to me. Or, rather, it means nothing to me in terms of putting me off my stride, or me moving forward in my quest. That is all that matters here. I have legs to stand on. Many of these people, when you simply put the truth out there, do not.


Pitched a nice op-ed idea on Buster Keaton's The General, which I'm prepared to say is the best film ever made in this country, and is about a good man of purpose, a loving man, who is also a Confederate soldier. We should be watching this film right now in this age where it feels like there is no individuality. Does not mean the protagonist of the film was a slave owner. But they did fight on the side of the South. So what does that mean? The film is not a piece of propaganda. And a true progressive, like Orson Welles--who was no faux-SJW, but someone who risked a lot for what he believed in in terms of fairness--held the same view of the film as I do. Do we have to think less of the film? Can we not admire the protagonist? We have to make our brushes smaller. We have to see people, not just groups, not primarily groups. Will it be assigned? No idea. All a roll of the dice.


I am going to write about Ella Fitzgerald for JazzTimes. Flurry of JazzTimes things--also that Ornette Coleman piece and the Charlie Parker cover story--to do quickly, as I do other, more laborious things.


I have a headache, I'm out of peppermints, it is pouring out now, thunder. Watched the "Mirror Image" episode of The Twilight Zone. Have always found it one of the scariest. That part at the beginning where Vera Miles is at the counter and the Ladies room sign above her in the background is obscured by a column so that the word "DIES" is above her head is creepy. I like Martin Milner a lot.



I read for a while by Lewis Wharf. I hold a view--probably erroneous--that rabbits can recognize people. I'm there a lot, and they'll come right over, inches away.