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Right now is not always

Saturday 1/30/21

* People like to say that art is subjective. There is nothing less subjective in the history of humankind than art. If there were only one absolute, it would pertain to that which is art.


* People do not understand the difference between preference, opinion, thought, fact, truth.


* Merit and talent are now irrelevant in society. In getting somewhere. In gaining audience. In receiving compensation. In hiring. In awards. The value of what something actually is is irrelevant. It is not irrelevant save only in that the better that thing is, and the more talented the person who created it, the less likely it is to have any support. It will be met with apathy. Distrust. Fear. Envy. Hate. Sometimes all, by someone, but almost always at least one of those things, by anyone coming in contact. If there were a scale that measured what something was, it's absolute value, the measurement would be meaningless. Even when we could say, "this here registers this very high number, and this over there registers barely above zero." What matters is what surrounds the object that would be placed upon those scales. What orbits the object. Identity and association is now everything. The perception of identity. Not actual identity. Actual identity is rare. If the object on the scale has the highest reading ever on that scale, but it is surrounded by nothing else, is orbited by nothing else, it will be met with apathy, envy, hate, fear, some combination. Won't be considered. Will be tuned out. But if that which has no reading at all is orbited by certain labels--no matter if they are not real, that they are invented--then the husk that is absolutely nothing in and of itself, will be deemed important. Though it could be anything. And is nothing.


* Hence, an Amanda Gorman.


* People are now husks. What they want is nothing new. They don't want to hear anything new. They don't want new art. New entertainment. New ways of speaking, of expression. Gifs and memes aren't just the visuals of our culture--they represent need. What people need is to see what they've seen before. A million times. It's what they look for. They don't look to be moved, to be entertained, to be made to laugh, to honestly relate, to have an experience. They want to say, "I've seen that often." "I use those words." "I use that phrase throughout the day." "I could do what he does." "She sounds like many thousands of other people who say things that I also say in the ways I say them." "I am good enough. They're not smarter than me. I belong." That's what most people want. It's what most people need. For me, this represents the second biggest piece of the pie of problems which I must find a way to solve.


* The biggest piece of the pie, for me, is envy. The jealousy of those in publishing. The knowledge of what I am eats these people from the inside out. The comparisons they inevitably make, kills them. I pay the price for that. It is where all of the hate, the blackballing, comes from. From virtues. From genius. From expertise. From productivity. From a historically unique track record. From what is done and achieved every single day.


* I went out to walk yesterday but turned around because of the cold. Rare occurrence.


* I wrote a short story early yesterday morning for Longer on the Inside. I wrote 3000 words of a book in the late morning. I don't want to say everything I've done this month--I have never pushed harder--until that which remains is completed within this month. Then I will say.


* Watched 1981's My Bloody Valentine. I have to write a feature. Listened to live recordings bassist Walter Page made with the Basie band in the late 1930s. Have to write a feature. Mosaic sent me a box set of live Paul Desmond recordings from 1975. I'll talk about them on the radio later.


* Watched an experimental documentary called The Beaning, about Ray Chapman, the Cleveland shortstop killed with a pitch by the Yankees' Carl Mays in 1920. Used footage from Murnau's Faust and Nosferatu, among other works. Not very good. Little point. Tries to be edgy. Isn't. Tries to be scary. Isn't.


* If you repeatedly say "you know," you have no business being on the radio. You know you know you know you know you know. It's all you hear from so many people whose job is to talk. Why is their job to talk? See above. The orbiting. They know nothing. They are bland. They parrot. They are witless. They are inarticulate. They cannot speak properly. You know you know you know.


* Men in their forties calling each other "kid" is so North End.


* I can't stand the term "GOAT." I don't see how I could associate with anyone who uses it. Unless they are referring to the animal. Big fan. Or chokers. Meatheads love the term GOAT. Just like the love the term piece. "That's a great piece." They think GOAT intellectualizes them.


* Bruins are doing better than I expected. Sluggish start, but they had that come from behind win in their first home game, when it could have started coming apart a touch. I like when Marchand shoots more. Comes into the league a shoot first player, then becomes a playmaker, but he has a fine snapshot.


* I'm looking into netting a complete set of the 75-minute long episodes of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. The finest radio ever made. Better than Orson Welles, better than Quiet, Please. Dollar the character has played a role in my life. I've found strength and ways to move forward from the character. That is the point of art, yes? Not the sole point. But a point. To have an impact in the living of your life.


* I don't think it's possible to be someone who writes "Live Laugh Love" and not be vapid.


* Speaking of vapid: many women put a quote from Oscar Wilde on their dating profiles. Often, it's the only thing written on their profile. Because they either have nothing to say, are too simple to think of anything to say, or are too lazy to say a single word. The quote is almost always the same--the one about be yourself, because everyone else is already taken. These human-bots oblivious to the irony that they're doling out the same cliche, one after the other. Pod people telling you to be yourself. One woman used a different Wilde quote. I wrote her. Not because I had any interest. Not because I thought well of her in any way. You can go a year on a dating site before you even see anything that looks like English. "U better no b a hippocrate." Typical. So, you either write someone who sucks, but maybe sucks a tiny bit less, or you write no one at all. I commended her on the Oscar Wilde quote. Hey, at least it was a different one, right? She writes me back to tell me who Oscar Wilde was. According to her. "He was an open-minded person whose job was writing witty quotes." I mean, what the fuck. You actually have someone who thought Wilde was employed in coming up with snappy phrases. The arrogance, too, which is more stupidity than hubris, that no one could really know who Wilde was, with the belief that this tidbit--erroneous as it is--makes this creature smart in some way. Her go-to tidbit in life. What she knows that others don't, which she can educate them regarding. I pointed out that no, Wilde's job was not writing witty quotes; that he wrote novels, stories, plays, and only become designated as this aphorism-factory after people had ceased to read his work, or had never been arsed to read it, as was clearly the case with her. I suggested she might also wish to try Richard Ellman's Wilde biography, not to presume what others do or do not know, based upon some sad, incorrect tidbit she trots around, and Wilde, in his time, was actually better known for his homosexuality, and the urban legend that the maid would remove excrement-stained sheets from his rooms after another evening of sodomy.


* Alas, we were not meant to love.


* The world favors the moron--the more moronic, the better. You will be provided for. You won't be passed by. You will have teeming numbers on your side. I could have--of course--and Chad would have--naturally--replied, "Wow, that's amazing, LOL," and we'd be in the same bed right now. A few more lying compliments. But I just cannot do it. I don't want it. I don't want this hell either, but I just cannot do that.


* Recent discovery: previously uncirculating tape of the Yardbirds in Concord, Ca, 5/29/68. Just before the Shrine Auditorium gigs that produced Last Rave-Up in LA. In better sound.


* Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine died yesterday. The arpeggios of "House of the Rising Sun" might constitute the most influential guitar playing of the 1960s. He's a favorite of mine, despite never being much spoken of. Listen to him on this cover of Chuck Berry's "Let It Rock" live in Newcastle in 1963.


* Listened to Jabbo Smith's Rhythm Aces last night to regather and find energy.


* This is a photo from the set of Out of the Past.



* More notes from people I know last night telling me I'm fucked. That I cannot get anywhere. I do not believe it. I don't know the solution. I have no clue what a solution could be. It's not writing the best work ever written and more of it constantly. It's not being the strongest person there has been. It's not being the leading expert on thing after thing after thing. But I have faith. I have a faith--for a reason I do not know--unlike any feeling I have ever had. It is like an eternal fire inside of me. I have given myself over to that fire. That faith. I have decided to believe in it. I believe I will change the world to the good more than anyone ever has. I don't know how that comes about, and with thousands of things against me. But I answer only to that faith now. The people I have known, for the most part, and only in the smallest ways--a note that keeps me going on a hard morning--are not part of my solution. There is no one to whom I can truly turn. There is no one with counsel, knowledge, no one sufficiently informed. It is me and this work. Nothing else. And though I know what I know, I know where things stand, I know how this world is, I know how people are, I know what the world and the people in it have become, I know what makes success, I believe in myself and that work. I believe in it and me to rock millennia, and I believe I'll be around--alive--for a long time to see the early portion of that playing out.


* My sister sent me a note when I shared the latest comments with her. She said to block out the noise. To focus on my to-do list right now. That I am here for a higher purpose, and to focus on that. I have found that my sister is the lone person who gives me advice of any value. Our relationship has become important to me, after years of us not having one. She is the closest to being someone I trust. I respect what she has to say. Generally I detest when people give me advice. They do so without any understanding of my situation, me, any context, and they speak about things that are universes beyond their lives and what they know, and then they project so much, of course--so much of their insecurities, shortcomings, etc. I hang around for none of it now. I will not spend any more time or energy than I have to on anything that does not move me forward. That does not work towards solutions. I will have nothing to do with you. I am already totally alone. Not having a perfunctory exchange with someone who adds no value to my life or cause does not make me more alone. I know that no human has ever been this alone. So be it. That's what it is is right now. As a character of mine says in a story called "Mount Edifice"--best story ever written about race in America, but by a white guy who is blacklisted by/discriminated against by an entire industry, so who knows when anyone will see it: "right now is not always."


* Okay. Let's finish a book, son. One that will have been written in thirteen bloody days. Catechism, please, as reminder to self: Matchless art. Total focus. No mercy when we get there.


* Get there.