Saturday, October 14, 2006

Randomness and Alternative Time Usage (aka Harder Better Faster Blogger)

Have a lot of work to catch up on over the weekend. Lots and lots, much of it dense psychoanalytic theory. I have to admit that I giggle occasionally at some of the assertions, which have abstracted themselves from experiential or observational analysis so much as to seem ridiculous on first glance, second glance too. A Lacanian's specialty, as I understand it from the little I understand of recent psychoanalytic criticism.

I really want to get Lynne Tillman's new book, American Genius. I know nothing about it except for that kickass title. I of course have no time for leisure reading right now, and have several large piles of books that I've been planning on reading one of these, with a not-all-that-small pile of "nightstand books" (quotation marks as in, I don't have an actual nightstand, just two cardboard boxes piled on top of each other) that I've been "planning on reading next" for who knows how long. As with several of my other favorite authors, Tilmman's books, no matter how much ridiculously gushing praise they get, are released in paperback only - good for me, the poor, broke grad student who feeds all his money into the library printers, but it would be nice if the author of No Lease on Life got a little respect from the industry.

The Kleptones have two albums available for download from their website (, neither of which I was aware of. Steven Shaviro turned me on to the Kleptones' Night at the Hip-Hopera on his blog, The Pinocchio Theory ( So far, the two post-Hip-Hopera albums seem to be more conventional mash-ups, in the a+b=c format (of course adding sprinklings of d, e, f). Night at the Hip-Hopera collapsed a veritable history of hip hop into the collected works of Queen, interesting conceptually in a fundamental way, for its play with issues of race and masculinity (in addition to playing black music in an extremely white way, Queen were swaggering poster boys of leather-bound masculinity, with a small but relevant secret - now juxtapose that with hip hop; Shaviro covers similar ground much more eloquently on his blog, by the way). 24 Hours, the album I'm currently listening to, is certainly energetic and always keeps the mix surprising and clever, and definitely has something to say (lots about money, especially; also quotes McCluhan more than once, with the "all-at-onceness" line sample standing out very early on disc 1 - not sure, but that may come from Waking Life). The standout track so far is "Daft Purple," a mash of my second favorite Daft Punk song, "Harder Better Faster Stronger" and Deep Purple's "Fireball," along with a "Money" interlude, some Jethro Tull, something by a rapper named Hijack, and the aforementioned McCluhan alongside dialogue from The Breakfast Club, and more, I'm sure. I've heard that Daft Punk song dozens of times, but had never figured out that it was an ironic endorsement of company life, of buying into and living for the system. I'd always just assumed it was about dancing. Vocodered Frenchmen aren't all that easy to understand, so I have an excuse.

Still haven't gotten sick of Wild Honey, or Love You. Trying to pick a favorite Sonic Youth song, for time-wasting purposes, realized that Rather Ripped's Jams Run Free is most definitely in the running. Possibly on the bill for next monday, JLG's Passion plus... wait for it... JLG's jeans commercials, a dozen of them. Jeans, by Jean-Luc Godard. I'm sure he made himself utilise prostitution as a metaphor for the capitalist system in his next feature as penance. Saw Psycho on 35mm last Monday for a class, had to skip Sauve qui peut (la vie) in order to do so. It was fucking great. The little bit of theory I've read so far this year has focused so heavily on Hitchcock that I feel increasingly aware of what to look for in his films, and am consistently surprised to find his films even more meticulously crafted than even the theorist's give him credit for (or deny him credit for, depending on what you're reading). There's always more to look for in a Hitchcock film. Which is good, because we've already watched four Hitchcocks, and we're supposed to have watched Strangers on a Train three times, and I have to do a detailed analysis of The Lady Vanishes that will require three full viewings at least and a shot-by-shot deciphering of a scene. It's a lot of Hitchcock to take in all at once, but better him than just about anyone else, I suppose. It was Kristi's birthday on Thursday, and in addition to a surprise package still on its way, I've been cheerily spending time making birthday mixes. I have to watch myself, though, because I'm making her a whole box set of mixes (7 and counting), and as I run out of my original ideas for a Mix For Kristi, I drift into my own tastes more and more, and lately those are running towards the darker, more dissonant, skronk end of the semi-popular music spectrum.

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