A Week to Go

New song from me:


They say the meek will inherit the grave, a week to go
The strong and weak, cowards and the brave, a week to go

Everybody wants a savior, but nobody wants to be one
Won’t you do the world a favor, open up your arms and breed one

The sea and sound are running out of waves, a week to go
Time flies when you have nothing left to waste, a week to go

Everybody wants a savior, but nobody wants to be one
Won’t you do the world a favor, open up your arms and breed one

Pay a fool your money to make a sculpture out of youth
Cut the rafters off the roof and complain about the moon
Doubt the earth’s as old as proof but believe in breaking news
Hang the last tree from a noose and put the TV to good use

Review: Bob Goldthwait’s “God Bless America”

I’m not sure if Bob Goldthwait totally gets what he’s created in “God Bless America,” and it is summed up in this sentence from his defense of the movie: “a little part of me hopes for copycats.” In the movie, the couple shoot up a movie theatre. This was written before Aurora, and he couldn’t have known that Aurora was going to happen – but Columbine happened, as did Virginia Tech. And these guys also thought they were killing the phonies – they thought they were doing the world a service.

He also says this, so he’s not a total lunatic:

I hope that they watch it and get the message. But the message is not, “Hey you should kill people.” Only idiots would watch it and take that away. And if anyone goes and shoots someone because they saw this movie, even money says any episode of The Golden Girls would have had the same result. Because they are crazy.

But still there seems to be something missing from the movie: and that thing might be reality. There’s still a place for it in satire. The detachment is shown in people’s reaction to the movie. I’ve been poring through the internet looking for people connecting Aurora and GBA – or word from Goldthwait himself, and there’s nothing. Reviews on IMDB and Amazon written after Aurora don’t mention the massacre. And how you can watch a movie with people getting shot in a theatre and not be slightly disturbed is proving Goldthwait’s point – but not the point he was trying to make. The anti-hero continually laments people’s detachment from real feeling – and the reaction from people who like the movie is totally detached from what has happened in real life. It’s a satire and a farce, but what Goldthwait doesn’t seem to get is that shooting a gun at another person is as dimwitted a thing as you can do – thereby negating whatever righteous ideas the character might have.

I think he could have gotten away with this if the killers were a little more clever in how they killed people. Otherwise, they’re just as stupid and brutal as the things they’re criticizing. It is possible to mix satire and violence, but given gun rampages are a reality, and there’s nothing funny about them whatsoever, the movie version loses some of its satire. It’s not just that he’s “unsympathetic” – it’s that he’s proving the desensitization that he’s railing against, and I don’t think that’s Goldthwait’s point, as his anti-hero is the good guy, and all the morons are the enemy. In this case, the anti-hero is also a moron.

Disclaimer: I write books about violence. My novel, The Golden Calf, is about a celebrity stalker, lamenting many of the same things about celebrity culture that the anti-hero in GBA does. It owes a lot to “Taxi Driver,” as does GBA, with many direct references. There are great lines in “God Bless America,” and a lot of what he says is cathartic. Seriously, fuck Sean Hannity or Westboro Baptist. And maybe I’m a little oversensitive in the wake of Aurora – but, again, that’s the point. If this movie was released immediately following Virginia Tech, the same feelings would have arisen. But a couple years later, I’ve forgotten the depression and sense of doom any time one of these killings happen…until the next one comes around. Without letting some of that reality creep into “God Bless America” then you’re only telling part of the story, and in a movie that’s trying to jolt people back into honesty, it loses some of its message.

How to be the Wind

New song.

How to be the wind
You take your mind off

She is a wave
And she departed
She is the way
It all started

How do you begin
When it’s all over
Do you go on
And grow older?

What if your skin
Has no shoulder
To park or to drive
And grow older

How do you win
When you’ve got eye on
Everything you wish
Will solve your problems

How to be the wind
You take your mind off

Harry Crews RIP

There are six writers who made me want to become a writer: Richard Yates, Philip K. Dick, Bukowski, Kerouac, Henry Miller, and Harry Crews.  I’ve read everything I could by him.  Back in the nineties, my then-girlfriend had a friend in his writing class in Gainesville, FL.  We made the trek down there from New York and I sat in on a class.  He hobbled into the class, could barely walk, his body carrying the abuse of ten lifetimes, and he said he was delirious with a fever.  So the class only lasted ten minutes, but he signed all of my books, and it was a great experience all in all.

My dad discovered him first. As a kid, he brought home A Feast of Snakes, and it went on from there. He sent Crews his novel, and Crews gave this quote: “Compelling, memorable, and one of the best reads I’ve had in years.” That letter is framed in his office. I sent him my own novel when it was done, but didn’t have the same luck.

He once said something that I found privately devastating. He said: fiction should never be political. So I’ve totally ignored him in that respect. But his fearlessness is something to aspire to, always. So, thanks, Harry Crews, and RIP.

This quote from his NY Times obit says it:

The literary world needs its outsiders and outlaws, now more than ever, and with Mr. Crews’s passing there are very, very few of them left.

Daniel Pinchbeck

Amazingly, Daniel Pinchbeck responded to some of my criticisms on Facebook and Reality Sandwich (reposting his status update). He’s been hugely influential on my writing and worldview over the last ten years. My response to his post here.

Lou Barlow

As a long-time fan of Lou Barlow who’s been instrumental in my musical upbringing, I found these interviews really amazing. Like listening to “Bakesale” kind of amazing. Covers his upbringing, early days of Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh – and fuck-ups along the way. That’s the amazing part to me, because Sebadoh’s taken on a kind of mystical quality, seeming to be naturally successful and legendary, but it wasn’t.