josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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5 Jan '05 10:35:37 AM

The middle of this one is the one that actually gave me pleasure today, though:

Aaliyah - Try Again
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps
Fabolous f. Jay-Z - Breathe (Remix)
The Notorious B.I.G. - I Got A Story To Tell
Charlie Parker - KoKo
R. Kelly - Step in the Name of Love (Remix)
AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
The Postal Service - The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
Sascha Funke - Strassentanz
Aesop Rock - Fascination
Al Green - Let's Stay Together
JT Money feat. Sole - Who Dat
Lambchop - Something's Going On
The Magnetic Fields - Either You Don't Love Me Or I Don't Love You
Superpitcher - Happiness
T-Bone Walker - I Got a Break Baby
David Bowie - Sound and Vision
Willie Nelson - You Were Always On My Mind
Atmosphere - Suicidegirls

In the middle of 'Strassentanz' I realized that the title probably translated as 'Street Dance' or something like that and it transformed what I heard.

I'm not going to check to see if it doesn't translate to that.

My capitalization is erratic but my fingers are cold.

5 Jan '05 10:21:33 AM

Nine things I thought about today:

Bad:
1. not caring
2. calling asking about jobs they don't have
3. no help for my malfunctioning computer

Good:
4. the submarine scene in Life Aquatic
5. a playlist worth coming back to a few more times [1]
6. 'pays off for the hungry investor'

Neutral:
7. staying asleep tempting more and more
8. salsa band
9. hermeneutics from the point of view of the verbum interius

[1]: That playlist:
1. Richard Hell & the Voidoids - (I Belong To The) Blank Generation
2. Ghostface - Beat The Clock
3. Rex Garvin - Sock It To 'Em J.B. - Part 1
4. Diamanda Galas - At The Dark End Of The Street
5. DJ Koze - Brutalga Square
6. DMX feat. Sean Paul and Mr. Vegas - Top Shotter
7. Goodie Mob feat. Mystikal - Dirty South (Remix)
8. The Ex - In The Event
9. The Specials - A Message To You Rudy
10. Duke Ellington - My Little Brown Book
11. Spiritualized - Lord, Can You Hear Me?

The 'J.B.' refers to James Bond, the titles of whose movies they shout out during the song, not James Brown. The Spiritualized song is the giant-ass version.

3 Jan '05 09:51:37 AM

With some friends I have always supposed that I would run into them again and again as the years passed. With some in particular I hoped that these recurring meetings would be a chance for the easy familiarity of intellectual affinity to deepen.

I apologize. I wanted to write something better here, but I can't get it to come out right. With some friends, not very close friends but friends nonetheless, I looked forward to those meetings because I knew that intellectual life is special: the weakest seed can stay alive in its soil.

Matt Cvijanovich died of acute pancreatitis today. He was maybe five years younger than me at most. I last saw him when he was choosing a graduate school. I thought I would surely see him again, no matter where he went. He didn't come here.

3 Jan '05 04:00:32 AM

'Dude.'

31 Dec '04 07:49:50 AM

Art and the criticism of it are still just beginning to come under the democratic impulse.

29 Dec '04 11:40:09 PM

:(

29 Dec '04 09:12:59 AM

Though it must be noted that often it's something the characters take to be very significant - usually the fear of breaking some sort of code whose maintenance is really only secondary to the actual ethical problem they would like to address - that holds them back.

29 Dec '04 09:06:25 AM

In many ways problems in The Romantic and The Anarchist seem to derive from the pernicious effects of unvoiced thoughts; forthcoming conversations and speech (especially the everyday sort) would give those thoughts a chance to show themselves for what they are.

29 Dec '04 09:01:10 AM

The appearance of extended (on the page) dialogue that I mentioned is more frequent than I thought, but it's still all for the same purpose, to showcase climactic or otherwise significant conversations. I suppose this means either that Esch the anarchist has more important conversations than Pasenow the Romantic's Elisabeth does (she's involved in more of them than Pasenow is), or that perhaps their orientation toward the world allows for that difference. The Anarchist certainly does feel less closed-off in certain respects. For one thing, the advance of the prose is tied more closely to the advance of time, whereas in The Romantic I often felt adrift, wondering if it mattered how long it took to for the story to move from one section to the next. There is little doubt here as the circumstances of one section are usually clearly related in some way to those of the previous one.

What's more, Esch is just more intelligible to me (always keeping in mind caveats about not having been as receptive as possible to Pasenow, or to that part of the book at the particular time I read it) when Broch puts him through his various contortions and conflicts. In both books it eventually becomes clear that what the characters think about their situation and the others around them is not totally appropriate or reasonable; they misreact, they take things the wrong way - not just by making mistakes, but by being misled, or malformed, by their emotions and beliefs. They act on them in ways which are just as disjoint, such that they do not always anticipate what they are about to do, or admit that they are doing it. In both cases this (to me, at least - I'm not sure I'm being sympathetic enough) tends to make them come off as insane, to some degree, depending on the situation. But it's easier for me to see the ways in which Esch's self-defeating (self-enacted) misprisions derive from his expressed (by Broch) beliefs and from the situations he finds himself in. The moments of truth in the untruth, say.

The people-leaving-on-a-boat section is the first that has taken me by the throat.