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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23 Sep '02 05:37:15 AM

Phil with a story about learning from the Real Book.

23 Sep '02 03:36:54 AM

Claire Colebrook in Gilles Deleuze, p. 117:

The distinction between minorities and majorities (or between a molecular and molar politics) is therefore not one of numbers, but of types of quantity. A majoritarian identity has established its extended unit of measure -- its notion of a proper or representative number. It makes no difference how man men or humans there are; we all still know what 'man' is. This is an extensive multiplicity. Adding more members does not alter what the group or multiplicity is. It is therefore possible for humanity to include or recognise women or blacks as 'equal'. It did so, not by changing its notion of the human (as rational, individual and goal-oriented), but by arguing that women and blacks could also be rational, democratic, economically-motivated and moral, 'just like us'.

A minoritarian politics does not have a pre-given (or transcendent) measure or norm for inclusion or identity. Each addition to the group changed what the group is. (When non-middle-class women were included in the women's movement feminism had to change its image of femininity as domestic, well-mannered, refined and 'lady-like' to include women who worked and laboured outside the home. When women of colour were included this led to a challenging of women being 'equal' to men, for many of the norms of masculinity were tied to white Western culture.) An intensive multiplicity cannot increase or decrease without changing its quality. You add more light to a colour and it becomes a different colour. This is an intensive multiplicity. You take one red thing out of a box of red things and you still have a box of red things. This is an extensive multiplicity. Following on from this, a minor literature does not write to express what it is (as though it had an identity to repreat or re-produce). A minor literature writes to produce what Deleuze and Guattari refer to as a a 'people to come'. Its identity is always provisional, in the process of creation.

23 Sep '02 12:14:12 AM

The Magnetic Fields, "It's a Crime"

Love-as-crime is closely related to love-as-ownership and love-as-trust (like in Abigail, Belle of Kilronan). Obviously anything that is like you giving me your heart, or me mine to you, can end up in crime once someone violates the trust involved in handing over their heart. But love-as-theft can happen before the trust is even established. Maybe it happens under the illusion or pretense of trust. Merritt suggests that kind of theft here - Dudley Klute sings about being fooled, or at least it seems so. "I shouldn't have bothered cause you're just like all the others, now I know and I won't do that again." And being fooled suggests being intentionally fooled; the girl who'll drive the Bentley away puts me in mind of a grifter or something. Yet Dudley sings: "I did't listen cause my brain was missing and I only found it today." And in comes love-is-mindless, and maybe its close cousin love-is-crazy. This is the part that interests me, because I'm not sure I've ever been fooled into giving over too much of my heart. (Well, maybe.) But love-is-mindless is reflected in the whole range of desire, from catching a glance of that one girl you'll never see walk by again; up to the the times where you're temporarily crazy with love which give away into something more normal (?) if not altogether sane as a relationship develops; and the flashes of uncontrollable emotion that send us rushing to mend a relationship or that we sometimes secretly believe are the parts to keep holding out for, the giddy, lighter-than-air moments. (Secretly, because maybe it's naive and immature - and hopeless - to hold out only for those. But we have to hold out.) So even if we've never had to fill out a police report, love-as-crime might say something to us about love-is-mindless.

Until I thought about all this while writing, I had a hard time seeing what this song did have to say about it. The chorus goes, "it's a crime to fall in love," but the rest of the lyrics sound more like other people are committing crimes, when they even seem to stick closely to the title theme at all (many of them seem not to). But the crime is falling in love, and that means the singer is committing the crime (or accessory to it maybe?) too - or perhaps only him. The singer is worried someone might - no, wants someone to - lock him away if he shows that he's been affected, shows that he's been stupid enough (he's had plenty of chances before, and they all turned out the same) to let his heart be broken again.

This throws me for a little loop, enough of one that I don't know how to respond. I said that love-is-mindless is reflected in the whole range of desire because I wanted to indicate (or prove maybe, in the something-to-prove sense) that I might still know something about it, in contrast to being fooled into love, which I can say I don't know about just because I haven't had enough experience (it's not that I think I'm just really canny or overly cautious, though I am the latter), even though I'd rather not say that because part of me suspects that it happens to people so often that it just makes me feel lonely and unloved (ha) to not have had someone try to fool me into love. Or rather, into thinking they loved me so that I would think (more sincerely) that I loved them, which is a funny thing to say "into love" about.

I think there are some tacit assumptions about all of this at play in how I've been listening to the song. "It's a crime" sounds sort of like something you'd say when you were hurt, like an accusation. It's easy to listen to this, I think, and gloss over the part about the accuser having fallen in love too. Even better, and going along with some of the things about being fooled or not thinking clearly in the lyrics, it's the kind of thing you can say even when you don't really think it's the other person's fault, at least not intentionally their fault. Or maliciously. Like manslaughter. Or better, involuntary manslaughter.

22 Sep '02 09:10:39 PM

A month ago I played Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space and had to take it off because "Broken Heart" made me feel too bad. Today I listened to it and felt a tiny bit of joy because of feeling sad at hearing it. I don't think I was experiencing catharsis, but something different. The joy wasn't at having gotten out the negative (?) emotions. It was more like, joy at the quality of the sadness, at my ability to experience it without losing it. I don't understand catharsis at all, though, so who knows.

21 Sep '02 07:37:43 PM

First thing I remembered upon putting on Mingus' Black Saint and the Sinner Lady: me, playing it on air, and someone calling up about half an hour later and asking, "what was that crazy orchestral shit?"

21 Sep '02 06:58:40 AM

A "cross-sectional" Masada discography.

21 Sep '02 06:24:42 AM

There are how shall we say unpleasant associations with Jeff Beck, he being a studio guitar guy and having released a crap 80s fusion album that I was led to believe would be great but which I was unaware of the crap 80s fusion part of and so which I only listened to once but: when I have Talking Book on repeat one of the many places where my ears perk up again and I start singing along (well actually I am singing along most of the time but it's a different kind of singing - oh and for example I say whistle sometimes instead at these times) is good ol Jeff's little solo on "Lookin' for Another Pure Love". How about that. Plink plink plink plink, whistle whistle.

21 Sep '02 03:13:39 AM

Yes I know that's not a very original or creative idea. "Reminder" is a better word for it.

21 Sep '02 02:54:10 AM

Idea I had while listening to a talk on "emotional articulacy": take more seriously improvisation in music (jazz in particular) as a model (like a language game if you like) with which to understand improvisation in non-musical contexts.