It is often said by the gainsayers of conservative nostalgia, with great snark, that America ‘has no culture’ or ‘never had a culture.’ But if ‘culture’ as a phenomenon refers more or less to the aesthetic backdrop of a society, it would be an offense against language to make such a claim. ‘Culture’ here is merely a descriptive term, the locus of all things superficial and observable: like the philosophical concept of ‘the world,’ it exists by logical necessity. Thus even Anglo-Canada has a culture, which as anyone can see, is markedly different from the Québécois culture. And what is the origin of the phenomenal differences between these Canadian populations if not the essential genetic differences between English people and French people?
A romantic strain is present in the right, and the right-wing critiques of capitalism are more incisive than anything heretofore pronounced from the other side of the tennis court, but people need something to fight for, not just against.
When was the last time you rewatched the original Iron Man? What about the first Avenger’s film? Did you even bother buying a second ticket to Marvel’s first major movie starring a superhero of color, 2008’s groundbreaking The Incredible Hulk? Let’s be honest, unless you’re a child and easily distracted by bright colors and loud noises, the answer is probably ‘no’.
To become fully aware of death, to the point of one’s onto-existential comportment being affected by it, to live within a mode of continual reinvention and authenticity, is revealed at the deepest of levels in art dealing with the subject of death itself; Hirst’s work is a long Zen-like meditation that jars one into the ultimate reality of death.
What is the purpose of the underclass? Why do they exist? More than that—why are they allowed to exist? We are told by philosophers that there are virtues to being poor, and Our Lord touts their virtues. But do the poor exist for nothing more than this—to give the affluent a reason for moral reflection? To serve the point of parables as a kind of foil to Dives?
Imagine a bunch of kids who grew up in ‘echo chambers,’ having been inculcated with the ideas, the many horrors, that some of us learned begrudgingly, and with some trauma, as adults. What will their politics look like? Out there somewhere is a teenager, a boy of great potential, who will read Harassment Architecture—what kind of books will he write? What if he becomes General?
Buy and read Mark Dyal’s book, Hated and Proud: Ultras Contra Modernity. It is firstly a thrilling, enlivening and objective action story, and secondly an impassioned introduction to the wealth of thinkers that together build the makings of a political activist who imbibes a very prescient ethos. It is an extremely precise work which meticulously and at times too analytically, investigates the phenomena of football (or soccer) Ultras, often in their own words, which arose from the Italian Years of Lead.
The Sisyphean nature of the ocean is strange to me. The coast haunts me. I miss the wide open plains of the Midwest. I miss the changing of the colors and the biting wind of winter. Here, in this tropical southern clime, nothing changes, not really. I see a dead fish wash up upon the beach, or what’s left of him: a gaping head, a spine, a bit of entrails tangled in the seaweed. He is rolled about in the waves and tangled in matter beyond his will. The whole place stinks of putrefaction. Florida is full of rotting fish and rotting people. The holiday atmosphere is merely garish lead paint; the mold penetrates everything.
I sit on the redwood bench that was installed during the first FDR administration, according to the little brass plaque, eating a peanut butter and honey sandwich and watching the wannabe Masters of the Universe shamble across the ancient bricks. I read Bonfire of the Vanities a few weeks ago and, man, this place is full characters that I think I could find a part for them, somewhere in there.
The sweltering heat of the midday had given way and cool evening breezes from the west were beginning. David, now girded in some of his light armor with most of his men seated in assembly, wandered over to a window, hearing some tumult outside. Two men with full, thick beards, one of whom had obvious reddish-brown stains below chest level on his garments, were riding brown horses into the city toward David’s headquarters. As he sized the men up from a distance, he said, “We have some visitors. Let’s meet them outside.”
Since I quit my job, I’ve been doing a lot more reading, sunbathing, and working out. Having a full-time construction job for the past eight months totally reinstated the value of free time. Corny or not, I try to make the most out of every day. Chipping away at the next book, making music, talking with all the people who reach out to me online.