Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NEW CHAP BOOK available as FREE DOWNLOAD

I have a PDF of a new chapbook of poems, and it can be downloaded free at Google Docs,
If the link doesn't work, just send an email to tburke4@san.rr.com and I will get one to you straight away. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

notes on Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino  likes to dress up his films in the mannerisms  of directors he admires, a cut and paste style that has resulted in occasional brilliance and one real masterpiece, Pulp Fiction. The energy and playfulness, however, has become wearisome as this fellow repeats and reiterates his moves, stylistically and intellectually. "Death Proof", his contribution to the "Grind House" collaboration with Richard Rodriguez, was something of a "Pulp Fiction" knock off, overly stylized dialogues about not much in particular slowing down the narrative momentum like a big thumb on an old turntable, and "Inglorious Basterds" was this film maker at his most hollowed-out, glib, verbose, lazily constructed, scenes drawn out and shocks and surprises twists slipped in along the way as a means to distract us from the fact that Tarantino's bag of tricks was a small one to begin with.
Tarantino fatigue has set in; what made him hip now makes him seem like a gimmick prone stylist living up to fan expectations; I think of good amount of Fellini when the subject of Quentin arises. Is destined to make a million motion pictures  the contents are familiar to the point of contempt?  There is a strong chance, unless Hollywood runs out of money first. Even Pulp Fiction, his best effort, seems dog eared just as Citizen Kane seems over stuffed.  PF will hang around Tarantino's neck for as long as he lives because it will be regarded, always, as the best thing he's ever done. It remains a powerful film for the most part, full of wicked laughs and and re-convolutions of seamy paperback action novels, but it does show it's age. 
The dialogue is something else altogether, but does anyone really think he's done better than the Master, Elmore Leonard? The dialogue, as such, are extended riffs divorced from the violence and action, a sort of virtuosity that is more obtrusive than revealing; the beauty of pulp fiction was that its minimalist discussions, compact, jargon filled, quirky and redolent in references that suggested a sub culture beyond the melodrama of the basic plot, were models of virtuoso concision. The dialogue here merely stalls, stops, occupies time like it were a waiting room. Seeing these characters again go on about the differences in burger joints between Amsterdam and America, the finer points of foot massage and revenge, on changing one's way of life due to a revealed miracle, makes you wish something would happen that was gratuitous and without justification. Anything to get on with it.
The irony about the matter of Tarantino is that while he maintains the loves, admires and discusses eloquently the elegant leanness and clean procedural logic of genre films, he cannot make films near their perfection because of his verbosity; as Duncan Shepherd wrote, he "...likes to hear himself write". It's not that action genre films cannot have compelling or intellectually compelling dialogue; the problem lies in Tarantino's deficiencies as a screen writer. What he thinks are layers of ironic misdirection,where absolute monsters or amoral reprobates are given reams of well -honed speeches to recite between spasms of bad-doings are, in fact, padding and time wasting.
Even Elmore Leonard, the king of dialogue, knows to tailor his exchanges to advancing the action and the surprises. Leonard  has sage advice to those younger writers who desire to have readers finish the books they write or the movies they author:"
Quentin Tarantino makes me think increasingly of the bright musician of generous technique and dexterity who forsakes sheet music, or even head arrangements and insists instead of improvising, from a cold start. Keith Jarrett comes to mind, superb pianist in group contexts who, somewhere in the Seventies, elevated himself to a concert soloist, literally, with a series of multi-disc live releases highlighting his ability to extemporize melody and development. Tension and release is the key to keeping any soloing alive, an element that requires pacing; the problem with Jarrett's elongated improvisations , it seemed to me, that he too often went frameworks that supported his configurations and offered up, at extended rates, a form of noodling, riffing, a repetitive set of rills and streaming, gutless variations that lacked adventure, daring. Jarrett, unknown to him and ignored by his fans, had turned into a New Age pianist, a verbose George Winston. I couldn't wait for the man to ease himself back into band situations, which he has, and good for him,and good for us. Inglorious Basterds , writer-director's Tarantino's homage and ramping up of the Men- On -a-Suicide- Mission war drama , is a flashy, occasionally gripping bit of now dated mannerisms characteristic of the film maker who loves to hear his voice emerge from the mouths of characters he creates. The characters  are  sock puppets, and what used to be style work has become shtick through repetition. The  plot points Tarantino writes over are not notes to a melody he would lovingly embellish , but are considered as little more than a chord progression over which he has another excuse to blitzkrieg us with dazzling technique, a habit that becomes deadening before too long. 


Shtick, though, can still be fun if deployed in a lively way, and there are moments when the predilection of long monologues or convoluted stretches of dialogue that lead , at snail pace, to an expected burst of violence grabs you by scruff and bangs you around some, the obvious example being the performance of Christoph Waltz as the charming, effete, well mannered and murderous S.S. officer Col. Lada. Waltz is inspired as he embodies the self aware elegance of a man who likes nothing better than to exterminate Jews for the Nazi command. He cannot, though , balance Waltz's performance with an effective counterweight; Brad Pitt, of late the most interestng Hollywood actor with the roles he's taken --Burn After ReadingThe Assassination of Jessie James by The Coward Robert Ford, Killing Them Softly-- but in Basterds he's only on screen less than half the screen time, and he is impaired beyond belief by a cartoonish Tennessee*  accent. Pitt has the appealing skill of vanishing inside the character's skin and letting his physicality become inhabited by another personality , full of ticks and twitches. Unlike Al Pacino, say, who battles to conquer a writer's character with his trademark rages and rasping , ranting style, Pitt's portrayals strike you as people you wouldn't look at twice; this is the talent to seem insignificant until a series of gestures and reactions reveals an unannounced agenda. Except here, significantly; Pitt looks like he's practicing his accent in a mirror while he studies the smooth curves of his face. It never becomes a comfortable fit.


The Lada speeches go on for extended lengths,reprising feints, indirections and nuanced deceits of past Tarantino movies. Tarantino hadn't an outline for this film, a structure to hang his best ideas on; rather , he improvised from the outset, the result that his worst tendencies show up as often as his best virtues. Which made Inglorious Basterds an unpaced endurance contest.


He reached his saturation point with steroidizing movie genres with his two part masterpiece Kill Bill, with all it's seamless and bravura conflations of different action film styles, but he has based his reputation on this one knack, or , more accurately, this habit. Death Proof was a chatty, grinding bore, with the fabled Tarantino dialogue sounding like left over material that didn't make into the frothy exuberence in Pulp Fiction or True Lies (the late Tony Scott directing Taratino's original screenplay). Inglorious Basterds continues the downward spiral despite the generous reviews from critics eager to crown him an auteur, continues the downward spiral.


His sleights of hand, his post modern conflations, his promiscuous homages to film styles that drag down his narrative momentum--hard rock guitar riffing in a WW2 movie? Whoa, cutting edge stuff-- fail to lift this bit of labored pandemonium . Eccentric liberties with formula plot structures made items like Pulp Fiction and the pair of Kill Bill movies fun things to sit through, a superb blend of film making panache and a young man's energy to jack up the action; even his incessant references to other movies were endearing because you sensed the director had shoved two generations of film theory to the side and resolved that movies were fun; aesthetics were a matter of making the entertainment more intense.


What hasn't happened the maturation of the approach; fun can still be of value in itself, but there is the expectation that an artist has developed a finer sense of what that entails; themes ought to transform over time. The aging wunderkind remains on the same playground, though. As with Death Proof, Inglorious Basterds isn't an improvement on an original idea, but rather someone of limited ideas determined to tell the same jokes over and over. It would be one thing if he were developing his themes, but Tarantino loves his riffs and mulled-over mannerisms too much to alter them, to play with them. He loves them way a thief loves his stolen booty. No matter how lovingly he polishes and resets these things, you are aware that they don't belong to him.
___________
On the subject of" Pulp Fiction", I will say again that I think that film is a masterpiece, sheer inspiration in ways of writing, editing, acting. Everything that Tarantino does in the film is      fresh and alive, a lively recasting of venerable Hollywood genre. The essential problem is that he uses the same tact over and over; directors are allowed to repeat certain things they do, since that is the essence of having a style. But the point of having an identifiable  style is being able to do different and unexpected things within the recognizable framework. Howard Hawks, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock and other auteurs too numerous to mention made movies praised for being individually stylish and avoiding the charge, for the most part, of being lesser variations of past successes.  What Tarantino has done is repeat himself, in a succession of films, that threaten to downgrade his method from "style" to mere shtick.   I would argue that virtually all of Tarantino's movies are reboots, in his case , the rebooting of a genre, be they crime stories, samurai tales, a war film, a western. Doubtless he'll resurrect the Hollywood musical, do a spy film and present us with super hero movie.  Those genre revivals, though, needn't be the over packed, eager to please student projects his last three films have been. As he did with his wonderful adaptation of Elmore Leonard's crime novel "Rum Punch" in the form of "Jackie Brown", Tarantino has the ability to let the tale advance without the worrying , hovering , obvious obsession to make the scene more clever than it needs to be. Many were disappointed when "JB" came out because it wasn't another "Reservoir Dogs" or  "Pulp Fiction"; I liked the way he scaled back his style, letting Leonard's plot unwind, allow the characters to have breathing room in the film space they inhabited,  letting the conversation ring stylish, idiomatic and true.   What would be interesting is if Tarantino became bored with his established approach and challenged himself. " __

Calming down


Time was, not so long ago, when I that poems that didn't have "dirt under the fingernails" were without value. I insisted that life as it's lived by working men and women in America were more interesting , more complex and more important than the dense, academic poems one was made to read in contemporary poetry anthologies. In full disclosure, I was an undergraduate at the time, in the mid to late seventies, an earnest poet trying to be relevant who, incidentally, was having problems in literature courses requiring same said anthologies. There might have been a worthwhile insight somewhere in my whining for a polemic I could write if I cared to take the time, but it suffices to say that I was lazy, too lazy to read the poems, too stoned to go to class, far, far too stoned to read the secondary sources to be prepared for class discussions or for the papers I had to write. I did what anyone genuine undergraduate poet/radical/alkie would do; I blamed the system. So there.

It took a bit of doing--sobering up, bad grades, failed relationships--for me to get wise(r) and actually read the work I thought unworthy, and the remarks of critics who've done their own work considering the aesthetics at length, and I've since backed away from trying to shoe horn all poetry into a tight fitting tuxedo. What was learned was relatively small, a revelation for the truly dense; poetry works in many ways, and the task of the critical reader cannot be merely to attack and opine but to make an effort to weigh a poem's elements on their own merits, studying how effects are accomplished, and then, finally, lastly, to offer a judgment whether the poem works. Not that I adhere to this prolix method--I shoot from the hip and often miss the whole darn target--but I try. Now the issue, from Slate's Poems Frame, is whether a poem can work if it lacks the glorious thing called "heart".

Anyone seriously maintaining that a work of art, be it poem, novel or painting is doomed to failure because it lacks this vague quality called "heart" has rocks in their head. Artists are creative people, on that most of us can agree, and by definition artists of narrative arts make stuff up from the resources at hand. Whether the source is actual experience, anecdotal bits from friends or family, novels, biographies, sciences, all these are mere furniture that goes into the creation of the poem. The poet's purpose in writing is to produce a text according to some loosely arranged guide lines that distinguish the form from the more discursive prose form and create a poem that arouses any number of responses, IE feelings, from the reader. "Heart", I suppose, would be one of them, but it's ill defined and too vaguely accounted for to be useful in discussing aesthetics. Confessional poetry and the use of poetry books and poetry readings as dump sites for a writer's unresolved issues with their life doesn't impress me generally, as in the ones who do the confessing never seem to acquire the healing they seek and instead stay sick and miserable and keep on confessing the same sins and complains over and over. Journaling would be one practice I would banish from a poetry workshop I might teach. We are writing poems, not an autobiography.

I would say, actually, that one should suspect that poet who claims that every word of their verse is true, based on facts of their lives. I cannot trust the poet who hasn't the willingness to fictionalize or otherwise objectify their subject matter in the service of making their poems more provocative, worth the extra digging and interpreting. Poems and poets come in all shapes and sounds, with varied rationales as to why each of them write the way they do, and it's absurd and not to say dishonest that "heart", by which I mean unfiltered emotionalism, is the determining element as to whether a poem works or not. My goal in reading poems isn't to just feel the full brunt of some one's soggy bag of grief or splendid basket of joy, but to also to think about things differently.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Frank O'Hara figures it out

The only thing wrong with  Frank O'Hara's The Collected Poems is that so many of them are virtually perfect as they are, as I think he had a number of styles he could muster up with ease to get across the energy and inspiration the city could provide. His was the nearest I've come across where a genuine bit of writerly discernment--that is, the writer as someone who arranges and chooses the words that best convey his ideas, or even the lack of them --that could make me think of someone talking to me, at length, at great speed, enthusing with a dozen splendid configurations of language about a subject that has given them great and subtle joy.  

The aftershock of reading his poems is that you feel as if you've been in an chat where you didn't mind at all the sleep you were missing, and still don't regret missing the morning after at the job when you cannot stop  yawning at customers , clients and bosses.This was writing of it's time, but the work survives far beyond their period and are read to the current day largely because few others have been able to write about a thrill or convey their idea of kicks, sadness and still collect a response on re-reading.


WHY I AM NOT A PAINTER 
 I am not a painter, I am a poet.

Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,
for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's 
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.
But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it oranges. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

There is here the spirit of flow , a runneling rush of words that seem informal and unusually direct in their lack of meaning-disguising metaphors and other involved techniques, but what O'Hara here is working toward, with deliberation and a discriminating eye and ear, is the perception of the experience. He starts to explain why he is not a painter but rather a poet and winds up, in digression, recalling an incident with his painter friend Mike. It ends as if it were a conversation stopped before it reaches the final resonance--it is a conclusion deferred and all that remains of this recounting are the details that lead up to it, provocative clues to what might a larger epiphany might have contained. The insight, though, is that art is not so much about what you set out to accomplish, but what you actually wind up with after you've done scrambling your senses for the right brush stroke or fanciful allusion.  What some call casual and toned down I'd call a mastery of the informal voice. There are a great many writers who write in a manner meant to suggest a voice , a character, actually speaking words that form quick and fascinatingly original abstractions of everyday matters and erudite issues at hand with a spontaneity that intended to seem miraculous, but there is , I think, a trace of the studied, the practiced, the idealized in the stanzas that attempt to dazzle the reader with brilliance in a chatty subterfuge. The surprise they intend to furnish our  psychic domiciles with get stuck in their own pretension, like a couch too wide to fit through an apartment door too thin. O'Hara, though, gets the mixture right, the internalized form of the language, the easy access to construction, syntax,  and the naturally relaxed rhythm of someone finding the right words for the right things, said to the right person, the receptive audience that inspires the poet to further, more elevated articulation, exaggerations, exclamations and declamations. In fact, I often read O' Hara's poems just to have what I imagine to have been his reading voice--yes, Theatre of the Mind-- grace the often times sterile terrain of my own imagination with his lyrics that found excitement in buildings, maddeningly brilliant, paintings, his own emotional highs and lows; there is a manic pace to O'Hara's work, as if there is only a short time to get to the point, to make the connection between how he felt, what he saw, what he did, who he met, what happened after his best thinking led him astray, as if he was aware that jackhammers, telephones, arguing lovers in the next apartment, loud music from third floor windows, gunfire or the cacophony car horns and diesel engines might sound off and drown him out, destroy the moment of self-revelation with a world demanding attention. There was a need for speed, a rapidity of response to the faint germ of an idea or the perception that could reveal some interior truth or irony if meditated on just a bit.  O'Hara's gift to us was that he could , more often than not, make it all fit.

Several shy poets rent a room



Who are these scribes and pens, coughing up balls of dust each time a floor board creaks underfoot or a cat on the porch meows and scratches doors, looking for a family to move in with? Handwriting is a trail of tears and terror under the singing springs, there are bills to pay, stamps to lick, a metaphor to ponder as fingers stroke pens to remember an address while cramped under a mattress .What shall we write about, oh yes, half a bird on the sill, a lone cup on the far table, ankles defacing the knot holes with unforgiving heels, but now, is the coast clear, is there anyone watching?

We leave them their food on white plates with clean silverware, paper napkins at best, and then leave room where we can hear all their furious scribbling about the truncated view proceed as if it were a race, the tips of pens and assorted quills tearing across pages of journals and the lines of otherwise blank pages, riots of images of strange sights, a world espied through mail slots and around the corners of doors left ajar.

We leave them their food and then leave, closing the door, and suddenly there is laughter up and down the hall, cartoon soundtracks, sound effects of things bouncing and springing from wall to wall, pies in the face, Splat! We walk away and mind our own business because the rent check cleared and that's all that matters on day full of sunshine and screaming two year olds who have harried moms with hairless arms and penciled eyebrows who refused to buy them fifty cent pieces of candy wrapped in tri-colored tinfoil. The day is too nice to get jacked up on sugar, some little person needs to take a nap, nothing     on earth right now rhymes with serenity and steady nerves, let us go to the beach and stare at the waves that collude with the pipes that bring it the runneling waste of the city, let us consider the poets as they look through the movie times and menu prices of what this town brings to their table.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Guitar chords

Nice feedback shower he thought, choice choice of major chord and amp settings mused further, his head bowed and his hands raised as if hold a guitar, the musician on the precipiece of either genius or calamity. It was the Who's "Happy Jack" coming from the speakers, a positive keranggggg of harmonies and colliding chords, nothing complicated, just forward momentum, a force pushing down a wall that was ready to crumble from it's own un-mortared weight anyway; Keith Moon's drums ricocheted and hammered down beats and quick measures of counter attitude against Peter Towsend's guitar work, which was primal and aggravated like some youth who finally finds his voice when a bad teacher's graceless bromides become too rank to take.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quadrophenia

The Who's Quadrophenia is one of the dullest albums ever released by a major rock band; it marks the spot where songwriter and guitarist Peter Townsend's abandoned (or lost) his genius for composing witty rock and roll and wicked power chords that were the cornerstone of all things anthemic in the grinding morass that  largely was rock and roll when bands sought no longer to be fun or entertaining , but significant.  There is nothing wrong with significance on the face of it, but that quality is generally the result of inspired work and an unmediated commitment to a creative  surge that cannot , truthfully, be duplicated by force of will. 


Townsend  ,in my view, opted to make significant states in his lyrics at the sacrifice of the light touch he could frame in the context of a four chord song. Where the previous double album, the rock-opera Tommy  was buoyant, rocking  and didn't want for guitar hooks or the riffs, Quadrophenia got as serious as a ditch with songs that were were bloated, wooden, humorless, positively no fun. It merits a mention that the theme was incomprehensible and that this is where Daltry's voice finally gave out. The guitar chords, once crashing , smashing and slashing in all the old descriptions of youth rebellion, were now leaden, robotic, rusty.


All that was left was a cracking bellow that made you think of nothing except an old building collapsing under it's own heft.  Ambition is fine, but not without an idea of what you're doing. Someone told songwriter Peter Townsend that the modernist tradition demands a narrative that is diffuse, broken up in sharp pieces, and lacking resolution, techniques I fancy myself, given my devotion to the poetry of Eliot, Stein and Silliman, but there is a knack to  doing things that way, an "ear", if you will.   Sentences and ideas that don't necessarily follow one another in conveniently logical ,  causal order require arrangement, a sense of what doesn't go together the right way: there is a reason why Bob Dylan's surrealism remains powerful five decades later and the more recent writings of Springsteen, someone clearly influenced by Dylan's turn to obscurity , are hardly quoted at all.  Another problem as well might have been an inferiority complex; he stopped being an artist, writing and recording wonderful, brilliant, ingenious rock and roll songs the moment he started to try to be an artist on other people's terms.  It's a self-conscious artiness that has made his music frightfully didactic, incomplete and a chore to bear.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Man Who Was Not There

As usual with Coen Brothers films, The Man Who Wasn't There is visually stunning, and has it's share of odd touches and sublime moments that set the film makers from the rest of the herd, but I thought it was the least interesting of their films.

The varying elements of a James Cain flavored noir thriller filtered through Camus-toned existentialism and the zany insertion of UFOs makes me think of bright guys brain storming against deadline; much of the meaning of Coen Brothers movies is open ended and deferred, but this film just couldn't merge the oddities. Billy Bob Thorton, though, needs special credit for maintaining his granite faced deadpan in a film full of eagerly demonstrative actors. He portrays his emotionally somnolent barber with less expression than a pair of pliers left at the bottom of a over-stuffed drawer in a typically crowded work bench; like the pliers, this is a man who is forgotten, anonymous , virtually invisible despite being part of the everyday scenery.His flat effect is so consistent and untouched by a hint of actorish  style that you can well imagine the character relishing the burn in the throat and the coughing and hacking that result in  the excess because it is one of the things that might penetrate his otherwise impenetrable numbness.

He he clips hair, sweeps up the clippings, and chain smokes his way through the film, Thorton's already sunken cheeks and general skull-hugging features take on the grisly isolation of a long abandoned building under the movies effectively baroque use of high contrast black and white. Still, this has the feeling of an exercise, a project to keep their hands in the game while the brothers Coen finesse their next major project. Visually gratifying, but the movie bombs over all because there is nothing inspiring in the plot to make the movie seem like another more than an empty stage.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why American novelists don’t deserve the Nobel Prize - Salon.com

Why American novelists don’t deserve the Nobel Prize - Salon.com: "The basic problem is that there is only Nobel Prize for literature and there many thousands of published writers who fancy themselves suitable and deserving of the award. It's not unlike the billions (and billions) of sperm swimming upstream madly to fertilize an egg that will only take accept one. Ninety nine percent of the those contending for what the prize simply don't make it; given that the Nobel Committee has to consider writers from a fairly broad range of poets, novelists, playwrights internationally, we are a bit too sensitive about not having a winner in a good many years. We are in competition with writers of other countries, after all, not merely with other American writers. It does, though, make for convenient news copy that will attract readers to the presence of whatever advertising happens to be lurking near or hovering over the editorializing about the continued "outrage". Our lazier arts commentators can then enjoy themselves with the Full Nancy Grace, sneering, pouting, whining, insinuating about America being passed up for the prize and cash reward the comes with it.

I do believe, though, that the Nobel folks do not like American writers in particular and that the remarks that have been made in the name of the Nobel Prize is dumbly Eurocentric; as the specific qualities a writer's body of work needs to have has never been articulated beyond the misty generalities of helping humanity understand its soul and its true self in the best and worst of conditions, the idea that American scribes are too insular, too narcissistic to be considered worth considering as a higher class of literature seems capricious at best. Writers are self absorbed, period, no matter where their bloodlines come from; it is the conceit that each of them has that theirs is the voice and the insight that makes them different from their fellow citizens. The task, though, is to judge what they do with the self-concentration, something the Nobel Committee is unwilling to do; contempt before investigation, I believe. The Nobel Prize, though, is one thing above all else, and that is worth remembering; pointed bullshit and frippery . We could all do better and just read our literary discoveries , shared them with our respective communities, and passed on the the amount of smoke a batch of self appointed Deacons of Taste are producing .


Saturday, November 19, 2011


TONIGHT
D.G.Wills Books
7461 Girard Avenue, La Jolla , CA.
(858)456-1800
www.dgwillsbooks.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gawker suggests Lindsay Lohan should die and cash in

It's tragic enough that some parts of the media make a profit following the downward movement of the hapless Lindsay Lohan, but it is morally criminal, I think, for a publication even as ethically freelance as the Gawker to infer that Lohan ought to kill herself as a means of reviving her popularity. There is only a limited amount of schadenfreude any of us can justify; Lohan was not an incredibly rich, powerful, influential figure setting herself up as moral paragon.

The self-righteous without their trousers on in the presence of small children and bankers with their hands in the till should be made to do a long perp walk and given an extra kick. Lohan was not one of those, but rather a minor league actress with small measure of success who , through her own decisions and compulsions, succeeded in screwing the good thing she had going for herself. She had it made, she messed up, she couldn't change her ways , seem contrite , she may well be one of those people who is incapable of understanding what part she played in her undoing. We all know people like this; we have had our laughs, our snickering around the coffee table, but it stops being funny. It becomes pathetic.

All you can do at the moment when you realize that your witnessing someone in the thralls of unmanageable complication is wish them well, hope things improve, take whatever moral you might construct from someone else's misfortune and attempt to have a constructive , helpful day after that. For Gawker to make gratuitious remarks about Lohan's appearence, ie, her "prematurely aging breasts", and to suggest death,self delivered or as the result of further misadventures, as a credible option for rebranding makes me think that these folks are themselves are bored with the story, bored, perhaps, with the whole task of sniffing the ground for whatever droppings and scat celebrities might have left in their wake. I imagine an office full of incredibly unhappy and bored people in front of computer monitors indulging a shrill, false glee, the kind of elation that seems little more than a thin curtain between them and The Abyss. They , perhaps, considering death to be one of their options as well when the volume on their self-congratulations subsides for a moment; they are, perhaps m Bored to Death and cannot help but project that onto the celebrity mishaps that are their stock and trade.

Perhaps they have a wish to end it all. I would accept Gawker merely ceasing publication, going offline. Going flatline would be extreme, even in Gawker's case.

Monday, November 14, 2011

linda's donuts




    • Barry Alfonso This is the home of the WARM HAND-OFF...
      November 2 at 5:51am · 

    • Ted Burke There's a HOT ONE with name on on it waiting for you to rest your dogs inside
      November 2 at 6:36pm · 

    • Barry Alfonso Are those radioactive cooties lighting up the pink sprinkles on your cruller?
      November 3 at 7:24am · 

    • Ted Burke Those are the donuts with the Magic San Onofre Glow Sparkles.
      November 3 at 7:27am · 

    • Barry Alfonso One bite and Ed Clark's forehead will grow another three inches!
      November 3 at 7:29am · 

    • Ted Burke They are going to use those donuts to make their new sign
      November 3 at 7:30am · 

    • Barry Alfonso Japanese donuts line the runways of Lindberg Field and can be seen from Mt. Laguna.
      November 3 at 7:33am · 

    • Ted Burke Linda is a massive thirteen tentacle mutation that lives inside the lean to in the alley
      November 3 at 7:38am · 

    • Barry Alfonso True fact: prior to the Jack in the Box restaurant going up at the corner of Garnet and Lamont, there was a burger stand that had a big sign proclaiming 'HOME OF THE TEXAS MONSTER." I guess there have been a host of fetid, horror shambling about this region for eons...
      November 3 at 7:45am · 


Take this and thrive, Pal.

Since writers are in the habit of making up stories as a matter of habit and profession, each of them, not just the beats, "faked" everything. 

That shouldn't be surprising from a class of folks we look to for tales, fables, metaphors and such that we might use , in some loose way, in making our own lives fit our skins better.

 The question is how well ,uhhhh, how artful one is in manipulating language towards the creation of fiction or a poetry where the world as its spoken resounds with suggestion and portents of secret knowledge.

William S. Burroughs was the one stone-cold genius among the Beat writers ,was the most interesting and successful destroyer and re-creator of literary form, and maintained what Mailer called a "gallows humor" that allowed him to explore the gamier side of human personality without mythologizing the journey. 

Ginsberg's early poems , as well, were filled with the bulls-eye hitting jeremiads that were such an exact fit for the condition he described that it still comes off as a fresh and blistering criticism of a culture that seems interested in no more than conformity.

 Fakery is what one expects and demands from creative writers. Beat enthusiasts might blanch at the notion, but comes down to the skill of the writer to get away with the imaginative tall tales he's putting forth. 

 The issue, it seems, is how well do we remember the lies that we've told others over the years when we might have otherwise kept it easy and simply told the truth.