Palin as one of the anointed

It very much surprised me to see that a lot of commenters on the Awl think that Maud Newton is essentially creating a leftist version of nonsensical Obama/Wright controversy in her piece about Sarah Palin and fundamentalist. No, she really isn’t.

I don’t know what goes on in Palin’s head, but the language that she uses is very similar to the lunatic, apocalypse-obsessed evangelicals that I’ve been dealing with for the past twenty years, first as a friend and ally to a group that was singled out to be persecuted by these bastards in a small Southern town, and then selling them their books from 1998 to 2010.1 It absolutely terrifies me to shelve in the Faithpoint category, as some zealot invariably singles me out to share some revelation about the imminent End Times. Yes, they’re almost always stalwart Palin fans these days. She does speak their language and is speaking to them. Making the connection between Palin and these people is fair.

Maud Newton has mentioned for years on her blog about how she grew up in this environment. She recognizes this better than most.

  1. There have been interruptions in service. []

Pavement reunion topples Baby Boomers? Eh?

This Slate article about the meaning of Pavement’s nostalgia circuit tour meaning the end of baby boomer cultural hegemony is pretty much nonsense. Indie, indie indie…. oh, for fuck’s sake…. do they even really remember the ’90s?

The article cites a bunch of music from ’00s that’s labeled as indie and now used in commercials to sell stuff as proof that Generation X has prevailed over the Baby Boomers. Have you heard Guided by Voices, Sebadoh, Helium, the original Elephant 6 bands, Yo La Tengo, or dozens of others used to sell shit yet? No, you damned well have not.1 Have you heard them used in movies to evoke nostalgia for the era? No fucking way.2

Think of the movie The Big Chill, which ushered in the constant nostalgia for Baby Boomer culture. Did it use a lot of music from the ’80s vaguely influenced by old school Motown, or did it take the opportunity to strengthen a canon that reinterpreted the ’60s using actual songs of that era? Think of the commercials of the ’80s and ’90s. Remember the mix of joy and outrage when songs by the Rollings Stones, the Who, ect. were used in commercials? Again, these were songs from that era.

Vampire Weekend? Justice? Phoenix? Arcade Fire? Grizzly Bear? Not from the ’90s. Don’t be perverse. They don’t even sound like ’90s bands.

More importantly, Generation X is not and was not indie. The author of the Slate article has confused his point. It’s Generation Y that has cultural hegemony here. Bands more representative to the ’90s never stopped touring, and went directly to nostalgia without missing a beat. in America, Jane’s Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers are the ’90s. That lame bastard Perry Farrell was having reunions before the ’90s were even over. That was Gen X’s sad, little fulcrum of cultural hegemony, when nostalgia caught up to the present. See Footnote One.3

Pass the torch. Generation X’s time has already come and gone.

Pavement is more of a very implausible What If than a widely recognized touchstone of my generation.

What did Pavement mean to me? That’s another post. What does the current reunion tour mean for me? Not much really. I still won’t get to see them, as i sure as hell cannot afford to fly whereever they’re playing, buying overpriced tickets.

  1. Well, maybe Yo La Tengo. Come to think of it, remember when Volkswagen was using Spiritualized and the Orb to sell cars? []
  2. I’m bluffing. Has “Slack Motherfucker” been used in a recent period film set in the ’90s? I couldn’t find documentation. The retro ’90s movies are probably only a few years away, with Hot Tub Time Machine in theaters today. []
  3. And another thing… wasn’t Pavement supposed to make an appearance on Beverly Hills 90210 back in the day, but wound up being replaced by the Flaming Lips instead? The Flaming Lips, another band that never retired, has been used for quite a few commercials and movies, but unlike RHCP and Perry fucking Farrell, still have some respectability… []

an explanation for the dearth of political posts in past year or so

Awhile back, I became so disgusted with politics that I stopped following most domestic policy altogether. My RSS feed folder “politics” has been completely unread in months. Nope, I don’t regret working for the Obama campaign one bit, as the last thing we needed was the chance of President Palin. I don’t regret siding with Obama against Hillary either, as another Clinton era was an awful thought. No more dynasties. However, I’ve been unimpressed with Obama. He’s eloquent, he’s smart… but he ain’t getting shit done. It was easy to rail against the Bush administration, because it was against most everything I believe in. Going off on the Obama administration in his first year would have been fair, but the right wing has been so vociferous, so… unhinged… that i chose to keep my mouth shut altogether and mind my own business.

The passage of this health form bill? It’s theater. From what I know about it, there is little in it that I want. It’s essentially toothless. It’s baffled me to see a lot of friends of mine are now cheering, saying thing like, “We won! We won! Suck it, Republicans!” Ah….  no…. The Saints winning the Superbowl meant a hell of a lot more to me, and i don’t give a damn about sports. Yes, it’s some sort of victory over the Republicans, but there isn’t much reform going on here. It’s just as silly as rooting for a professional sports team.

I check my RSS feeds this morning, just to see if there is as much cheerleading going on there, and i’m a little relieved to see that I’m not the only one unimpressed. As Atrios states, “It isn’t what we voted for.”

So it’s back to the garden for me.

it’s all going according to plan

Just ran across this link to a blog post on Obsidian Wings about the destruction of the civil infrastructure of Colorado Springs (via Warren Ellis.) Yeah, Colorado Springs, home of the New Life Church, previously headed by Ted Haggard. Harper’s doesn’t have the article online anymore, but there are a few fragments in an an old post on OQ, focusing more on the delusions about supernatural forces. Obsidian Wings correctly points out that Colorado Spring’s disintegration is a direct result of the tax-phobic policies pushed by the Club for Growth. However, it’s unlikely that Colorado Springs will go the way of Detroit, plowing up to a quarter of the city, converting it to farmland. I don’t know how the New Life Church is faring these days, but i predict that it, or another megachurch just like it, will step in to take over some fo the now missing services.

It boggles my mind that these people will refuse to pass a referendum for taxes that support social services, but will gladly fork over tons of money for tithes to provide some of those same services…. probably more favorably to people who believe the same things as themselves.

The Club for Growth wants the U.S. divided up into small theocratic fiefdoms. Collapse of publicly-funded infrastructure is not a failure of their plan. It’s a major feature.

any news of an English translation of Suicidios ejemplares?

After reading1 this article of Bolaño’s advice on writing short stories, I realized that he mentioned a Vila-Matas collection that I’ve heard of, but forgot, Suicidios ejemplares. A quick search on Google turned up a pdf file describing the work. (The reviewer is Paolo Scocco.) Does New Directions or anyone else have a translation in the works?

  1. Re-reading? I’ve been out of the loop, and have forgotten much. []