Every so often, one just builds up a surplus of ideas about a number of things, and, odds are, none of those things will come together to form an ideally structured, clearly defined post. So I proudly introduce Head-Cleaning Day, a day for airing all my half-formed thoughts (which are coincidentally the only thoughts I seem to have these days, having used up all of my intelligence on Andrew Jackson, Socio-Economics, Greek Philosophers, and the Elements of Non-Verbal Communication).
Do you remember J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan?
“It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can’t) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it quite interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers.”
Such is head-cleaning day.
The Good News: the Mormons love the PenguinDust, if only because my wildly inadequate summation of their religion gives them a chuckle. The bad news: they think I’m a dude.
I despise Jane Austen with the red-hot burning passion of a thousand fiery suns. She is trite and unoriginal, her prose is unnecessarily flowery, and her plots sound as though she plagiarized them from a dimestore romance novel. No, actually, I’ll take that a step farther – I think Jane Austen’s books were the original dimestore romance novels, and I’m about as impressed with their literary weight as that of The Cobra and the Concubine.
She begins each sentence as though pursuing a prize in obfuscation. Take as example page 1, paragraph 2, of Pride and Predjudice:
However little known the feelings or view of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
Maybe this just isn’t my cup of tea, maybe there are unplumbed depths I’m missing, but I like my art accessible. The other night I saw a movie called P.S., a random little sleeper with Topher Grace and Laura Linney. Laura, alone and unhappy, works in Columbia’s art school admission department, which is how she meets Topher, who, in an eerie coincidence, shares a name with, looks, sounds, and behaves exactly like Laura’s dead highschool boyfriend. Spoiler alert: no time travel.
Along with a stupid amount of emotional baggage, Laura has been hanging on to an “abstract” painting that the boyfriend painted for her a million years ago, purportedly of a mother and child. At the emotional peak of the movie, Topher gestures to it wildly and says, “Yeah, and you know what? That isn’t a mother and child! That is a kid who kicked over a bucket of paint on a canvas.”
This is how I feel about Jane Austen. That isn’t real art. That’s the pretense of art.
I anticipate that this position will generate a lot of ill will. I find that Jane Austen is inexplicably beloved by many, almost to a level of cult obsession, not unlike the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, which, despite its undeniable status as a masterpiece, I could never slog through.
If you’ve never conceptualized an Afro-Caribbean pop version of the Beatles’ ’“Norwegian Wood” played by a third-rate local band on a makeshift stage in the middle of a disused soccer field, I urge you, do not try – for it is highly unpleasant.
Recently we had was what used to be known as “Student-Faculty” (Stu-Fac) Day at my community college. I’m not entirely sure why it is no longer known as Stu-Fac day, all I know is that I saw posters for “Spirit Day,” and was informed that it is essentially the same thing.
“Spirit Day” was hosted on the intramural fields, and featured the college-level equivalences of the bouncy castle, namely an inflatable free-throw basketball unit and inflatable boxing ring (Which was, like all boxing rings, inexplicably square).
There were also representative tables from all of the college’s various clubs, including the College Democrats and the College Republicans, who mirror normal Democrats and Republicans in the sense that the Democrats are stupid and the Republicans are pathetic.
I ask you, just look at these unretouched photographs of actual, no-lie posters made and spread around campus by the College Republicans.
I’m sorry, but these are absolutely terrible signs. I mean, Jesus, that second one can’t even fit the word “Republicans” on one line.
But that’s beside the point.
As I stood in the line for cotton candy in the blistering heat listening to the almost inexcusable music, I began to wonder what cotton candy actually is. It looks like the insulation my attic.
Are we Gods or Sacrifices?
So, today, I saw a an anthill with a giant dead palmetto bug on top of it (which, here in Florida, is code for “huge dead gross cockroach”). The ants were scurrying around it, and I thought of all those movies where the heroes wind up in the middle ages, or some primitive village, and the locals see their clothes and hygiene or whatever and regard them as Gods. Was this the Ants’ God? (more…)