Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I'm just a monk who loves nature

It's thundering out there!

Not the cover of my Dungeons & Dragons
"Oriental Adventures" expansion kit

Gojoe is a hot movie. It's about this monk who thinks he has been chosen to defeat this evil demon dude who kinda looks like a Japanese version of Diego Luna (Diego-san, as I've come to call dude, also appears in the amazing Takeshi Zatoichi remake). This flick has some of the craziest and most creative photography I've seen in a modern martial arts movie, plus it's really violent in that samurai-blood-and-guts-spraying-everywhere type of way. Admittedly, the only reason I bought it was because I was at Best Buy on some bunk advice that the official Ong Bak had already come out on DVD (shit doesn't debut until 8/30). The bootleg has been floating around for quite awhile now and everyone that's seen it has been telling me how ridiculous dude Tony Jaa is. I can't wait to watch it.

I went to see Chuck Klosterman at the Free Library Tuesday night. He talked a little bit about his background and read some of his new book. I've always really enjoyed this guy's columns in Spin and Esquire and I've browsed Sex Drugs & Cocoa Puffs. I can honestly say that this guy is amazing. He draws consistently funny and poignant parallels between shared human experiences (relationships, family shit, etc.) and the pop culture that a lot of people dismiss as useless. While The Dark Crystal or Foghat aren't really as important as, say, the cotton gin or the Tesla coil, they still have an important niche in society, especially among people in my age group. However vapid pop culture can be, it inevitably serves as common ground for people who really wouldn't have anything in common otherwise. Honestly, I can't help but feel some sort of connection with anyone who's seen the very special episode of Saved by the Bell where Jessie Spano gets addicted to caffeine pills and sings "I'm So Excited." That shit is hot.

Klosterman also had some really interesting thoughts about the definition of postmodernism; he basically feels as though postmodern art is art that is aware of itself, which I definitely agree with (even though I think that critics calling something like Julia Roberts playing herself in Ocean's 12 postmodern is a bit of a reach...respect to Joe Budden for turning into a clever line in his "I'm a Hustla" freestyle though). I haven't read extensively into academic opinions of postmodernism, but we studied a lot of decidedly postmodern short fiction authors like Bobbie Ann Mason and other cats in one of my classes this past year. It's engrossing stuff even though a lot of times (at least in the stories) it seems like nothing really happens. A lot of interesting and intelligent way-over-my-head thoughts about postmodernism in the context of "post-rap" over at Emil's blog.

I'm beat!

Has anyone heard this shit called "No Strings" by Lola? I haven't been able to listen to it for more than a few seconds without changing the station in disgust, but it the overblown chorus goes something like "[really loud] LET'S HAVE [really soft] sex..." If this wasn't weird enough, she goes on to sing shit about how she doesn't even know the dude she's about to bang but she doesn't even care. That's dirty. Who the fuck are you, Lola? You look like Piper Perabo if she was a lizard and also if Piper's face was made of a malleable putty that you could manipulate and make a whole lot more gremlin-ish. Change your name and stop ruining the the Tagalog word for grandmother. I can't help but start thinking about how long I have until slews of drunken sorority pledge classes gather in groups on the sidewalk in front of my house, screaming the lyrics to this song incoherently while smearing shimmery lip gloss on their Miller Lite pounders. I'm thinking two, three minutes.

I found out that the Bitter Waitress website linked over at BC was the same one I had looked at awhile back with the ridiculous description of Quentin Tarantino's dinner. Turns out there is a Philly-specific section on there too. Not too many gems here (I don't care about Matt Geiger, hate crime victim or not), but the one at the bottom about Mario Lopez is fucking hilarious even though it is obviously all made up.

This is not so much ironic as it is just absolutely amazing.

Apparently, Yahoo's employees are inconsiderate bastards and refuse to follow generally accepted parking guidelines. One angry employee decided to take action, and shot pictures of pretty much every car in violation. I'm definitely guilty of parking like many of these people, but some are just ridiculous. My favorite is the second on page three with the tiny-ass Vespa in the carpool spot.

So my roommate Lou is home for a week from his summer job as a camp counselor in Rhode Island because of this. That's some Outbreak shit, huh? I'll know by Friday whether or not I am infected.

Some funny shit about how "Dancing with the Stars" was fixed. I only personally saw the very last episode but I definitely think J. Peterman was a superior performer. Despite looking pretty good, jawn really had nothing to offer.

Time to go talk to Michelle in a bad Russian accent. Tomorrow, check my Concretes review on Okayplayer or something. Then, tell me how much it sucks, and I'll change the subject even though I know you're right by saying that the Concretes record kinda sucks, which it does. It's got a good cover of "Miss You" by the Stones though.

I'll give you an original pressing of the Fat Boys' "Crushin" if you can guess which one is me (hint: I'm not bald, brunette, or Aryan).

1 comment:

emynd said...

Regarding po-mo-ism: you forget to quote the important addition Klosterman made to his "postmodern art is art that is aware of itself" line. He then said "Or rather, postmodern art is art that is aware that it's commerce." To me, that is a very important addendum.

Anyway, just a quick primer: there are basically two ways to understand "postmodernism"--(a) as a sort've "style" or "technique" (i.e. you're a postmodern artist when you're self-reflexive; use a lot of odd footnotes; alinear narratives; etc, etc, etc) or (b) not just as a set of stylistic techniques but, as Jameson (a Marxist) argues convincingly, as an artistic reaction to a shift in capitalism.

Being a good Marxist, Jameson understands the world through economics. He understands Modernism as a reaction to Fordist/Industrial capitalism where artist’s like James Joyce and Edward Munch expressed in their art themes like individuality and alienation as a response to a form of capitalism that was based on standardization (think assembly lines, etc). In the same vein, Jameson’s understanding of postmodernism is based on the artistic reaction to the shift in capitalism from Fordism and industrial, factory-based capitalism to what Jameson calls “Late Capitalism” (Ernest Mendel wrote some big, huge, monster of a book describing the shift). Basically, “Late Capitalism” is based on the shift from industrial capitalism to fluid, finance capitalism.

So, Jameson’s whole shtick is that postmodernism is a historical concept and not a stylistic one (and the same would be true for Modernism, etc). His basic argument for this is that, well, there were people doing “postmodern” shit before “postmodernism” arose so it’s not at all helpful to call this shit “postmodern.” For example, T.S. Eliot was doing in “The Wasteland” the same type of footnote shit that David Foster Wallace, Pynchon, and Rick Moody like to do. But, while the technique of footnoting that Eliot does is similar to the footnoting that David Foster Wallace does, the effects are necessarily different because of the contexts involved. This basically means that Eliot’s use of the footnote has a greatly different interpretation than Wallace’s use because of the historical contexts involved—Eliot’s responding to a much different world than Wallace is responding to, and so it’s ridiculous to conflate the technique of footnoting into one word that can be described as “postmodern.”

So, postmodernism is the culturally dominant response to the shift from industrial capitalism to finance capitalism—it is a historical concept, not simply a “genre” or a collection of techniques.