This seems too good to be true. It’s an apparently legal Russian download site that charges by the megabyte – a cent per megabyte, to be exact. This reporter claims to have downloaded 56 full albums, which would cost a grand at the iTunes store, for $48 US. And he says nothing sleazy showed up on his credit card. That may be so, but when the three concepts “mp3 download” “Russia” and “credit card” come together in my brain, I don’t think “that sounds like a completely trustworthy, legitimate way to purchase music,” I think WARNING WARNING WARNING. (via gizmodo)
Poll: 57% of Americans still think Saddam Hussein had substantial involvement in Sept. 11. 45% believe Iraq had WMD at the time of the invasion. Juan Cole argues that “the two-party system in the US has produced a two-party epistemology.” The people who should be very worried about this are the Democrats (Cole points out that the poll numbers also indicate a large number of Democrats buy the Republican party line), US journalism and to some degree the US education system. Unfortunately this all appears to be a result of the postmodern-era growth of conspiracy theory; any given report out of the press can be disbelieved as a product of the “Liberal Media” or the “Corporate Media”, depending on one’s party affiliation. That, and the president has never stepped up and said, “we were wrong.” But of course he disbelieves the media too.
If I were the film The Rules of Attraction, I would sue the film The Laws of Attraction. If I couldn’t get them on copyright infringement I’d take ‘em down for dilution of brand. At some point, someone is going to rent The Laws of Attraction thinking “great, a drugged-out, nihilistic college hate-sex romp,” and they’re going to watch “Getting married is a great way to fall in love.” Find your own title, Hollywood lawyer make-believe! “Sex Lawyer” is an awesome title, and it’s totally not taken.
Every once and a while, for love and google, the comments on a thread far surpass the original post. I was just reminiscing with ‘bags about his thread; and now teen lingo has taken on a life of its own, what with Disco baiting the teens and suchlike. King told me about one I’d never read: Bad Zoos, and it’s an incredible read – a real life Bad Zookeeper is actually commenting insanely! Here’s another one y’all might have missed: Dead Barbie, a Barbie Haters support group right under our noses.
We can all think of self-indulgent things: eating your entire birthday cake, John Woo’s penchant for doves in slow motion, Kill Bill.
I was thinking about this criticism, knowing I myself have called stuff self-indulgent on many occassions, but I tend to have a lingering doubt about what it really means. Only way to solve that is to crack out the dictionary.com:
self-indulgent: Excessive indulgence of one’s own appetites and desires
or Indulging one’s appetites, desires, etc., freely
There’s something puritan about these definitions, with their indirect equation of freedom with excess, and their distaste for both. But moreover, from Destroyer’s Dan Bejar who was at the receiving end of the pejorative because of his album This Night (and many more): “This whole notion of self-indulgence baffles me, as if I’m supposed to be indulging someone else.”* Point well taken; in most uses (especially as a description of art), the self- part is redundant, and we should be concerned with the definition of indulge:
To yield to the desires and whims of, especially to an excessive degree
Yet more excess! Even if we are indulging someone else, it seems to be a bad thing. Latin roots, from indulgere “to be kind or tender to one”. From the other definitions we get a strong sense of parenting, of indulgent parents letting their kids run free, unable or unwilling to crack the whip where warranted. In other words, a lack of sternness, and in the context of artistic work one is letting one’s inner child run free; like Fellini and his admitted obsession with enormous whores. It’s all too easy to couch it in psychoanalytical language, so I will: id, meet superego.
There’s an interesting undercurrent to the concept of indulgence that crops up in this definition: “to engage or take part, especially freely or avidly.” There’s another term that has always fascinated me, and that’s “entertainment”, and about the only meaningful thing one can squeeze out of that concept is “that which engages”. We all like entertainment, right? So we like being engaged. But wait, to engage too freely is a bad thing?
If we return to the idea of artistic self-indulgence, the criticism basically means that the artist is engaging himself as opposed to the audience (especially the critic). The critic says, I wanted your album/film/book to engage me, but with your nonstop slow-motion shots of doves in churches, you engaged yourself. You really let yourself go. Possibly that’s what it is. But anyone who creates knows that it’s difficult to ascertain what the audience and/or critics actually will want, even if one wants to give them what they want. Moreover if you cater exclusively to the audience at the expense of your own artistic desires, then you are pandering, which of course is almost the original definition of indulgence: to “minister to the evil designs and passions of another,” which makes you a panderer – that is, a pimp. When you do battle with the English language’s monstrous biblical heritage, you just can’t win!
But surely it’s less sinful to self-pimp? If you follow late-period Freud and/or any-period Brett Easton Ellis, then you believe you will never meaningfully engage with another, that communication is simply projection, that the only person you can know is yourself. Even if you believe in a less cynical world, in which it is possible to engage other humans via artistic media, you must indulge yourself in some way – you can’t remove your needs and desires from the engagement altogether.
I could nudge this burgeoning theory toward my understanding of art as war, as an engagement between two opposed forces, the creator and the receiver, but that’s not the point. The point is to point out that “self-indulgent” is a pointless criticism, yet another way to blame the artist when you don’t like what they did. John Woo’s doves are heavy-handed, This Night is inaccessible, and Kill Bill is too long, but none of them are self-indulgent.
Apple’s recent NAB announcements are pretty significant, particularly the Panasonic partnership. Apple was well positioned to reap rewards from the explosive growth of DV, and now they appear to be doing the same with HD.
HA! Long, flowing, mulleted shame to ratboy Alfredsson and his fellow choking suckmasters! Buy a goalie, shitbags! Guarantee this, losing loser!
But yes, grave concern about the imminent onslaught of Hitchcock’s bruising masters of pain.
I’m back MOTHERFUCKER!!!
I’m pleased to see that lots of fake spam people are now reading the old entries and seem to really like what they see. Thanks for all the comments guys!!! After all, someone’s gotta pick up the slack!!! It’s like coming back to my spoken word stage tour only to discover the audience is now 100% pod people. And the odd Matrix-loving teenage moron who must have gone into the wrong room.
& I’m still too relaxed to formulate a cohesive, non-self-absorbed entry, so let me just add: I FUCKING love exclamation points and SWEARS!!!!
I have been scarce, and will get scarcer. I blame work, and work, and work; but next week I blame Cuba. If I have ignored you, dear reader and friend, rest easy – if only in the knowledge that I will right any wrongs upon my return to the grey mulching shit-smelling heck-hole that is Torontopia in April.