March 10, 2005

turn the volume up and get a little bit high

Happy (belated) Birthday to John Cale

* From Context. Under-read books booksellers are passionate about:

Act of the Damned, António Lobo Antunes
The Death of Virgil, Hermann Broch
The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
The Lost Scrapbook, Evan Dara
The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot
Ask the Dust, John Fante
Crusoe's Daughter, Jane Gardam
Cosmos and Pornografia, Witold Gombrowicz
Staggerford, Jon Hassler
The Heart Is Katmandu, Yoel Hoffmann
Raintree County, Ross Lockridge Jr.
Reader's Block, David Markson
The American Woman in the Chinese Hat, Carole Maso
Dictionary of the Khazars, Milorad Pavic
A Dance to the Music of Time, Anthony Powell
Third Factory, Viktor Shklovsky
Confessions of Zeno, Italo Svevo
You Bright and Risen Angels, William T. Vollmann
Nog, Rudy Wulitzer

* The Rude Pundit on John Bolton. excerpt:

"The Bush administration loves motherfuckers. Man, the President and his shit-stained minions can't get enough of motherfuckers. If there is a place for a motherfucker in the administration, Bush or another cabinet member will be out there makin' announcements about which motherfucker they're gonna appoint. Alberto Gonzales? Motherfucker. Michael Chertoff? Motherfucker. John 'Motherfucker' Negroponte? As Tony Soprano might mutter, a mother-motherfucker. One might think that the job of a motherfucker would be to fuck one's own or another's mother; however, like 'asshole' doesn't just mean a place of tight, ecstatic access for Jeff Gannon, a 'motherfucker' is someone who is such an asshole that he/she would fuck your mother if it meant more power, glory, money, whatever.

"And in John R. Bolton, we have one more motherfucker running some aspect of America that actually, really touches all of our lives. And the lives of our mothers. When Condi Rice, no stranger to the fucking of mothers herself, announced Bolton's nomination to be the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., she praised Bolton's ability to drop his pants and take a giant shit in front of the General Assembly. She spun his statements like, 'If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost ten stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference' into a kind of tough love for saving the U.N. from all other nations but the United States and Israel. Spaketh Condi, "'ohn Bolton is personally committed to the future success of the United Nations and he will be a strong voice for reform at a time when the United Nations has begun to reform itself to help meet the challenging agenda before the international community.'"
"Bolton was an assistant Attorney General under Edwin Meese and Richard Thornburgh back in the Reagan era. In that role, among other accomplishments in motherfuckery, Bolton attempted to fire Joan Bernott, a female attorney at the Justice Department, in 1988 because she listened to her doctor and stayed home after the birth of her child in January of that year. We can thank Bolton's brazen cruelty because it spurred parental leave legislation further into the public consciousness."
"Bolton's the perfect motherfucker for this government of the motherfuckers, by the motherfuckers, and for the motherfuckers. He'll go to the ends of the earth for his masters, which is the kind of blind loyalty prized above all else in these times."

* Momus on america, from an interview published in Index:

STEVE LAFRENIERE: You seem to really enjoy living in America. Isn't our pathology almost off the chart, though?

MOMUS: But it's so pluralistic here. That's a real counterbalance to creating any danger. In Europe we still have these monolithic populations with small fringes of immigrants at the edge. People still have an ingrained national mind-set. Here the national mind-set is totally synthetic, and everybody knows it. The American Dream is a thing you plug into when you get here, a common property for all of humanity.

STEVE LAFRENIERE: So, does the "fake folk" idea of your new songs relate to this?

MOMUS: I think fakeness is a democratic value. If you can only be a real folk musician if you have certificates to prove you're poor, or badly educated, or mentally retarded, or slim, fat, or blind, that's an inverted snobbery. Whereas fakeness is a core American value. Here you can be a Jewish folk singer, or a Ukrainian Baptist from Alabama, or any combination of identities — which makes them essentially plastic. A lot of Europeans are terrified of that. I think it's great.


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