November 8, 2005

lime and limpid green, a second scene


Martha Sedgwick, Untitled, 1999

* New York Times. excerpt:

"It's amazing to remember that when Mr. Bush first ran for president, he bragged about his understanding of Latin America, his ability to speak Spanish and his friendship with Mexico. But he also made fun of Al Gore for believing that nation-building was a job for the United States military.

"The White House is in an uproar over the future of Karl Rove, the president's political adviser, and spinning off rumors that some top cabinet members may be asked to walk the plank. Mr. Bush could certainly afford to replace some of his top advisers. But the central problem is not Karl Rove or Treasury Secretary John Snow or even Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary. It is President Bush himself.

"Second terms may be difficult, but the chief executive still has the power to shape what happens. Ronald Reagan managed to turn his messy second term around and deliver - in great part through his own powers of leadership - a historic series of agreements with Mikhail Gorbachev that led to the peaceful dismantling of the Soviet empire. Mr. Bush has never demonstrated the capacity for such a comeback. Nevertheless, every American has a stake in hoping that he can surprise us.

"The place to begin is with Dick Cheney, the dark force behind many of the administration's most disastrous policies, like the Iraq invasion and the stubborn resistance to energy conservation. Right now, the vice president is devoting himself to beating back Congressional legislation that would prohibit the torture of prisoners. This is truly a remarkable set of priorities: his former chief aide was indicted, Mr. Cheney's back is against the wall, and he's declared war on the Geneva Conventions."

* More advice from the 1972 best-seller The Sensuous Man:

"Sex is Not Competitive

"...Never lose sight, as you progress in this book, that the object of sex is not to be good, better, or best at it -- the object is to derive enjoyment from it. And the odds that the more competitive you are when you fuck, the less pleasure you derive. There is not Super-Bowl of Sex, so don't concentrate on how good you are compared to some other guy. Concentrate on your pleasure and your ladies pleasure. That's the only way you'll emerge a 'winner.'"

and remember:

"Intercourse does not physically weaken a man. Too many men won't make love to thier girlfriends or wives the night befroe a big golf or tennis match. Football players are kept out of the sack by coaches. But if you are in decent physical condition -- and you should be for your own sake, there is no proven evidence that intercourse will sap your strength. I play tennis every Sunday morning with one of those guys who won't go near a gal two days before a match. I usually come to the courts right from my girl's bedroom -- and I beat him nearly everytime."

* Julian Cope names Harry Flynt's I Don't Wanna as his album of the month. excerpt:

"And yet the difference between Henry Flynt and most other conceptual artists of his time is that the more you play I DON’T WANNA, the more you need to hear it. I know Flynt initially conceived this album in a flurry of post-EPI excitement, probably as nothing more than an adjunct to his more serious violin drone music. But for listeners who get the picture, repeated plays soon become an emotional and cardiovascular necessity. You wanna steep yourself in his hip spikey yokeldrones and his catch-all pop-art lyrical take on the protest movement, and you wanna blast the fucking world to rights."
...
"In the early months of 1966, during Andy Warhol’s EXPLODING PLASTIC INEVITABLE performances at The Dom, and just before The Velvet Underground recorded their first LP, John Cale became so sick from the group’s unhealthy lifestyle that he was forced to take some time away from their performances. Determined to replace himself with a valid substitute capable of understanding the Ur-drones necessary for fulfilling The Velvet’s highly specific metaphor, Cale asked his friend and fellow LaMonte Young acolyte Henry Flynt to fill in for him.

"Unfortunately, this young experimental violinist and early Fluxus member was himself currently obsessed with re-awakening his North Carolina roots. And so Flynt brought to the Velvets not the removed and numbing sophistication of Cale’s wind tunnel viola, but a brutally hickish and highly volatile hoedown that brought the young southerner to physical blows with Lou Reed. Henry Flynt says of the experience:


Reed taught me their repertoire in about five minutes, because basically he just wanted me to be in the right key. At one point I got in a fight with him onstage because I was playing a very hillybilly-influenced style on the violin and that upset him very much. He wanted a very sophisticated sound; he didn’t want rural references in what was supposed to be this very decadent S&M image that they were projecting.


"However, disastrous though the experience was, Flynt struggled through several further performances with the band, and – in lieu of payment – received six hour long lessons of guitar tuition by Lou Reed himself. Taking this apprenticeship extremely seriously, and stimulated by Bob Dylan’s recent adoption of rock’n’roll in the face of huge criticism, Henry Flynt decided immediately to process and utilise this new sonic information as a vehicle for his other main obsession – political activism."

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