August 24, 2006

Striking a match for the keyhole


Brett Weston, Holland Canal, 1971

* The VP who cries wolf. excerpt:

"For five years, since a certain president ignored a certain Presidential Daily Briefing and allowed a certain tragedy to befall a certain U.S. city, it has been Dick Chaney’s function to instill fear in the average American. Concerned about terrorism in the United States? Just know that a vote for a Democrat practically insures the demise of all metropolitan areas. Want retribution for the heinous acts of September 11, 2001? Know, too, that Democrats opposed a war that the right side of the aisle promised would put an end to terror threats nationwide. Wolf, wolf, wolf.

"Osama bin Laden remains at large. Terrorism has not been curbed (remember last week’s bomb scare out of London?), we have not gotten retribution, and our involvement in the so-called war for freedom has resulted in 2600 American deaths, roughly the same number of people who died when the Twin Towers fell all those years ago. Scare tactics secured four more years for the president, when ratings would have otherwise been low. Vote Bush and your children will live in a safer world, the message seemed to be. The fact that the dream would never come to fruition was, perhaps, besides the point.

"Maybe those scare tactics are forgivable and maybe they aren’t. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that Dick Cheney did actually believe that his party would usher in a safer, more peaceful era. Okay. Suppose, too, that he believed that invading Iraq would send a message to al-Qaeda that the United States was, very, very serious about protecting itself. Fine. Some claim Cheney misrepresented himself. Others claim he lied. At the very least, he was short-sighted in some of his decisions and verbal attacks. That would also be okay—just a mark of being human, really. But what isn’t okay is the blatantly political slam of Connecticut senatorial candidate Ned Lamont. Mudslinging—and this is the dirtiest, slimiest, most transparent form of mudslinging—is not okay."
...
"It wasn’t hard to pull the wool over our eyes five years ago. Back then, we were an easily herded crowd, made vulnerable by of the pervasive fear of having our biggest, most well-oiled machine of a city attacked. For those of us who were here in New York—and you can exclude the vice-president from that group of people—the city changed that day. What we had always taken for granted, that we could be safe and happy in our own neighborhoods, was no longer the case. One only needed to walk down Broadway in the searing daylight of September 12th, when ashes blew northward from the bodies of over 2,000 people, to understand that the city was irrevocably different. So it wasn’t hard to convince us then that war was the answer, or that voting a certain way might take us back to the world we had lived in before those planes flew into those towers.

"The problem is that the world is different. It will always be different, and the current administration has only stalled us in time and space, rather than attempting to correct the problems that caused the tragedy in the first place. They cried wolf once, and we reacted. They cried again and we, so irrationally afraid of fear itself, jumped at the bait and did as we were told. The act has grown stale now, and the vice-president should know that, in the distant aftermath of tragedy, his words have the gravity of dust in the wind."

* Patti Smith on movie stars, sunglasses, and heaven.

Movie Stars

Americans just don't know what being a movie star's all about. That's the whole thing to me -- movies. I used to think it was being a model. When I was in high school, to me being a model was the heaviest. It was the logical extension of being an artist's mistress. Like in Modigliani's time, it was always the mistress that held the great artists together. Fuck art. It was obvious the chicks were where it was at.

I modeled at the Museum School. I modeled for Robert Mapplethorpe. In fact, when I went to work and stuff, where it says "profession," I always put "artist's model." Once I wrote "rock & roll star" just for the hell of it.

I'd like to model for DeKooning. I know how to get to DeKooning. It's easy. I met DeKooning once in a bar and he put his hand on my knee right away. I knew I could model for him.

I was so fucked-up-looking in school, but it just didn't matter. Besides me wanting to be an artist, I wanted to be a movie star. I don't mean like an American movie star. I mean like Jeanne Moreau or Anouk Aimee in "La Dolce Vita." I couldn't believe her in those dark glasses and that black dress and that sports car. I thought that was the heaviest thing I ever saw. Anouk Aimee with that black eye. It made me always want to have a black eye forever. It made me want to get a guy to knock me around. I'd always look great. I got great sunglasses.

Sunglasses

My sunglasses are like my guitar. It's real important. I have Wayfarers. I keep wantin' to say they're Fender Wayfarers. I got 'em in black, just like in Don't Look Back, and in shell, just like Roy Orbison. I always lose 'em. I buy a pair of sunglasses a week. I have to make money. It's 12 bucks a week just for my sunglasses.

Heaven

Everyone thinks there's one heaven. Mohammed personally mapped out seven heavens. If he got to seven, you know there's more. Christianity made us think there's one heaven. Jesus might be top dog in one heaven, but there's other heavens. Mohammed saw Jesus and he went further up, and there's people past him. Kids today pass him. Where Jesus is is small time. He's of the flesh, like a rock star -- you can fuck him.

* Ajax ousted.

* The Guardian on Rough Trade records. excerpt:

"Rough Trade began just as punk was nurturing a climate that encouraged bands to release their own records, quickly and cheaply, and Travis saw it as his job to provide a chance for these bedroom creations to get out in the world, so he set up a label, too. He recalls how he discovered one of Rough Trade's most important bands in 1983: 'Johnny Marr drove down from Manchester with a tape of Hand in Glove that he and the Smiths had recorded the night before. I was in my kitchen making a cup of tea when he played it to me - that was a Friday. On Monday we had the record cut. I grew up listening to bands like the Kinks and the Who - bands who would cut four singles a year. We aimed for a similarly immediate approach, and the Smiths liked that.'"

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