22 June 2006

Another new book

I just bought a new book: Another world is possible if… by Susan George. I do not know who George is, but the title intrigued me. It is also published by Verso, which I have a crush on. I am not sure, but I love the books by Verso, the way they feel, the way they read and the stuff they talk about. Sometimes they are too complex and sometimes they are not challenging enough, but when I go into a bookstore, I look first for Verso books.

At first I thought this book would be critical of the counter-culture, her introduction deals rather sufficiently yet briefly with this labeling, but it is not. It is instead a blueprint for the counter-culture. We shall see how I find it. If nothing else, it will provide me, akin to Ann Coulter’s books, with material to write about, usually critically.

The book is laid out in strange chapters, they are arranged by the steps needed to achieve this new world (such as targeting the correct opponents, combining knowledge and politics, etc…). Simply put George says we can achieve a new world if we change the world (read: make the world a-new). Tautological? Of course, it is. She would argue that the new world of the title is a large systemic change whereas the new worlds of the blueprint are smaller changes. This resurgent Marxism, however, still suffers from the problems of the original Marxism. It assumes this dual structuration of the world, one we can call the base (superstructure) and the other we can call ideology, party, culture, or any of a host of terms depending on one’s focus in life as they went through their schooling. What if this duality does not exist but rather merely appears to exist. What if there is something more fundamental which links the base to the ideology, etc? I am curious to see if George escapes this dilemma or if she plies her way through some changes neglecting why these factors came into place originally.

19 June 2006

Carolina wins Stanley Cup

I am glad Edmonton did not win the Stanley Cup. The obvious reason is because they are Socialist (read: Canadian) and Carolina is from American. Too obvious. Another good reason is because they have won many and Carolina has not, alright I can deal with that one. But, my reason is much more base and silly: I hate Chris Pronger. I am not sure why. I have vague recollections of saying his name in disgust during my Dallas days. But that was years ago and since then I had a year with no hockey only to be followed with another year without hockey as I do not receive OLN at my current home. Something about being too physical, too big and too big a nuisance for my Dallas Stars. You know what? I am fine with that explanation. I am comfortable that many people might say it does not qualify as a legitimate reason. This is not to say, a la Dallas Mavericks, the world is stacked against me. I just think if I were to hear that explanation from someone I would find them petty and trite. Ok, I can accept that.

06 June 2006

Carlin Romano on Dworkin and Me on Rescue Me

Carlin Romano must surely feel proud of himself, so much so he even ‘invents’ a word for why is he is so self-congratulatory: vicarian, one “who expend[s] their mental energy dissecting what another type of person does.” His article is a criticism of Ronald Dworkin for being, here comes the punch line, too self-congratulatory.

A vicarian is merely one who interprets the actions of another, interpreting in order to divine a reason for an action. That tone of voice he used? The color handbag she carries? The look on his face when you said that? Those are all the acts of a vicarian and I contend there is no such thing as a vicarian because we are all vicarians (I call it destruction through saturation, when the word becomes useless as a term of discrimination.)

Instead of being Dworkins and Romanos I think we should instead strive to be Gavins. Tommy Gavin that is, Dennis Leary’s character in Rescue Me. I have had my share of shows that I enjoyed in my lifetime but I do not think I have ever so eagerly anticipated not only a new season but a new episode of a show like I do for to-night’s episode of Rescue Me. The trailer makes it seem to be a horny episode, one where little of the story line is advanced and instead it is a fireman’s plight to get some tail. But that is the genius of the show. It refuses to take itself too seriously, recognizing that tail chasing is plot advancement, just not in the smug sense we have become accustomed to.

05 June 2006

I do love this city. I walked down to Adams Morgan Hardware on 18th because I needed a wrench and three small screws for some Ikea stuff to help organize the new pat. It is so wonderful for this boy from the suburbs to walk in the city and be able to accomplish tasks using only hoof power. I have lived in some cities with my DOS time, but even then the freedom to range was not like it is here. Maybe I will own a ranch to escape to at times, but I love living in the city, and I particularly love this city.

I was returning home, with the screws but not the wrench as I did not bring any of the bolts with me. Dumas. As I arrived at the intersection of Lanier and Quarry, crossing Quarry continuing up Lanier I paused, because a minivan had pulled up and I wanted to make sure it did not turn, running into me. Then I noticed to the van’s right was a small red hatchback pacing the van in reverse. This possibly large man was behind the wheel yelling at the minivan driver to f-off because he has a black ass or is a black ass, I was not sure what he said, until – “Nigger.”

I yelled at the man, without thinking, to “shut the fuck up” and he turned to me immediately. The van drove off between us, past us and Lanier and then Argonne Place and the red car has stopped in the intersection. “Fuck you!,” I could see him fumbling for the seatbelt. I slid the earphones out my ears and unplugged them from the iPod (stopping the playing and saving battery power) so I could wrap the cords around the device. He stepped out of the car - a huge, real porterhouse of a man.

If I have not talked about it yet, I am average. Average height. Average weight. Average physical shape. I have always been more athletic than the next guy, but not enough to be overcome my genetics. But this guy is a monster compared to me. When I was in 3rd grade I had one day really pissed off a 6th grader. He came after me and by the time he had caught up to me I was off school grounds and in the alley that ran along the back border. There was, fortunately for me, a pipe on the ground and I picked it up just in time to hit him in the back twice. He ran off and I did not get in any trouble (I am not sure he even complained, having received an ass-kicking by a 3rd grader). Well, isn’t Karma a bitch (why is Karma a woman)? I have been in fights all my life, even some overseas that could have ended very badly for me, but they never did. Payback.

“Yes, I was scared,” I told the police who took my report. “Yes, I was scared,” I told the nurse who cared for me my night of observation in the hospital. “Yes, I was scared,” I told the officer who booked me on assault charges. “Yes, I was scared,” I told Lucy when she bailed me out. But, I am from Texas and I have some weird notions of how a man is supposed to live, which is a good reason why we should not be in charge of large militaristic organizations.

I learned this lesson a long time ago as an undergraduate: even though a fight may seem inevitable, if I swing first I will get charged for instigating it, especially if (I learned back then the guy was the son of the county DA) the guy is an off-duty cop. Judges also seem to think it appropriate to augment your bail, even though you did not know the guy was a cop and even if he parked his car and came out at you. Government sucks. This is was between the two of us, why was the government involved? I got my ass kicked, why do I have to pay bail on top of the hospital bills (insurance does not want to pay much of what I think they ought to pay, a fight that is even harder given the result of the police report.) But, then again that may just be the plight of a Texan in DC: bad things will happen. I should not have involved myself in the affair.