Archive for February, 2006

THE SOUND OF SILENCE

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

Have you heard of “Stargazing”? I heard about this a few days ago from a co-worker. It’s a twist on speed-dating, apparently, where instead of having a 5-minute conversation you sit across from each other without speaking, silently appraising one another. Then I guess you fill out a little score card, and move along to the next person.

I suppose the theory is that we can be distracted by the content of words become insensitive to unconscious, subliminal signs of attraction, (body language, dilating pupils, wafting pheromones, etc.). These are, after all, what’s really important.

(I don’t know if these sessions ban perfume and cologne, but I bet that would help. Or maybe they should abandon all pretense to civilization and just have everyone circle the room inhaling deeply from each other’s armpits and/or genitals and then honestly reflecting on whether that’s a scent you could tolerate having next to you every night for the next 6 mo. – 2 yrs.)

I’m not sure what my point was. Maybe something like: Sentences, like stars, can dazzle us, but they cast a very dim light to see the world by.

Or maybe that’s just so much bullshit, which seems likely considering I used sentences to communicate all this to you, anonymous internet stranger. But at least they’re silent sentences.

HAPPINESS

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

A good article in the New Yorker about happiness. I found this paragraph on the etymology of the word ‘happy’ especially interesting:

People who have scant control over their lives are bound to place tremendous importance on luck and fate. As McMahon points out, “In virtually every Indo-European language, the modern word for happiness is cognate with luck, fortune or fate.” In a sense, the oldest and most deeply rooted philosophical idea in the world and in our natures is “Shit happens.” Happ was the Middle English word for “chance, fortune, what happens in the world,” McMahon writes, “giving us such words as ‘happenstance,’ ‘haphazard,’ ‘hapless,’ and ‘perhaps.’ ” This view of happiness is essentially tragic: it sees life as consisting of the things that happen to you; if more good things than bad happen, you are happy.

SUCCESS

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

What would it mean to be successful? Will I ever achieve success? Is it possible to lead a rewarding life without world-renowned accomplishment? What’s the point?

Before I was successful, I used to ask myself these questions a lot. Back before I achieved major, widespread recognition and accolades for my achievements, these questions used to haunt me. Depression and self-deprecation, brought on by a nagging sense of failure and immutable determinism, felt as if they were my most constant and reliable personality traits, as fixed as DNA.

Toiling away in obscurity, it’s difficult to keep up one’s self-esteem. One of the best things about being successful is that everyone is constantly telling you how great you are and paying you all kinds of attention. There’s a real tendency to overindulge in this kind of ego-stroking, yet ultimately masturbatory form of social engagement. You may feel a little guilty at first, maybe because you personally know half a dozen people who you feel deserve adulation far more that you, and maybe you secretly suspect that your work is overrated and possibly you are the victim of an elaborate practical joke, but go ahead and overindulge anyway, you deserve it! Well probably not you personally, but I deserve it, because I’m successful. I’ve come to realize that self-worth does not come from inside, but is given to you by other people; specifically, strangers who are pleased with that awesome thing I did that made me a success.

Another great thing about success, and I really can’t exaggerate how fabulous it is, is how attractive it makes you to the opposite sex. Impossibly attractive women who wouldn’t have given me the time of day before I was successful, (and if they did, I would have mumbled something inane and looked at the floor), seek me out at parties. They laugh at my jokes, even when they aren’t funny. Sometimes I tell unfunny jokes on purpose just to see if they laugh. (They do.)

Just look at Robert Crumb. That guy is an ugly, creepy weirdo, but as a successful cartoonist he could take home a different girl every night and they were game for any perverted sex act he could imagine, no joke. The evolutionary underpinning of this behaviour is pretty obvious; I think about that sometimes, and it makes me a little sad that we are all so driven by the clockwork of biology. I also sometimes wonder why anyone at all was willing to fuck me before I was a success. But whatever the reason, to all those wonderful charitable women I want to say: Thank you. Thank you very very much.

Of course, expectations run high when you’re a success; everyone wants to know what my next amazing project is going to be. I haven’t really had any good ideas for it yet; it’s hard to find solitary time to think when there are so many parties to go to, galas to attend, panel discussions to participate in and so on. But I’m sure something will come to me eventually.

BUDDHA KEN

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

“Ken, heartbroken, traveled the world in search of himself, making stops in Europe and the Middle East, dabbling in Buddhism and Catholicism, teaching himself to cook and slowly weaning himself off a beach bum life.”


Mattel’s New Ken Doll: “He’s Been Backpacking Through Tibet”

Bloch: “People just get confused when a man is more sensitive, he’s more in touch with his spiritual side, he’s been writing poetry.”

Anchor: “He’s wearing a leather jacket.”

Bloch: “Well, his jacket is leather…his jeans are torn. He got them in Italy. He’s been backpacking through Tibet.”

DID SOMETHING HAPPEN IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK?

Friday, February 17th, 2006

Here are a some brief thoughts about Dick-Cheney-shot-a-guy-in-the-face-gate.

1. The consensus seems to be that he was probably drunk. That’s boring. Much more amusing, yet still pretty plausible, is the idea that he was playing a round of The Most Dangerous Game.

2. I wish Hunter S. Thompson were alive to see this.

3. A lot of commenters brought up the fact that what we should be discussing is the fact that Scooter Libby fingered Cheney for authorizing the leak of classified info to discredit opponents of the Iraq war, (as if Patrick Fitzgerald is waiting to see what the news headlines are before deciding whether to proceed…). As far as political scandals go this is kind of unserious I guess. And yet everyone recognizes an ill omen when they see one.

Beware the Ides of March, y’all.

MUTINY AT BLENZ

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006