Friday, February 29

Purple Prose of Cairo

I am in awe of Hegel. The Phenomenology of Spirit, as disseminated by Arthur Hirsh in his book The French New Left (cause Hegel is really fucking long) has blown my mind. Elizabeth likens it to her understanding of geography. If a map of a city is a puzzle she’ll have some of the pieces and as she gets more of the pieces together there’re always one or two spots that you don’t seem to have filled. Once you find those everything suddenly makes sense. The whole picture emerges some much clearer. All the individual portions of the puzzle you have been working on suddenly make sense as a larger whole.

Hegel was my missing piece. Phenomenology, while I won’t claim to understand every nuance, has made the past two years of my academic interest suddenly come together like a fully formed map. The map is regional, not a lot of people go there, but now I feel like I can get around, explore the place I’ve been living inside my head for so long. I’m freakin’ psyched!

Enough extended metaphor.

Hegel is great but most of my readers will have little interest in my new found directional abilities (sorry, couldn’t resist). I have been starting work on a lot of school projects lately, which is why Hegel came up. The three papers I’m currently laboring over are going to be a lot of fun to write.

The first is for my class on Intellectual Life under Totalitarianism, I’ve tentatively titled it “In the Shadow of October.” Its about how the Western left dealt with Marxist-Leninism and Stalinism. Lenin and Stalin were murderous bastards, so why would these guys want to be too? The second is on the medieval kingdom of Castile. I’m not sure yet what my research question is, but I’ll figure it out. I just love the whole cultural interaction in Spain during the years that weren’t marred by massacres and religious intolerance. The last paper is on the construction of human beings relationship with nature. I’m focusing on the ways in which popular culture dealt with forest and garden and how they show Western attitudes towards the world as a whole. It should be fun.

I’m really excited about school. Sorry. I know it isn’t all that interesting, but I wanted to share.

I watched a documentary last night called American Hardcore, all about hardcore punk from 80 to 86. It was really good. There was a lot of Ian McKaye interviewing, and footage of D.C. bands from that era. Seeing the Calvert Street townhouse where Minor Threat played their first show with Bad Brains was awesome. I think I’ve walked by it before. I made me want to get my act together and finally finish that CD design I’ve been telling Mike I’d make a year ago. We’ll see.

Alright that’s all. I’ve got to wait around for the FiOS guy to come and make my house awesome. I’m going watch Chicago 10 tonight and my next post is going to be a media extravaganza. I’ve got a lot of movies and music to talk about.

Friday, February 22

Working In Three's

Albums I can’t handle:
- Xiu Xiu – “Women As Lovers”
- Say Hi – The Wishes and the Glitch
- Vampire Weekend – “Self Titled”

Lyrics I can’t shake:
- “Northwestern girls, I swear I’m all grown up this time. At least I lie different when you look so nice.”
- “Walcott, the Bottleneck is a shit-show / Hyannisport is a ghetto / out of Cape Cod tonight”
- “I'd kill for an adventure / Just you and I, in the Curzon Bar / Dancing till we knew / So all that we've learnt disappears”

Songs I hope always to be moved by:
- Ceremony (both…)
- How Near, How Far
- Waterloo Sunset

Things I want to do:
- Start a war within my self
- Create the new Situationist International
- Get out of my skin for just a half hour