Archive for September, 2008

Womanizer.

I’m not a fan. Boo, Britney.

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An ode to middle school.

Today’s B-Side waxed nostologia about the golden days of TRL. Brit-Brit was always my personal fave, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

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More TV On the Radio.

My review of TV On the Radio’s Dear Science, was published in today’s Michigan Daily. It was also published and linked to on UWire.

My review was also referenced on the UMich College Dem’s blog as “some no name band is apparently good.” Yaay!

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Mogwai and Fujiya.

My review of Mogwai’s “The Hawk Is Howling” was published today in The Michigan Daily. The story was also published and linked to on UWire.

Additionally, my review of Fujiya & Miyagi’s “Lightbulbs” was published last Friday. Both albums were pretty medicore. Bleh.

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Dear Science.

The new TV on the Radio album is so perfect that it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around it. But the fact that I can’t go back to sleep just pisses me off.

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David Foster Wallace.

I’ve never read Infinite Jest, or anything else by Foster Wallace, but this is incredible. From his 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon.

“Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness because it’s so socially repulsive. But it’s pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.

Please don’t worry that I’m getting ready to lecture you about compassion or other-directedness or all the so-called virtues. This is not a matter of virtue. It’s a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self. People who can adjust their natural default setting this way are often described as being “well-adjusted”, which I suggest to you is not an accidental term.

Given the triumphant academic setting here, an obvious question is how much of this work of adjusting our default setting involves actual knowledge or intellect. This question gets very tricky. Probably the most dangerous thing about an academic education — least in my own case — is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualize stuff, to get lost in abstract argument inside my head, instead of simply paying attention to what is going on right in front of me, paying attention to what is going on inside me.

As I’m sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.

This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger.”

RIP.

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Omg bangs.

Oh, and this one too.

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