Thursday, March 02, 2017

Let's Talk About What We Talk About When We Talk About Teaching Let's Talk About Love

Part Seven of an ongoing series.  
Catch up with the previous section of this essay here
Catch up with Part One of the series here.
If you like my writing, please consider a donation to my Patreon.

Part Two - Slow Decay

With thanks to Matthew Perpetua, although he probably doesn't remember why

In Chapter 12, Wilson states that “there’s so much cultural capital invested in the muscular aesthetic judgment: we restrict our approval to what we can love, and sever ties with any less certain constituencies.” This is one of the overarching ideas of Wilson’s book, and of this class in general. When Wilson says we invest “cultural capital” in our aesthetic judgment (taste), he is saying we put a great deal of ourselves into what we choose to like: what we like is a function of the person we want to be, as well as a project of the kind of people we don’t want to be. Do you think he’s right? Explain your answer.

A good drummer elevates a mediocre band, and a great drummer transforms good musicians into something more. R.E.M. will serve as example. 1983’s Murmur is hailed as one of the great debut albums, a record that managed to sound both impressive at its genesis and prophetic in hindsight regarding many future directions the band would explore. Murmur captures the band at a very interesting moment in their genesis. To put it bluntly, out of four musicians only one of them has any idea what he’s doing – Bill Berry, the drummer. The other three are all quite enthusiastic, and already developing the chops that will carry them forward as a more balanced four-piece. But that first album is all about Bill Berry: he can play fast and he can play subtle, but mostly he can just play.

The presence of a competent drummer inspires other musicians to follow, and in little time the rest of the band caught up – 1984’s Reckoning is confident in every way that Murmur was tentative, the work of a band who may not have completely caught their drummer but who are working hard to stay in the cut. The same dynamic can be seen on Turn on the Bright Lights­ – an album that, like Murmur, masks any deficiencies of technique with atmosphere and hooks. It’s a murky album, a late night album. It’s also an urban album, and not just because songs like “NYC” are explicitly about, well, New York City. It’s claustrophobic and paranoid music about cities for people who look upwards expecting to see not the reflected light of the sun shining across concrete and glass skyscrapers but tall buildings crumbling to the ground. 

Turn on the Bright Lights­ introduces a band that is already remarkably comfortable playing together. As on Murmur, much of the success rests squarely on the drummer’s shoulders, but not all. Carlos Dengler – “Carlos D” – wraps his bass tightly around Fogarino’s rhythm. Dengler is the band’s melodic core, a rumble at subterranean frequencies carrying the germ of every melody. The two guitars – lead Daniel Kessler and Banks – are often textural Sometimes the sound is pretty, as on the aforementioned “NYC,” a song luminescent in its commitment to beauty. Right after “NYC,” however, comes “PDA”: dating back to the band’s earliest demos in 1998, “PDA” moves with confidence, a grace belied by the angry and abrasive guitars which burn through the entirety of the five minute running time.

Click to hear "Stella . . ."

The album’s centerpiece is the six-and-a-half-minute epic, “Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down.” This is an ambitious song that depends for execution on Fogarino’s technical ability to convey a great deal of emotion. The beat rolls and pulses, shivers and pounds, but never sits still. For such a sad song, it swings with a military tautness. Subtract every other instrument and Fogarino still communicates mood: anxious, variable, by turns intense and delicate. He tells a story with a drumstick gliding like a cat’s paw across his snare.

It’s very easy to overlook a drummer's skill and especially their subtlety. In conversation I’m surprised to learn that many people don’t even hear the drums in their favorite music. Drummers aren’t actually invisible, but their contributions sometimes are.

Again, with "Stella" we see the Joy Division comparisons ring false. Despite the forbidding exterior, Interpol is a very warm band. They play with a unity that seems instinctive. Even if the songs themselves may be sad or paranoid, the music itself is the product of a band playing in close proximity and with great enthusiasm. They sound like they enjoy playing together quite a bit. Joy Division is music for the tundra - or, Manchester - spare and frigid, epic in its devotion to melancholy. Stifling. Interpol is the sound of New York City, intimate and dehumanizing. 

Having plenty of experience with severe depression both in myself and my family, I find a little Joy Division goes a long way: too real. But it is real, and raw. Banks rarely asserts raw anguish in the same primal fashion that Curtis did. The emotional palette has greater breadth, if less depth. He’s anxious, yes – anxiety is perhaps the single overriding emotion across the entirety of the Interpol discography – but he’s also by turns hopeful, loving, caustic, and angry. Wounded. As a lyricist he is pensive and humble, lacking the stentorian confidence Curtis broadcast in his guise as a visiting potentate from beyond the valley of sadness. It's not "better" but it's certainly a lot more varied than the reductive comparison of a few surface similarities would imply.

Take the aforementioned “Stella.” Banks likes to hide intimate and emotional sentiments behind prurient veils. The eponymous Stella suffers from depression. It's not a song about sex, although sex is described in the lyrics as something Stella uses to harm herself. The singer is unable to help her as she falls before his eyes: 

When she walks down the street /
She knows there's people watching /
The building fronts are just fronts /
To hide the people watching her. /
She once fell through the street /
Down the manhole in that bad way, he-ey /
The underground drip /
It's just like her scuba days.

Stella suffers clinical depression so severe it makes her feel like she's drowning. The paranoia Stella exhibits (“She knows there's people watching”) is a symptom of the depression that causes her to, periodically, fall through the streets, into the sewers – the “underground drip” of her “scuba days.” The speaker knows from experience that when Stella puts on her scuba gear, she is in big trouble. Even when depression lifts, there’s the awareness that it can return according to the whims of chance, chemistry, or both. The calm that follows every chorus is misleading, peace achieved through exhaustion. The moment towards the end of the song when it appears as if it might swoop up into another climax, before ultimately dissipating, is the moment the listener realizes they're tense like a clenched fist, waiting for a reprise that never arrives.

It makes for an interesting counterpoint with the obvious corollary, Joy Division's "She's Lost Control," from 1979's Unknown Pleasures. Both take as their ostensible subject a woman in the throes of a destructive illness - Stella with her depression, and the unnamed woman who suffers from the same epilepsy that made its indelible mark on Curtis' brief life. "She's Lost Control" is a howl of very personal rage. Curtis' description of the illness draws from his own perspective as a sufferer as well as the shock of seeing another person experience the same kind of pain, supposedly in the form of a woman he met while working his day job at the benefits office:

And she screamed out kicking on her side and said /
I've lost control again /
And seized upon the floor I thought she'd die /
She said I've lost control.
It's a potent song because it manages to describe an awful event from both the perspective of the sufferer and the bystander. It's also, like much Joy Division, extremely claustrophobic. It's painful to experience and painful to see, but the event itself is dwarfed in Curtis' telling by the simple fact that the seizure is a recurring event that demolishes every illusion of self-discipline and personal autonomy. It's not "just" that she's lost control, it's that she's lost control . . . again. It's a hell that stretches towards the horizon, indefinitely. 

Banks lacks Curtis'  harrowing gravitas. He sings from the perspective of a man powerless to save the woman he loves from self-destruction, not as a fellow sufferer but as a bystander. "Stella" succeeds in conveying an experience that Curtis does not: while he feels great sorrow for his lover, there's no moment of recognition, no moment where Banks indicates he understands Stella's suffering. Curtis' strength as a lyricist and a singer comes from his ability to inhabit and transmit from places of great misery, but it's also a limiting perspective. Banks is honest about the limits of his ability to empathize, but what he can express is something quite different but equally important: the experience of someone who is surrounded by pain that he can neither fully comprehend or arrest. It's an honest admission of helplessness, and a familiar feeling to anyone who has ever lost a loved one under similar circumstances.

Throughout the song he repeats “Stella I love you, Stella I love you, Stella I love you” over and again like a mantra, before asserting that “She was all right 'cause the sea was so airtight.” Then you realize he’s discussing Stella in the past tense. He keeps yelling that “she broke away,” and our minds automatically drift to the worst outcomes. The final words of the song hint at her final disposition:

There's something that's invisible /
There's some things you can't hide /
Try to detect you when I'm sleeping /
In a wave you say goodbye.

Stella’s gone. In her wake she leaves the pain of those who loved her, a man who can only say goodbye in his dreams. Someone who can’t go forward, left to worry a wound that has not healed and feels for the moment as if it may never. The world, his world, their world has changed, and not for the better. There’s no going back.

But that’s not what this essay is about.

It’s a provocative thought: that the melodramatic, the sentimental, might be a repressed truth of human feeling, inhibited by the modern imperatives of reason and ambiguity. Perhaps the dream content of the sentimental is today in need of liberation, the way that in the early twentieth century, Freud and the surrealists realized western society needed to bare and scratch the sexual, violent underbelly of consciousness. With inhibitions against them removed, the tender sentiments might unveil their unsuspected splendors. (Wilson)

As a writer it’s not enough to identify your audience. This is an easy enough exercise in the classroom. I ask students, who’s the audience for your papers? The answer is simple – me, the teacher. But then they have to go one step further. What does your audience need? How do you tailor your ideas to fit the needs of your audience?

Exigency is the root motivation behind your writing, the prime mover that pushes you forward, that stands behind your stated purpose. What is your purpose in writing a school paper? To get a good grade. How do you do that? By giving the teacher what they want to see. What does the teacher want to see? Good writing. Impress your audience – me – and be rewarded accordingly with a good grade. But what is your exigency? You want a good grade, but that’s just part of it – why are you here in the first place? Exigency is the hole to be filled, the situation that creates the need that your act of communication is created to meet.  

It’s a rudimentary observation of cause and effect, but it does the job of showing students how they already understand these concepts. Everyone already understands how to tailor their communication to fit their readers, so long as they know that a text message to your mother looks differently than a text message to your girlfriend. Most people also understand that someone’s stated or presumed purpose is a different idea from core motivation. Purpose is why you are doing something, but exigency is your motivation. You want to get a good grade in this class because you want to go to graduate school to become a social worker and give back to your community? Excellent, now write like you care, like every grade counts as a step in that direction. 

Writing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Communication is a social exercise. I enjoy telling my students that it’s OK to acknowledge that their purpose for writing well is a good grade. It’s the truth, after all. But that’s just one layer of motivation, and this is especially useful to remember when the assignment calls for something like writing a hypothetical cover letter for your resume (a common enough composition assignment). Sure, their “ultimate” audience is me and their ultimate purpose is a grade, but in order to do that they have to first figure out how to pretend to write for another audience – in that instance, a prospective employer. Asking students to imagine hypotheticals never quite works out the way I think it will, and they sometimes struggle with the make-believe aspect of pretending to write for a certain audience. But I have no doubt that when they sit down to write a cover letter they will know how to switch tone to match circumstances, because the consequences of failing are no longer imaginary. 

Over the course of a year I read Wilson’s book cover-to-cover half-a-dozen times, teach every chapter and rehearse every argument with my students. I never regret structuring the class around Wilson’s book because it is an excellent book with many lessons that can be applied to the classroom. Wilson is a superb stylist, able to communicate complex ideas with simple and direct language while still retaining a great deal of subtle affect when the moment calls for it. In order to write well students must be exposed to good writing, and I had no compunction about holding up Let’s Talk About Love as a model of straightforward, concise, and inventive prose.

Moreso than just a well-written book, however, Wilson has constructed a surprisingly intricate personal narrative around the ostensible purpose of discussing Celine Dion. It’s not something that leaps out at the reader, and in fact, Wilson’s own life is barely mentioned for most of the book. Each chapter approaches the “problem” of Celine Dion from a different perspective, with cute titles such as “Let’s Talk About Schmaltz” and “Let’s Talk About Who’s Got Bad Taste,” indicating the different strategies Wilson adopts in order to triangulate his elusive subject throughout the course of the story. There is a story, after all – Wilson is telling us about his life, although it’s only towards the end of the book that we understand his core exigency.

A Journey to the End of Taste is not linear. Rather than a straight shot from thesis to conclusion, the book meanders through tangents, wandering until the goal of the investigation becomes obscured. Finally it clicks with the discovery of a thread leading through the heart of the labyrinth and back again:

She loved it, she said, because it was the truth. There was nothing more layered or contradictory to say. “Oh boy!” expressed exactly how she felt, right there and then, about me. (Wilson)

It’s not until the book is 5/6ths over that the reader even knows what it was about. All the pieces were there. He didn’t act as if he were constructing a mystery. You didn’t even know at the outset that there was a motivation for Wilson writing the book other than its stated goal of investigating Dion’s popularity. But suddenly there’s another reason, and everything you’ve read clicks into place.

This is the “Eureka!” moment, I tell my students. This is where the magician pulls the rabbit out of his hat and you’re amazed because you didn’t even know there was a trick in the offing. The class is never quite as impressed as I think they should be. This is an important lesson, however: motivation is often hidden. Motivation is often only apparent in hindsight. Everything in the book means more after he tells you that he’s writing it to come to terms with a recent divorce. He recollects a scene where he and his lover listened to an old Buddy Holly 45". He wants to understand why she loves the song, but she just does, and "nothing more layered or contradictory" needs be said. It makes her feel something. The memory of her, of the song, makes him feel something, too. Of course that's why he wrote the book. It just makes more sense.  

Although it was most certainly not intended to be, Let’s Talk About Love was a remarkably effectively rhetoric reader. Wilson is thorough. He approaches every aspect of Celine Dion’s career up to that date, sifting through arguments and approaches scholarly, historical, sociological, and anecdotal, before concluding that the only way to accurately and respectfully explain Dion’s popularity would be through a simple appeal to pathos. You listen to music because it can make you feel good and it can make you feel sad. You listen to remember better days and bad days. Sometimes it’s as simple as that: people listen to music because they want to feel something. Sometimes people write long essays because they want to feel something.

Let’s Talk About Love is a book about developing empathy. It’s also a good tool for explaining the concept of empathy as it rates to writing: good writing must anticipate the needs of its audience and tailor itself to fit. Wilson's book is literally about understanding audience. (Wilson certainly understood the audience for his book, as proven by its success – the only volume in the 33 1/3 series to rate a trade reprint without series branding. It’s a good enough book that it outgrew its audience.) Know your audience. Try to understand your audience – the better to be able to communicate effectively. Learn to approach unfamiliar situations in both writing and life with patience and humility. Communication is hard. The effort required to communicate effectively with another human being is equivalent to the effort required to understand them. Whatever tools you need to use in order to be able to understand another person, use those tools. Embrace them. 

Who are you or I to let something as insignificant as taste dictate our attitudes towards other people. The book planted a seed in me, and the seed ultimately bore fruit in a loss of confidence in the very idea of professional scholarship.

But that’s not what this essay is about.

In this chapter Wilson also mentions a group called Sonic Youth, and refers to them as a “terrific soundtrack for making aesthetic judgments.” Listen to one of the Sonic Youth tracks I’ve upload onto the Smart Site annotations for Chapter 12. (If you’ve heard SY before, you might have an advantage here!) Based on these examples (and our understanding of rhetoric), what kind of audience do you believe Sonic Youth might appeal to? How can you tell that Sonic Youth are supposed to appeal to a different audience than the kind of audience that likes Celine Dion?

I purchased El Pintor at the Santa Clarita Target on a shopping trip with my partner during her first week of classes at CalArts in 2014, and she will go on in 2016 to graduate with an MFA in Photography. I am extraordinarily proud of her. Don Cheadle speaks at her graduation and passes within a few feet of me. That is the closest I have ever been to a very famous person. The graduation ceremony comes on May 13th, ten days after Donald Trump clinches the Republican nomination for President, and fourteen after I discover that I am trans. 

It’s an excellent album, far better than any fifth album – and first after losing a core member – has any right to be. It’s spry and upbeat, full of crunchy guitar hooks and high on energy throughout. In places its almost Corgan-esque. Without wanting to read too much into band dynamics to which I am not privy, it almost sounds like a kiss-off. They are uncharacteristically happy in places, such as the spry "Anywhere" and anthemic "Ancient Ways."

Their fourth, untitled album – and the last before Dengler leaves the group – is a moody, pensive affair, forbidding and cyclopean. It is low on hooks, and suffers from a weak middle stretch. It very much sounds like the kind of album a band makes before losing a core member: cool, technically proficient, but remarkably glum. It’s not a happy album in any way, and lacks the moments of levity that dot even Turn on the Bright Lights­. It matched the country’s mood at the time: tense and tired, exhausted by partisan resistance to the first two years of the Obama administration. The miraculous expectations built by his meteoric ascent have already been punctured, and will never again return.

It is a dense and intricate listen. Listen to “Summer Well”: so many different songs packed into a tight four minutes. Every 16 bars or so Fogarino switches up the rhythm, building tension from the quiet opening moments up through the eventual climax that builds momentum into an exhilarating motoric denouement. Listen to how Fogarino uses his hi-hat to communicate restlessness and anxiety throughout the early sections, but after the track segues into the final passage he doesn’t touch the snare again. We process its absence with relief even if we failed to register its initial presence.

I buy both the fourth and third Interpol records at the same store, albeit in different locations: the fourth album at the Northampton branch of Newbury Comics, Our Love To Admire at the previous location in Amherst. I purchase the former at the beginning of the last year of my return to college, the latter in the summer before my first.

Click to hear "Who Do You Think"
Our Love To Admire was the band’s attempt at a major label breakthrough after spending their first two albums (and two most recent) at venerable super-indie Matador. I didn’t think much of it at first, and neither did the rest of the world, as it was their first and only album for Capitol. It’s an odd record composed only of sharp edges – even the ballads sound brittle and jagged. When it gels, it cracks and roars with a ferocity unique in their catalog – “Who Do You Think” especially excels as a star turn for Fogarino, built completely around chorus and verse hooks supplied by Fogarino’s punishing but precise technique. (In terms of falling headfirst into the frustrating chasm that separates pop ambition and success, Our Love To Admire shares quite a bit with First Impressions of Earth. Both albums are unsettled.)

Summer 2007 was a hopeful time. George W Bush was fated to be president for another year and a half but was deep into the invisible final two years of his term, defeated by a litany of political wounds largely self-inflicted. Barack Obama had already announced his candidacy for the 2008 election earlier in the year. After reading Larissa MacFarquhar’s 2007 profile of candidate Barack Obama, published in the May 7 issue of The New Yorker, I decide to vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary. MacFarquhar’s portrait of Obama as a pragmatic politician, one who values compromise above all other virtues, seemed to represent the candidate as a kind of bait-and-switch. I was already wary of candidate Obama’s language, unsettled by the discrepancy between his lofty rhetoric and the small-ball incrementalism of his stated policies. I imagined Hillary to be motivated at least in part by a desire for revenge against the Republican establishment, whether she admitted this or not. Perhaps I was mistaken. Perhaps Hillary should have received the nomination in 2008. I didn’t believe at the time that her politics were that different than Obama’s – similarly centrist and corporatist – and I still don’t. In hindsight she seems the smarter choice for an election that did not require a great populist movement to unseat a remarkably unpopular incumbent party.

(An aside: Our Love To Admire was released on the same date, July 10th 2007, as Spoon’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. I distinctly remember buying them on the same shopping trip, one of the first undertaken from my then-new apartment in Holyoke, across a bridge over the Connecticut River from South Hadley. While the Spoon album was an instant favorite, it would be another nine years before I came around to the merits of Interpol’s third.)

Antics was likewise purchase at Newbury Comics, the Worcester branch. It came out in the final weeks of summer weather, 2004, two days after my birthday. I dreaded the Fall. 2004 was my second Fall in New England, having arrived the previous October after running out on our mortgage in Oklahoma. The lengthening of shadows filled me with a presentiment of loss. It was not a happy period. Although my marriage shuddered forward for another year – ending, formally, on my birthday, September 26th 2005 – we were already growing distant. In hindsight this was an inevitable effect of having survived the stresses of previous years.   

In the fall of 2004 the Iraq War was a year and a half old. The long, sick slide into catastrophe unfolded in slow motion, a country lurching forward in overreaction to an unconnected tragedy. We lied to ourselves about the reelection of George W. Bush, because we all wanted very badly to believe that the country would course-correct from such a disastrous misadventure. But the fix was in. People were still scared. They’d soon go from scared to angry as W’s presidency was hobbled in its fifth year by the disastrous trifecta of an increasingly unpopular occupation of Iraq, a failed attempt at entitlement reform that overestimated the breadth of his mandate, and the singularly inept handling of Hurricane Katrina. 
Click to hear "Not Even Jail"

Although overshadowed by its famous parent, Antics is every bit as good as its predecessor. It lacks the wiry energy of the debut: that first album sounds immediate and jittery in a way the band is never able to recapture. But Antics is confident. It’s the work of a band operating at the precise peak of their power. There are no wasted notes. No filler. From the opening strains of Hammond organ on “Next Exit” – one of the few instances of any kind of keyboard or synthesizer in the Interpol oeuvre – to the final grace notes of closing dirge “A Time To Be So Small” (a less rapey rewrite of Magazine’s “Permafrost”), Antics develops and mutates the formula of Turn on the Bright Lights­ with great ingenuity. Again, the comparison to R.E.M. is most instructive: just as Reckoning was a refinement of Murmur, Antics is a purification of the impulses that created Turn on the Bright Lights­, for better and for worse. It also has a bit of Fables of the Reconstruction, reflecting a kinship between early R.E.M.’s Gothic southern regionalism and the Interpol’s Gothic New York City – both seem crabbed and occasionally dreary from afar, but reveal on closer inspection a great deal of humor and compassion hiding among the wreckage.  

The centerpiece of the album – and a cornerstone in the Interpol discography – “Not Even Jail” crystallizes the band’s strengths into a six-minute howl of impotent rage. This is the key, crucial to understanding what the band are and what they represent: Banks is always powerless, prey to events he cannot understand and trapped in terrible situations. The song begins smoothly enough, with a placid Banks crooning,

I'll lay down my glasses /
I'll lay down in houses /
If things come alive. /
I'll subtract pain by ounces /
Yeah, I will start painting houses /
If things come alive.

Something is off here, though, even if his tone is calming. The sequence of statements seems disconnected. The ugly slant rhymes of “glasses” / “houses” and “ounces / houses” (both “houses” and “alive” repeat as self-rhymes) lend the passage a conversational tone. Someone is talking. Someone is explaining themselves very carefully, but imprecisely, placing emphases on strange incidents and objects whose significance is not immediately clear to the listener. Things are going to get better if the situation improves, he says. I’ll stop drinking, I’ll get to work. I’ll begin to make incremental improvements to my life, by ounces.

Banks doesn’t sound convincing. He doesn’t even sound convinced himself.

The song is driven by Fogarino’s relentless stomp, a steady pounding heartbeat that moves like a panic attack, fervid discontent building ruthlessly to a forceful climax. Much of the power in these early Interpol albums comes from the sense of rivalry between Banks and Fogarino, the impression that Banks is always running from behind, consistently trying and failing to reassert authority. He is powerless to effect change in his life, and this powerlessness – the feeling of being a bystander in your own life, even of being second banana in your own band – is the defining theme of early Interpol.

He wants to explain himself, to justify his actions and behaviors, to offer up some kind of explanation as to why he just doesn’t work right. But his soft words are overwhelmed by the force of the hairpin turn at the 1:46 minute mark, at which moment the extended loping instrumental bridge drops gear into the first chorus, hitting the downbeat with a hammer just as Banks' frustration with being misunderstood manages to overwhelm his natural reticence and shame. Soon he is reduced to shouting self-improvement homilies into the crescendo (“Remember take hold of your time here / Give some meanings to the means / To your end”), humiliated by his inability to make himself heard over the din of his own music.

He’s not happy. And he’s not happy because he can’t communicate. He’s trying to be reasonable, trying to explain the problem, but he doesn’t really understand the problem and is growing increasingly distressed that his unheard interlocutor is upset (“Oh, but hold it still, darling, your hair’s so pretty / Can't you feel the warmth of my sincerity?”). Banks, being Banks, can’t help but sell a plea for genuine sincerity as bitingly obtuse. Of course we can’t, your wooden sincerity is about as warm as a wire mother. It unsettles people.

Please be quiet, you’re making a scene: “You're making people's lives feel less private / Don't take time away / You make motion when you cry.” The situation has long since slipped away from him and he is lost. The narrator by now is desperate, for reconciliation, for calm, for every ounce of unpleasantness to disappear, as he fights for a resumption of an amity that is gone now and forever.

We all hold hands /
Can't we all hold hands /
When we make new plans?

Of course we can’t. That’s not how this works. The needy parts of our souls are the most vulnerable, and most hurtful. Sometimes we don’t get to pick and choose when we hurt people, sometimes we don't even understand why. It just happens. And sometimes people get left behind.

I don’t remember precisely when I bought Turn on the Bright Lights­, but I remember where: the Best Buy next to the health club my wife and I join in 2004 because we need shower facilities. We drive into and out of Worcester from Rutland (a twenty minute drive) every day or every other day to clean ourselves because we live in a dirty cabin with rudimentary plumbing. Before the health club, I become expert in washing my hair in the kitchen sink and giving myself sponge baths while standing in a plastic bin in an unheated kitchen.

But that’s not what this essay is about. 

To Be Continued


 Part Seven of an ongoing series. 
4. Someday We Will All Be Free
5. Trifles, Light As Air

Let's Talk About What We Talk About When We
Talk About Teaching Let's Talk About Love


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Don Cheadle, CalArts Graduation Ceremony, 05/13/16

$8 nachos, CalArts Graduation Ceremony, 05/13/16


William Burns said...

I absolutely don't get this "We should have nominated Hillary in 2008" argument. After she blew two presidential elections she was heavily favored to win, can't we just admit that Hillary Clinton is not very good at politics?

William Burns said...

I know that that's not what this essay is about.

nomatrix12 said...

Great essay as always Dr T.

I must admit it's been a long time since i last listened to Interpol but if anything them being compared to The Chameleons felt more like a apt comparison.

I often did essays in the past with trying to get good grade but from tutors the complaint was that when it came to my writing the only person who could understand any of it was myself,everything else was impenetrable.

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