The constant impermanence of things: a pointless collection of words
This is an old rant, revisited. What I say or think makes no difference, and yet I keep typing if only in the vain hope that some other kindred spirit might rise up to smite down the evil which surrounds us.
It is possible I should not have watched The Watchmen last night, but I did. My wife, who is younger than I am, missed some of the pop cultural/historical references, the asides which make the texture of that movie fabulous to ingest, even if like most action flicks it lacks characters; more than most, possibly. Dystopias attract me, bad as those seeking to move forward the date of Armageddon. The tension of the present is too much to bear, perhaps.
See…I come here, and elsewhere, looking for ideas. Looking to mix it up with smart people and to talk about all the things which bang around in my head looking for release. The ideas racing across society looking for connective tissue.
What I think I must admit is that the world wants only a consumer report: The new Alejandro Escovedo album is good. You’ll like it. The concert I saw rocked, you should have been there.
I used to think that the printed magazine served a broader community, that we could (and did) presume an audience that, at least in significant part, was interested in the context of things.
Record Store Day.
The death of physical product.
Some of my favorite designers, the people whose work informed everything I did with ND have taken to blogging on Facebook: Bob Newman, Art Chantry, Jesse Marinoff Reyes. None of them working as much as they should be, the new economy being what it is. There, for a brief instant each day, they place on view an object of loving design, and the stories which go with them. They should be books, these blog entries, but all they will be is blog entries. And they will disappear into the maw that is Facebook, just as everything I write here and elsewhere on line will disappear unless some search engine unearths it later on.
Which is why nobody wants to play with ideas, I guess. They don’t last out here on the world wide tower of babel. We want factoids. The weather, now. The newest college recruit rumor, now! The most important song (not even album) OF THIS MOMENT RIGHT FREAKING NOW.
Maybe I’m in the wrong place. Maybe there’s somewhere on the web a cul de sac where I belong.
Maybe the world has changed so much that I no longer belong, and I should make my retreat complete.
You have no idea how attractive that is.
But there’s always something luring me to the edge of the fringe one more, one last time.
When we published a magazine, we produced a physical object that endured. It sat on newsstands, got thumbed through, for two months. It sat on coffeetables, got picked up and read. It sat on shelves, in boxes, saved. Remains on library shelves, where they might be found by future readers.
I have always said one made art in a quest for immortality. Whether y’all viewed ND as art, well, I doubt it. But it was my art, the summation of every skill I had fought to acquire over thirty years. And it was my bid to leave something behind.
This writing, here, to borrow an old phrase that is either Truman Capote talking about Norman Mailer or about Jack Kerouac, or one of those names turned around, this isn’t writing. This is typing. There’s no call for writing anymore, and I’ve done so little of it I begin to question whether it’s even within me to do that work to my satisfaction. Much less design anything.
But, see, whatever I write here, and elsewhere online, it simply disappears after a few hours. Maybe it’s stumbled upon later, but it doesn’t last. So it’s hard to pretend that it’s worth rewriting.
Record Store Day.
Records. The apocalypse comes, we don’t have power, I can still find a way to crank up a turntable (or an old victrola) and play my records. The MP3 player, I don’t think so. All this music being made and downloaded and digitized? Who will care in ten years, or fifty?
Who cares now for the CDs I need to winnow down?
A pity, for the artists. I think the sifting has always been thus, but it is painfully obvious just now how much effort is put forth, and how rare the rewards. (The rewards are internal. I do know that, and have been well-rewarded. Demons aside.)
I recognize that writing about my modest attempts at gardening on a grand enough scale to eat through the winter are of little interest to most readers here, and elsewhere, despite the locavore movement and all its press. But I am trying to describe the real world, the physical world, the place one actually lives. Trying to backfill the chaos of this imaginary place where I come sometimes quickly to type.
It doesn’t matter that the sound of records is more pleasing. I never play mine. There is no time. There’s some new sound to be downloaded or played or something.
Set the MP3 player on shuffle, because stun is too much to hope for.