OT: Observations

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  • The argument that modern life consists of a diet of horrors by which we are corrupted and to which we gradually become habituated is a founding idea of the critique of modernity—the critique being almost as old as modernity itself. In 1800, Wordsworth, in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads, denounced the corruption of sensibility produced by “the great national events which are daily taking place, and the increasing accumulation of men in cities, where the uniformity of their occupations produces a craving for extraordinary incident, which the rapid communication of intelligence hourly gratifies.” This process of overstimulation acts “to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind” and “reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor".

    — Susan Sontag

  • Rhythm is one of the principal translators between dream and reality. (Edith Sitwell)

  • @JohnnyGoodyear said:
    “to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind”

    It sure seems like discriminating minds are in power. Just sayin'.

    “reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor".

    tor·por - a state of physical or mental inactivity; lethargy.

    No. I think we're all "over-clocked" and only seeking more and more stimulation until
    we crash.

    Susan Sontag

    Tom Wolfe once dismissed Sontag as "just another scribbler who spent her life signing up for protest meetings and lumbering to the podium encumbered by her prose style, which had a handicapped parking sticker valid at Partisan Review."

    Tom Wolfe was a douche. But I did read a lot of his books. Any Electric Koolaid Acid Test fans out there?

  • @McDtracy said:

    Tom Wolfe was a douche. But I did read a lot of his books. Any Electric Koolaid Acid Test fans out there?

    It was on the bus bookshelf, and was the inspiration for a lot of journeys me and my mates took in the mid 80’s - in our motley collection of vans and buses.

    I’ve read it 100’s of times - last time was a few months back.

    I’ve told this story before - but anyway, one summer about 20 years ago I was sitting in my back garden in Devon, reading the book (again). Later that evening, watching the local news, I saw footage of their drive across Dartmoor, to their destination of Cornwall in a Prankster tour of the UK.

    If I’d stood up and looked over the fence, at the point I’d heard a bit of a commotion on the road behind my house, I would have seen the bus, with Kesey and co. on top barrelling past. And I’d probably still be clutching the book.

    In a way I’m glad I didn’t, the shock of that cosmic alignment would have blown my mind.

  • @JohnnyGoodyear said:
    The argument that modern life consists of a diet of horrors by which we are corrupted and to which we gradually become habituated is a founding idea of the critique of modernity—the critique being almost as old as modernity itself. In 1800, Wordsworth, in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads, denounced the corruption of sensibility produced by “the great national events which are daily taking place, and the increasing accumulation of men in cities, where the uniformity of their occupations produces a craving for extraordinary incident, which the rapid communication of intelligence hourly gratifies.” This process of overstimulation acts “to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind” and “reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor".

    — Susan Sontag

    This is why I keep recommending that younger people who never have, watch the 1976 film “Network” (mainly to demonstrate that angst is a fairly constant quantity across time)

  • @McDtracy said:

    @JohnnyGoodyear said:
    “to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind”

    It sure seems like discriminating minds are in power. Just sayin'.

    “reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor".

    tor·por - a state of physical or mental inactivity; lethargy.

    No. I think we're all "over-clocked" and only seeking more and more stimulation until
    we crash.

    Susan Sontag

    Tom Wolfe once dismissed Sontag as "just another scribbler who spent her life signing up for protest meetings and lumbering to the podium encumbered by her prose style, which had a handicapped parking sticker valid at Partisan Review."

    Tom Wolfe was a douche. But I did read a lot of his books. Any Electric Koolaid Acid Test fans out there?

    He was a poisonous little toad, but of his time and important to it. The jar Sontag's brain inhabits travels far further.

  • @u0421793 said:

    @JohnnyGoodyear said:
    The argument that modern life consists of a diet of horrors by which we are corrupted and to which we gradually become habituated is a founding idea of the critique of modernity—the critique being almost as old as modernity itself. In 1800, Wordsworth, in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads, denounced the corruption of sensibility produced by “the great national events which are daily taking place, and the increasing accumulation of men in cities, where the uniformity of their occupations produces a craving for extraordinary incident, which the rapid communication of intelligence hourly gratifies.” This process of overstimulation acts “to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind” and “reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor".

    — Susan Sontag

    This is why I keep recommending that younger people who never have, watch the 1976 film “Network” (mainly to demonstrate that angst is a fairly constant quantity across time)

    This was (of course) my point. Cicero also despaired of the young etc etc.

  • @MonzoPro said:

    @McDtracy said:

    Tom Wolfe was a douche. But I did read a lot of his books. Any Electric Koolaid Acid Test fans out there?

    It was on the bus bookshelf, and was the inspiration for a lot of journeys me and my mates took in the mid 80’s - in our motley collection of vans and buses.

    I’ve read it 100’s of times - last time was a few months back.

    I’ve told this story before - but anyway, one summer about 20 years ago I was sitting in my back garden in Devon, reading the book (again). Later that evening, watching the local news, I saw footage of their drive across Dartmoor, to their destination of Cornwall in a Prankster tour of the UK.

    If I’d stood up and looked over the fence, at the point I’d heard a bit of a commotion on the road behind my house, I would have seen the bus, with Kesey and co. on top barrelling past. And I’d probably still be clutching the book.

    In a way I’m glad I didn’t, the shock of that cosmic alignment would have blown my mind.

    Took me a while to figure out the essential differences between the New Journalism of Wolfe and Gonzo Journalism as per HST. The former still being the observer while the latter more the participant. Both enlivened fairly low-key early teenage years in Twickenham. AND while I always felt Wolfe was a very clever pale shadow scribbling things down at the margins of the event, I will always be grateful to him for introducing me to Kesey who was just what I needed then. When Cuckoo's Nest came out I felt (there in darkness at the Gaumont :) ) that I understood finally what the counterculture really was and that I (at 15!) was destined for the heart of it. Of course the book was published in 62 already :)

  • A.a> @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    @McDtracy said:

    @JohnnyGoodyear said:
    “to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind”

    It sure seems like discriminating minds are in power. Just sayin'.

    “reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor".

    tor·por - a state of physical or mental inactivity; lethargy.

    No. I think we're all "over-clocked" and only seeking more and more stimulation until
    we crash.

    Susan Sontag

    Tom Wolfe once dismissed Sontag as "just another scribbler who spent her life signing up for protest meetings and lumbering to the podium encumbered by her prose style, which had a handicapped parking sticker valid at Partisan Review."

    Tom Wolfe was a douche. But I did read a lot of his books. Any Electric Koolaid Acid Test fans out there?

    He was a poisonous little toad, but of his time and important to it. The jar Sontag's brain inhabits travels far further.

    He was a very important stylistic influence on me
    even after I realized he was a reactionary pig. "The damage" had already been done.
    The same with Mencken.
    It's interesting how some perceived "iconoclasts" are so goddamn intent upon actually preserving the status quo.

    And you are correct; Sontag trumps Wolfe.

  • @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    @MonzoPro said:

    @McDtracy said:

    Tom Wolfe was a douche. But I did read a lot of his books. Any Electric Koolaid Acid Test fans out there?

    It was on the bus bookshelf, and was the inspiration for a lot of journeys me and my mates took in the mid 80’s - in our motley collection of vans and buses.

    I’ve read it 100’s of times - last time was a few months back.

    I’ve told this story before - but anyway, one summer about 20 years ago I was sitting in my back garden in Devon, reading the book (again). Later that evening, watching the local news, I saw footage of their drive across Dartmoor, to their destination of Cornwall in a Prankster tour of the UK.

    If I’d stood up and looked over the fence, at the point I’d heard a bit of a commotion on the road behind my house, I would have seen the bus, with Kesey and co. on top barrelling past. And I’d probably still be clutching the book.

    In a way I’m glad I didn’t, the shock of that cosmic alignment would have blown my mind.

    Took me a while to figure out the essential differences between the New Journalism of Wolfe and Gonzo Journalism as per HST. The former still being the observer while the latter more the participant. Both enlivened fairly low-key early teenage years in Twickenham. AND while I always felt Wolfe was a very clever pale shadow scribbling things down at the margins of the event, I will always be grateful to him for introducing me to Kesey who was just what I needed then. When Cuckoo's Nest came out I felt (there in darkness at the Gaumont :) ) that I understood finally what the counterculture really was and that I (at 15!) was destined for the heart of it. Of course the book was published in 62 already :)

    I had an original copy of Acid Test. It wasn't until that one was nicked, and saw his photo in the more modern, bus replacement (pink suit, cravat...) that I realised he wasn't 'in the pudding'. Bought a few more of his books but wasn't impressed, but grateful for his recording of Kesey's jinks.

    We had 'Cuckoo' in the bus library too, so that was read pretty extensively, but never saw the film until many years later. That was the thing for me and my mates - we were all into stuff from ten or more years earlier, so in those pre-internet days it was difficult finding, seeing, and hearing stuff. All part of the journey I guess, and made us more appreciative as a result.

    I've still got a fair bit of catching up to do with HST. Read his biography last year amongst a few other bits, but really need to dig into that stuff properly - any recommendations welcome.

    Just finished England’s Hidden Reverse, which was a pretty intense read: http://strangeattractor.co.uk/shoppe/englands-hidden-reverse/ - fascinating stuff though.

  • @MonzoPro said:

    @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    @MonzoPro said:

    @McDtracy said:

    Tom Wolfe was a douche. But I did read a lot of his books. Any Electric Koolaid Acid Test fans out there?

    It was on the bus bookshelf, and was the inspiration for a lot of journeys me and my mates took in the mid 80’s - in our motley collection of vans and buses.

    I’ve read it 100’s of times - last time was a few months back.

    I’ve told this story before - but anyway, one summer about 20 years ago I was sitting in my back garden in Devon, reading the book (again). Later that evening, watching the local news, I saw footage of their drive across Dartmoor, to their destination of Cornwall in a Prankster tour of the UK.

    If I’d stood up and looked over the fence, at the point I’d heard a bit of a commotion on the road behind my house, I would have seen the bus, with Kesey and co. on top barrelling past. And I’d probably still be clutching the book.

    In a way I’m glad I didn’t, the shock of that cosmic alignment would have blown my mind.

    Took me a while to figure out the essential differences between the New Journalism of Wolfe and Gonzo Journalism as per HST. The former still being the observer while the latter more the participant. Both enlivened fairly low-key early teenage years in Twickenham. AND while I always felt Wolfe was a very clever pale shadow scribbling things down at the margins of the event, I will always be grateful to him for introducing me to Kesey who was just what I needed then. When Cuckoo's Nest came out I felt (there in darkness at the Gaumont :) ) that I understood finally what the counterculture really was and that I (at 15!) was destined for the heart of it. Of course the book was published in 62 already :)

    I had an original copy of Acid Test. It wasn't until that one was nicked, and saw his photo in the more modern, bus replacement (pink suit, cravat...) that I realised he wasn't 'in the pudding'. Bought a few more of his books but wasn't impressed, but grateful for his recording of Kesey's jinks.

    We had 'Cuckoo' in the bus library too, so that was read pretty extensively, but never saw the film until many years later. That was the thing for me and my mates - we were all into stuff from ten or more years earlier, so in those pre-internet days it was difficult finding, seeing, and hearing stuff. All part of the journey I guess, and made us more appreciative as a result.

    I've still got a fair bit of catching up to do with HST. Read his biography last year amongst a few other bits, but really need to dig into that stuff properly - any recommendations welcome.

    Just finished England’s Hidden Reverse, which was a pretty intense read: http://strangeattractor.co.uk/shoppe/englands-hidden-reverse/ - fascinating stuff though.

    I would recommend Thompson's Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.
    I always tell people if you want to learn how to write like Thompson, study Fear and Loathing, but if you want to learn how to write, study Hell's Angels.

  • @JeffChasteen said:

    @MonzoPro said:

    @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    @MonzoPro said:

    @McDtracy said:

    Tom Wolfe was a douche. But I did read a lot of his books. Any Electric Koolaid Acid Test fans out there?

    It was on the bus bookshelf, and was the inspiration for a lot of journeys me and my mates took in the mid 80’s - in our motley collection of vans and buses.

    I’ve read it 100’s of times - last time was a few months back.

    I’ve told this story before - but anyway, one summer about 20 years ago I was sitting in my back garden in Devon, reading the book (again). Later that evening, watching the local news, I saw footage of their drive across Dartmoor, to their destination of Cornwall in a Prankster tour of the UK.

    If I’d stood up and looked over the fence, at the point I’d heard a bit of a commotion on the road behind my house, I would have seen the bus, with Kesey and co. on top barrelling past. And I’d probably still be clutching the book.

    In a way I’m glad I didn’t, the shock of that cosmic alignment would have blown my mind.

    Took me a while to figure out the essential differences between the New Journalism of Wolfe and Gonzo Journalism as per HST. The former still being the observer while the latter more the participant. Both enlivened fairly low-key early teenage years in Twickenham. AND while I always felt Wolfe was a very clever pale shadow scribbling things down at the margins of the event, I will always be grateful to him for introducing me to Kesey who was just what I needed then. When Cuckoo's Nest came out I felt (there in darkness at the Gaumont :) ) that I understood finally what the counterculture really was and that I (at 15!) was destined for the heart of it. Of course the book was published in 62 already :)

    I had an original copy of Acid Test. It wasn't until that one was nicked, and saw his photo in the more modern, bus replacement (pink suit, cravat...) that I realised he wasn't 'in the pudding'. Bought a few more of his books but wasn't impressed, but grateful for his recording of Kesey's jinks.

    We had 'Cuckoo' in the bus library too, so that was read pretty extensively, but never saw the film until many years later. That was the thing for me and my mates - we were all into stuff from ten or more years earlier, so in those pre-internet days it was difficult finding, seeing, and hearing stuff. All part of the journey I guess, and made us more appreciative as a result.

    I've still got a fair bit of catching up to do with HST. Read his biography last year amongst a few other bits, but really need to dig into that stuff properly - any recommendations welcome.

    Just finished England’s Hidden Reverse, which was a pretty intense read: http://strangeattractor.co.uk/shoppe/englands-hidden-reverse/ - fascinating stuff though.

    I would recommend Thompson's Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.
    I always tell people if you want to learn how to write like Thompson, study Fear and Loathing, but if you want to learn how to write, study Hell's Angels.

    Ah right...I've actually got that one here somewhere - haven't read it for donkey's years though so I'll dig it out - cheers!

  • @JeffChasteen said:

    @McDtracy said:
    Tom Wolfe was a douche.

    Well... some resonance with Wolfe. I enjoyed the "Bonfire of the Vanities" and "The Right Stuff" but couldn't get into "A Man in Full" or "The Painted Word" (that's when I could see his pathology in full display).

    Did anyone get something from "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Management"? There's a book about learning Jazz Piano called "The Way of the Hand" that I was hoping would open doors for me but I got nuttin'.

    How about Vonnegut? Slaughterhouse-Five?
    or Joseph Heller? Catch 22?

  • @McDtracy said:

    @JeffChasteen said:

    @McDtracy said:
    Tom Wolfe was a douche.

    Well... some resonance with Wolfe. I enjoyed the "Bonfire of the Vanities" and "The Right Stuff" but couldn't get into "A Man in Full" or "The Painted Word" (that's when I could see his pathology in full display).

    Did anyone get something from "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Management"? There's a book about learning Jazz Piano called "The Way of the Hand" that I was hoping would open doors for me but I got nuttin'.

    How about Vonnegut? Slaughterhouse-Five?
    or Joseph Heller? Catch 22?

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is another one from the trusty shelf of my old bus bookcase. Good book, and rewards a re-read now and again.

  • @JeffChasteen said:

    @MonzoPro said:

    @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    @MonzoPro said:

    @McDtracy said:

    Tom Wolfe was a douche. But I did read a lot of his books. Any Electric Koolaid Acid Test fans out there?

    It was on the bus bookshelf, and was the inspiration for a lot of journeys me and my mates took in the mid 80’s - in our motley collection of vans and buses.

    I’ve read it 100’s of times - last time was a few months back.

    I’ve told this story before - but anyway, one summer about 20 years ago I was sitting in my back garden in Devon, reading the book (again). Later that evening, watching the local news, I saw footage of their drive across Dartmoor, to their destination of Cornwall in a Prankster tour of the UK.

    If I’d stood up and looked over the fence, at the point I’d heard a bit of a commotion on the road behind my house, I would have seen the bus, with Kesey and co. on top barrelling past. And I’d probably still be clutching the book.

    In a way I’m glad I didn’t, the shock of that cosmic alignment would have blown my mind.

    Took me a while to figure out the essential differences between the New Journalism of Wolfe and Gonzo Journalism as per HST. The former still being the observer while the latter more the participant. Both enlivened fairly low-key early teenage years in Twickenham. AND while I always felt Wolfe was a very clever pale shadow scribbling things down at the margins of the event, I will always be grateful to him for introducing me to Kesey who was just what I needed then. When Cuckoo's Nest came out I felt (there in darkness at the Gaumont :) ) that I understood finally what the counterculture really was and that I (at 15!) was destined for the heart of it. Of course the book was published in 62 already :)

    I had an original copy of Acid Test. It wasn't until that one was nicked, and saw his photo in the more modern, bus replacement (pink suit, cravat...) that I realised he wasn't 'in the pudding'. Bought a few more of his books but wasn't impressed, but grateful for his recording of Kesey's jinks.

    We had 'Cuckoo' in the bus library too, so that was read pretty extensively, but never saw the film until many years later. That was the thing for me and my mates - we were all into stuff from ten or more years earlier, so in those pre-internet days it was difficult finding, seeing, and hearing stuff. All part of the journey I guess, and made us more appreciative as a result.

    I've still got a fair bit of catching up to do with HST. Read his biography last year amongst a few other bits, but really need to dig into that stuff properly - any recommendations welcome.

    Just finished England’s Hidden Reverse, which was a pretty intense read: http://strangeattractor.co.uk/shoppe/englands-hidden-reverse/ - fascinating stuff though.

    I would recommend Thompson's Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.
    I always tell people if you want to learn how to write like Thompson, study Fear and Loathing, but if you want to learn how to write, study Hell's Angels.

    Precisely said there Mister. Saved me the typing. I did read Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail again recently (and watched the paranoia trilogy as well; The Conversation, The Parallax View, Three Days of the Condor) to remind myself that we have visited the politics of madness previously and in our lifetime :)...

  • edited January 13

    Must be a(nother) song in it.

  • @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    Must be a(nother) song in it.

    In English, that means “working from home today”.

  • @u0421793 said:

    @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    Must be a(nother) song in it.

    In English, that means “working from home today”.

    :D

  • We bought a new (second hand) car today, after our 20 year old Monzomobile died last week.

    It had been sitting on the drive, nice and shiny for barely 30 minutes when I glanced out of the window to see a a crane with a digger attachment, full of rocks, swing across the top of it, with about two feet to spare.

    Our new neighbour, nice enough chap, was operating the digger - moving lumps of rock from his front garden, loading them onto a lorry, but swinging the precarious load right across the top of our new car.

    After going out and shouting a bit, he changed direction to avoid dumping a ton of rocks on our car.

    Luckily I stopped him in time, but that’s the weird sort of horrible thing that happens to me - new car, 30 minutes later flattened by rocks while it’s parked on the drive.

  • @MonzoPro said:
    We bought a new (second hand) car today, after our 20 year old Monzomobile died last week.

    It had been sitting on the drive, nice and shiny for barely 30 minutes when I glanced out of the window to see a a crane with a digger attachment, full of rocks, swing across the top of it, with about two feet to spare.

    Our new neighbour, nice enough chap, was operating the digger - moving lumps of rock from his front garden, loading them onto a lorry, but swinging the precarious load right across the top of our new car.

    After going out and shouting a bit, he changed direction to avoid dumping a ton of rocks on our car.

    Luckily I stopped him in time, but that’s the weird sort of horrible thing that happens to me - new car, 30 minutes later flattened by rocks while it’s parked on the drive.

    I got through the first two paragraphs and the doom was most certainly descending (along with the rocks)....but, fortunately, shouting saved the day :)

    I always feel unreasonably sentimental getting rid of old cars....

  • @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    @MonzoPro said:
    We bought a new (second hand) car today, after our 20 year old Monzomobile died last week.

    It had been sitting on the drive, nice and shiny for barely 30 minutes when I glanced out of the window to see a a crane with a digger attachment, full of rocks, swing across the top of it, with about two feet to spare.

    Our new neighbour, nice enough chap, was operating the digger - moving lumps of rock from his front garden, loading them onto a lorry, but swinging the precarious load right across the top of our new car.

    After going out and shouting a bit, he changed direction to avoid dumping a ton of rocks on our car.

    Luckily I stopped him in time, but that’s the weird sort of horrible thing that happens to me - new car, 30 minutes later flattened by rocks while it’s parked on the drive.

    I got through the first two paragraphs and the doom was most certainly descending (along with the rocks)....but, fortunately, shouting saved the day :)

    I always feel unreasonably sentimental getting rid of old cars....

    It had a leak somewhere when we first got it. One day when I was looking for something on the floor in the back, I spotted a clump of giant mushrooms on the carpet. As I looked, one of them puffed out a little cloud of spores.

    Mrs Monzo is coming to the conclusion we’re in some sort of Truman Show...a lot of this stuff doesn’t seem to happen to other people.

  • This is both awesome and proof that some people in the world really need more to do :D

  • Even the X-files sounds like a decent band name. For the 80s.

  • Sometimes Twitter is exactly the right amount:

  • I would have liked to seen this in person. Sydney Opera House: Lighting the Sails 2016 - Songlines via @YouTube

  • @JohnnyGoodyear said:
    I would have liked to seen this in person. Sydney Opera House: Lighting the Sails 2016 - Songlines via @YouTube

    Don’t you wish we lived in a world where we did more of this?

    I watched a great documentary with sculptor Anthony Gormley, demonstrating how intrinsic art is to human nature - via European and Australian cave art.

    I hope some day the people in power are the ones with the paints and the instruments, not the ones with the spears and swords.

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