I can attest that being completely unfamiliar (till now) with the Sundance mail-order catalog does not prevent the vague feeling of alarm sparked by the fact that the Television Personalities' My Dark Places is one of the albums displayed in the album cover frames in the photo.
Is there a word for that particular type of distress you feel when you observe someone outside your own reference group referencing something that only people in your reference group are supposed to know about? Further, is there a word for the faintly amusing situation in which the fetishized item is actually something that pretty much everybody knows about after all?
If there were, there would be many occasions to use them both.
UPDATE: Just to be clear, I'm not claiming, at all, to be immune to the whatever-it-is. Even though I do believe it can be amusing, I also think that pretty much everyone does this to some degree.
Recent case: a couple of months back I happened to catch a program of live Clash performances on the local PBS station. It was called The Clash Live: Revolution Rock, and it came complete with pledge breaks featuring the usual sort of PBS-y pledge drive people urging the audience to become part of the "revolution" by pledging money in exchange for tote bags.
Now, to my high school self way back when, knowing about the Clash seemed a real mark of distinction and I was pretty proud of myself for being the one person in my home room who was in on it. But out in the general world, of course, (and probably actually, unbeknownst to me, in the homeroom too) the Clash was in fact well on the way to becoming something like the biggest rock band in the world, or one of them anyway. And certainly in 2008, the number of rock-aware people who have never heard of the Clash has to be pretty small, if indeed it is not zero.
So why, when I was watching the pledge breaks, was I thinking to myself "wow, this is so weird" and shaking my head? It isn't the least bit weird, actually. But clearly a vestige my possibly ill-informed fourteen-year-old elitism is still there somewhere in my brain and it probably always will be there. (For the record, I liked the earlier performances better. That pudgy, dad-like PBS pledge break guy who preferred the Combat Rock era clearly had no business voicing that insane opinion and then having the temerity to offer me a tote bag. For the record, the Sandy Pearlman-produced second album is my favorite; but the first album -- not the bastardized 1979 American reissue but rather the orginal British import with "Cheat," "Deny," "48 Hours", and "Protex Blue" -- is the one to cite if you really want people to know that you know what you're talking about. And I'm the only one who knows that.)
Gravedigger it ain't:
David T. of Harry's Place notes that the latest cultural advisor to be "parachuted" into Boris Johnson's London by the Tory establishment to "keep on eye on" him happens to be a member of the wacky RCP/Living Marxism/IoI/Sp!ked cabal.
And I'm 1/50th of the authors, so I'm going to be at the Pinole Library on Friday, May 16, 4 pm.
That's Steve McDonald on the bass, looks like. There is allegedly a new Sparks album coming out any day now, and the song titles are great
The Guardian reports on Franco's plot to deny Cliff Richard the 1968 Eurovision Song Competition prize.
Commenting on political stuff, whatever you say, only makes people mad, so it's hardly worth doing because who needs the aggravation? But say what you will about Boris Johnson, and notwithstanding the probability that he will spend most of his term as London's mayor traveling around to various places to apologize for this or that, the man is a comic genius. The serious-minded see his victory as a sad commentary on something or other and warn of an impending apocalypse the likes of which mankind has never seen, or something. And no doubt they're right, more or less, in some vague way. Yet even though, or maybe because, we're not supposed to, I and shallow people like me are secretly looking forward to a wild ride. Don't say we shouldn't: it only makes it funner. Or rather, go ahead, say it. Maximize the fun. That's the idea.
An email from a Gawker staffer's mom.
If you spent much time avoiding real work on the internet last week, you probably came across the story of Priya Venkatesan, the postmodern-ish Dartmouth writing instructor who sent a series of bizarre emails threatening to sue her undergraduate students for writing unfavorable evaluations, disagreeing with her in class, and, it seems, for just being all-around jerks.
She seems to have decided to drop the idea of suing the students between parts 1 and 2 of this interview in the Dartmouth Review's weblog. Maybe that's the last we'll hear of her, though she is, apparently, planning to produce an Ignatius Reilly-ish book-length indictment against our century that will "name names."
As the interview indicates, it should be a hell of a read. Here's a bit describing a classroom conspiracy. Dramatis personae include a disruptive student referred to as "Girl X," the aggrieved professor (PV,) and Tom Cormen, the chairman of the writing program:
PV:One of the things that she did, this is also really interesting, was that she would always ask me how to spell things. That was her thing. She would say how to do you spell this? How to you spell that? I mean—what am I supposed to do?—so I would tell her. One time Tom Cormen was sitting in the class, and she asked me, how many T’s are in Gattaca. This was the kind of question she was asking, “how many T’s are in Gattaca?,” and I was about to answer her and Tom Cormen pre-empted me, “two t’s.” I’ll leave you to interpret it.
TDR: No. No, I don’t understand that.
PV: I have to tell you: it means tenure track.
TDR: Oh, okay.
PV: Because I wasn’t tenured track.
TDR: Oh, okay, yes.
PV: They were trying to intimate that I wasn’t ready for tenure track.
TDR: Yes, okay, I didn’t realize that’s what that meant.
PV: I’m kind of making this leap because this is the kind of subversiveness that was going on in that environment. That [girl x] would ask how many t’s are in Gattaca and that Tom Cormen would respond, “two T’s” as if I had no grasp on tenure track. ..but with [girl x], something’s going on with her. I’m not a doctor, but she’s not all there.
Thieves are robbing long-distance coaches by sneaking dwarves into the luggage holds in sports bags.
Once inside, they slip out from their hiding places to rifle through the belongings of unsuspecting travellers.
Then they take their loot back to their hiding place and wait to be collected by another gang member when the coach reaches its destination, reports The Sun
Like so many of us, Spice Girl Geri Halliwell has "hung up her hotpants" in order to write children's books:
With storylines including the feisty heroine seeing off playground bullies and foiling art thieves, each instalment of the book will end with a newsletter in which Ugenia sums up what she has learnt from her experience, concluding with shrewd and concise moral aphorims such as "face your fear".
Snoop Dogg, too.
Concise moral aphorisms have always rubbed me the wrong way, particularly if they are supposed to be "shrewd," but who am I to judge others in re: the proper manner of hotpants hanging. Hang them up however you like, is my general feeling about them.
These links are via Leila at Bookshelves of Doom, who also links to this interesting boingboing thread about people who are embarrassed to be seen in the YA section of the bookstore. This is sparked by the fact that Cory Doctorow recently hung up his hotpants to write a YA book called Little Brother. "A lot of the coolest stuff in the universe is happening in the kids' section of your bookstore," says Cory which is basically my position as well. I don't quite understand the embarrassment, but I know it is a real phenomenon, as much of my mail begins with a disclaimer along those lines. Weird.
Fox News graphic illustrates a reference to the Lincoln-Douglas Debates: