One day in your life, or perhaps every day, you will discover that someone has succeeded in the exact avenue in which you desire to succeed. Said usurper of your dreams might be a friend or a nemesis; perhaps they are a ghost who lives inside Twitter making up facts about themselves designed…
what conditions would have to be in place for you to feel comfortable with accepting a sincere compliment?
That I know and trust the judgment of the person offering it. Also, try complimenting me outside of a forum where any response is necessarily a performance; anon love carries exactly as much weight as anon hate.
Your thoroughness and rigour about topics that you dig into is something I really admire, and I only say it "secretly" because I'm embarrassed I get by so much on bluff.
Thanks for this. One of the reasons I’ve almost entirely stopped attempting to write for publication is that I was becoming depressed by how much bluffing I was doing as a matter of course. I’ve always bluffed to one degree or another — I’m a generalist, it comes with the territory — but my ability to keep bluffing was overwhelmed by the amount of opinions I was being asked (if only by myself) to have.
you're hardly as bad as your anon says but also you probably rarely get anon "secret thoughts" like that because you have such a confirmation bias about low self-worth (is that redundant?) that what would be the point
They Can’t Bully You If You Bully Yourself First: The Jonathan Bogart Story
I can't remember if you still follow me or not, but the fact that you do gives me anxiety.
I’ll unfollow if it’ll make you feel better. If this is about feeling intimidated I guarantee I’m not as impressive as you think I am; but if this is about feeling unsafe I’d sooner delete my blog than put anyone through that.
Devoured in one immense gulp this afternoon/evening/night/early morning. What resonated with me most, unsurprisingly, were the chapters on being in secondary school in the 90s in a Third World country as everything that matters seems to revolve around a distant, unreachable US.
More later, perhaps, when I am not falling asleep with my thumb on the screen.
In answer to tomewing (and in conversation with piratemoggy and aintgotnoladytronblues), I am reading no ongoing comics. For a while I was giving myself permission to buy one book at a local comics shop every other week, but I’ve had to stop that because my rent got hiked. All Most of the books I bought that way were translations of European comics published in the US within the last year. (Beautiful Darkness, Lost Cat, The Singles Theory, Recounting Streets. Oh, wait, and the proper second volume of Castle Waiting, which I’d promised myself ages ago, after the clusterfuck that was the first edition.)
I recently even stopped torrenting a weekly batch of Marvel and Image comics, because I’d trailed off reading them back in November and finally admitted I was probably never going to catch up. (It’s 2002 all over again, though back then it was all DC and Dark Horse. And I was spending actual money. God, remember when jobs used to pay actual money?)
I am still reading comics, though. Mostly older comics, mostly foreign comics, mostly #spanish comics in the 80s, as you’ve no doubt gathered from the state of this blog over the past several months. I’m trying to work through a bunch of dumbass curatorial stuff — dumbass because I have no doubt that I’m duplicating so much effort that others much more qualified and entrenched in comics culture have already put forth, and also because who cares literally no one — and that means I don’t have time to do much (or any) reading-for-pleasure rather than reading-for-pleasure-and-research. Which is annoying, because growing up I had a lot of disdain for people who didn’t know how to just experience leisure instead of tricking themselves into thinking of leisure activity as a kind of work; now that I am one of those people I don’t know how I would ever be able to stop, unless in an unlikely and completely unsatisfying narrative twist I become independently (or, hell, dependently) wealthy.
(Oh right, and every few weeks I go through my RSS feed and catch up on a dozen or so webcomics. The usual suspects; I am a wizened elder in internet terms — obviously, RSS — and haven’t added a non-Tumblr webcomic to my diet since 2008).
“Among the most important sources of happiness are: a sense of security; a good outlook; autonomy or control over our lives; good relationships; and skilled and meaningful activity. If you are unhappy, there’s a good chance that it’s for want of something on this list.”—
Which is part of the point, both of Martin’s crossover pop and of this whole travelogue: Latin identity is not — cannot be — tied to some travel-brochure stereotype of UNESCO World Heritage frozen-in-amber cultural practice. Latin people live in the present tense, and Latin pop is modern pop; whatever and whenever that is.
When the United States of wood and brick and riveted girders was swallowed, bit by unironic bit, by the United States of Formica® and Plexiglass™ and Styrofoam™ in the middle third of the last century, the barbaric yawp of the middle-aged soul yearned to be satisfied by consonant means. Old enough to remember Rachmaninoff as the very model of the modern touring music star, too working-class and immigrant to care about longhair ideals or highbrow cultural codes, too aware of what has gone before to be satisfied with the simulacra of urgency that imputedly fired their children. Play a tune we recognize; doll it up as you like, with all the color and razzle-dazzle and choking surfeit of a chain supermarket; perform, indeed, plastic surgery on it, stretching it out to unwieldy length and puffing it up with overwrought bombast and stuffing it full of twinkly orchestration; make it sound like everything else you do, an antiseptic perfection, because the comfort we take in the familiar is the only comfort left in a world so radically changed from the one we grew up in.
My favorite TV drama is Deadwood, which despite its roiling, perceptive, and widespread view of human nature does not care enough about certain kinds of humanity to treat Native Americans, for instance, as anything other than a mute, impersonal force of nature. David Milch’s grand vision of chronicling the intricacies of alliance and betrayal on which the birth of civilization is founded is fundamentally flawed because when confronted with the original betrayal on which all American “civilization” is founded, he blinks. The ruthless evil of Hearst is as nothing compared to the ruthless evil of every other character on the show even being there in the first place.
I would like to take this moment to deeply and sincerely thank the many Spanish-speaking comics obsessives who have made it their business to scan and pirate some seventy years’ worth of Spanish-language comics in both original serialized formats and in latter-day collected formats, and to wish that their Italian- and Dutch-speaking peers were anywhere near as comprehensive.
One of the qualities that makes for being a good writer is being direct about the things which society would rather we approach only obliquely if at all. It is also one of the qualities that makes for being an insufferable human being when we continue to apply the lesson outside of discursive writing. Learning how and when to modulate our self-flatteringly ruthless honesty is the great project of adulthood for so many of us.
It’s not the worst music I’ve ever heard (that’s reserved for Toby Keith’s special brand of xenophobic country songs), but I wouldn’t say that I’m a fan of disco. I would say most disco sucks. But Sparks on disco? That’s pretty good.
A few bullet points in response:
Full disclosure: I can’t even address the sentence “I would say that most disco sucks” without starting to see red around the edges of my vision. I love disco. Yes, there were some horrible novelty songs toward the end there and I won’t deny that some utter shit went mainstream in the last days of disco. And Saturday Night Fever has cemented a certain popular image of disco as white guys in horrible leisure suits dancing to the Bee Gees. But conflating all of disco with a few risible songs is an extremely short-sighted and unjust approach to a genuinely diverse genre, a scene with its origins in the black and homosexual communities of New York City. (It’s hard not to make the flippant generalization that disco is yet another thing that got fucked up when straight white people got hold of it.) A detailed history of disco, its origins, and its eventual evolution into synth-based dance music is beyond the scope of this commentary, but books like Turn the Beat Around and Love Saves the Day do a fine job of covering the subject.
No. 1 in Heaven was produced by Giorgio Moroder. As in, the Italian bloke who produced Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, one of the greatest disco tracks ever recorded. His fingerprints are all over No. 1 from the first bar of music. Take a moment and listen to “I Feel Love” and come back here when you’re done. All set? Okay.
Disco was hardly the only genre using synths. Despite citing Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”, the author appears to have forgotten about or chosen not to mention a little thing called New Wave, or its cousin/sibling post-punk. See also Numan, Gary, whose album The Pleasure Principle came out the same year as No. 1 in Heaven. You might know a little number of his called “Cars”. Also, it’s worth noting that New Wave and post-punk owe quite a lot to glam—David Bowie, Mark Bolan, Roxy Music.
If anything, No. 1 in Heaven is a bridge between disco and New Wave/post-punk. Sparks sensibilities and style married to the sound and production techniques of Moroder. It is really good, too, and at least on that point I’m in agreement with the author of this piece.
But couldn’t this point have been made without willfully shitting on disco? The Maels must have appreciated Moroder’s sound and heard in it an interesting new direction for their music. Maybe it was out of step with trends in American popular music, but then, isn’t Sparks’s refusal to march in lock-step with the new hotness one of the things we love about them?