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May 10 - May 16, 2004
May 14, 2004
Night time Sunlight

Walked out of a bar last night around ten. I was a bit drunk, nothing much, split a bottle of red wine with Marvin as we talked about the beheading and how it compared to the torture and what it all really meant. A fucking terrifying conversation, more so because he thinks he wants to go over to Iraq and try to report on the war from there. Logistically, it'll be a nightmare for him to get there, but it's something he's considered. Not sure what the main attraction is for him - seeing that part of the world, witnessing history in progress. Trying to understand what people do to each other - maybe see someone get shot. Or maybe, as he says, it is just about truth. Knowing what happens.

I told him that knowledge, too much knowledge, can really do things to your mind that you wish it hadn't. Like the knowledge of what an Apache 30 mm cannon can do to unsuspecting soldiers, standing out in the open. What a decent butcher knife can do to a human neck. Stare into the abyss, my friend, and the abyss also stares into you.

If he ever did go, it would change him, and he knows it. But sometimes, I think that's what he wants. He's happy, and safe, with a nice girl, and makes more money than a writer should, but I can sometimes tell that he thinks it's all just too intellectual. He reports, he writes, but he's never really been a journalist. He's been an analyst - great researcher, interviewer, and essayist, but he's never seen most of what he writes about with his own eyes. And it does make a difference.

And last night, when we walk out into the dusk, he realized it first. We had dusk, and it was almost ten. The sky was dark, but it wasn't black - still a dark blue sky. And he smiled, and mentioned it, the turn of the seasons. Postulated that everything felt more alive in summer, because there was always light, that hope was more real at night if the sky wasn't so thick, so wordlessly oppressive. He has that eye for detail - I'm sure he'd do well in Iraq, or Afghanistan, translating the mind of the people for the western masses. But the risks - masked men with cameras and long knives, and paranoid eighteen year-old Texans with large-caliber weapons - would it be worth it? He smiled a bit, to himself and shrugged, and looked at the sky and I could tell he was wondering if the sky would look the same, if dusk would feel the same, if summer nights would feel hopeful in Mesopotamia, even against the sound of gunfire. He had on that far away grin and I laughed to myself, reminded of a line from an old Alden Nowlan poem that I love so fucking much.

and now
the sky is turning purple and voices
carry a long way and the children
have gone a little crazy as they often do at dusk
-Alden Nowlan, The Mysterious Naked Man

May 13, 2004
The Answer, My Friend

Interesting article on MSNBC yesterday. It said that even though times are shitty and there is rampant, righteous, left-wing rage, there ain't really any protest songs on the air. You know, big greasy ballads about the times a-changing, or OHIO, or the winds in Gorky Park.


We still got the normal Newlywed pap. Anything I've heard that crushes ass and makes fun of George Bush has to come off the interweb. Can anyone really name a politically relevant band that plays on the radio? Really, where the fuck is the Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead of our generation? Come on, you righteous hippie music snobs - where's the cocksucking throwdown?

The article lays a big chunk of the blame at the feet of the media ownership, which is probably valid, to some degree. I've heard exactly one protest song since the beginning of the war. A lot of 'controversial' work never makes it anywhere near the air. But it can't be just that. Cause if there was a helluva good song, it would make its way on, political content or no.

So who knows, there might be some protest songs out there, but IF THEY SUCK THEY DON'T COUNT. Maybe we don't have the musical artists in our era who would be interested in taking a real, bonafide potential hit and throwing some serious lyrics on it? Any protest songs that do get distributed must suck cock, cause i never heard them. I mean, I could swing for some anti-war street credit by donating one of my c-side cuts off the old 'Sweaty and Mingus Kill Chickens In the Back Forty' album, but it wouldn't stop the war, it wouldn't turn public opinion, and it certainly wouldn't give the world a hotdog dicking 'soundtrack for change'.

What we need is the new beastie boys album. Supposed to have some real commentary.

you know that armageddon / starts with a beheading
which is just us getting / what we keep spreading
when the secrets start spilling / who's the villain
must be the chuck with a shotgun / doing all the killing

Or if that don't cut it, there's always MotherFucking Zach de la Rocha and DJ Shadow and the best song we got about the war so far. Coming to a radio near you sometime after the Fuhrer gets voted out. Yup, I'm pimping it again. March of Death. Read the lyrics here. Download it here. What else do ya got?

May 12, 2004

After all the heat last week and my ineffable loneliness, I wanted to go back and see Rae-Anne. so last night, when it was late and the crowds from the movies were out on the streets, walking quickly past the angry drunks that hang out near the bus station, i went to visit her again at the restaurant.

But the restaurant was full. there were long lines and the people who were standing in line had the glaze on from their movies and stood there in a sort of torpor, lowing gently.

It took me twenty minutes to get to the front of the line and there were half a dozen people behind me and i could see that Rae-anne was tired, but she brightened when she saw me. i ordered my food and she made my change slowly, and i knew that she couldn't talk, and she didn't want to say it.

so when she gave me my change, i smiled at her and said thank you. and she smiled at me and said thank you.

it is still cold out side, i said.

it is may, she said. it will not be cold for long.

i ate alone. but it was fine like that.

May 11, 2004
The Misogynist

Gave an exclusive advance reading copy to a old, old friend of mine who helped out a helluva lot in the editing of the book. Seeing as he had already read it about six times, he passed it on to his girlfriend to read.

She read it quickly, and apparently, she was infuriated. As old K put it, she was 'angrier than he'd ever seen her'. Now, seeing as his girlfriend is a very calm, collected and intelligent woman without vigorous pro-American and pro-religious views (as far as I know), it was sort of surprising. Why would she be upset?

Answer is, she was very unimpressed by the treatment or portrayal of women. Which is not something I had particularly anticipated. Certainly, I can see where the sentiment could come from, but I didn't particularly expect rage.

At this point, I think it's too early to launch into a staunch defence of my depiction of women, or any other group in the book, because very few people have actually read it, and we didn't have time to get into the particulars. But I think I should prepare myself for these opinions and start to form answers, 'cause the questions are gonna come, and the people might not be so level-headed as K's girlfriend and it might get ugly and it might come from places I don't even expect. And people gonna call me all kinds of names, and some might fit, and some might not, but I better get used to the sound of those words. Like heretic. Like misogynist. Like homophobe. Like propagandist.

Ah well, at least it'll be interesting. But I do worry about it.

May 10, 2004
The Golden Ones

Team Canada is the champion of hockey for the second year in a row. So no matter what else happens over the next year, we have the Olympic medal and two world championship medals at home. The Canadian character is safe.

We had another flurry of contest entries over the weekend, including an actual photo of a man wielding a straight razor while wearing a welding mask and a shot of a nun in a gas mask that I had nothing to do with. As always, I am very impressed.

Which is why it is so sad that I have to remind everyone that today is the very last day of the contest. If you have an entry, it should be shipped in by midnight. Or we will all turn into pumpkins. Which would be unpleasant. Soon, the voting will begin.

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