Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bunnywhiskers Reducere

Appearing on Radio Valencia tomorrow at 10 am PDT as the "witty and wonderful Erling Wold" with my favorite radio host, the inimitable Bunnywhiskers (whom I happened to see on the street today) broadcasting from Chicken John's building. Listen on the web at radiovalencia.fm or live on an actual FM device at 87.7 in San Francisco. We'll be talking of many things: of the opening of the DieciGiorni collaborative opera next week, of the recent releases, of the events of the world and beyond.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Certainty and Doubt

I'm consistently fascinated by nonsense, drawn again and again to the brainsqueezings of my religious youth, to insanity, to speaking in tongues, to intuition run amok. I work in a world of certainties, where the integral around a closed path of a function holomorphic everywhere inside the area bounded by the closed path is always zero, but I reside in another place, where all things are possible, where I've taken to heart so many more than six impossible things before breakfast, where art comes unbidden from the gods, channeled through us mortals during the brief period of our existence, our last gasping breath exhaled onto those who will next receive their curse.

And, if you want to keep yourself together, please don't look too closely even at that certain world for it too is plagued by doubt. Underneath it all slumbers the Leviathan, who whispers her gentle words into your ear, whispers of the power sets of the infinite and the axiom of choice which, if listened to and her hot breath smelling of the coal furnace ignored, will pull you down like a millstone to a bad place, where you will begin to ponder the Jewish Question and the Book of Revelation and other oft-proscribed lunacies. Be careful navigating these treacherous shoals where so many have wrecked before, the publishers of so many "moderately-loopy-but-eerily-hard-to-disprove Voynich Manuscript theories."

As artists, we must float above all such things, certain and uncertain alike, silliness abounding.  Last night, at a noise show at the Golden Trapper Keeper Lodge, I listened to a litany of movie descriptions, all brutal movies, Russian and Korean, members of subgenres of popular torture porn, during which all those attending, including myself, laughed at the ridiculousness of it all, the reality not ridiculous for those who experience it, those pathetic and poor victims, but the art that comes from it risible and absurd. We can't avoid it, this separation of object and subject, so let us revel in it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Etymology of 'Nazi'

During a recent yet extended convalescence in my musty sanatorium supraspinatum, post chrurgia, in the prolonged traction of my UltraSling™II, my thoughts turned naturally to the black, and to those naturally redheaded, and the whispers coming from the dark bowels of this blackness. During that time, a time requisite of time while-awaying, hours were spent floundering through my favorite tomes: Bodyguard of Lies, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, the books relating a time better than our own, a time of clarity, of good v. evil, of men that were men. I fantasize about being a man that is a man but I am so far from it: an effete milquetoast-ette, a mama's boy and a milksop.

But in this morning's epost a letter arrived from our foreign correspondent, a man who is a man, our dear ***redacted***, who was passing along some esludge from the net. May I quote a significant part of it?
Long before the rise of the NSDAP in the 1920s, people in at least southern Germany could be called Nazi if they were named Ignatz, or came from Austria or Bohemia (where they apparently had lots of Ignatzes); it was supposedly also used as a generic name for soldiers of Austria-Hungary, like the German Fritz or Russian Ivan. It had to be used with caution between friends, though, since it could also mean "idiot" or "clumsy oaf". That's how it found it's way into politics; the fact that Adolf came from Austria (not Bohemia, though) could have made the pun even better. The Nazis supposedly made attempts to include the N-word in their own vocabulary in order to make it less derogatory, but unsuccessfully; since such a maneuver requires a sense of humor as well as irony, it was probably doomed to fail.
Yes, this maneuver does require a sense of humor, but fortunately we have buckets of that here in San Francisco and thank G-d that all my friends, members of so many persecuted minority groups, have reclaimed all the names hurled at them and taken them to heart, formerly sensitive designations desensitized and reavailable for use by all.
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