February 2008



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Time is perhaps the greatest digestive. The pain of relationships withers away under these clicking seconds, the mediocrity of a party from last year becomes apparent, or even the awesomeness of a conversation with a stranger that felt right in the moment can be exponentially understood better years later. In this there lies some continuum between age and wisdom, for the day after the tasting menu at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House one can writhe in the fatness of a ten-ounce fois gras steak, but with the passing of time can the ostentatious horror becomes Baccarat crystal clear. Conversely the perfect scrambled eggs with black truffles and caviar at La Tour d’Argent with the perfect spring sunset out of the window and David Lynch and his Palm D’or at the adjacent table was perfect at the time, though years later it seems entirely magical. And then the things that seemed perfect then? The way they shrivel? Perhaps it wasn’t perfect to begin with.

There are things though that remain with us, as we grow and though they are static in nature, these things grow with us. Static growth seems to be adjectives at odds with one another, but look to the arts as the example that means to be highlighted. Handel’s Messiah may have nuanced differences throughout the years that they perform at Carnegie Hall, the singers may be better one year than the next, or the conductor may carry the tune faster than he had before, but essentially the music is the same. Von Gogh paintings, Star Wars, Back To The Future, The Last Starfighter, Days Of Heaven, The Stranger, The Great Gatsby, Dylan Thomas, William Blake, Borges, Bob Dylan; none of it changes, it is only the perception – the moment in time they can transport the consumer (with no negative connotations, but in the objective definition of the word — as a consumer of the arts)  to. The memory harkened by hearing the opening cords of The Man Who Sold The World on the Nirvana Unplugged album, the onslaught of emotive memories that contrast the present condition.  

Cappadonna came out with The Pillage in March of ’98; nearly ten years ago. To remember the first listening of it seems as impossible as remembering anything from 1998, those were heady years. It is a weird album, the beats, Cappadonna’s lyrical framing within those beats, and even what he is talking about – in the sense that his abstractions from common grammatical formats allow him the space to say words that don’t mean what they sound like, nor or they connected to a previous lyric. To call it stream of consciousness is by itself a fault, for stream of consciousness has implications of being disposable, and even worse: brings up images of the yet-to-be-absolved-for-their-idiocy Beat Poets. 

 

It is impossible to know the amount of revision that happened in the process of making this album, if any at all, and if we are to assume this, then maybe for the first time ever stream-of-consciousness counts for something more than bohemian brownie points.

 

What is striking here is not the genius involved, or even the untold pain in Tekitha’s voice on Young Hearts or Black Boy. It is that this record resists being frozen in time. It is ten years old, and in that decade the personal, spiritual, and economic world has changed on the individual level as much as it has on a global level; yet their seems hardly a finer maxim ever offered than the first few lines of slang editorial: I came to the fork in the road and went straight. 

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(under a pavilion surrounded by wild field, a group sits for the last time with Dr. Capra) 

BespokeCashmere:

 

Sir,

 

I disagree with the caracterture of the global economy you gave in last nights lecture. You have posited it as something else besides the organic evolution of market relationship.

 

If we are to believe in the interconnectedness of all living beings, as well as all organizing social structures, setting up globalism, with an inherent judgment value, as being a force working in the opposite of sustainability; we are still operating within the Cartesian dualities that we pretend to be escaping. 

 

Capitalism & global trade have experience the same sorts of cellular mutations that you described in the tide pools one million years ago. Where slavery once existed as a sound economic practice, moral justness and the essential rights of human beings soon became more pertinent, and thus the marketplace adjusted accordingly. Banning slave labor and so on and so forth.

 

Various examples of a moral marketplace can be made, from the retraction of Europe throughout the colonies, to child labor laws. It is easy to forget that only seventy years ago children worked ninety  hours on end in NYC.

 

Casting capitalism as the “other” is to cast it as a social structure that we are not intricately complicit in through every single facet of our daily transactions.

If we are to understand the web of life, there is no room for moralizing the evolution of market dynamics. In the way that it was accepting of slave trade four hundred years ago, the global economy has been accepting of environmental degradation for the past fifty. it is wrong to think that our consciousness has reached an evolutionary highpoint; as men and women across the earth our consciousness evolves into higher states as time and knowledge proliferate; it is reasonable to assume that the marketplace will mutate towards a more sustainable structure.

 

Fritjof Capra: 

As to not dominate the discussion, anyone else?

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— Timothy McViegh’s T-shirt

 

“Today, we can be sure that the Democratic Party, unless it faces a popular upsurge, will not move off center. The two leading Presidential candidates have made it clear that if elected, they will not bring an immediate end to the Iraq War, or institute a system of free health care for all.

They offer no radical change from the status quo.

They do not propose what the present desperation of people cries out for: a government guarantee of jobs to everyone who needs one, a minimum income for every household, housing relief to everyone who faces eviction or foreclosure.

They do not suggest the deep cuts in the military budget or the radical changes in the tax system that would free billions, even trillions, for social programs to transform the way we live.

Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war.

Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”

— Howard Zinn 

 

 

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