|April 11, 2012|
From Slacker, Orion Pictures, 1991
New York City is the great circling bathtub drain that young people from the college towns and mid-sized cities of North America disappear into, unable to resist the siren song of their own cosmopolitan ambitions. The drainage of souls from second- and third-tier cities like Cleveland, Columbus, and Houston culturally balkanizes the nation—the family-oriented and content stay at home, breeding more of the same, while the driven and career-minded pack off to New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to join thousands of others like them in the endless cultural orgy.
The most effective propaganda for the young urban way of life is friends. Many of those who stay in hometowns inevitably end up consuming the lives of their New York and California friends on Flickr and Facebook—their all-night parties and hangover brunches, their real careers, their expansive dating pool, their avant-garde theatre and Upright Citizens Brigade, until they eventually decide to give in and make a considered move to the city to join the party. This cultural natural selection—the coasts thriving and the middle dying out—is quietly undermined by a fifth column of factions that resiliently stick around smaller, less glitzy places to build them up and make them better places to live. These cultural Maoists bunker down against the forces of gravity to start up community spaces, independent video and record stores, and bike shops, seemingly undaunted by the losing war they’re fighting against attrition.
In Richard Linklater’s 1991 portrait of Austin’s freak gentry Slacker, there is a piece of recurrent graffiti that reads, “If you don’t like NYC, don’t go.” This early lumpen premonition of the coming Friends-era migration seems to be a preoccupation for this filmmaker. After a short stint living in New York, Linklater moved back to his Texas hometown and made Slacker on a shoestring budget of loans and maxed-out credit cards. When the film met with success, Linklater refused to move to Hollywood—instead he took an unconventional route, bunkering down in Austin and buying a two-story warehouse for Detour, his fledgling film production company. Nurtured by Detour and the Austin Film Society nonprofit, Linklater in Austin built up a small-film cottage industry. Slacker, though often canonized as a portrait of 1990s youth culture, is at root a local film. It was shot and produced entirely in Austin with local non-actors and musicians like the Butthole Surfers’ drummer Teresa Taylor. The fictionalized, documentary-style film doesn’t have a plot or recurring characters—long, omniscient shots track from one set of Austin hipsters to the next—but it manages to succeed on its own terms. Now, Slacker feels like a terrarium—a little universe of the living ideas and archetypes of a bygone time, preserved behind glass.
Merleau-Ponty’s Child Psychology
As much as death signals the end of the self, birth is just as mysterious. Both extend out to infinity and signal the brevity and contingency of our lives. As mysterious are those first few years of life that one does not have access to as an adult, I know I existed before my earliest memories. I know I interacted with others, I learned to walk and talk. I was willful from my parent’s tales.
William Pope.L: Reader Friendly
William Pope.L is famous for (among other things) carrying a business card that identifies him as “The Friendliest Black Artist in America.” It’s a clever gag because it makes itself true, in a way, every time it draws people closer. The card must be especially useful when Pope.L does business with people who dread Black men or Black artists.
10 Things the NSA Has Seen Me Do
One winter in my early twenties myself and some good friends — a merging of art, music and literary ladies of New York, full-grown girls aspiring to be women — got together, had a lovely dinner, some wine and delightful chat. Then we decided to spend an hour practicing “Teach Me How To Dougie”. NSA — can you teach me how to Dougie? You know why? “Because all my bitches love me.”
You may also like :
How fitting and dispiriting that an opera so determined to adapt to the times was produced by a company that ultimately failed to do so. The libretto by Richard Thomas is a vibrant mash-up of contradictory attributes, at once slangy and poetic, filthy and elevated, hilarious and touching. The most trenchant lines were delivered by the chorus, a hortatory crew who in the NYCO presentation were as admonishing as any band of onstage commentators since the ancient Greeks, though rather more profane
It is nine at night on my last day in the South before my great-aunt Nancy and I start making fried chicken. The whole thing came about this way: Suddenly, after eating Nancy’s cake for cousin Judy’s birthday, I was filled with unaccountable remembrance of how, years ago, almost as a kind of ritual, my grandmother used to tell me that if I wanted to make good fried chicken I should ask Nancy. “You mean Alice,” Nancy corrects when I ask her to tell me about chicken. “Everyone knows Alice's was the best.”
These social paradigms derived from the code of the network constitute the second characteristic, for while agency is explicitly exercised at the level of the individual, the interaction or mode of affect between these individuals occurs in spaces where network activity operates under less visible, but equally significant imperatives. It should be noted that Anonymous did not begin as a series of sporadic, disconnected cyber-attacks, but was conceived through an exchange of ideas on the imageboard site 4chan, a space initially built for fans of Japanese popular culture.