“A peculiar claim: how can Roudinesco possibly know whether more psychological and social suffering is caused by obesity, youth unemployment, factory closures and – one rather admires the leap – the hygienisation of sex, than, say, by the bubonic plague, the Spanish Inquisition or the slave trade? And haven’t any of our gains offset our losses? Thanks to hygienisation, sex has become less spontaneous … but we don’t all have syphilis. (‘syphilis: Pretty much everyone has it.’) It is a terrible irony of the Foucauldian anti-medicalisation argument that Foucault himself died of Aids at the age of 57, that he didn’t practise safe sex, and didn’t know about HIV transmission until a few months before his death. (It is even said that Foucault initially discounted Aids as a mythical homosexual-targeting disease invented by the medical superstructure to control male homosexuality; in this sense, he was a literal victim of his own conspiracy theories.) In other words, we might all have benefited had Foucault undergone some ‘medicalisation’ and ‘hygienisation’.”—
“While performers like Lil Wayne do indeed send non-musical vocal sounds – gasps, raps, laughs – through Auto-Tune, T-Pain’s heavily imitated style is defined by lushing-up carefully sung choruses, making them more prominent precisely because of the cybernetic sheen. Rosen hears rupture and loss and, true, Auto-Tune redefines soulful singing and denies us obvious virtuosity. Yet the plug-in pushes talent into a different location, denaturalizing the voice as a locus of soul or skill. Using Auto-Tune effectively requires symbiosis with its digital algorithms. After joking about vocalists who ask him to ‘make their voice robotic’, Moroccan producer Wary says: ‘Sometimes you have great singers who don’t know how to use Auto-Tune and it sounds really bad.’ Traditional singing chops aren’t so useful in Auto-Tune’s world. It’s neither a fight with technology nor love of it; it’s more like glossy coexistence, a strange new dance of give-and-take.”—
The Amnesty International meeting I attended was supposed to be an ice-cream social, but nobody picked up any ice-cream. So I wrote two letters and listened to the undergraduates talk about their awesome post-grad prospects, and felt an immediate and intense sense of failure! There should have been ice-cream! And socializing! If last year was my great unfeeling epoch of chivalry, bad handjobs and dancing, this year is the great unceaseing epoch of feeling embarrassed, bored, ashamed and cruelly stupid. The dance parties have sucked, too. Spring can eat its own grass. The trees can fall down. The birds can stop singing. In less than 15 days, the shades come off.
How dissatisfying! Not for you, of course—the trip to France will be worth it, obviously; time abroad… what does time abroad do for the soul? —Tempers it, strengthens it through heat and distance and tonguing. (I’m lying, actually; the Old Continent has expensive foods, yes, and crypts to thumb through at every half-stop on the train, but soul? Hadn’t that been bled out in two world wars? —Yet! Why be cynical! I want to be there, I want to return tonight!) —Had I known all along that you were going away again? I suspect I had—I had known at one time, or been tipped off. But here I’ve been thinking you were returning to campus all week—until I read your email. Foolish. Should it matter? I wonder these things. Ah, Cody. Aha. I returned to my friends’ apartment down the hill and listening to music and drinking so many martini’s I began to parse your email and my brow furrowed deeper and deeper, and I realized—Ah! but he will not be dancing in this part of the world this semester. I admit I was struck by a deeper symmetry in this development. What good is music anyway? I was riding in the backseat watching the rain beat against the windshield and the wipers smoothing the water away in great indelicate handfuls, and I thought to myself—Ah. Aha.
Because I don’t follow the X-Men franchise, what appeared before me tonight was more or less exactly what I wanted. Abs of steel, curious hair, explosions. The girl with diamond skin. Cyclops hanging out with his rose-colored glasses. Gambit is a wizard, right? With a staff and purple fire? This origins film was either a very terrible western or a delicious popcorn flick, on par with any “Mummy” movie, except the last “Mummy” set in China.
Then I ate Taco Bell. Then I ate Wendy’s. Then I read the large Vanity Fair story about Keith Gessen and Emily Gould. Earlier in the day I declined a position in George Mason University’s M.F.A. program, citing lack of funds (I really am too poor just now). I contacted Brooklyn College about monies for their English M.A., and elsewhere I looked at vynil at a thrift store behind Dynasty Chinese restaurant. Didn’t buy any records.
Cody and I took a nap together between 6:30 and 8.
It has been a most excellent Monday. My future is on hold but the weater is stupendous.