Saturday, July 16, 2011

I like Bill Holm

Look, if for some reason you want to read about Minnesota, bypass the Garrison Keillor rack at your local Waldenbooks. The poet Bill Holm was a more estimable chronicler of Minnesota life. I was going to write a lengthy post about him, but since I’m shite at criticism and don't really understand literature, I’ll just leave you with this thing he wrote about prairies and the personalities they nurture:

There are two eyes in the human head -- the eye of mystery and the eye of harsh truth -- the hidden and the open -- the woods eye and the prairie eye. The prairie eye looks for distance, clarity, and light; the woods eye for closeness, complexity, and darkness. The prairie eye looks for usefulness and plainness in art and architecture; the woods eye for the baroque and ornamental....Sherwood Anderson wrote his stories with a prairie eye, plain and awkward, told in the voice of a man almost embarrassed to be telling them…; Faulkner, whose endless complications of motive and language take the reader miles behind the simple facts of an event, sees the world with a woods eye. One eye is not superior to the other, but they are different. To some degree, like male and female, darkness and light, they exist in all human heads, but one or the other seems dominant. 
...Like a long symphony by Bruckner or Mahler, prairie unfolds gradually, reveals itself a mile at a time, and only when you finish crossing it do you have any idea of what you've seen. Americans don't like prairies as scenery or for national parks and preserves because they require patience and effort. We want instant gratification in scenic splendor as in most things, and simply will not look at them seriously. Prairies are to Rockies what Paradise Lost is to haiku. Milton is cumulative; so are prairies. Bored for days, you are suddenly struck by the magnitude of what has been working on you. It's something like knowing a woman for years before realizing that you are in love with her after all.

--From "Horizontal Grandeur," The Music of Failure.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I would prefer to have a more appealing job, which would attract people rather than make them run. 

If I could still change careers, I would prefer it. I would have done better to buy beautiful dresses and beautiful hats that would underline my natural qualities rather than devote myself to my passion for doubtful constructions and somewhat forbidding groups.

This unfortunate art is made for long beards and ugly faces rather than for a relatively well-endowed woman.

-Camille Claudel

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Put on some shoes already

Please stop wearing sandals. I don't want to look at your feet. Feet are like penises: They're gross and utilitarian. Both of them reek, no matter how much airing out they get. I'll accept that they're necessary, and I'll use them both for my own ends, but I don't want to look at them. I'll accept that some people find feet and penises visually appealing, but that falls into the category of weird fetish and it's something you should keep private.

Getting weekly pedis does not change the situation. I don't care how much Sephora nail polish in PeriNeon Pink or AlMons Joy Brown you slather on your toes or penis, they'll still look weird and rather nausea-inducing.

There are some situations in which it's acceptable to wear sandals or bare feet. Like, if it's over 95 degrees, then sandals are kind of necessary. (I still won't stoop that low, I'll just go sockless in my shoes, but whatever.) A beach or a pool is likewise an acceptable place to display your pedal extremities, but it's also an acceptable place to bare your upper thighs, and the fashion mores of these locales do not apply to the real world. And if you're under 5 years old, bare feet are OK, just like bare bums are OK with young children, because their feet and bums have not yet become all lumpy and misshapen. But past that point, they take on a horrific appearance that is best only revealed in limited situations.

NEVER wear sandals in a restaurant. People are trying to eat. ESPECIALLY if you are a man or a laborer or both. Standing on one's feet all day creates edges where soft curves once existed, and renders skin thick and flaky, and it's not a good look. And if you haven't figured out that you shouldn't wear flip-flops into a place where people are trying to enjoy their gomasio-crusted barramundi, you haven't earned the mantle of Human Being.

Look, you want to know where our society's tolerance of bare feet leads*? I'll tell you. I was at this outdoor festival a couple years ago watching some taiko drum performance or something. I was with my children (all under age 7 at the time, a very tender and impressionable age). Some unknown force compelled me to glance around, and I noticed that the man sitting nearest me was clipping his toenails. At an outdoor taiko drum performance. In a crowd. In front of children. This is not cool, guys. We need to take a stand against this kind of behavior. Cover up! If people are gonna get all freaked out at me publicly nursing an infant, then I can get freaked out at your visible toejam.

We live in an advanced civilization. Some things that were commonplace to our naive and maybe even feeble-minded forebears are considered gauche today. Raping your wife, for example. Inviting neighbors over for a dinner of sorghum gruel. Inviting neighbors over at all. Playing Pink Floyd at a party. And, for fuck's sake, displaying your naked ambulating units in all their writhing biological debasement. We don't have to live like our ancestors anymore. We don't have to live in sod houses or die of smallpox. And we DON'T have to wear sandals for lack of available shoe material! Full-foot shoes are cheap. So cheap, sometimes shoe shops will pay you to take a pair home. Well, maybe not quite, but I think that day is not far in the distance.

So, stop the madness. Stop the sandal-wearing. And tuck your penis back into your pants.

*This is called the slippery slope argument. You should read about it, because everyone needs more logic in their lives.