Archive for April, 2013

Calaveras County vomits more hell for us.

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Anyone who knows me, or has read my gig here, knows, I have a heart of stone.

I’m impervious to emotion. I barely know my own feelings most of the time.

I am a lump of coal. I love gore. I delight in scenes of death. I depersonalize this world. I have lost sympathy.

So when I soften at a murder, you must pay heed.

I’ve been following the story of Leila Fowler since the weekend. She is the 8-year-old Valley Springs girl in Northern California who was stabbed to death by an intruder on Saturday who was subsequently confronted by the victim’s 12-year-old brother before fleeing. A second witness also described a similar man fleeing the scene.

There is no apparent motive other than robbery in the isolated community in the California Sierra foothills.

There are so many levels of madness. It’s overwhelming. And intoxicating!

Our instinctive moral compass informs us that 8-year-old girls should not bear the brunt of random psychopathy. But alas, they do. We cannot account for human vileness. She was only 8-years-old, man.

Why do we plead with maniacs? This is the pinnacle of insanity, is it not? To do the same thing and expect different results, so they say?

The killer is described as 6′ tall, possibly White or Hispanic, with long gray hair.
This world is fucked up as it is, and now you have to come along and make it worse. I don’t understand, and people like you make me want to understand it less.

We all once knew a greater bliss.

More links:

LA Times

“Rectify” and loss of esoteric mystery.

Monday, April 29th, 2013

After watching the 2nd episode of Rectify, I can see why television has the capability of triumphing over theatrical features in artistic excellence. A feature length film, intent on shedding light on the deepest recesses of the human psyche, could never do it in 3 or 4 hours, which is about the most that any star-driven feature-length flick can afford to prolong. Features are given 4 hours to air their wisdom. Televised broadcast is like a long novel you have the ability to put down and pick up again. The kernel of intellect is planted and television is becoming the parcel of intellect, motion pictures, the refuse heap of cheap visual effects-driven entertainment.

Rectify is about the mystical underbelly of 21st Century unbridled craziness. The show has evolved into a hybridized mash-up of William Faulkner and Albert Camus. The main character, Daniel Holden, is a misplaced speck of timeless dust that lost a game of musical chairs, and now that his world has filled all its roles in artificially delineated smugness, he has nowhere to land.

Holden is a man in body, but a spirit in mind.

He follows a path entirely his own, and thus, excludes all else in his external environment. Thus, he is ostracized from those who live life on it most superficial and base modern terms.

I identify with Holden. I live life on my own terms and consider myself beholden to a select few, but in the process, enervate a solitary existence that envelopes itself.

No one can rescue, and no one can destroy.

I am too esoteric. Maybe I should be less so. In this short clip, Amantha, Daniel’s sister, and his public defender, Jon Stern (who, by the way, have struck up a small incriminating “friendship”) are discussing the public relations strategy around Daniel’s very visible entrance back into a small, cloistered Southern society. Stern is thinking out loud about Daniel’s initial impressions.

I want to be less esoteric.

A stroke of genius on the part of the show’s writers!

I find it ironic: this embedded little nugget that earnestly guffaws at the very show itself. This is no world for the esoteric. The esoteric is shunned and feared. It kills scores of people at once and threatens the simple-minded normals with its obscure inner maze. Esoteric is dead. We have cameras and super-powerful computers than can dissemble your motives and DNA. Big Data is making everything less esoteric! In a world where secrets are brittle reminders of an era where we only knew what we saw with our humanly senses, esoteric can only exist in our own minds. The instant we let esoteric see the light of day, it is forever engraved in the Google-tracked world of permanence.

Daniel Holden’s re-emergence into 2013 society mimics the unleashing of stoic man. The mindful, the precise, the private and the methodical trampled, gutted, and illuminated in the “free” society of socially unleashed self-revelation and Big Brothered white-washed intrusions. I am reminded utterly of Kwai Chang Caine’s malformed entrance into the Wild American West by way of feudal China. The clash of cultures subsumes a sense of individuality.

Mostly, I realized when watching episode 2 of Rectify, the show is commenting on our cyber/digital age which is younger than the time Holden spent in prison and the age of many of its newest adherents. Daniel Holden’s incarceration is a metaphor for the forgotten male manner of the world. Opened up and illumined by the digitally curious feminine translations of technological modernity.

Daniel’s esoteric heart is in a battle and Rectify will show us the playing field. I do not feel any sense of inhibition proclaiming this wonderful new show as a tour de force with mighty philosophical underpinnings that will estrange 99% of the American public. Season 2? Hmmm. I have heard promising things.

The snowstorm and white-out conditions at Coachella music festival. Whey dat black man from???

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

They tell me I’m too old to be going to these crazy things. I’m not sure what they are inferring. Am I too old because the music is “for kids?” Or am I too old because of the ensuing week of debilitation I experienced Monday onward due to severe hay fever and the cold that sprang from it? This year’s Coachella music festival (week 2, April 19-21) was by far much dustier and pollen-ridden than last year’s. By Friday night, my nose was dripping with the ferocity of Niagra Falls and disgusting allergic dark bags had formed fulsomely under both eyes. We drove back home on Sunday night/Monday morning, and I was for once prescient enough to take Monday off but I spent the day in a spell of semi-lucidity. The day was a waste. No person should be so demolished from a “simple” 3-day music festival in the inland desert empire of SoCal, which I suppose lends credence to those who would say I’m too old for this annual Coachella gig. But is there a regret to be found on my part? Hell no. Coachella offers something useful to a person such as I, a modern urban hermit who does all he can to stay out of that “loop” of youth and pop culture. Immersing myself in the raucous annual insanity of Coachella lets me keep tabs on how far society has strayed from my immutable concept of what I believe life should be as opposed to the dystopia it frenetically devolves into. Coachella allows me to see how “the other half lives” and enjoy some great musical acts in the process, not to mention the countless spectacles of young kids trying to make statements in whatever transparently self-conscious and overstated manner possible (such as the unmistakably male dude we saw on day one wearing a puffy skirt and fishnet stockings over a pair of black skater-type sneakers). Oddly, this cathartic social practice of mine is not accurately described as a representative sample or exposure to mass society because the population samples that are present at Coachella are largely atypical and not what you’ll experience in every day life, more so with some people than others depending on their social circles.

Namely, this is a pretty way for me to say that the annual Coachella Music and Arts festival is White as hell. I was joking about it with my brother and the metaphor surfaced that it was like a snowstorm in the desert. So many White people, and if not White, people of color with hard-core White sensibilities, ie, SWPL’s.

As usual, click on the thumbnail for a larger view

On the positive side, this means the crowd is relatively well-behaved. Good humor and good cheer abound. Guys don’t walk around with chips on their shoulders and most girls don’t paint themselves up and dress up like hoochie mamas. It’s a very reasonable, White event and good times are had by all in evenly apportioned measure. I could try to guess or deduct why this demographic trend is present, but I simply do not know. Attending this festival is very expensive and time-intensive. It straddles the line of utter conspicuous consumptive luxury. Much of the music is “alternative” and does not appeal to archetypal urban minorities who’d rather listen to mindless rap booming out their overpriced auto speakers. It’s a White experience and I am amused by all the White people and their peculiarities. I feel like a stranger in a very strange land here in the dry hot desert of overpriced food and simmering pale, red skin.

A short brown man! And look, a woman of color in a lime green something. Is she Black or Indian?

White people love the sun. Sun is a measure of elitism. The measure of sun you can decadently worship (on your own terms!) is a symbol of your income level and social status. In fact, when driving into the festival, you drive through surrounding desert communities teeming with exorbitant gated real estate and country clubs. (The little voice in my heads keeps asking why people with so much money choose to live in such a parched shithole). It’s 95 degrees and White people relish putting the top down on their Jaguar or Corvette convertibles here while they stew in their leather seats. Nothing proclaims success like this sweaty discomfort! White people love groups of friends and talking about corny stuff. White people are jovial and they dance for no reason in the right situation, and they love to talk talk talk. But it’s all in good fun and they will leave you alone! Try going to a Raiders game in Oakland if you don’t like this scene. It’s stupid but generally harmless, except for the mind-blowing dust.

While we sat on the open, un-shaded grass watching Dinosaur Jr perform at the Outdoor Stage, it occurred to me that I should take a series of “panoramic” photographs to highlight the White-out conditions at Coachella. Dinosaur Jr is a really great band from Massachusetts that’s been around a long time and has appeared on bills with Sonic Youth. No one could accuse them of pulling in that highly “lucrative” Compton demographic. The audience that watched reaffirmed this Whiteness. Still, to single out Dinosaur Jr would be unfair, because they embody the music festival’s vibe. I doubt very many people came to Coachella merely to watch Dinosaur Jr. Their crowd in an extension of the overall Coachella paradigm.

This is a young, White, hipster crowd, a new wave of liberal social reformists that stodgy conservatives and traditionalists despise and fear. I don’t even fight it. I just love them all.

I’ve boxed in green those people I suspect, or know, are not members of the Whitest Coachella demographic. Take these small 3 snapshots and extrapolate them by hundreds or thousands. That’s the Coachella racial breakdown. It’s called a “representative sample.”

Sundance Channel’s Rectify series. A prison mystic sets out on his travels.

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

I saw the first episode of this mindful little show earlier.

Touted as a new series brought to us “by the makers of Breaking Bad,” the show is immediately burdened by unspoken expectations. This might be both a blessing and a curse, for many simple-minded viewers might be unable to sieve out their expectations into an orderly and fair manner when considering “Rectify.” Having thus bolstered their expectations to unrealistic levels, they are likely to toss the baby out with the bathwater for the simple fact that Rectify does not involve speeding motor homes or meth-crazed capitalists.

Rectify must be viewed and perceived on its own terms.

The first episode (hour one of two) sets up many questions and plants various genesis’s of an enveloping multi-pronged plot involving Daniel Holden, a prisoner released from death row (having been reprieved from the lethal injection 5 times) after fresh DNA evidence exculpates him of the murder of a young girl (for the time being anyways, as a group of intent prosecutors and lawmen, unconvinced of his innocence, parlay their shared skepticism into a “movement” whose purported aim is to try Holden again). Many promising avenues of conflict are awakened in episode one.

Holden, who practiced Tibetan chanting during his 20-year-stay on death row, is released quietly into the world having apparently undergone a radical transformation into prison mystic.

Having been outside the consumerist, materialist electronic matrix for the last two decades of its hold on society, he is a throwback of sorts, spiritually and emotionally. Spared the ravages of social media and the fast-paced world of instant digital feedback, he appears utterly calm and mindful. But there is a lot going on that episode one suggests obliquely. And we wonder where Daniel Holden will lead us.

Will he embrace distracted and disconnected modernity, or will he maintain his path of penitentiary asceticism?

The Brothers Tsarnaev weren’t really that awesome. A corn-fed American boy done much better.

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

It was early on a friggin’ Monday morning. No one wanted to be there.

First period was minutes away and early arrivals at Chardon High School in northeastern Ohio were settling into the cafeteria to eat breakfast in preparation for the beginning of another school week. It was about 7:30 am when Thomas M. Lane, III, a student at a nearby “alternative” school (ie, for delinquents and retards), stood up and began shouting. He headed toward a table where a group of boys sat and shot them with a .22 caliber handgun he had stowed in. He ran out the cafeteria and shot a female student on the way. In all, he shot 5 students before being chased out of the school by a very courageous teacher by the name of Frank Hall. Lane was arrested a short time later near his car.

Two of the shooting victims survived, but the others were not so fortunate. They died over the course of days.

Dead were Daniel Parmertor, 16, Russell King, Jr., 17, and Demetrius Hewlin, 16. Rumors circulated that one of the victims, King, had recently begun dating Lane’s ex-girlfriend, and witnesses claimed Lane appeared to target the table where he sat.

After a chaotic year-long trial spiraling around the issue of 17-year-old Lane’s legal (and criminal) status as an adult, Judge Timothy J. Grendell, on March 19 of this year, sentenced Lane to serve three life sentences in prison without parole.

Most egregious about the case were not the cold-blooded murders, but the behavior of the defendant, Lane, in court on the day of his sentencing. He took his dress shirt off to reveal a horribly disfigured t-shirt (in full view of his victim’s parents) with the word “Killer” etched in front. After the sentencing, his parting words to the same parents was “This hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory. Fuck all of you” and concluded his thoughts with a resounding middle finger.

The evil sadism transcended anything I can think of.

Less than a month later, two Eastern European Russian hoodlums ingeniously built an explosive rig powered by the normal, everyday pressure cooker. They sneaked it slyly into the bowels of a large festive crowd in a large city like Boston. They set it off remotely and still managed to kill a grand total of three people. Their motives seem less depraved than Lane’s, but I still cannot go a day without hearing about their activities of April 15, and the ensuing boat ride.

Pound for pound, they didn’t do shit compared to Lane, who killed three people alone without the crude explosive implementations of the Brothers Tsarnaev.

Something smells rotten here.

But of course, Lane’s downfall was that he didn’t live in the New England media center enclaves. Sucker!