slo-mo train (wreck) coming
|I never even got this up on the sidebar, but I appeared on "Phoning It In" on Providence's WMBR last week, playing 2 old songs, 3 newish ones, and a Lesley Gore cover on which I always blow a couple of gendered-pronoun changes. Between-song banter awkward as always (for me, an on-air tradition). Here's the session. And here's the archive, a sort of lo-fi who's who that I haven't had the chance to explore (Robert Scott! The Bruces!).|
Hitting Somerville tomorrow. The coincidence of my trip to greater Boston with St. Patrick's Day is just that; I haven't had time to learn "When Clancy Lowered the Boom."
Sam Frank writes:
"Saw you posted on Out 1. My interest in it, for what it's worth, mostly came down to a political one. Applying a simplistic structuralist diagram to the thing: I saw an axis with poles representing the two alternatives to bourgeois conciousness or whathaveyou, that is the collective (the theater groups, improvising at great length away from subjectivity) and the isolate (Leaud, Berto). With the conspiracy structure, which relinks the collective and the isolate, taking its place as the opposite number of the bourgeois. I don't know what to do with this reading once I get to this point, and it doesn't account for the differences between Leaud and Berto and between the two theater groups, but it did somehow seem helpful. Or, it allowed me to settle into the rehearsals, looking at them as rehearsals for utopia. A similar logic could account for the sheer number of encounters Berto has--i.e. this is what we are once social logic falls away or some such, just one thing after another--but I'd already seen edited versions of most of them in Spectre, so I wasn't as interested. Whereas Spectre cuts out most of the rehearsals, which in turn cuts down on the formal balance--the theater groups are just confusing; you don't know what in the world they're about--and makes everything more paranoid."
There's something right about this, especially in seeing the theater groups as perpetual rehearsing for utopia; it's hard not to notice, even before both troupes start losing members or focus and otherwise falling apart, that no one seems terribly concerned about getting the respective shows on the boards. You could say similar things about most (all?) of the film's representations of collective endeavor; the stoners behind the underground newspaper never even get as far as arguing over content -- they can't even agree on digest or tabloid-size. A pall of entropy hangs more or less heavily over every story arc. But where most movies would, I think, point at this sort of thing as a sign of the ineffectuality of revolutionary dreams, my sense is that Rivette doesn't mean to denigrate the process, whether product is forthcoming or not. (Thinking of it this way makes me feel a little better about this blog.)
Accuracy and completeness aside, I think the really interesting thing is the extent to which a film the constituents of which partake so heavily of "anti-form" can be organized to lend themselves to this kind of large-scale allegorical interpretation. Maybe more on the Thirteen (which to my mind serves to muck up much of the above, having something of the ur-MacGuffin non-explanatory arbitrariness of the birds in The Birds) and the isolates later. For now, I'll just wonder if there's been anything really thorough written (especially in English) on Suzanne Schiffman. (I don't have enough French to do the job, but here's a free title: "The Script-girl as Auteur.")
"Reading is important because it makes you look down, an expression of shame. When the page is shifted to a vertical plane, it becomes an advertisement, decree, and/or image of a missing pet or child. We say that texts displayed vertically are addressed to the public, while in fact, by failing to teach us the humility a common life requires, they convene a narcissistic mass." (Ben Lerner, Angle of Yaw)
Wowed as I am by the mileage gotten and the changes rung on a Benjamin epigraph here and throughout, I couldn't help wondering what it meant for the assertions made above (and this is a poetry where speaking of assertion is not a category error) that I first read this paragraph lying down, alone, with the book propped vertically on my stomach. Overall, I don't know when I last encountered a work of any sort expressing such a thorough loathing of every form of representation. (Whatever it was, I'm pretty sure it was something that also strove to eschew representation in its own procedures, which Lerner's does not, thus effecting a strong sense of self-hatred and self-cancellation; of shame. The reflexive here refers to the text, not the man.) Wish I had more time to contrast Lerner's approach with Max Winter's in The Pictures. The latter also makes an issue of aerial photography, but Winter's book is about the difficulty and necessary incompleteness of representation, while Lerner's is (I claim) about the impossibility and, hence, undesireability of same. (Also relevant: back cover of More Songs About Buildings and Food; "I wouldn't live there if you paid me."; The Republic.)
While I share several of Jordan's issues with blogging, I find that the mere having of attention to divide divides attention, so not blogging is not going to help me there, and the opposition between the "small"ness of the points made and the "real"ness of the questions not examined is one I, both as analyst and as idler, must reject. Size ain't scale, lest we forget. But Jordan likely meant "small" in the sense of "petty," in which case, small in the other sense point taken.