Saturday, 7 January 2012

Slavoj Žižek: Philosophical funny man

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Interesting read on Marxist/Lacanian philsopher/cultural commentator Slavoj Žižek:

He's got the kind of name i can only copy and paste.
He occupies my favourite grey spot: that warm fuzzy place between high and low culture. 
But is he funny?
Probably not funny ha-ha enough to be dedicating a book of "jokes" to. However he is extremely funny when his publisher is not attempting to contort funny into joke telling. He doesn't tell jokes but he is very witty and impossibly dark. Check out this Q&A from 2008:

A series of interviews would have been more fun and poignant than a joke book. it is through exchanges like this he is forced to answer personal questions: something he is ordinarily good at avoiding, and we get to see him oscillating between Žižek the brand and Žižek the human being who admits his failings as a man, a father, a lover.
He is definitely fascinating, funny or not. Which is why I'll be watching The Pervert's Guide to Cinema this afternoon with a glass of red wine and lounging around my yard revelling in my middle class twatdom and avoiding all non fun related correspondence.
I've never seen it ok? and we're an unhealthily film obsessed little household so I'd like to be able to quote Žižek in some inevitable war on film between me and Mr Marilyn Factor (I'm always ready for battle me)

The Middle Class Handbook: A look back on 2011

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My new guilty pleasure..Oh the delicious Marks and Sparks packaged irony:


This entry had me middle class tittering over a cup of Twinings Moroccan mint tea


This one had me laughing out loud at every moany sod lucky enough to not be living in a cardboard box who exclaims 'youre going to ruin Christmas' in situations that only point to their indulgence. We all do it and should do it a hell of a lot of less which I suppose is why I love this blog: the irony reminds me to not be too much of a cunt. Enjoy.

Ekow Eshun: "Hip-Hop: So now what?"

Good Saturday afternoon read on the future of hip hop from cultural commentator/author/broadcaster/the guy my mum calls me to tell me is on Newsnight! 

http://ekoweshun.com/?p=548

I've had Exquire in the background all morning reminiscing on Wu Tang et al.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Literary calendar for 2012

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Check out The Guardian's Literary Events in 2012:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jan/06/literary-events-2012

I'll be looking forward to Edmund White's Jack Holmes and His Friend.

I'll be queuing up at 4 am outside Waterstones if need be to get my hands on Toni Morrisson's new novel Home.

I'll be ignoring Jonathan Franzen's recommendation for 2012 The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach because I founf Freedom so dry.

(so dry the book is now used in our household to hide the picture light switch that hangs down the back of the bookshelf...sad times Franzen, sad times)

I'll be reading Philip Larkin: The Complete Poems thinking rather mean thoughts about people on the tube just like he would.

I'll be reading The Origins of Sex by Faramerz Dabhiowala on the loo because in my world that is somehow appropriate.

I'll be ignoring Salman Rushdie's memoir of his fatwa experience because it sounds like he just couldn't come up with a novel this year because he was too busy getting his Twitter mack on with z list American "socialites" and I'll be doing the same in relation to Zadie Smith's NW because as anyone who knows me knows full well I have always been unhealthily jealous of her youthful success and have a severe dislike for her writing either as a result of this jealousy (don jealous me...I know...but I can't help it) or because she's not as amazing a fiction writer as the critics insisted? (probably the former innit)

What will you be looking forward to reading this year?


Michael Fassbender...the man any straight dude would be proud to call his boyfriend.

That is all. Feast your eyes on him and read about how cool and talented he is.

Someone lucky from the Guardian gets face-time with Michael Fassbender


Letters by Greenberg: The Diane Abbott Brouhaha!

So here is Diane Abbott receiving a bollocking from her boss and we all know why don't we.

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Oh dear Diane. OH DEAR GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Di's got that look in her eyes, we've all been there, the person you spend most of your day attempting to placate/evade is on you like a fly on shit cos they've got you sussed. You tried to cover it up but everyone knows you sent that email that was meant for your boyfriend to the MD. You're fucked. You know it, your boss knows it and Diane knows it too. And yet she won't stop talking!

Case in point from TODAY!

Diane! There were already a few taxi drivers ready to turf you out of the backseat just for the thrill of it (I met a cab driver a few weeks ago who was convinced that Diane Abbott was the most hypocritical, demonic so and so he'd ever picked up on account of her sending her son to private school...he was also at great pains to assure me that him chucking her out of his cab for this elitism had nothing to do with her being black...NOTHING! YOU HEAR ME?)

(This blogger sums up her crimes against state education)

Here are a list of her crimes against multicultural, on-its-way-to-post-racial-post-Stephen-Lawrence-murder-conviction Britain:

Oooh girl you in trouble now.

Maybe she's doing a disservice to her great nation, maybe she's doing a disservice to her political peers by breaking all the most obvious rules, maybe she's doing a disservice to herself by constantly letting her gums flap. Who knows? It is beyond shameful (but the cynic in me says it is also clearly convenient for some people) that this is overshadowing the convictions of David Norris and Gary Dobson and what could inspire Britain to be self reflexive if even for 10 seconds. Instead of playing the game of wait and see at the most crucial moment Diane seems to have had enough and simply cannot ebb the flow of bitter observations. The kind of nasty but satisfying generalisations you may share knowing you're amongst friends or whilst at home but have no place in the public arena, not when you want to represent the 'general' rather than racially specific public. Is she lazy? Is she verbally incontinent? Or is she just fed up with being PC and has no intention of turning back? All I know is that she is falling into rather cavernous traps she may not be able to get herself out of. The people who will love these moments of crazy/clarity (depending on your personal viewpoint of course) want Diane buried. For real this time.
The Guardian's Michael White shares his as ever lucid commentary on the whole brouhaha here:

I will say that in the context of the original conversation (which seems terrifyingly more distant from every Chinese whisper) that Diane's point, although wholly inappropriate and poorly expressed as per usual when it comes to her and anything to do with race, wasn't total nonsense either. SOME black leaders can be stirrers, all poltiicians are capable of being stirrers,it's polticial Darwinism no? Diane responded to a question about black politicians/leaders and well she fucked it all up.

However, Chuka Umunna is probably and rightly so on Diane's black-leaders-who-will-fuck-you-over-for-airtime-shit-list.

Check him out.

Chuka...Whatever happened to 'no comment' bitch! Since when do we endorse a media lynching? Just stay out of it because the right wingers, the racially paranoid, the politically-always-correct-but-kind of-wishing-they-could-say-things-that-were-appropriate-20-years-ago-but-know-they-cant-now brigade are all ready with their knives out! Why join in? They'll do a marvellous job of slicing her career up on their own as he well knows. Let's hope he is never in the same position. However, I think we all know he probably won't be, he may have broken street code and snitched but he's media savvy whereas Diane has the media instincts of a drunk meerkat and she just keeps on messing her own shit up doesn't she?! If it's not starting a  shit storm on a momentous day that could have had enough legs media wise to focus attention on other similiar cases to that of Stephen Lawrence's, it's airing out old sterotypes about hailing a cab when you're not white. It's not the truth Diane keeps messing with, it's the levels of truth, its the arena she keeps letting them spill into, it's the timing, it's the lack of evidence, the random outbursts that make people defensive about race relations rather than opening a dialogue. Diane talks as if it's just her and Michael Portillo having an abstract discussion on race in the kitchen over mashmellows and Earl Grey by the Aga.

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Honey, Twitter is not your friend. In fact it is no one's friend. It is a tool. A marketing tool or an instrument of doom. Take your pick. I think you already have. It's like you're on a rooftop screaming
'I don't care! I'm not going to take it anymore! You can't stop me. I said it. YOU CAN'T STOP ME. Yea I said it. And WHAT?' 
But it's inappropriate Diane! for a multitude of reasons! and you should know better!: you've been in the game long enough, you've been in the corridors of power with your ear to the door, you're privy to all the horrors we only get to hear about second hand or to experience first hand when something goes terribly wrong and we are denied the justice and transparency you seem to be screaming isn't there. So you should know how to play it. Especially right now. Maybe you're the black leader who is out of touch Diane because right now you're acting a little like Crazy Aunty Diane who shouts out in the middle of every debate on taxes something about genocide in Rwanda. Get your timing right, add some neutralizing words to quench the fire generalisations inevitably spark and someone may actually agree with you. Publicly! Accusing whole types/professions of people of racism is anti-British, at least for this week! and for a person in the public eye it's an eternal no go area, so unless you can accept that perhaps it is time you and Portillo went on that road trip round the Lake District after all. Hmmm? (Diane, are you listening?...Please get down off the House of Common's satellite dish...there's no need to keep shouting we all heard you...)

Greenberg.

Bricktop: An Icon

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Check out this rather interesting read on club queen Ada Smith from the Paris Review last year:

The Paris Review remembers Bricktop

Her name was Ada, erm my middle name is Ada. She was born in 1894, I was born in 1984, she had a crazy Irish mother, I have a half crazy half Irish mother...see where I'm going with this? Clearly Bricktop aka Ada Smith who owned a legendary saloon frequented by the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Cole Porter, was a kindred spirit. Clearly if we turned some of those birth digits around I too could have been asked to meet Martin Luther King for a Nobel Peace Prize gin and t. Sadly there is no parallel universe for me to prove this to be a reasonable assumption to make so I'll just soak up all the story possibilities this Paris Review article invokes about a woman who lived the kind of life a lot of African-Americans dare not dream of pre Civil Rights era. Ada made life happen: some of it happened by accident of course, as it always does but a lot of it she made happen through being fabulous and sparkling her way from poverty to royalty without ever feeling she did not have a right to. I like that. A lot. Kind of makes me wish Ada was my first name too.

Harleminmontmartre
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