At least we got a long, detailed look at all sides of the exterior of the cathedral when we visited Paris. Were astonished at the huge number of individually rendered gargoyles all over the upper structure. Never felt the medieval-monster mindset so vividly. An agonizing reminder that fire is the enemy of beauty and history.
With all the hoo-hah about rigged admissions to prestige colleges, I thought I would add a very long-term reflection on the process.
My Father was Amherst Class of 1912 (yes, he was born in 1890). His whole interpretation of what a college education meant was just, duh, accepted by me as a little kid, though resisted when it came time for me to do the thing myself.
For Dan Miles, the product of a relatively old-elite family in MA, a college degree certified your presence in the higher WASP orders. Very few were intended to get them.
For Milo Miles, the product of a relatively farmland-elite family in MT, a college degree was what the majority of high-school graduates who had their shit together needed for at least a middle-class future.
I’ve mentioned on Twitter how the news of a gay-rights demonstration at Amherst kept my dad from insisting I go there (that wasn’t all — he sensed that there was more freedom of choice for young-uns at the end of the ’60s). I decided that “going away” to college would shred my worthwhile MT roots (there’s more to it, but Nunya), so went to both MSU Bozeman and U of M Missoula.
I got the degree, with a couple buffs added. Dad died the next year (at 85). I’ve always thought that part of it was that he was determined to hang on until I got that college certificate, which meant that my work life would be taken care of from then on. At once a nice and nasty dream.
This poll that started back when Neanderthals voted in the Village Voice has acted like I don’t exist for years and years now and I’ve returned the favor for a while.
I’ve only thought of one new thing to say: the poll had a lot of power in its peak era because it damn near covered the popular-music profession. The whole gang voted.
Now, given the interwebs horde of podders and posters and piddlers and poopdits, the poll doesn’t represent anything except another Usual Gang of Idiots among the zillions.
So — eeeh.
Is it new tech or the interwebs or the combination of the two? Anyway, I learned a looong time ago that there was a sort of evil happy-talk associated with online business operations. “Hey, trust us, trust us — we’ll keep things idealized!” The only excuse is that back in them there days, internet commerce really did seem to have open possibilities. But ever since the Amazon flood, that’s been a fool’s delusion.
The end of a home electronic era that deeply saddens me. My vintage Sony Walkman D-EJ958 — metal case, beyond durable construction, never skipped and, coupled with an Airhead amplifier, produced the richest portable sound I’ve ever heard — had a terrible flaw: it was powered by rechargeable batteries that, after years, stopped recharging. And Sony didn’t make them any more. By a miracle, I tracked down a set of rechargeables that precisely matched the originals. After years, same problems.
The glorious hope is that the player could use an external power adapter that used regular AA batteries. Little more cumbersome, sure, but it worked many years longer than both the rechargeables combined. Then last week, it went haywire and began to get hot as hell with the batteries in it. Not. Good. And the final terrible development is that Sony has discontinued the external power adapter.
This was my favorite portable source since CDs were the raging rulers of music. Sure, I already have a second Walkman set with an Airhead, but it is decidedly the acceptable-plus backup player.
In sunny moments, I remember how seeing many of these for the first time on microfilm at Montana State University Library thrilled and excited me — this was how this world hidden by my isolated Montana culture looked!
In dreary afternoons like today’s, it can suggest not only a vanished world but a broken, or at least unfulfilled, promise: American bohemia would last forever; there was always going to be places, more and more maybe, where you could run wild and break the rules if you did it with grace and style. But true mass bohemia ruins the phenomenon. And the decline and fall of the Establishment made the rebellions empty.
In calm evenings like this, I can settle on being grateful that I met Beat writer stars Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsburg and found the latter to be especially funny, entertaining, wonderful in a rowdy Montana bar and even a wise, guru-type person. He conveyed a lasting impression of the freedom Beat and Hippie granted youth.
Oh, and the book includes a marvelous photo I had not seen of Leonard Cohen right before his first NY performance.
As a regular newspaper column, anyway. Cecil tries to be upbeat about the online community aspect, but as far as I’m concerned, yet another sign that, right now, the World Wants Stupid.