Maybe a Little Sappy, I Donno

My understanding, from the first I began to think about girls as partners, is that affection and love centers on peace and contentment. As many shared worlds as possible. Intimacy is an escape from the anger and jagged tone of the best day-to-day, let alone the worst. It makes you stronger together. There is a huge torrent of art in all media that reflects this.

Of course, there is a smaller, plainly more obsessive, current of art in all media that reflects the opposite. This is all psychopathology on a sliding scale: slap is fun; beat to pulp is fun; strangle is fun; slash and cut to pieces is fun. Touching on this is not wrong, in fact even worldly. Embodying it is different.

If you got intimate violence out there, I don’t want you to have no control over me whatsoever.

Information Needs To Make a Buck

Excellent essay on the unavoidable eclipse of “free” journalism. I’ve known this was coming since Amazon devoured Rock.com by starting to sell recordings. I would only add one of the sorriest culture currents I know: deep down, too many people think writing, even journalism, is not real work. As McArdle notes, they have no idea.

The Muse Hasn’t Gone Away — Merely Changed and Semi-Retired

When I regularly wrote poems, their beginnings were effortless, pure pleasure. The lines would start blooming in my head and I would write them down soon as possible. Sometimes took two or three sessions to complete a work. I would reread many times and do refinements and revisions, but those first flashes were all fun.

Only got a half-dozen (not-great) poems in the last 40 years. But occasionally a small piece of writing like a caption or a blurb or a short preview will suddenly start flowing out of the tap in my brain. Happened today when I was driving. Had to keep repeating the thing to myself until I could get to a keyboard. But I didn’t mind a whit.

Joyce Carol Oates and the Vortex of American Violence

Joyce Carol Oates just put this brilliant comment on Twitter:

all we ever hear is NRA. who exactly are the gun manufacturers whose merchandise is being peddled? whose guns are killing citizens, thousands a year? CEO’s certainly have names. the anonymity of NRA gives it a spurious aura, like “act of God.” blood on the hands of–exactly whom?

 She has the most profound understanding I know of American violence, its cover-up, and its eerie connection to a current of Edgar Allen Poe/H.P. Lovecraft that runs through the country.
If you haven’t read her incredible 1966 story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” you must.

It is a masterpiece beyond compare.

There’s Not a Riot Going On

This is the piece that put a huge crack in the foundation of my reverence for Malcolm Gladwell (yes, it’s about school shootings). I’m not sure Winkler’s recommendations at the end of the piece add up to much, either, but there’s no question she’s right about the flaws in comparing school shootings to riots. Since reading this, I’ve noticed Gladwell often has the fatal structure of superficially compelling argument based on a messed-up premise. Of course, the New Yorker goes ahead and reprints his essay about school shootings as though nobody had said nothing.