Monday, May 10, 2010

you monsters, you!

Various Artists, The Medium is the Massage (Via Boing Boing)
The National, Blue Violet (out next week)
Various Authors, Best of LSU Fiction (2010, The Southern Review)
The Fall, Your Future, Our Clutter (2010, Rhapsody)
A bunch of neo-Gypsy music I cannot get into
Stinking Lizaveta, Scream of the Iron Iconoclast (2007, Rhapsody)

There was a time when I would've cornered you and bored you silly about Marshall McLuhan, just like this.

"Marshall McLuhan" scene from Annie Hall

All those little used trade paperbacks with fab sixties design by McLuhan and Alan Watts and Buckminster Fuller and the Existentialists and weird little weathered tomes about conceptual art and how Now! everything was then all crammed in my perfect board-n-cinder block bookshelf. Leaves of Grass and Finnegan's Wake had a special place on top of the tank in the bathroom.

I had at least five Firesign Theatre records, a few of which I could probably recite now if I let myself and made tape collages of great important art on scattered audio equipment in that little apartment. Listening to The Medium is the Massage, a wacky/dense hullabaloo of McLuhan's concepts jazzed up for hipsters, on the way to do a story in Mamou this weekend brought all that back, cornering me at my own mental party.

McLuhan correctly predicted the geometric shrinking trajectory of the American attention span, starting with the printing press and then radio and then television, but I think he grokked the sharpness that can come with shrinkage. Maybe we aren't chipping away at our brains as much as we are honing them. He phrased his philosophy in bon mot form because that's what's going to stick to the walls of the escape pod. He emitted them in repeated thin lines, forming an ever-changing Big Picture, like how a TV does its thing. Follow "him" on Twitter. (@mcluhan)

I went for my first swim of the year at my buddy John's pool. I would've taken a picture but I was too wrapped up in the fried okra, above. Trust that there will be plenty of glamorous pool pix to come. I'm reading Best of LSU Fiction to review it but really, this collection is so much better than one would expect from a good-job-buddy title. The Fall never fails, the National might need to get over themselves a little and Stinking Lizaveta roams the earth like frost giants tearing the thatch roofs off of village hovels, sniffing around for meat. Happy Monday, you monsters, you!

Stinking Lizaveta, 'Thirteenth Moon," May 17, 2009 at Buccaneer Lounge, Memphis, Tennessee.

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