Saturday, November 10, 2007


this is how the middle-brow works, you see: so many thoughts, so many ideas. i keep waiting for that special chip that lets selected thoughts save to the hard drive of my computer; my walks to the liquor store will then forever retain their poignancy.
i was walking to the store trying to wrap my mind around the idea of a blog. what will be my narrative, my theme? forever defined by the blogs we read and knowing that our, or at least my, mind doesn't work that way. a passage kept running through my brain and i couldn't figure out where i read it:

Imagine if talking pictures hadn’t been invented in 1927, but eighty years later, in 2007. Do you think Hollywood studios today would conclude that they needed to hire house composers and full orchestras to accompany the drama with symphonic scores? Something we take for granted about the form of modern talking pictures—dialogue accompanied by orchestral music—arose from a particular kind of cultural aspiration that no longer exists.
then, somehow due to that combination of walking and thinking (and then i'm reminded of kenneth in the episode of 30 rock where once he's told to talk and walk at the same time (in a nice jab at aaron sorkin) he is incapable of doing both), i remember an essay on the twentieth anniversary of allan bloom's The Closing Of The American Mind by Mark Steyn (from which the quote above is taken.)
and then i think, briefly, on The Closing Of The American Mind, that much maligned and much overrated book. the first part of this book is pure genius; an older man angrily making his good-byes to world that has passed him by. while there is much to disregard, there is also so much to cling to. i admit, my copy of this book is heavily underlined. it also gave us Ravelstein, the only book by saul bellow which i have not only read all the way through but read more than once.
i think about saul bellow for a bit; his friendship with martin amis; martin amis's friendship with christopher hitchens; christopher hitchens run in with saul bellow at a dinner at the bellows's house where he was invited by martin amis; martin amis as kingsley amis's son; kingsley amis; kingsley amis as friends with robert conquest; robert conquest as definitive historian of the great terror of soviet union in the '20's; robert conquest as womanizer and poet; robert conquest and kingsley amis as friends with anthony powell; anthony powell as the greatest english (as in england) writer of the 20th century.
then i open the door, walk into my room, and decide that what the world really needs is the video to the movie the legend of billy jean:

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