The TV is on at the office. That doesn’t really narrow it down; in my wing there are five TVs, hanging from the ceiling. It’s like an airport except they play regular-strength CNN, not International CNN, aka Mandatory Airport CNN. I don’t know if they’ve always been on, but it’s a good sign. There used to be a closed-circuit TV system at the old building, broadcasting company messages and hurrahs for long-term employees, blood drive pithes, Fun Facts about this or that. The TVs went dark around the time of the Great Purge, and never came back. Then the TVs were removed. There were poles and brackets sticking out of the ceiling to remind you of one more thing we had eliminated, just like the empty plastic slots by the elevators that used to be filled with newsletters. Years went by. They never took them away. They never filled them up.
Now the TV is playing an ad for a drug that lets you walk around and pick up tomatoes and smile at them. Some sort of mild tranquilizer, perhaps. That's better than the picture of the terrorist with the haircut like an overturned bowl of pudding; they seem to think we should all look at his face periodically throughout the day, instead of the victims. They're always footnotes to the killer's stories.
Daughter is off on a cabin trip. Before she left I shot some video, as I usually do: the standard “off on an adventure, so pretend to be excited” roll. “DAD I’M NOT GOING TO DIE,” she said, because she knew quite well I was filming this in case a tornado sucked up the lake while they were tubing. When I dropped her off one of her friends said “I like your shirt!” They’re all good at that sort of thing. The kid who figures out that flattering adults is easy and bears substantial returns is wise.
There’s this site. It means well. It presents lots of content and has a bright, appreciative tone that finds meaning in almost everything. That’s the problem. Everything is stunning and brilliant and profound, and nine out of ten times the remarks are rather pedestrian observations from the usual early-mid 20th century artists - Gertrude Stein! Anias Ninn! The other day the site posted this:
Oliver Jeffers is one of the most talented and thoughtful children’s book authors and artists of our time. Whether he is exploring love and loss in his unusual stories for young readers or the facts and fictions of memory in his fine art, undergirding his work is a deep fascination with duality and paradox.
Ah, duality. That fascinating, troubling, mystifying idea that provided the philosophical underpinnings of “Batman Returns.” You’re like me, Catwoman said. Split right down the middle. Really? How? On one side, costumed crime fighter. On the other side, guy who behaved in such a way as to enable his costumed crime-fighter life. Bruce Wayne did not agonize over being Batman.
But what does it mean, this duality? Having two parts. Two sides. For some reason people think this is a really deep thing to consider. It gets confused with “secret identity,” as if you’re hiding something. Of course people are always fascinated by what you’re hiding, and the people with least interesting personalties are those who insist there should be absolute uniformity between what you profess and what you manifest. Part of me wants to punch him in the kisser. Part of me knows I should nod politely and seek to exit the conversation. Duality!
Anyway, children’s books? Duality? Sure, why not. It’s a book about a kid who thinks his moose is his pet, but the moose doesn’t understand the concept, and behaves, well, mulishly. The only reason I read the review was the Twitter tease: “We only own something because everybody agrees that we do.”
Which is to say, we don’t own anything at all. Because possession is subject to subjectiveness. If everyone else agrees that we don’t own it, then it can be taken away. It’s all up to Everyone Else. In a sense this is correct, inasmuch as we believe, or accept, a legal framework that governs the means of identifying property ownership. Everyone works in a system that has banks, laws, titles, and so on. Participation implies a certain amount of endorsement, or at least acceptance. Even if you’re an anarchist who wants to smash the banks, you probably think your bike is your bike, and you certainly think your shirt is your shirt, and if Everyone Else decided one day to visit you in the coffee house and take all your clothes, you would probably protest. Right?
The author is quoted thus:
I was reading, at that time, a history of Manhattan and I read about the sale of Manhattan to the Dutch. And the natives who were on the land were like, “Yeah, sure, you can buy it!” But nobody really owns land anyway, so they had to leave — and that was to the great confusion of the Dutch… There was an element of truth in that… We only own something because everybody agrees that we do.
I just thought this was a really interesting concept and applied it to owning a pet…
Do you have any idea what he’s talking about? Who had to leave? The Indians? And that confused the Dutch?
Of course you own land. Oh but do you really own land, now. Yes, really. Unless you want to torture the word “own” to such absurd degrees that it bears no relationship to its actual meaning.
On to science:
I discovered the actual theory of duality, which looks at light in particular — light when measured in particles becomes a particle and light when measured in waves becomes a wave. What I took from that was that it’s up to us, then, how we define it — we choose the equipment with which we measure, so therefore it’s up to us… That was what fascinated me — that we have the ability to look at anything and make it anything we want, to some degree.
That’s why I started making art about that sense of, “Can we look at things logically and emotionally, all at the same time?”
Yes. We can also see and hear at the same time. As for having the ability to look at anything and make it anything we want, this is solipsistic. I am looking at a pencil. I want to make it a beef stick filled with rabbit marrow. Yet it refuses.
By the way, the book looks charming. My point is that one can seem really concerned with Truth and Things if you question the most obvious, basic facts, and don’t provide an answer. Air. Do we walk through it, or does it walk through us when we breath?
Elsewhere, there's this quote:
True to our modern incapacity for nuance, Adam's Smith’s “invisible hand” has come to symbolize a rather bleak view of the human spirit as bedeviled by inescapable selfishness.
I don't know anyone who uses it that way, or ever has.
Construction update: the first skyway is attached to the building.
Wonder if it's level inside, or slanted. It would be quite a coincidence if the buildings were exactly even on the second floor.
Around the block, the front of the old office, dark behind the wood, waiting for the ball and the claw.
The walls appear to have wept over their fate.
SHE'S RECOVERING. By which I mean the author and actor of "The Couple Next Door" fell earlier this week and broke her hip, requiring surgery. A tough prospect when you're a couple of Christmases away from triple digits, but she made it, and last I heard was enjoying the change of scenery and the chance to entertain some the help. The woman is amazing.
CND Cue #554 More of this than we've ever heard. Hard not to think of Dorothy in Kansas towards the end.
CND Cue #555 The end of a Mitch Miller spot - and a cue never heard before.
Moving along with the innumerable Gunsmoke cues. Like the show itself - all different, and all the same . . . or so I used to say. The cues went with a full orchestra, heavy on the echo, and now we got Copeland-style Western stuff.
Gunsmoke #92 Could they draw out that note any more? That's possible AD REVENUE time.
Gunsmoke #93 Music for Chester to move by! This is the pre-Festus period, obviously. He didn't move too quickly.
To wrap up the radio offerings this week, the old ad - this time from a batch I took off an aircheck rescued from the trash by a friend. These have probably never appeared on the internet anywhere. Count yourself among the lucky.
Let's go back to that sweet swank Continental romance:
I don't like this stuff much. Dixieland never did anything for me.
But if I had to say yay or nay, I'd say yay on this one.
Five ads from the sixties await. Thanks for coming by this week, and I'll see you Monday with some gorgeous metal. I hope.