Delayed start to the day, thanks to Jonas. The snow on the sidewalk has resided, but in its place another crunchiness, the salt, which is not as inviting. There are few places where I feel comfortable ordering the “coffee-of-the-day”, but Swing’s is one of them. Listened, from start to finish, the Bach Renovation album by Yoonseung Cho. Read that Mark Zuckerberg’s personal project this year is to write an AI program for his home. Some write code, some write literature, some write music; shame that one form is lucrative than others, when that form is artificial at best, while others are genuine. Zuck says AI is good at recognizing patterns but bad at common sense. Books and music are all bundles of common sense, art forms in which our common sense is jumbled, rearranged, and reestablished in a variety of ways.
On a completely unrelated note, group-think is powerfully destructive. On its face, it boasts of unification and collectivism, but in the end, it is nothing but the decay of the individual ability to reason and follow according to one’s understanding and conviction.
Read a New Yorker piece by David Sax about Kodak re-introducing the Super 8 camera, and Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke talked about the “analogue renaissance”.
The Crossing arrived.
What I missed about the (now mostly melted snow) was the black-and-whiteness of things. Now the world is just a leaking, splattering mess with ill-advised colors. Listened to Madeleine Peyroux. Took out the dusty Lomo lc-a and ordered some black and white film. Analogue renaissance or not, film is making a comeback for me, at least.
What sticks with me the most from “Between the World and Me” is the imagery of the “Dreamers” who think they are white. This is not to different from the “masquerade” image that I have been mulling over for some time. And forgetfulness. And pretension. Masks. Everywhere.
Some of my favorite passages:
“Our media vocabulary is full of hot takes, big ideas, and grand theories of everything. But some time ago I rejected magic in all its forms.”
“It is a profound question because America understands itself as God’s handiwork, but the black body is the clearest evidence that America is the work of men.”
“Somewhere out there beyond the firmament, past the asteroid belt, there were other worlds where children did not regularly fear for their bodies.”
“That is the best of what the old heads meant when they spoke of being ‘politically conscious’ – as much a series of actions as a state of being, a constant questioning, questioning as ritual, questioning as exploration rather than the search for certainty.”
“The forgetting is habit, is yet another necessary component of the Dream. They have forgotten the scale of theft that enriched them in slavery; the terror that allowed them, for a century, to pilfer the vote; the segregationist policy that gave them their suburbs. They have forgotten, because to remember would tumble them out of the beautiful Dream and force them to live down here with us, down here in the world. I am convinced that the Dreamers, at least the Dreamers of today, would rather live white than live free.”
I am being won over by Costa Rican coffees. Crisp, clean, flavorful, balanced. I read a New Yorker piece on the fall of Twitter, how irrelevance is what is most feared by the company. First, I thought the fear of irrelevance could apply to other cultural manifestations – books, movies, music, food – but then I thought, for those items, even irrelevance is a relative term. When and how will the cheeseburger ever become irrelevant? Tolstoy? Chopin?
I asked myself, if I had a child, what is one thing I would want to tell it. And I wrote a story.
Amazed at what your voice is (in)capable of doing at 6:30am.
I finished a song I had started to write during Jonas. I took out the clarinet, and it is a miracle that I still have a working reed. The keys need cleaning, and maybe some of the pads could be replaced, but the instrument seems to be in working shape.
Unusually warm weather today. We are jumping from a very warm December, to the Arctic Blast, Snowmageddon/Jonas, back to spring-time warm. As the weather becomes more fickle, I wondered how the trees deal with this fickleness. To bloom or not to bloom. What happens if you bloom too soon?
Raining almost the entire day, with overcast skies. The world is almost black-and-white as is. I loaded the lc-a and attempted to take in the black-and-white on black-and-white film. The waiting game is part of the beauty of film photography. I was reminded that what I missed about this camera was the red lights in the viewfinder and the subtle but sure click under my index finger. Oh, and the winding.
In terms of coffee, I have been going through Rwanda, Papua New Guinea, and now back to Costa Rica. The crispness.
I started reading The Crossing by McCarthy. After finishing “Between the World and Me”, which I read before “All the Pretty Horses” by McCarthy, I feel as if I have been jolted back to Southern Texas from the streets of Baltimore and Harlem.
Oddly enough, I sometimes prefer the warmth from paper cups, compared to ceramic mugs. And oddly enough, I have come to appreciate McCarthy’s failure to use quotation marks.
Farming is a relative term.