Thursday, May 16, 2013

"This Is Water" by David Foster Wallace

This is David Foster Wallace's address to Kenyon College graduates in 2005 in its famous shortened and enhanced 9'23" version (Update 6/25/13: The David Foster Wallace Literary Trust has asked that the YouTube version embedded here be taken down, but it's still up as of this date at this Adweek site: 10/21/13: Another version was embedded here[temporarily?])(Update 5/7/14: Another version from Vimeo embedded here):

This is Water from Patrick Buckley on Vimeo.

And here's the full 22-minute speech without the video and sound-effect and musical enhancements (distractions?):

Congratulations to anyone who's graduating from anything this Spring.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Birthday Wishes to Thomas Pynchon...

...who was born in Glen Cove, New York on May 8, 1937.
... Don't forget the real business of the War is buying and selling. The murdering and the violence are self-policing, and can be entrusted to non-professionals. The mass nature of wartime death is useful in many ways. It serves as spectacle, as diversion from the real movements of the War. It provides raw material to be recorded into History, so that children may be taught History as sequences of violence, battle after battle, and be more prepared for the adult world. Best of all, mass death's a stimulus to just ordinary folks, little fellows, to try 'n' grab a piece of that Pie while they're still here to gobble it up. The true war is a celebration of markets. ...
--Gravity's Rainbow (p.122 in the 1974 Bantam mass market paperback edition; note the interesting capitalization)

Sunday, May 05, 2013

"... nobody can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell..."

And nobody can sing and play Dylan's "Blind Willie McTell" like Mick Taylor (with even a touch of "Layla" thrown in at 5'36").

Blind Willie McTell was born on May 5, 1898 (and passed away on August 19, 1959).

Saturday, May 04, 2013

"Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming..."

Today is the 43rd anniversary of the shooting of four antiwar protesters by the Ohio National Guard on the campus of Kent State University.

There are a lot of candidates for the official marker between The Sixties and The Seventies, and May 4, 1970 may be mine. In recent years, I've placed the Altamont Speedway Free Festival of December 6, 1969 high on that list, but personally, I don't think the events there were on my radar until Gimme Shelter hit the theaters at the end of 1970.  Kent State's effect was immediate for all of us then in high school. I remember being immediately shocked by the shooting of unarmed 19 and 20-year-old men and women, engrossed by the photos in Life, and buying the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young single of "Ohio" backed with "Find the Cost of Freedom" on the day it hit the local record store a month after the shootings. I then dedicated the years 1971 and 1972 to going to as many anti-war protests as I could in DC, Philadelphia, and New York.