step in the right direction

good to see that Bill Clinton may be veering towards handing out actually necessary smackdowns. maybe that embarassing round of “grab the phallus” with Obama is over now, Bill?

i think Bill should just get an earring and play some more rounds of golf. we can dust him off to praise obama at the convention.

biggest night of obama’s political life tonight, no?


i need to be asleep but it’s wednesday and i need to sort out my personal filings, correspondence and all that before i get to sleep. here’s some brief items:

1) the dan band, cassidy band and my band are playing a full-blown basement show saturday night. sewanee luminaries smith and walker will be joining brother ‘face‘ and i.  we’re playing some songs from the album and some other songs.

2) ryan adams, barack obama, radiohead.

3) it’s weird to describe commodity fetishism without talking about sex too much. zizek, before him freud, lacan and mostly judith butler and pierre bourdieu have informed my thinking on that one, a lot. i think i’ll eventually read a lot of lacan, jean-luc nancy et. al. all those british film critics, and of course

4) i’m giving a “political education” presentation with a colleague at the organizizizizers’ office* on Friday, that’ll begin with a Laclau/Mouffe bit about chains of equivalence et al. It’ll be a peak experience….how far off can my Maoist period possibly be?


santana joins the Mets.

6) and goodnight.

* to whom it may concern: pls, pls don’t ever refer any less than very, very obliquely to my work and scope of practice.

more later, but

for now just check out this jolly blurb from the matablog that reads like it’s homage, but, no, shucks, actually it’s primary text.

honestly, the reason you haven’t heard much from me is that i haven’t too many chances to stop and think. two jobs, you know?

baby down, texas 71

I’ll tell you what it’s like to be me these days:  weird but cold and good.

Teaching a class about political economy while being who I am and working on the campaign is an interesting thing. I keep it light with irony and non-sequiturs – you know, like when teaching about commodities I bring up ice sculptures and mechanical bulls, and everybody giggles, everybody’s down. I work hard with eye contact and earnestness and turns of phrase and I think they are with me most of the time, even when I make exemplars out of the sub prime crisis and the difference between the economy and “The Economy” as spoken about by neoliberals.  They grasp the fundamentals of political economy, I think, and I think they are already better-armed for understanding certain social relations in which they’re embedded.

But inside for me the lecturing is different. It’s kind of emotional like playing music rarely is anymore. I went to my boss last night with an odd plaint, that I’d mushed together all the theory and practice and love and war in my life-world, and spurted that splatter into the part of the heart where most people keep their religion. At this rate, I griped to the boss, all of this politics and transgression’ll get too political and too performative, and I’ll drift into academic apathy. Boss told me that I should remember never to join any leftist factions; that she’d made it on the Left by touting an inclusive let’s all love each other, little bit of communal living, pro-worker, maybe a little drugs, maybe a little counterculture modality.  Myself, I think there’s weird patriarchal tones to what I’d call an economistic, overly-workerist, class-war-apolocalyptical-ness and theatricality that Trots and their ilk rock. So I mostly agree with the boss, and more importantly I was reminded that you don’t need to be a Trot to think that it’s workers and not pundits or politicos who are the only ones that can do anything really cool on the capitalist front. Boss reminded me that Obama and Clinton are both fucking liberals, and the same fucking thing, which is important for me to recall lest I think for a second that their getting elected comprises any sort of reprieve against organizing.

Next month I’m giving a presentation to a bunch of RNs about the political economy of mental health, which I look forward to more than any academic panel discussion I have ever been invited to.  In this context I will get to make explicit a message that is practically neither here nor there to what we teach in the university, which is this, that (health) workers need to take power away from their bosses, for their sake and for society’s sake.  It’s just one of the many ways in which workers need to take power over the distribution of the social wealth, but a particularly important example.

Well, Bill

Take ‘er easy. It’s probably true that the debates never lent themselves to you establishing your superior foreign policy credentials, and it’s certain that this political culture won’t abide arguments as nuanced – or blueprints for transformations as qualitative – as those tied up in your “New Realism.” But you also seemed like quite the bumbler in all the debates,  most memorably on Meet the Press that time.

But maybe you’ll be Veep, eh? And it’s good to hear you say what you’re saying about Cuba, really.

Jason Isbell – Sirens of the Ditch

I was listening to this with Raenie in the library’s underground parking garage when I got a little bit embarassed all of a sudden. We were listening to a bad, 12-bar/leather pants “blues workout” replete with swinging johnson posture. That song’s a lamentable anomaly, I’ve decided.

And it’s odd, cuz Isbell cops some real “sensitive man” moves throughout this very good, very bad record. It’s released by one of them “roots” labels that’s clearly gunning for success to the tune of XM radio syndication or whatever. And accordingly, it’s got telltale dobro, brushes-on-snare, “Yeah, I wear Wranglers” pretense in terms of production. All that sonic branding confirms my suspicions that most alt-country fans are low-level cmptr workers, living in a subdivision with an adjustable rate mortgage,* mebbe in a suburb of Seattle.

What’s problematic in light of all this is that the songwriting’s good, and he’s a pretty wrenching vocalist. When I say the songwriting’s good, I mean, like, there’s pretty amazing rhyme schemes (ABBA BCAC) and slant rhymes galore. And it’s evocative and there’s even a passable anti-war song et. al.
This is my first Truckers-related purchase, and I like it despite all the cheese drippings. I came to it – like so many other things – through a vague Son Volt connection. I bet you Isbell’s live show – feat. Derry DeBorja from le Volt – is much more of a rockist affair.

Other Son Volt news: Long time badass sideman and Gob Iron Road Warrior Marc Spencer will be joining Son Volt for the coming 2008 tour (on “steel/keys”). If yr me, this is news. News of the “awesome” variety. jaymark600_copy1.jpg

* by the way, i love the fact that just as raenie and i might possibly, sort of be in the kind of situation in which we might pursue an idea of pursuing a house to own, the market goes toxic.