Caveat: 67) 나와 남이 하나임을 알게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다

“I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that I and others are one.”

This is #67 out of a series of 108 daily Buddhist affirmations that I am attempting to translate with my hands tied behind my back (well not really that, but I’m deliberately not seeking out translations on the internet, using only dictionary and grammar).

65. 모든 생명은 소통과 교감이 이루어진다는 것을 알게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다.
“I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that all life is achieved through communication and sympathy.”

66. 모든 생명은 우주의 이치 속에서 살아간다는 것을 알게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다.
“I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that all life is living within the principles of the universe.”

67. 나와 남이 하나임을 알게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다.

I would read this sixty-seventh affirmation as: “I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that I and others are one.”

I have no idea if I got that right or not.  It seems right, it fits with Buddhist themes, but I really had to guess at the first three words “나와 남이 하나임” as not even the dictionary was being exceptionally helpful.

I’ve been really depressed about my Korean-learning project, lately.  I overhear things, and just don’t understand what’s going on.  This morning was a typical example:  there was one of those “building announcements” over my apartment’s intercom, and I understood “this is an announcement” and “so, telling you this one more time,” but I didn’t get any actual useful information out of the announcement.  I’ve clearly lost the gumption I had to sign up for a morning language class – too overwhelmed by the commute required.

Caveat: Map-apps [The National – Conversation 16]

I've been playing around with trying to figure out how to calculate the distances of my evening jogging.  I have just been guesstimating up to this point, but today I found an app connected to google maps called mapmywalk.com that works fine for South Korea.  So I used it.  It turns out that the route I was thinking of as 5 km was actually a little under 4 (so much for guesstimating, right?).  I worked out a slightly different route that was a little over 5, and tonight, I ran it.  And here it is.  I like map-apps.

Meanwhile.  I'm feeling a bit grumpy about work, today.  The "write me a textbook" project is going badly, and I felt like a kind of boring, crappy teacher today for the classes I had.  Sigh.  Not every day is good, right?

What I'm listening to right now.

This song has awesome lyrics.  Check'em out.

I think the kids are in trouble
Do not know what all the troubles are for
Give them ice for their fevers
You're the only thing I ever want anymore

We live on coffee and flowers
Try not to wonder what the weather will be
I figured out what we're missing
I tell you miserable things after you are asleep

Now we'll leave the silver city 'cause all the silver girls
Gave us black dreams
Leave the silver city 'cause all the silver girls
Everything means everything

It's a Hollywood summer
You'll never believe the shitty thoughts I think
Meet our friends out for dinner
When I said what I said, I didn't mean anything

We belong in a movie
Try to hold it together 'til our friends are gone
We should swim in a fountain
Do not want to disappoint anyone

Now we'll leave the silver city 'cause all the silver girls
Gave us black dreams
Leave the silver city to all the silver girls
Everything means everything

I was afraid I'd eat your brains
I was afraid I'd eat your brains
'Cause I'm evil
'Cause I'm evil

I'm a confident liar
Have my head in the oven so you know where I'll be
I'll try to be more romantic
I want to believe in everything you believe

I was less than amazing
Do not know what all the troubles are for
Fall asleep in your branches
You're the only thing I ever want anymore

Now we'll leave the silver city 'cause all the silver girls
Gave us black dreams
Leave the silver city to all the silver girls
Everything means everything

I was afraid I'd eat your brains
I was afraid I'd eat your brains
'Cause I'm evil
'Cause I'm evil
'Cause I'm evil

Caveat: Addressing People

Korean terms for family members seem quite overwhelming to those of us trying to learn the language.  First of all, there are so many of them.  But second of all, Koreans use many of those terms quite freely with people they aren't related to:  in particular, because of the social prohbition, under most circumstances, against addressing one's elders by their names, many of the various terms for relatives are used for directly addressing (i.e. talking to, calling out to) older friends and acquaintances.  These many "terms of direct address" take the place of the word "you," too, since the various Korean words for "you" seem mostly reserved for advertising copy (e.g. 당신) and talking with children (e.g. 너).

I finally found a blog page that summarizes many of the vocabulary items for relatives and family relations pretty well. I recommend it, but even that summary seems to miss a lot of useful and important information.

For example, during a recent unit on English-language family terms with a fairly low-level 3rd/4th/5th grade class, I realized that they were using the term I had learned meant nephew/niece (조카 [joka]) to mean what we would call "first cousin once removed" (a horrible term – more colloquially we always just said "cousin" in the family reuinion type settings when I was growing up).  Which to say, in the term 조카 there is embedded a sort of generational concept.

In researching that word 조카 at an online dictionary, I found some additional complications on it that aren't covered on the above-referenced web page:

처조카 = wife's niece or nephew
조카사위 = niece's husband
조카며느리 = nephew's wife

I'm sure that for almost all of the terms on that webpage, a little research would dig up similar elaborations.

Also, there's a whole other set of terms of direct address that seem to apply to schoolmates and coworkers, only a few of which I can recognize.  Many of these are generic job titles, in the vein of 실장님 [siljangnim = "office manager," roughly], which is, for example, the term I should be using for the front-desk-lady at work.

But others aren't really titles at all, but bear on the generational separation between the two individuals:  I've recently been becoming aware of 선배 [seonbae] a lot in the Korean drama I'm currently watching – the word means schoolmate or workmate who is "ahead" of one, in seniority terms (it's not clear to me if this is relative seniority or actually years of age – for example, if I'm older but start at a given company later, is someone ahead of me in the seniority chain but younger than me in age a 선배?).  It's translated as "senior" but that utterly fails to capture its actual usage.

One thing I've never seen is a truly satisfying list, in one place, of ALL the terms of direct address that Koreans use:  mostly when you see someone discussing Korean terms of direct address you get a few examples and then some annoying comment to the effect of:  Koreans have hundreds if not thousands of terms of direct address, including names for relatives and titles of coworkers and schoolmates, etc.  So my request is:  how about a list?  I guess it will have to be another little project of mine.  Maybe someday.

Caveat: Grateful Dead – Box of Rain

What I'm listening to right now.

Box of Rain.

220px-Grateful_Dead-American_Beau Look out of any window
any morning, any evening, any day
Maybe the sun is shining
birds are winging or
rain is falling from a heavy sky –
What do you want me to do,
to do for you to see you through?
this is all a dream we dreamed
one afternoon long ago
Walk out of any doorway
feel your way, feel your way
like the day before
Maybe you'll find direction
around some corner
where it's been waiting to meet you –
What do you want me to do,
to watch for you while you're sleeping?
Well please don't be surprised
when you find me dreaming too

Look into any eyes
you find by you, you can see
clear through to another day
I know it's been seen before
through other eyes on other days
while going home —
What do you want me to do,
to do for you to see you through?
It's all a dream we dreamed
one afternoon long ago

Walk into splintered sunlight
Inch your way through dead dreams
to another land
Maybe you're tired and broken
Your tongue is twisted
with words half spoken
and thoughts unclear
What do you want me to do
to do for you to see you through
A a box of rain will ease the pain
and love will see you through

Just a box of rain –
wind and water –
Believe it if you need it,
if you don't just pass it on
Sun and shower –
Wind and rain –
in and out the window
like a moth before a flame

It's just a box of rain
I don't know who put it there
Believe it if you need it
or leave it if you dare
But it's just a box of rain
or a ribbon for your hair
Such a long long time to be gone
and a short time to be there

Caveat: Blah blah blah about my life (Atmosphere – Pour Me Another)

I'm not sure how I'm feeling about work.  On the one hand, it's mostly pretty unstressful.  On the other hand, I'm not having as much interaction with kids as I did at Hongnong nor even at LBridge: because Karma combines "test prep" with regular English curriculum, during this midterms cycle the kids get pulled out for special test prep courses, which is great if the stress of giving classes gets to me, but it is annoying if hanging out with kids in class is the highlight of my work day.  At least at Hongnong, although I often had no classes to teach, I still got to interact with kids around the school and at lunch, etc.  There's no deskwarming at Karma, though.  Mostly I'm filling my time with curriculum development work – I'm writing a textbook, supposedly (which is really hard, actually), and doing iBT (TOEFL) prep tutoring with a really smart 9th grader.

I really meant to enroll in a Korean language course for the mornings, but I've been unable to summon the gumption.  It's not the idea of 12 hours a week of language class that's putting me off (that's what most of the courses I've looked at offer), it's the additional 12 hours a week of commuting time that it would entail – none of the courses are closer than Hongdae or Jongno, both of which would involve more-than-an-hour-each-way commutes.   I hate commuting.

I've been looking into trying to find a tutor who I could pay for one-on-one classes, out here in Ilsan.  But I'm kind of picky about who I'm willing to pay as a tutor – most Koreans don't know squat about their own language, from a linguistics standpoint, and I find it very frustrating trying to learn from them.  Unpaid hanging-out style efforts at conversation is fine – I can approach it like a field linguist doing research.  That's what many of my Korean friends are for.

But if I'm going to pay someone, I want them to know their language's phonological inventory (and know how it differs from that of English, for example), and I'd appreciate if they could recognize the difference between an auxialiary verb and an example of verb seriality, etc., and have them subsequently be able to try to explain these things to me – you know, like actually teach me

I suppose my complaint about the people I've paid to teach me Korean, in the past, is the flipside of the same, utterly legitimate complaint lodged against so many of the English speakers hired to teach English in Korea – the fact that they can't tell a modal verb or English prosodic vowel reduction from a hole in their posterior means that Korean students aren't really getting much bang for their won, in teaching terms.

What I'm listening to right now.

I jogged my 5km route last night, dodging drizzle and rain drops. I listened to this track on my mp3.  I'm becoming incredibly annoyed with the fact that I've gotten back to a 4 or 5 night-a-week jogging habit, and I'm still not losing weight.

This morning, I'm listening to it again.  It's raining hard against my windows, and the sky is the thick gray that makes it feel like the sun didn't quite finish rising.

It's been raining a lot – yesterday there was a respite, but aside from that it's been raining almost continuously for approaching a week now.  Yey summer in Korea. 

The lyrics.

Pour Me Another (Another Poor Me)
From the album "You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having"

V:1
And all she wanted was a little bit of solid,
Feels like love, it doesnt matter what you call it,
Heal those cuts, or hide em underneath the polish,
Break another promise,
And take me as a hostage,
Hold your job down,
And let the zombies crowd around,
Thankin mommys god, but its a cops town,
Keep it safe for me,
While I chase a fantasy,
Swerving through the galaxy,
Searching for a family,
Happily surrounded by planets and stars,
She was stuck uptown, you was landed on mars,
Its all fucked up now, caught your hand in the jar,
Another small step back, for that man at the bar,
Spill a little bit of blood on the street,
For love that goes to those who know,
That they drink too much,
And hold your own glass,
Up to the heavens,
Take the little time to try and count the seconds,
It goes

[Pour me another,
So I can forget you now,
Pour me another,
So I can come let you down,
Pour me another,
So I can remember how,
True that I am to this addiction of you,]
x2

V:2
Drink it all away, numb it down to the none,
Stay awake tonight and wait for the sun,
You say you hate your life, you aint the only one,
Let your frustration out the gate and watch the pony run,
One double for the hunger and the struggle,
Two for the fool tryna pull apart the puzzle,
Three now I smile while I wait for your rebuttal,
By the forth shot, Im just another child in a bubble,
Tryna play with the passion and the placement,
Just to see what these people let him get away with,
Still tryna climb a mountain for you,
Hammer in my hand, still pounding on a screw,
She no listen, so he dont speak no more,
Nobodys winning, cause neither is keeping score,
Dont wanna think no more, just let me drink some more,
Pour me another, cause I can still see the floor,

[Pour me another,
So I can forget you now,
Pour me another,
So I can come let you down,
Pour me another,
So I can remember how,
True that I am to this addiction of you,]
x2

V:3
Live life tipsy, stiff if it dont fit right with me,
Kiss my whiskey; lift my lips press to my angel,
Swallow it and leave her empty bottle on the table,
Let the past fall,
Making faces at that clock on the back wall,
Countdown to last call,
Ask all of these people that make sounds,
How long does it take for the pace to break down?
Another lonely little trophy,
If only I can walk a straight line, Id make it home free,
And everybody in this bar thinks that they know me,
And my story,
Like poor me,
I could count the days till you come back,
Or I could follow them sunrays down to the train tracks,
I can stumble drunk, over hope and love,
Or I can just keep drinking till I sober up

[Pour me another,
So I can forget you now,
Pour me another,
So I can come let you down,
Pour me another,
So I can remember how,
True that I am to this addiction of you,]
x2

Bottles, pints, shots, cans,
Couches, and floors, and drunk best friends,
Models, and whores, and tattooed hands,
Cities, and secrets, and cats, and vans,
Good times, laughter, bad decisions,
Strippers, and actors, and average musicians,
Mornings after, and walks of shame,
This bartender knows me by my real name

Caveat: 66) 모든 생명은 우주의 이치 속에서 살아간다는 것을 알게되어 감사한 마음 으로 절합니다

“I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that all life is living within the principles of the universe.”

This is #66 out of a series of 108 daily Buddhist affirmations that I am attempting to translate with my hands tied behind my back (well not really that, but I’m deliberately not seeking out translations on the internet, using only dictionary and grammar).

64. 모든 생명은 하나로 연결되어있다는 것을 알게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다.
        “I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that all life is connected as one.”

65. 모든 생명은 소통과 교감이 이루어진다는 것을 알게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다.
        “I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that all life is achieved through communication and sympathy.”

66. 모든 생명은 우주의 이치 속에서 살아간다는 것을 알게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다

I would read this sixty-sixth affirmation as:  “I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that all life is living within the principles of the universe.”

Caveat: David Lanz – Christifori’s Dream [Michelle Undreaming]

What I'm listening to right now.

Eleven years ago, this week, Michelle committed suicide.  We were separated, but we hadn't really figured out if we were divorcing or not.  It was a hard time, obviously.  I'd spent nearly two years away, first in Alaska and then in L.A. where my dad was, while Michelle and Jeffrey were still living in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.  Our last phone conversation included the words, "Are we getting divorced?"  to which the other of us answered, "I don't know."  She also uttered the phrase, "There's a better place for me than here."  I kind of knew where her mind was.  But what could I do?

This piano piece by David Lanz was never really one of my favorites, but Michelle was deeply sentimental about it.  She once told me, eerily, as we sat cuddled on the sofa in better times, "I hope I die to this music."  I could be misremembering, but I think this was, indeed, what she may have died to – it was in the CD player in the bedroom where she took her fatal collection of pills.  This is hard information to dwell on.

Old 054c (2) For a person who doesn't believe in ghosts, I've accommodated Michelle's with a great deal of faithfulness and peculiar ritual behavior.  Once I dreamed that she (her ghost) was stuck at the Incheon Airport, having come looking for me.  One day shortly after that, I took the bus out there to show her where I was.   And in the fall of 2009, when I had the chance to pass through Philly, I stopped by Quakertown, where she died, to see if her ghost was there.

Sometimes I feel as if she's looking over my shoulder.  I don't feel she's angry.  More just tagging along, curious to see what I'm doing with myself.  Other times I feel as if she has found her "better place" and still others, that she's this seething knot of sadness and regret.  I'm sure mostly these are all my own projections onto what was once her.

Picture: circa Christmas, 1994, visiting my father's house where he used to live in Temple City (next door to the house he grew up in, in fact).  Jeffrey was, perhaps, bored, but Michelle was really happy during those times – we'd exchanged our "secret vows" the preceding month, when I'd returned from my 6 months in Chile.

Caveat: X on debate

Images “Standing up there, the faces looking at me, the things in my head coming out of my mouth, while my brain searched for the next best thing to follow what I was saying, and if I could sway them to my side by handling it right, then I had won the debate – once my feet got wet I was gone on debating. Whichever side of the selected subject was assigned to me, I’d track down and study everything I could find on it. I’d put myself in my opponent’s place and decide how I’d try to win if I had the other side; and then I’d figure out a way to knock down those points.” – Malcolm X, 1965

I found this quote while looking for quotes about debate.  There's something both ingenuous and ingenious in the quote.

Caveat: STAY – 당신은 나는 바보 입니다

What I’m listening to right now.

In English, “You and I are both fools.”  It was in the soundtrack of a drama called 궁 [gung = The Palace].  I didn’t like the drama much, but I liked the song.  So, this is the only Korean song I’ve ever tried to sing in a 노래방 (Karaoke room).  It was, I have to say, a total disaster.

The lyrics.

난 바보였었죠 내가 바보였었죠
후회해도 늦었죠 알죠 돌이킬 순 없죠
그댈 볼 수 없어요 나도 알고 있어요
내가 정말 잘못했어요 정말 미안해요

그땐 얘기하지 못했죠 너무 어리석었죠
이제와서 이렇게 애태우며 난 용서를 빌어요

당신은 나는 바보입니다 자존심 때문에
미칠듯한 그리움에 망가지고 있죠
당신은 나는 바보입니다 아직 사랑하기에
하루 종일 펑펑 울고만 있죠 그대도 나도 모두 바보처럼

그러진 말아요 다시 생각해봐요
우리 어떻게 여기까지 힘들게 왔는데
다시 생각해봐요 후회 하실꺼예요
내가 정말 잘못했어요 정말 미안해요

그땐 얘기하지 못했죠 너무 어리석었죠
이제 와서 이렇게 애태우며 난 용서를 빌어요

당신은 나는 바보입니다 자존심 때문에
미칠듯한 그리움에 망가지고 있죠
당신은 나는 바보입니다 아직 사랑하기에
하루 종일 펑펑 울고만 있죠 그대도 나도 모두 바보처럼

Stay_html_m1058cbf8 그대 없이 난 한순간도 살 수 없어요
머릴 잘라도 술을 마셔도 눈물만 흐르죠

당신은 나는 바보입니다 자존심 때문에
미칠듯한 그리움에 망가지고 있죠
당신은 나는 바보입니다 아직 사랑하기에
하루 종일 펑펑 울고만있죠 그대도 나도 모두 바보처럼

이제 더 이상 망가지지 마요

 

Caveat: Summer, Damply

True summer in Korea means rain.  These broad fronts of humid, hot, overcast weather with lots of rain swarm up from the south and then just linger over the peninsula.  It's as if the tropics come to visit for a few months each year.  For someone who grew up on the Northern California coast, this is backwards in more than one way – rain is supposed to come from the northwest, and in winter, and be cold.  But rain is rain is rain.  I still like it.

Our current bout of it started two days ago.  Yesterday's and today's satellite pictures are almost identical.

Rain_html_9401893

Rain2_html_6c1a9f93

Caveat: 65) 모든 생명은 소통과 교감이 이루어진다는 것을 알게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다

“I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that all life is achieved through communication and sympathy.”

This is #65 out of a series of 108 daily Buddhist affirmations that I am attempting to translate with my hands tied behind my back (well not really that, but I’m deliberately not seeking out translations on the internet, using only dictionary and grammar).

63. 승가에 귀의하게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다.

        “I bow with a thankful heart and become converted to the [Buddha’s] Priesthood.”

64. 모든 생명은 하나로 연결되어있다는 것을 알게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다.
“I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that all life is connected as one.”

65. 모든 생명은 소통과 교감이 이루어진다는 것을 알게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다.

I would read this sixty-fifth affirmation as:  “I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that all life is achieved through communication and sympathy.”

“Communication and sympathy” above is the subject of the verb achieve, while “all life” is a topic, and it’s hard to put that together with the lack of an object.  So I kind of messed around with the verb roles a little bit. 

Caveat: Alan Parsons Project – Eye in the Sky

What I'm listening to right now.

I remember buying this album on vinyl in 1982 when it was released, at a record store in Eureka during a weekend visiting my dad's house there.  It was not the first record I bought, but for some reason I remember the day I bought with weird clarity.  Why does music work that way, sometimes?

Eits_single If you want something profound about the symbolism of the song, I will leave you with this obscure philosophical reference:  it's about Orwell and the surveillance state (which I think was what inspired me to go ahead and buy the album despite the "soft rock" top-40 stigma surrounding it, which didn't necessarily impress me at age 17).  It seems weirdly prescient from where we sit now.  It makes me think of how Foucault deploys Bentham's panopticon concept as a metaphor.

The video, nevertheless, I concede is cheesy.  You have to concede that the concept of the music video was only a few years old at this point.

Caveat: Ke$ha Redux – by the Simpsons

Keshas_html_m20ff53e7 I swear, it's utter coincidence.  Otherwise, you'd think I was developing a minor obsession. Yesterday, I mentioned Ke$ha in this here blog thingy, in the context of pretentious marxist philosophers and her possibly-related war against pretension.

Meanwhile, I had set my mind to watch episode 20 of season 21 of the Simpsons.  Why, specifically, that episode?  Because I had heard that it's the episode in which Lisa Simpson joins a debate team, and that seemed relevant to my work on designing a debate curriculum for my work.  My students love the Simpsons almost universally, and so the idea of showing a "Simpsons Debate" struck me as a fun way to approach the subject.

Lo, and behold, look what the episode's couch gag was:  the Springfieldites reprising Ke$ha's "Tik Tok."  With the added benefit of being less NSFW.

Caveat: Spagga & La Raza – Nueva York (with a digression on manhattany density)

What I'm listening to right now.

Well, that's a new problem, for this new Background Noise "feature" of mine:  I couldn't find a youtube for the particular track I was listening to.  So, being the resourceful type, I made one.  I can't find the lyrics for this song online, either.  I might try to transcribe it at some point, I think it's pretty interesting for Nuyorican Rap. 

Nueva york sign - Copy The pictures I added to the video are lame – I was in a hurry, and I just slapped in a few pics I found via the goog.  The last picture is something I found that's not even in NYC, it's in Chile, but it seemed like a good picture to put on at the end.

To change the subject a little bit, but still on the topic of Nueva York, I was thinking some more about my entry the other day about "all the world's people in one city" – questions of density.  Here's the fascinating thing.  Paris was the densest city mentioned in that graphic I posted at that last entry.

But I thought to myself, surely there are places more dense than Paris.  And of course, listening to Spagga & friend, this evening, I thought:  Of course!  Manhattan!

I ran the numbers.  If all the people in the world lived in a city of Manhattan's density they would fit in an area almost exactly the same size as… get this… South Korea.  Interesting, huh?  Can you imagine this entire mountainous little republic covered in high rises?  It's pretty easy to do – they've made a heckuva start on it already.

Images

Caveat: You Might Wanna Get This Kid Some Help

A boy who I will not name wrote the following "essay."  Note that he's at the lowest level here at the hagwon – he's not an advanced English speaker, and this essay in fact was showing a lot of initiative and innovative language use relative to his normal level.

For my next shrek party I have a die an I'm are zombie.  I eat a shrek delicious stomach.  Good!  Ghost appear on my 가스레인지 [gas range] and die an die and die an die and die and die an die an die an die an I like die I like die I want a die I want a die I want a suicide I want a suicide I'm sad.  An bye-bye.

I realize 5th graders often have rather morbid senses of humor, but this seemed pretty intense.  He smiled as he read it for me, if that's any consolation.  I remember writing such morbid things at that age, not that I was necessarily developmentally on an particularly even keel, either.  I normally didn't give such writings to my teachers though.

Caveat: 64) 모든 생명은 하나로 연결되어있다는 것을 알게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다

“I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that all life is connected as one.”

This is #64 out of a series of 108 daily Buddhist affirmations that I am attempting to translate with my hands tied behind my back (well not really that, but I’m deliberately not seeking out translations on the internet, using only dictionary and grammar).

62. 부처님의 법에 귀의하게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다.
        “I bow with a thankful heart and become converted to the Buddha’s Dharma.”

63. 승가에 귀의하게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다.
        “I bow with a thankful heart and become converted to the [Buddha’s] Priesthood.”

64. 모든 생명은 하나로 연결되어있다는 것을 알게되어 감사한 마음으로 절합니다.

I would read this sixty-fourth affirmation as:  “I bow with a thankful heart and become aware that all life is connected as one.”

Caveat: Tik Tok Goes the Bourgeois Ego

Index There's a germ of a novel in this somewhere.

Apparently the number of 20-something female pop-stars are striking up intellectual "friendships" with elderly marxist philosophers is greater than one.  I was surprised to have heard that the number was greater than zero, actually.  First, Gaga gets with Zizek, and then Ke$ha gets with Fredric Jameson.

Both of these might be untrue, however – I later found a refutation of the Gaga-Zizek flirtation which I failed to bookmark.

I can't decide how I feel about this.  I've always admired Jameson hugely, and his books are among the most important influences on my own (oddly continuing-to-be-non-existent) thesis on Cervantes.  Do I respect him yet more because he's so hip and trendy, even now in his doddering late 70's?  Or does this just seem too weird?

How do I feel about Ke$ha – I never really noticed her music before, but I don't per se dislike it, either.  Is it possible she actually understands Jameson, and appreciates him… intellectually?  Fascinating.  I already suspected that she was not a total intellectual lightweight, based on some interview with her I remember scanning through, a while back.  Anyone who exists in the current rap/hiphop/pop mileu but manages to cite Dylan and Banksy as influences can't be utterly empty-headed.

From her website:  “I think people can stand to take themselves just a little less seriously. I’m fighting the war against pretension.”  Does one fight against pretension by hooking up with pretentious philosophers?  That's appealing.  Then again, one could fight pretention by simply creating the rumor that one was hooking up with a pretentious philosopher, almost as effectively, right?

Something about the Vanity Fair article I linked to above reads like a hoax.  Yet…  one hopes it isn't.

Really, it makes me want to write a novel.  Well… many things seem to make me want to write a novel, but this strikes me as a gold mine of pop-culture references and abstruse marxist philosophy, all stirred together with seedy scandal or tender romance (or both – as a side-note, wouldn't it be interesting, for example, to novelize the Weinergate scandal as a sincere or angsty romance?).

At the risk of imperiling my blog's essential G-ratedness, here's her 2009 video for "Tik Tok."

being like, ‘The end of the bourgeois ego

Caveat: Still Thinking About Densities

I'm contemplating the density question, vis-a-vis issues of per capita environmental impact.  I ran across an interesting graphic the other day.

The-worlds-population-concentrated

Here's what I starting thinking about, in seeing this.  The "Paris" version, above, is the densest – so imagine the world's population living in that space.  That would be one messed up ecosystem, there on the Mississippi delta.  The impact would be, essentially, total.  But think of this:  the rest of the world would be empty of people.  Maybe there would be some agriculture – this sort of graphic doesn't say how putting everyone in one city would see how their resource needs were taken care of, how they would be fed, etc.  But let's imagine a best-case scenario, with all the people living in this giant megalopolis in the Mississippi delta, and then a bunch of sustainable automated farms and mines feeding it.  Hmm… kind of science-fictiony.  And I don't want to try too hard here.  My only thought … my main point… is that this mega-city's impact would be huge, but the rest of the planet would have much, much lower impact.  That seems to lead to the ability to imagine the Earth much more sustainably carrying its current population.  QED Density is a good idea.

Just more random thinking.