Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Heart is Everything

Where are all the people who aren't afraid to be sincere? We're socialized into it early enough, on schoolyards and in sports locker rooms - mask your sincerity behind thick walls of irony and sarcasm. It's much easier deal with the put-downs that follow when you declare that, yes, I really do like Band X, with a sly wink and a "just kidding" than to bear the full brunt of these assaults on your taste and character with honesty. If there is one thing nobody wants to be thought of as being, its boring (or a leper, I suppose, but that's neither here nor there). Of course, the ultimate irony is that over-reliance on the handy crutch of irony itself is possibly the most boring form of self-expression there is!

Your sincerity is not boring! Your honesty is not banal! Let them dismiss you lazily as a bleeding heart, let them chastise your tastes for being threatening. If it helps, maybe try the strategy I've been using: don't be scared to return their scornful gaze with a mirror to show them how fucking stupid they look. Is it stupid to listen to music with screaming in it, or is it stupid to ignore the screams of the most desperate social strata? Is it it silly to refuse to own a car, or is it silly to be party to the construction of cities that are undeniably vulnerable to energy shortages? Can your philosophical underpinnings be any more questionable than those of an socioeconomic world order that coopts dissidence and protest as quickly as they are produced and transforms them into shallow ephemeralities?

I, for one, am ready to be judged on my readings of my environment, for my expressions and for actions. Activism is the only honest response I can fathom to the inequities that assail the integrity of our social networks and environmental life-support systems from all concievable angles. I'm talking about an activism that eschews irony and stabs at the heart of uncomfortable and difficult issues. I'm talking about sincerity, I'm talking about direct, honest dialogue. If you care enough about my expressions to be reading this, surely you care enough to participate. If you contact me at I promise I will do everything I can to coordinate your own activism.

Refuge: Converge - No Heroes, Burnt By the Sun - Heart of Darkness, David Foster Wallace - E Unibas Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction, Robert Kirkman - Walking Dead vol. 10, Mare - S/T, Jesu - Lifeline, Robert Putnam - Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Staying Naive

OK, so anyone who knows me is pretty aware that sometimes its difficult for me to live in Calgary - I find the arts sluggish, the politics insane/suicidal, the popular (and "indie") culture self-involved and superficial, and the city itself to be a monstrous, sprawling behemoth that is propelling us towards an unhappy future indeed. Judging from the first sentence of this post, you may have sensed a massive "but" coming. If so, good for you! You are correct. In spite of these shortcomings, summer in Calgary has a special appeal to me. Staying out late without a coat, reading in the city's handful of reasonably well-appointed parks (Riley Park, looking in your direction), people-watching by the river, driving a car down busy downtown streets with the windows down and Agoraphobic Nosebleed cranked to 11 - yeah, it's the simple things, isn't it?

I've experienced some truly wondrous things in some truly wondrous places over the last few months, not the least of which involved early-20th century expressionist galleries, copious volumes of dunkel, making new friends, making new friends over copious volumes of dunkel, riding bikes, hallmarks of modernist and postmodernist architecture in direct proximity to one another, picnics on the steps of the worlds most prestigious art galleries and narrow, winding streets that twist in an organic, mystical logic/illogic. The depth and scope of these experiences defies my ability to relate them here, and they were all fine and well, but there are things about Calgary too that entrance me. I am sad that it will probably be a decade or more before I can eat meatballs in Sweden again, but there is something to be said about staying up late and gorging myself on Canadian beer while watching The Big Lebowski with best friends. I mean, the Swedish meatballs were reeeallly good, but there is a certain amount of timelessness and transcendance attached to the things I can do here with the people I care about the most, and I think that if I dig deep enough under all the ennui this city has to offer I can find most of the things that are good and right and "fuck yeah" about the world.

I'm headed out of some truly inspiring places and I'm launching myself back into all the placelessness that Calgary has to offer, hoping to land softly in soft coccoons of forlonity, earnestness and all-out sincerity. Hopefully I'll be able to abscond from responsibility for a little while longer and savour the fleeting gratification of being young for a little while longer.

Substance - The Big Lebowski, Aura Noir - Black Thrash Attack, Amesoeurs - Amesoeurs, Peste Noir - Ballad cuntre lo Anemi francor, Japandroids - Post-Nothing, Thomas Pynchon - Vineland, Cobalt - Gin, Liars - Liars