Saturday XXXIX: 2012 is the New 1999 • 19 January 2008

Little apocalypses here this week. Which is good, since 2008 as I knew it was not going according to plan.

Now, I can’t stop listening to Prince’s end-of-the-world songs. I love the bat-out-of-hell sound effects. Was this stuff written during his Jehova’s Witness period, or is it full-on devil music? Party like it’s 1999 = death for rebirth. In other words, more of the Tower theme… but this time I’m cool with it.

It’s not the world per se that will end: it is our view of the world.

It’s been said apocalypse returns to fashion every two decades, which might explain why 2012 is the new 1999. That sounds about right. But it may come even sooner if what I’m hearing about visitors in Texas is the case. On which more later.

Apocalypse brings to the surface a lot of mythic scared-shitless dread that got deposited in my mind 'round about 1982. This is the annoying thing about a practice that pushes back the curtain between the conscious and unconscious: now I’m running in to all this Biblical stuff. Gads! Horribly, there's so much early memorization that's still buried, just where I put it at 18. This week, 1 Corinthians 13 shored up in the yoga archipelago. Saint Paul was always the blowhard apostle, but this one is a gorgeous passage.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Anyway. Esoterica on Saturday morning, and then a lot of dissertating in addition to a dusty grey drive to Covina. And maybe I’ll have time to see There Will be Blood at the Westwood Crest. I hear it is sufficiently apocalyptic. Links I'm thinking of:

● Ok since we are talking about the Bible, here is Robert Alter (whose beautiful translation of the Pentateuch my father did not appreciate as a Christmas gift a few years ago) on his new translation of the Psalms. Really nice interview, especially because it’s with the beautiful Michael Silverblatt. Alter is so subversive! Also, he’s a damn poet. If you're really in, see too this week's review of the work in the LRB.

● Tova, we never got back around to talking about your dream. I had an insane one the other night and it took the aforementioned devil music to get it out of my head before practice. Here’s something from an Integral blogger who takes reductionist views of dreaming and adds a dimension of interpretive possibilities for people who are actually know something about their own minds (because they have a meditation practice or whatever). No need to black-box this stuff like the behaviorists do if you have the tools to explore it.

● Ok, this is the only good politics I’ve seen in months, and it’s actually just art. George Saunders: genius and author the Braindead Megaphone (hilarious). This is a seven-minute reading of his piece “Manifesto,” a press release from People Reluctant to Kill for an Abstraction (PRKA). Just listen.