Saturday XLIX: Inner Dark • 12 April 2008


A secret reader sent the owls. How much does this delight me? Thank you. They brew a good daily sencha, too.

Also exciting: the Black Keys new record is hot! Yes. Even without headphones, I respond well to the rhythm and attitude of the Akron blues. It is even helping me get my mind off of Jack.

You know I have been madly devoted to Jack for the right reasons all along. But these smug, preachy-ponderous, oh-so-disaffected lyrics on the recent Raconteurs record. What are you saying, my Pasty Prince? I just wonder if you’ve been this way all along but I haven’t seen it. I’ve been blinded by your piano riffs and your swaggering hips.

As usual, the The One Who Will Not Be Named guides my listening. The OWWNBN threads my drive time with new sounds and, measuredly, fleshes out my understanding of the history in delicious ways. I am Potter Stewart—I know it when I hear it—to his Aristotle—types, kinds, classes: he sees all the patterns and shares as much as I can take of what he knows. Which isn’t that large a fraction, given my limitations.

I am mostly done with consuming culture, but only beginning to appreciate sound. This is big. Music is a big deal.

Anyway… I am the editor this weekend. I freelanced a lot of research and editing the first years of grad school, and still read final drafts for a scholar in Beijing and one in Tel Aviv. Today it’s the Jewish historian, who works on FDRs generous aid and asylum for children of the Holocaust and contrasts this with his refusal to do anything about simultaneous lynchings in the South. God that’s a hard side of FDR to see.

You might know, if you're close, last year I had a lot of dark weekends. Dark, I tell you. The different relationship to time on those days, the non- practicing on Saturdays, the dissertation-induced neuroses that threaten every PhD candidate… maybe these were part of what put me into disconsolate, angsty negativity. Because there are emotional-intellectual sources of that suffering, but also practical sources. What is different a year later, when weekends are perfect? Without trying, I’ve habituated some really nice routines—the esoteric stuff I’m hesitant to mention, plus concerted long sleeps. That's just about regulating my energy. But too, there’s this sense that the present era, which I love so much, might end soon. How could Saturdays and Sundays ever be so good without these specific routines, these specific people, this one place? Without my own life now? If these weekends were mine forever, and this little sadness for its eventual end were not in me, I am not sure I’d be quite so happy.

Links? Still doing this? Just three.

● Soros on what we’re in for. He predicted this in a book a decade ago, but says the conditions are even riper this time. And he’s more than a financial writer—his perspective is historical and sees the whole economy, not just the credit crunch. (Review.)

●This isn't The Road (phew), but it's what I'm finally taking from my nightstand-pile and reading this weekend.

● By the way, I keep forgetting to introduce you to Eliza. Eliza is a therapist-bot. I will leave it to you to sort out the implications.