After what’s been a hectic few weeks, I’m taking advantage of this weekend to do a lot of very quiet stuff here at the apartment — some writing, some reading, a dinner out tonight with some friends but otherwise keeping low key. So here’s another catchall of thoughts:
- I haven’t read it all yet but Parag Khanna’s piece in the New York Times considering the end of American hegemony posits a variety of interesting thoughts on the subject, and is well worth considering given both the election and the times. The other night close friend Mackro and myself were having an in-depth phone conversation regarding the state of things in general and while I’m not positive if I brought it up fully, one big factor right now is the fact that in an increasingly economically interdependent world, much is fully beyond national control — ie, it doesn’t really matter who is president to a large degree, it doesn’t matter who’s in Congress. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter at all, please don’t get me wrong, but everything from increasing tensions on energy demand to technological advances to the economic activity that’s meant to support your lifestyle — and especially if you are fully vested in the ‘system’ somehow, as a working homeowner say, or a small business owner — can only be affected by the US government in piecemeal fashion at best.
- This said, as the primaries continue to play out, the big question marks at present — who wins today in South Carolina, will Giuliani pull it together in Florida on Tuesday — are of interest, and I have to admit that after my sense of burnout at the start of the month when things finally got under way, the sheer amount of breakneck shifts have made this the most up-in-the-air primary season I think I can ever recall. I’m glad of that, actually, I like seeing this at play, though I think that far too many people on either side assume that only certain figures in both parties are power players, operators and connivers in general. All the candidates are, some just hide it more effectively than others — and they’re all that way because you can’t get to the level they’re at without those talents. This irritates some people, I’ve noticed, and I’m unsure as to why — I assume some sort of lingering belief in the purity of the process from elementary school, who knows though.
- On the personal front, after a lot of planning and running around and getting it together, I’ve assembled a nicely upgraded computer setup for music in particular — external 1 TB hard drive for a good rate, new speakers, external CD/DVD drive. I think of it as one of those things that’s a practical investment for a critic in particular, since music promotion in general is switching increasingly to online delivery, while music itself is now obviously consumed via this route by so many people worldwide, and the numbers will increase. To borrow from Shakespeare via the Durutti Column, this is a bit of ‘obeying the time,’ but in a way that makes sense rather than relying on immediate flash — I’d been playing a bit of a long game to get to this point affordably and now we’re here. So I’m spending the weekend patiently porting over so many CDs and CDRs and the like to the hard drive, the equivalent of home improvement. It’s all a part of the continuing new year’s resolution to clean up the place a bit, and I’m glad of it!
Hope your weekend goes well, hopefully more thoughts later today or tomorrow on There Will Be Blood.