Month: February 2018

Superchunk: What a Time to be Alive

Superchunk What a Time to be Alive Merge Records Superchunk are legends, blah blah blah.  They’ve never moved my needle, I have to admit.  Their first bold splash into the world, the song ‘Slack Motherfucker,’ was 10 times better when fIREHOSE covered it.  I’ve long admired their business acumen, mind you.  Frontman Mac McCaughan and bassist Laura Ballance founded Merge Records in 1989 to release the music of Superchunk and their friends.  And this is not a sarcastic, Pitchfork-like dig.  Merge Records is one of the great indie labels, it has integrity and it treats its artists with respect.  As...

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“The Concept of Enlightenment” as Paranoid Reading

One does not go looking for Eve Sedgwick in the old boys’ club. But upon rereading Adorno and Horkheimer’s “The Concept of Enlightenment,” I was startled to find traces of her everywhere. I encountered the first only three pages in, where Adorno and Horkheimer, discussing the legacy of Francis Bacon, lament that “There is to be no mystery—which means, too, no wish to reveal mystery.”[1] I returned to “Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading,” and observed that Sedgwick elects to describe the ailing critical landscape with the language of mystery as well,[2] diagnosing the “current near professionwide agreement” to read...

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Unconcealed Weapons: A Modest Proposal

It should be clear to everyone that the gun control debate, which roared back onto the nation’s agenda with the terrible shooting last week in Florida, is fundamentally misguided. Yes, we care about our children. And no, “thoughts and prayers” are not enough. This time we must do something. But giving guns to teachers is clearly insufficient. What teacher would have time to draw their so-called “concealed weapon,” suddenly faced with an enraged, resentful young man holding an automatic rifle that is not concealed? The most likely reaction would be that of the Parkland school’s security guard, who cowered...

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Three Poems by Marilyn Cavicchia

Installment 13 features three poems by Marilyn Cavicchia that take our exploration of cars and remains in new directions. Each piece below is a found poem whose source material were posts in a public Facebook group called “The World’s Most Boring Posts Club.” Each day, Cavicchia visited the group and found a brief phrase to start a poem, then scrolled to find other phrases that joined it in an interesting way. Her novel assemblage of found parts departs from a simple copy-and-paste job, and puts a new spin on the traditional lyric “I”. *** My Peppers Are Still Coming...

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Sponging the City

Esponjamiento urbano, a Spanish term that literally translates as “urban sponging”, refers to the process of aerating dense, historical urban environments so they become more “porous”. It involves demolishing buildings to make way for public space or public right-of-ways of some sort, thus reducing urban density. A similar concept in French is percement urbain, meaning to “pierce” new avenues through a city fabric; the most famous example being Baron Haussmann’s renovation of Paris. The pre-modern European city,  enclosed by ramparts, was densely built up mainly for reasons of defensibility. However these ramparts eventually became ineffective against “improvements” in artillery, at which...

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