The weekend was pretty much perfect. Temperatures nudging 80, cerulean skies, the sort of string of lovely days that you always get in the fall, but not always on a weekend. So, as the previous entry should suggest, it seemed fitting to blow off a lot of chore-type stuff and enjoy it while we could. Sailing was Saturday. Yesterday was the housewarming party at the Frank Lloyd Wright house mentioned here a couple weeks back — it’s finally 99 percent done. I’m a friend of a friend of the owners, and came as his plus-one. No photos, at the hosts’ request, but you can still look at the ones at the Hour Detroit link (although the captions don’t always match the photos). It’s as lovely in person as in the pictures; I expect if they haven’t heard from a location scout already, they will soon — the place was born to be a movie set.
We walked over from my friend’s house in Palmer Woods, the grandest of the grand old neighborhoods in Detroit. Walking back alone — had to leave early — I was struck, for the millionth time, by how much money there was in this town, once upon a time. These Tudor-revival and Mission-style and midcentury-modern houses are now owned by buppies and gay men and others unafraid of urban-pioneer living, and there was much discussion of $1,400 monthly winter heating bills and other drawbacks to living in an 8,000-square-foot architectural masterpiece with leaky windows. But without them, that Wright house would still be sitting empty and falling to pieces. So a salute to all.
On the way back I passed a masterful pile identified as the Bishop’s House. The marker was unclear on whether it still is*, but did mention the many religious details of the construction, including a rooftop sculpture of the Archangel Michael battling Satan. Couldn’t see it.
* A quick Google reveals it is not. Whew. Houses like that are hard to justify, even for the One True, these days.
What else? Watched “Howl,” available On Demand. Liked it very much, which I gather from the reviews is not the default position. The story of Allen Ginsberg’s magnum opus (although I hold “Kaddish” in almost equally high esteem) is told in three threads — the trial of Lawrence Ferlinghetti on obscenity charges for publishing it, an interview with Ginsberg by an unseen interlocutor, and the first reading of the poem itself in 1955. It’s a long poem, and long stretches of it are illustrated with animations, and that seems to be everyone’s problem. They’re too literal, they’re not beautiful enough, whatever. I didn’t care. I found myself paying little attention to them; they might as well have been the iTunes visualizer, or the oscilloscope potheads rigged to their stereos back in my wild youth. I was thoroughly taken with the words, the music of which is strong enough to carry the sequences. I guess the filmmakers thought a black screen or the iTunes visualizer would be too much.
James Franco plays Ginsberg as a young man, and together with Kerouac and Cassady tiptoe up to the edge of Abercrombie & Fitch styling, but don’t quite cross over. For $6.99 on the cable bill, I can think of worse ways to spend a Saturday night.
One of the duties I neglected this weekend was crafting something for this space that makes sense, or reads well, or has a point. Obviously. So let’s skip to the bloggage:
Living in Detroit, I guess I should know more about the Insane Clown Posse than I do, but honestly, that is one local act whose orbit simply does not intersect with mine in any way, shape or form. Which is good, because they’re pretty disgusting, the sort of rappers who make Eminem look like Leonard Bernstein. Still, it was simultaneously entertaining, appalling and amusing to read this piece in the Guardian about their true purpose in life:
All of which makes Violent J’s recent announcement really quite astonishing: Insane Clown Posse have this entire time secretly been evangelical Christians. They’ve only been pretending to be brutal and sadistic to trick their fans into believing in God. They released a song, Thy Unveiling, that spelt out the revelation beyond all doubt.
Oh, but it gets better! Check out the lyrics:
ICP have just released their most audacious Christian song to date: Miracles. In it, they list God’s wonders that delight them each day:
Hot lava, snow, rain and fog,
Long neck giraffes, and pet cats and dogs
Fuckin’ rainbows after it rains
There’s enough miracles here to
blow your brains.
The song climaxes with them railing against the very concept of science:
Fuckin’ magnets, how do they work?
And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist
Y’all motherfuckers lying and
getting me pissed.
Fuckin’ magnets, how do they work? Yeah!
The internet moves so fast these days you probably already know about the Ohio House candidate revealed over the weekend as having once been a Nazi re-enactor. (Yes, a Republican. I was as astonished as you were.) What you may not know is that in the Six Degrees of Separation Department, I once spent a weekend at this man’s ancestral summer home. His sister was friends with a friend of mine, and she impulsively invited us all up to their place on Devil’s Lake one Friday. It was a pretty gauzy weekend, but I remember enough to report that there were no, repeat no, Waffen SS uniforms in plain view. I do know they were pretty darn rich, which enables a lot of bad behavior and, far more important, an ability to wall yourself off in a world of people just like you, where no one says, “You know, maybe we shouldn’t be doing this, and if we do, maybe we shouldn’t take pictures of ourselves wearing these uniforms.” Actually, this characteristic is not confined to the rich. Which is why I will never run for elected office.
Which is just a short sidestep to bigotry in general, in particular Carl Paladino’s, who doesn’t want his children “brainwashed” into thinking it’s OK to be gay. Hmm. All I have to say is, “Rabbi? Is it too much to ask you to take your Bluetooth receiver out of your ear when meeting a gubernatorial candidate?”
Finally, via MMJeff, a Daily Howler worth considering:
For decades, your public discourse has been scripted by skillful players—and by their skilled, clownish messaging. We have drowned in ludicrous statements on policy matters; we have drowned in ludicrous statements about targeted public officials. (If we lower the tax rates, we get higher revenues! The Clintons are serial murderers!) And no matter how stupid these messages got, the “press corps” agreed not to notice. Endlessly, Limbaugh got a pass. So did Chris Matthews, during the many years when he worked for plutocrat masters. (No one did more to send Bush to the White House. But for years after that, Joan Walsh had to keep kissing his keister, the better to get on TV!)
Better get moving. Manic Monday now segues into Terrible Tuesday. I want to work less, or at the very least, be paid more. Is that so much to ask?