Monday, November 06, 2006

Just cause or impediment

Japanese couples are so keen to have Western-style weddings, local gaijin can make ready cash by pretending to be Christian priests. Which either follows the God-is-dead drift of this excellent article about The New Atheism in, of all publications, Wired, the Bible of all things geekoid; or offers an oblique commentary on the tragic, but at the same time terribly amusing tale of Pastor Ted Haggard and his drugs and massage (unconsumed and unconsummated, respectively); or suggests that Tokyo-based expats are so impoverished and/or shameless, they'll do half-arsed impressions of Derek Nimmo for a bowl of ramen.

Elsewhere: I offer a bit of PR advice to Al Quaeda; supposedly conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan calls Donald Rumsfeld an "incompetent maniac" and hopes that the Republicans are crucified in the midterms; and I also noticed the following quotation from William Burroughs on Treespotter's excellent blog:

"I am not one of those weak-spirited, sappy Americans who want to be liked by all the people around them. I don’t care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do. The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. My affections, being concentrated over a few people, are not spread all over Hell in a vile attempt to placate sulky, worthless shits."

Which I hadn't heard before, despite having spent many happy hours comparing Radiohead's 'Fitter Happier' to the cut-up texts of Burroughs and Bryon Gysin. It's somewhere between Swift's dictum on "the animal called Man", and Sturgeon's Revelation ("90% of everything is crud").

Tomorrow I'm off to Manila, to cover the annual envelope harvest, and I may be out of contact on Wednesday, which is the first anniversary of Cultural Snow. So, a couple of days early, here's that first post again.

"Welcome to Cultural Snow
In analogue times, people who were slightly drunk and at a loose end might begin writing bad poetry, or stand on a soapbox at Hyde Park Corner, or just phone the speaking clock and scream obscenities at it. In a similar, but defiantly digital mode, I've started a blog. What's it for? Where's it going? Will it change the world, or will it degenerate, like 97% of all known blogs, into tired harrumphing over the rights and/or wrongs of the Iraq War. I really have no idea, but maybe that Polish vodka does.

It's a bit like taking a pencil for a walk, that pastime beloved of well-meaning art teachers confronted by incompetent six-year-olds, but it's a long time since I wielded a pencil in anger. I took a dog for a walk this evening, however. Will that do?

A hint, though, to where this might all be going; the title, 'Cultural Snow' is a reference to the work of the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. I'm too lazy to track down the exact quotation in full, but I'm pretty sure it's from the novel Dance Dance Dance. So maybe you can expect occasional references to Murakami to crop up in future postings. Or maybe not.

I'm going to get a bit more of that Polish vodka from the fridge. Will be in touch. Soon. Unless the vodka beats me to it."

Note that I had yet to work out how to insert pictures or create links. And wot, no poncy invocations of Baudrillard?


Betty said...

Many happy returns for Wednesday. Do people actually celebrate, ahem, blogdays?

Anonymous said...

Happy blogday Tim.
Gotta love Richard Dawkins. The God Delusion is on my bedside table waiting for me to finish The Baroque Trilogy.
If I had my way Richard Dawkins would be the first president of Northern Ireland, give the locals somebody good to argue with. Mind you I think I may be in a bit of a minority on that one.

Billy said...

I assume you get some kind of virtual gag. Congrats, Tim.

St Anthony said...

The Burroughs quote is priceless, and one I've frequently used myself. It's one of the reasons I love the old curmudgeon.
And what would Uncle Bill have made of Ted Haggard? Is his flock expected to forgive him more readily because he was schmuck enough to pay good money for sex'n'drugs and didn't actually avail himself of them ... surely that earns him even more contempt, where we to take him at his word (Being a man of the cloth, he surely wouldn't tell a lie ...).
As Burroughs also said, never do business with a religious sonofabitch ...

Derek Nimmo ... comic genius. He and Reg Varney bestrode the world of 70s TV comedy like colossi

St Anthony said...

Yes, typo alert ... I've posited before that there is a ghost lurking in the machine, that delights in taking cogent, brilliantly-written, side-splittingly funny little screeds and turning them out so that obvious mistakes like 'where' for 'were' creep in, thus making the highly intelligent, well-educated creator of such screeds look like some kind of idiot.
Burroughs would have called it the Ugly Spirit.

Tim Footman said...

Betty, Doc, Billy: Shucks, guys. Since I'm too old for birthdays (and never liked them much anyway) this will have to do.

Anthony: is the Ugly Spirit a cousin of the apostrofly, the ineradicable pest that deposits unwanted punctuation in random locations? Got into Manila a few hours ago and the place is full of the bugger's [sic].

The word verification is oggglfwg. Dunno what it is, but I love it.

St Anthony said...

mangles insect screams ... the apostrofly flexed obscenely as it's egg-depositor burrowed into the scarred carapace of 'Fats' Terminal ... electric wave of horror swept the alleyway.
Boy, that's the sex that passes the censor.
(Possibly unpublished section from 'Naked Lunch', possibly not).

Jun Okumura said...

Like so many other things (hip-hop, T-shirts, fast-food, baseball, etc.), I think we picked it up from the Americans, who have their own share of White Males masquerading as Christian priests. Just sayin'.

tom l said...

How about ths one?

Apparently, back in the 1970's, certain Cold Warriors hated the idea of detente with the Soviet Union, so they started a big old scare about how the Russkis had a fleet of invisible nuclear submarines. They just made it all up and knew it and didn't care. Who were they? Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz.

Happy Anniversary! May you keep up your own nefarious doings for at least as long as those guys have!

Molly Bloom said...

Happy Blogday Timsterxx And long may the wonderful blog we call Cultural Snow reignxx

Annie said...

Happy returns to you and your splendid blog! Where would we be without our regular dose of Culture?

I found you through your first comment on mine, which was about sneezing on people, who would have thought this would be the place to come for intellectual debate and sophisticated writing? Just this post - Japanese culture, Wired,
Al Quaeda, Donald Rumsfeld, William Burroughs, Derek Nimmo - my head's spinning. But in a good way ;-)

patroclus said...

Happy 100th Tim - all of them brilliant super high quality posts that are fun *and* educational, and you can't say that about too many things. Enjoy the harvest - I hear the envelope trees are beautiful at this time of year.

St Anthony said...

It would be interesting to put Burroughs, Nimmo and Rumsfeld into Cronenberg's flesh-melding pod and see what comes out.

The horror, the horror.

treespotter said...

i can't exactly find it where i read that really, will try to dig it up.

happy anniversary. found the vodka yet?

Robert A. Swipe said...

Sturgeon's a great read Tim. Check out "More than Human" and any of the short stories. I've not read a huge amount of Sci-Fi (as he himself said, 90% etc.) but he is the best I've come across. Humane and prescient. He wrote a couple of the original Start Treks too - one, I seem to recall, starts with an Alice in Wonderland type sequence.

Great pic from Night of the Hunter too Tim. We are doing wel today! Have a gold star...

Happy Birthday and hope you have a bumper envelope harvest.

M. A. Peel said...

Tim, your blogiversary is the same day as Rumsfeld finally gets the boot. Woo-hoo!

Tim Footman said...

Thank you all for your kind wishes. If only I knew a year ago what a weird and wonderful crew I'd encounter (albeit virtually, in most cases). I might never have started...

And I've resisted the temptation to do a post on the midterms, but can I just note that I'm fully behind the campaign to encourage Rumsfeld to run for the Republican nomination in 2008, ideally with Mark Foley as his running mate. Failing that, Saddam Hussein (since he, more than any other indiviual, got GWB re-elected in '04).

St Anthony said...

Yay, he's full of hate
He's the man for 2008.
Rummie, Rummie.