Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Bad Egg, A Bad Dog

I bought a Kinder Egg yesterday. I unwrapped it and ate the chocolate shell. The egg had one of those toys inside it, of course. Which is why I bought it. Of course. But the toy was already assembled. So sometimes I get out of bed in the morning, but sometimes I say, "What's the use?"

Reading: Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad kept me awake for pretty much the entire month of July when I was fourteen years old. I reread the thing, all six volumes, when I was nineteen, and laughed all over again, but at different things. I'd missed so much in that first reading: there's only so much a fourteen year old kid can appreciate about the Italian tourism trade or Hawaiian politics, and probably only so much an egotistical nineteen year old can understand, too. But fourteen, I maintain, was still a good time to read Twain's extremely entertaining travelogue. When I was fourteen, there wasn't anything that didn't make a huge impression on me, books least of all. God forbid a good-looking girl should smile at me; I'd smile back at her in my thoughts for days afterward. If a friend cracked a joke, I'd laugh at it for weeks and pass it on to everyone else. Good weather, for crying out loud, could send me up in the boughs for hours, and bad weather made me feel like a Viking. Reading books that were over my head certainly impressed me, maybe not with a sense of the importance of the work, or the great themes at hand, or the humanity of the characters, but certainly with the actual story I was reading. This youthful impressionability, I think, explains why Edgar Allan Poe, for instance, is so enjoyed by every little Gothlit juvenile (and the French) out there. Atmosphere, more than vivid character or startling plot revelation, conveys a lasting impression. I would say that most readers of "The Fall Of The House Of Usher" are drawn to that story by its evocative doom-laden title and the shadowy deathful imagery of that first sentence.

During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.

Godsake, I'd sell my brother into the white slave trade if it meant I'd be allowed to write like that! And after a sentence like that, can any plot revelation actually be a surprise? Whatever horrible thing happens next will only, at best, bear out the evil omen of those words—and that's part of the pleasure of reading Poe, isn't it? To see if the author can possibly prolong this foggy atmosphere to the end of the story? Many times, Poe fell short of the impressions he raised, but not here, not in this particular tale. Now, it may be that you don't believe me. It may be that you have a sinister double, who whispers at you from the mirror, from around the corner, who lifts your blanket at night and says, "The man is lying. Do not trust him. Wall him up and never trust him. Bury his words beneath the floor." To you doubters and doubles I say, "Read it yourself. You can find it online if you wish, and it's not very long." Go read "The Fall Of The House Of Usher" + Edgar Allan Poe

Listening: This band has a new single out and it's garbage. I loved (I mean LOVED) their first single, and listened to it obsessively, even mentioned it on this blog, but I couldn't download a decent version of it anywhere. So disappointing. Anyway, about a month or so ago, maybe less, I came across some new stuff by them, including this piece. Don't listen to it. I'm not being ironic, here, or all Lemony Snicket. I'm saying the music sucks, the video sucks, and they've totally strayed into industrial dance and don't deserve their name. They look like that party Neo goes to in the first Matrix. And as much as I think "Dragula" is all boyscout and good clean fun, Rob Zombie wears out faster in that scene than me trying be funny, and so does this song. I'm just not that into you, new WRM. You're trash without the euro. I don't like your moves, I don't like your style. Please invite the original sound back. "Alsation" + White Rose Movement

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