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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Oedipus was a detective in search of himself.

How could Harriet Miers know her path was his as she led her search committee toward the next Supreme Court Nominee?

How could I know how similar to Jackie Mason I would feel in expressing that parallel?

Is a "how could you" question answerable or rhetorical, asked by someone making a point?

Yet I ask it.

-- How could you? I can't even look at you. Don't let it happen again.

Sunday, October 2nd from 5PM to 6PM at the Bryat Park Book Fair, continued.

As for my Book Fair report, following Art Spiegelman in the New York Times Book Review tent was Pamela Paul to personally introduce us to her new book, "Pornified."

If you sense a kinetic energy in your hotel room, then perhaps it's because, sniff-sniff, it's been pornified!

In case I was not already alarmed by my potential comments about a hundred million dollar industry, following Pamela Paul and a summer camp break with Christopher Lehman-Haupt, was author Ariel Levy, introducing her new, red book, Female Chauvinist Pigs, describing her undercover work during the spring break shoot of a show called "Girls Gone Wild." (This show, immortalized by Larry David in a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, is mostly comprised of minimally solicited public-breast-bearing "reality" clips. In syndication, perhaps it should rerun as "Girls Went Wild.")

If I add anything to the self-perceptions of the "wild" ones whose body displays were freely offered to cameras in those episodes -- especially to those who masturbated –- it is this suggestion; rather than being victimized in retrospect, consider the respect you offered to a 100 million dollar industry and its customers by mooning them.

Perhaps there are times when the act of observing something does NOT change it. Let voyeurs watch. The power to change in their observation is negligible compared with a scientist looking for an electron through a microscope.

Yes, bodies are fascinating, ever-surprising in their breath-taking beauty, and worthy of time spent looking at them.

No, I haven't seen March of the Penguins, but I'll bet we benefit by observing them, too.

If pornography is images of people who prepare and present themselves and others in various displays of sexual arousal then, yes, the world is pornified.

But what is pornography? The knowledge of it, like the knowledge Adam and Eve acquired about being naked in the Garden of Eden, was contained in the definition; "I KNOW it when I see it."

The standard has become what a community/planet will tolerate.

Perhaps for sexual arousal to be pornographic a measure of self-hatred is required.

Pamela Paul's featured video description was of “sheiks” clenching Abu Ghraib prison photos as they surrounded the military-garbed woman they held responsible.

In this video after a suggested decapitation they drench the woman with their self generated kinetic fluids.

“Masturbatable,” perhaps with self-hatred. Consider, in response to the blinding rage "generatable" from the previous near-dada description, how powerful emotions (i.e., hate, love...) readily couple with physical feelings of sexual (reproductive) arousal.

-- Don't just stand there, do something.

-- I can't. It's on film; it already happened.

-- How could you? I can't even look at you. Don't let it happen again.

Monday, October 03, 2005

To write one of these MD posts I like to have some kind of general interest update to share.

I just returned from a day of jury duty in 2d Dept. Federal Court, and no I wasn't picked but I was among the first called to join a panel seated within a beautiful courtroom jury box after watching a hypnotizing video projection. I didn't catch the video title but it was directed by Jody E. George of the Federal Judicial Center and screened in double projection with capital-letter-captioning, white on black.

"We're going to show you a film. What the film does is give you a brief idea of what it's like to do jury service here in Federal Court."

Yes, it cast a spell upon all, turning random individuals into prospective jurors.

Only by the judge saying these magic words, "You are excused," may the juror spell be broken, and he did to me, so I missed out on determing the controversy raised by Ralph Lauren suing Jordache and the United States Polo Association for trademark infringement of the double horse logo, which I confess I cannot picture.

The judge conducted the voir dire of the jurors as the eight attorneys and two rows of interested observers sat with senses on alert.

"Do you rent or own where you live?"

In addition to clearly establishing the trial schedule, Judge George B. Daniels asked other probative questions, and unearthed amazing coincidences. (i.e. My husband is a partner in the plaintiff's firm, I'm friends with one of the defense attorneys (waves exchanged) and I just submitted an opposition brief to your honor on another matter., or -- I provided fringes for Lauren clothes, I met him often and yes, he was very good to me., -- Or, most generally, my attorney suffered a psychotic episode and was disbarred during my med mal trial.)

A jury of eight was quickly, impressively, and admirably had.

I went for lunch to the corner dim sum place and ran into the owner of a sea food restaurant, "Up the River," in Westley near Mystic. He and I struck up a conversation because I couldn't help noticing that his shirt had a bright polo insignia of a man on a horse swinging a mallet. Now there's an original trademark for a polo shirt.

Look, if you invest, time, money and effort in some(any)thing, then you should have at least the modicum of self-interest (and intelligence) to create a defendable ownership stake in it...

The jury service waiting time after lunch was an opportunity to read the daily free paper, "AM New York." A brief article within it speculated about the identity of Bush's next supreme court nominee. Will it be his former personal attorney?

Again, if you, the term-limit-public-servant, have a choice discretion, you may also wish to factor self-interest into the equation.

Suddenly here appears a general header for everything I write:

Dear gentle reader, I don't readily access past sensory observations as readily as I access the internet so an additional purpose served by this writing is to refresh my memory.

Furthermore, my undercover expose' tone (like I'm a spy on the "Girls Gone Wild" shoot) is a reverberation from what I enjoyed yesterday afternoon when I attended -- and forgive me because any literature distributed at the event had run out by the time I arrived at 5PM -- some kind of book fair at the park (Bryant) behind The New York Public Library.

Multiple tents were up, plus a carousel! One tent had a waiting line extending throughout half the park, because a panel discussion by New York Times Op Ed writers was soon to ensue within.

Another little tent was wide open for seating. I heard the buzz word, Heidegger, and asked a distinctively tee-shirted attendant. She said that speaking in there was Harry Frankfurt (I am only now realizing that the City of Frankfurt is his surname) reading from his philosophical treatise "On Bullshit." (on dancer on donner on prancer...).

The word "Bullshit" still has its punch as a period, a conversation stopper, or at least, as an argument starter.

Mr. Frankfurt's primary observation is that the bullshiter simply doesn't care if what he says is the truth in contrast with Iago, that liar, who does.

He concluded by reading from his treatise what I will paraphrase as follows: Our general acceptance of bullshit means that we, yearning for its substitute, discern and respect sincerity. A person whose expression holds the ring of truth, from being true to him or herself, is the final exemplar of bullshit, because in truth, no matter how true to ourselves we sincerely are, reality exists apart from our perception and expression of it.

I agree, even as I, with all my sensory caveats, seek clarifying expressions of reality.

That little reading tent was like The New York Times Book Review, Live, and I kept getting up, and then sat back down after they announced the next author.

I knew of Harry Frankfurt's book, as well as Pamela Paul's Pornified and Ariel Levy's Female Chauvenist Pigs from the past year's New York Times Book Review. And the novel The Mad Cook of Pymatuning was read by its author, Christopher Lehman-Haupt, a reviewer of books for the New York Times.

As for the Target Logo appearing within the New York Times banner behind these authors in the little tent, although it remains unclear what the "Target" trademark represents, I am familiar with it because its trademark holders, whoever they are, had bought out an entire New Yorker issue’s ad space for red and black graphics, making that issue so obviously a collector’s item that I promptly threw it away.

Also appearing within the tent was the amazing Art Spiegelman. He followed Mr. Frankfurt and I sat down in disbelief immediately upon hearing his name as I greatly admired Maus and enjoyed his attention-grabbing New Yorker Covers. He crucified the Easter Bunny over some tax forms and illustrated the slurp kiss between two people who would more likely share an employer/employee relationship, among other covers suggestive of George Grosz paintings. Mr. Spiegelman did the black on black World Trade Center cover in the wake of their demolition. What better person to do the cover? Not only does his family live two blocks from the calamitous site but his is wife the cover editor for the New Yorker. After his presentation he went to sign copies of his "graphic novel," In the Shadow of No Towers.

I am sorry to only now think of asking him, does he have any update on the activities of his fellow Raw comic book artist, Mark Beyer?

I must go now. MORE LATER...

tail-end notes...

Supposedly you could get your book appraised from professional booksellers at this fair; someone showed me multiple hardcover first edition copies of On The Road. No, I could not imagine what they were worth and thanked him for letting me look at them.

Somehow, the idea that buying a 15 dollar N.Y.T. tote bag would entitle one to enter an area of, and fill the bag with, gently used books was vaguely annoying.

Oh, thank you for telling me about the book fair.