domenica, gennaio 13, 2008

Cyclical cycles

Am I dumber now than I was ten years ago? At 29, I've reached the age when it becomes a serious question. The answer is still no, of course. When I was 19 I was practically vegetal, and the evidence suggests I must have been a late-bloomer, or possibly some sort of insect that went through a sticky smelly stupid stoned chrysalis period. But I suppose with each passing year, the question 'am I dumber now than I was ten years ago?' will get more and more thought-provoking.

When I was 19, one of the people who University foisted on me who I was not at all ready for was Mircea Eliade. In my defense the Romanian was hardly translated so his unwieldly sentences were a pain in my baked ass, and I still won't say Mircea Eliade was a good writer. But once I left humanities, started studying international relations and fully accepted how shittily 'academic' literature could be written, a whole new world of poorly expressed brilliancy opened up to me and suddenly Mircea Eliade was my new best friend. Besides the whole Fascist thing, but dollars to doughnuts says you would have been a Fascist too if you'd been a Romanian between the two world wars.

Anyhoo, one of Eliade's contributions to thinking about religion is the explanation of the eternal return; that by participating in religious rituals, a person participates in a sort of cyclical, mythic time, and removes themselves from the horror of historical time. I think part of the reason I didn't like Eliade when I was 19 was that the idea of historical time being horrible was baffling. Last night I understood it, though. I heard the expression 'noughties' to describe the decade through which we're living, and then started imagining what stupid names we'll give approaching decades, and was filled with an intense relief when I realized I'll almost certainly be dead before we deal with three syllables in the first part of the year-date, for example 'twen-ty-one-el-ev-en'.

Another thing that filled me with horror this weekend was realizing Alicia Keys, who apparently people take seriously, is the person who wails that whiny shit over a farty bastardization of Pachelbel's Canon. Good lord, we live in decadent times.

Anyways, there were several things this weekend that didn't fill me with horror. One of them was a Portugese band called The Gift - some friends of ours who'd just come back from there gave me a copy of Facil de entender, which is just as well as I don't suppose I would have stumbled across it on my own. The singer, Sonia Tavares, has exactly the sort of pop chick voice I like. Like if Marlene Dietrich actually had talent as a vocalist. And the instrumentation is suberb. Here's a video:

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