Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Greetings, Milk Duds:

Every time I feel all bad old wrinkly tired and pale from too much staying up late/playing guitar/smoking/drinking/living, I start doing the healthy stuff (sleeping eating yoga etc.). Problem is, the minute I feel better, I have so much excess energy I just gotta do all the bad things again, because they're so much dang fun. And the cycle begins anew.

So here I am smoking and blogging and feeling energetic and clean when I should be in bed. There must be a compromise.

Let's say this'll be short.

I just went to Matt Welch's blog for kicks, and was once again impressed by the energy and conflict of his writing. He is a thinker I can trust, because he admits without shame when he is confused about things.

Jim and I talked about this when he was visiting: He's taking a Noam Chomsky class at Stanford, and he feels something missing in the guy's analysis of most everything, because Chomsky reduces everything to the same predictable elements--elements that reflect his own personal neuroses as much as they do external "reality." Chomsky's world is devoid of music, of humor, of surprise and most especially of confusion. Chomsky wants you to believe he's got it all figured out, and he wants you to be afraid. I told Jim about the speech by Vaclav Havel which Matt excerpted a while ago, in which he admits that the older and wiser he gets, the less confidence he has in his own instincts and abilities. This kind of admission represents a kind of freedom Chomsky lacks.

Matt has a nice bit on his blog now, detailing Chomsky's fear-based loathing of Havel. Yes, Havel. Havel, who was imprisoned in Ruzyne prison in Prague for his beliefs, who grew up under a totalitarian regime and knows something about the systematic and violent control of political dissent. Apparently, Havel was oppressed by the wrong sort of totalitarians, for Chomsky's tastes. How a guy who's been lionized and given an academic throne by one of America's most prestigious universities can claim moral and intellectual superiority over a guy who went to prison for his beliefs is one of the mysteries of life, up there with "what makes bubble-wrap such fun to pop?" and "How did Big Star compose 'O My Soul'?" (In-studio improv? A bunch of song fragments mushed together?)

Anyway, Chomsky is upset that Havel likes America for fighting Communism. Yes, it's confusing when bad guys fight bad guys. You don't know where you stand. You don't know why they're fighting. This is why I (and lots of people) are so conflicted about this crazy new war. Marching against the war, I heard a small voice in my gut (yes, a voice in my gut, it's weird but there's some vocal cords there) saying, do we know what we're protesting?

I mean, back before Hitler had invaded Western Europe, before he appeared to be as large a threat as he was, lots of people belittled him. I didn't know this, but my friend David told me that Churchill's early stance against Hitler was viewed as a lame form of old-fashioned war-mongering. Of course, it turned out that tolerance of Hitler was a huge mistake.

I'm not trying to totally equate two very different situations and historical eras. I'm just asking questions.

Now it's for sure time to go to sleep. I promise to stop talking politics so much. It's no fun and that's not what this blog is for.

On a lighter note, my awesome friend Ken gave me a gift today: Wham's "Fantastic." Holy cow, does George Michael have a gift for album titles or what? "Make It Big"? "Fantastic"? "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1"? Can't hardly wait to listen to "Fantastic," without prejudice.

I'm interviewing Liam Lynch Wednesday. I'm also interviewing Michelle Branch, but I have a really good reason I will explain at a future date.



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