I indulge in a brief retrospective of the classic early 90s tv show, Quantum Leap.
Originally published in 1995, “The Gleaming Crest” was my first poetry chapbook (you can read more about it here.) Written while I was still in high school, this obscure literary gem from the 90’s deals with themes of adolescent angst, grandiose dreams, romance and coming of age. It’s only about 35 pages, but worth snagging a copy since it’s basically become vintage. The book is available from Amazon, but you’ll occasionally see copies floating around in locally owned book stores, record stores and random shops. It’s a great book to have sitting out on a coffee table if you want to get strange looks from guests who come over.
Purchase from Amazon
So, as the enlightened / disillusioned ones transition to a “post-political” era, I’ve created a new site, Jostle, for people willing to ascend into abstract madness. “Jostle” is in the literary vein of a 1990’s underground zine but is stylistically modeled after pop publications like Seventeen and Sassy Magazine. The tagline of Jostle is “creating elbow room,” meaning that it intends to open up space in the ether for people to think about whatever, as there is no room for coherent thought and the transmission of concrete political ideas in the world of everyday people. As I’ve stated before, electoral politics strikes me as a pointless endeavor. If one is going to vote, they’d be better off voting for the candidate that has the cooler looking campaign logo. The vast majority of people who vote have at best a kindergarten level of understanding when it comes to the issues. They might recognize a couple of slogans and be swayed by a few generalized statements. There are very little actual differences between candidates anyway, most of whom merely spout vapid platitudes. I don’t see any mechanism for this to change any time soon. In terms of what could be termed political or ideological interests I’m mostly only focused on transhumanism now. The AltRight has nothing interesting left to offer, nor does the post-AltRight, which is mostly just young people attempting to repackage the early 1990s religious right as something new (because they grew up too late to realize that was the sort of thing people were trying to get away from.) The left has nothing to offer either, but I will probably vote democrat anyway, if the candidate is cute, quirky, funny and supports universal basic income for aging mall creeps and notoriously terrible roommates like me. Identity politics is here to stay, but as traditional identities disappear, new ones will emerge to take their place: vampire, fembot, catgirl, pigman, mystery meat, neo-juggalo, legacy human, floating brain in a jar…etc. It’s an exciting time to be alive and in chronic pain!
Jostle frequently will delve into the realms of “mindless” pop culture and obscure oddities, partially because those are where my fascinations ultimately lie but also to act as a repellent to “Johnny One-Note” political pests. The subject matter of Jostle acts a neuro-tribalist filter. So if your first instinct when reading it is to mutter “What is this bullshit?” to yourself, you’re probably not on my wavelength. So you can either get on my wavelength or go home. It’s cool.
[Of course I will continue to update AltLeft.com if and when a political epiphany pops into my head or I feel like going on some drunken Mel Gibson rant (both of which are virtually guaranteed to happen)]
Robert Stark and Matthew Pegas talk with David Cole about the history, culture, and aesthetics of LA ‘s Malls. David Cole writes for Takimag and is the author of Republican Party Animal.
Show is available here
David and Robert’s background growing up on the Westside of LA
The Open Air Century City Shopping Center, the original 60’s retro futuristic aesthetics, and the film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
The recent $1-billion makeover of the Mall and plans to make Century City more urban and pedestrian friendly
The “Westfield Aesthetic”
The old underground 70’s retro futuristic ABC Entertainment Center
The first major indoor mall Fox Hills in Culver City
The Westside Pavilion, Jon Jerde’s 80’s Post Modernist aesthetics (original featured in Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’), and plans to turn it into office space
The 80’s Rodeo Collection, an archeo-futuristic urban oasis model for self-contained cities, and the film Body Double
The Beverly Center, the amusement park “Kiddyland” before the mall , the original 80’s aesthetics with futuristic external escalators, and later renovations
The lack of interest in preserving 80’s architecture
Young people’s interest in 80’s aesthetics and the magical dream like memories from early childhood (Hypnagogia)
The 70’s retro high-rise Mr. C Hotel(formerly the Renaissance) near Beverly Hills
The Third Street Promenade, the first major outdoor mall
The rise of outdoor malls such as Rick Caruso’s The Grove and Americana at Brand and how those are now becoming dated
Future trends, the under construction high-rise shopping complex, the Oceanwide Plaza in Downtown LA
The Jon Jerde designed neon lit Universal CityWalk
David’s joke about the City Walk’s old Rain Forest Cafe and the Museum of Tolerance’s Tunnel of Hate
Westwood Village as the center of Westside nightlife and it’s decline in the late 80’s
What’s with these homies, dissing my girl?
Why do they gotta front?
What did we ever do to these guys
That made them so violent?
“Why do you like this song?” my girlfriend asked one time while we were driving somewhere. She had her iPhone plugged into the stereo, and I had been asking her to play various jams before at some point I requested to hear Weezer’s Buddy Holly.
Weezer is one of many bands that would likely be deemed too politically incorrect to be mainstream today, and if present trends continue, may one day be retroactively banned or censored. Of course, there isn’t really anything particularly offensive about their music or lyrics, but that just doesn’t matter anymore. People will find something whether it’s there or not.
I don’t recall being that interested in Weezer when I was in high school. I didn’t own any of their CDs, unless you count the Mallrats soundtrack (of which one of their song Susanne appears.) One thing I’ve discovered about getting older though is that you start to develop a fondness for certain things from when you were growing up (even if you never paid attention to them at the time,) as they come to be more recognizably associated with your “era” and present as alien artifacts to a new generation…like inside jokes that they aren’t in on (and don’t care to be in on.) It’s only long after the fact that you begin to notice that the popular songs, movies etc from your teenage years often subtly speak through cultural references to issues relatable to a particular place and time. The less serious side, is that sometimes even if you hated a song, you may appreciate it later because it will remind you of other good times you were having while you were annoyed that it was playing on the radio. I don’t remember ever being “excited” to hear Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping or Aqua’s Barbie Girl come on the radio in 1997, but if I heard them today I’d probably smile because they’d remind of me of some spring and summer nights that I’ll never get a chance to relive any other way. Of course, it isn’t always a positive association. The reason I never watch The Devil’s Advocate (besides it being a piece of shit movie,) is that my old friend Andrew and I were robbed at gunpoint (and very nearly shot) outside the theater after seeing the film when it came out.
Anyway, I told my girlfriend that Buddy Holly by Weezer was catchy, but that it also had subtle social themes and reactionary undertones I could relate to on some level. Take the following snippet of lyrics which I posted at the beginning of the article:
What’s with these homies, dissing my girl?
Why do they gotta front?
What did we ever do to these guys
That made them so violent?
A less charitable analyst might see that verse and shout “RACIST! NAZI! Rivers KKKUOMO!” under the assumption that “homies” refers to black gangsters, and that the question What did we ever do to these guys that made them so violent? potentially alludes to the problem of black violence and to what extent whites’ historical mistreatment of blacks contributed to the rise of it…as Weezer’s implicit throwback whiteness “Oo-ee-oo I look just like Buddy Holly Oh-oh, and you’re Mary Tyler Moore” suddenly finds itself out-of-place in a downright hostile 90’s America that’s in the process of being overrun by diversity, where Rivers Cuomo’s fashionable homage (even if semi-ironic) to 1950s America would be received with as much welcome as an episode of Happy Days being broadcast to BET audiences in 1995.
This is a highly dubious interpretation though, I mean really reaching, as it seems obvious to me (or anyone my age) that Weezer is probably talking about conflicts with 90’s wigger culture, which most people of the era this was released could relate to. As someone of a more alternative/indie persuasion, I absolutely hated the wanna-be gangster culture of the 90s. I thought it was dumb, ridiculous and featured some of the ugliest people, hairdos and clothing styles I have ever seen. I was a teenager though and a skateboarder, so I occasionally went along aspects with it to fit in when I was with certain groups of friends (and I will admit it was fun to sometimes troll parents and grandparents by speaking in gibberizzle.) The threat of getting into a fight with a bunch of obnoxious wiggers was real though, if you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and they decided to fuck with you. This might be especially so if you were a raver, goth, punk, skater, rockabilly kid, mod or the kind of nerdcore hipster Rivers Cuomo represents. You’d have stuck out like a sore thumb, and they probably would have talked shit about what you were wearing, called you a “fag,” “bitch,” “freak” or whatever.
So yes, I can relate to the song Buddy Holly as a commentary on the way civilized people must struggle having to deal with violent riff raff disrupting their pursuit of happiness. One can do one’s best to ignore the thugs and morons:
I don’t care what they say about us anyway
I don’t care ’bout that
but ultimately we have to live in the physical world (is there any other kind?) and tuning them out… often isn’t enough.
Brandon Adamson is the author of Skytrain to Nowhere
Rose McGowan got heckled by some insane transwoman the other day, and the video went viral. Apparently this was because McGowan had made some “transphobic” comments in an interview with RuPaul. Basically, Rose talked about how transwomen were different than other women because they didn’t have the same biological experiences (like periods, etc.) As these were obviously empirically true statements, I suppose it’s not surprising they caused such outrage. Of course transwomen are not the same as biological women. For one thing, they are born with penises. So that’s one difference right there. Anyone could have learned this much by simply watching Kindergarten Cop.
I mean how dumb/insane do you have to be to go after someone like Rose McGowan because she “doesn’t do enough for transwomen” or whatever. Even the great-hearted among us can only politely entertain this kind of stupidity with a straight face for so long.
In all honesty, this is exactly the kind of thing that pushes people over the edge. You go through life walking on eggshells, careful to be respectful and not offend others, but you discover it’s never enough. So you just stop caring and even begin to take pleasure in offending them. Others who haven’t had quite reached their breaking point yet (some perhaps never will) wonder how you can say such “insensitive,” and “hurtful” things. but they don’t realize how you’ve come to be desensitized. Tell people enough times that they are racist/sexist/transphobic no matter what they say or do, and they will eventually decide it’s not worth trying to appease the unappeasable. This doesn’t mean they will subsequently go out of their way to be huge assholes to everyone, but they might very well stop caring so much if sharing their honest opinion or joke causes people to think they’re huge assholes. Rose McGowan’s not there yet. She’s still under the illusion that there’s a place for “white feminists” within the intersectional community. There isn’t really. These people will never accept them as their own, and the behavioral demands and speech parameters will only get more unreasonable as time goes on.
Admittedly, I haven’t seen too many of Rose McGowan’s movies. I vaguely remember watching The Doom Generation, but since I watched it at a girl’s house with a few friends on some random night in 1997, I wasn’t really paying attention. It seemed like a movie that was trying too hard to seem hip and edgy. Rose also had a small role in the movie Encino Man, which I never realized until I noticed it in her Wikipedia (it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie.) Perhaps, in the case of Encino Man was just too preoccupied with Megan Ward, who had already left a lasting impression on my psyche with her demonic mirror seduction scene in Amityville 1992: It’s About Time. Oh, and I forgot that McGowan had a supporting role in Scream also, where she gets killed while trying to escape through a doggy door.
The only real Rose McGowan centric film I’ve seen in its entirety is Devil in the Flesh, a throwaway direct-to-video “erotic” thriller from 1998 where McGowan plays,a psycho teenage girl who becomes infatuated with her teacher and tries to murder his fiancee (after successfully killing several other people.) I recall being highly annoyed with this film as a young man, because it did not deliver any payoffs on the sexual tension building up in the plot. It fell clearly into the “more tease than sleaze” category. People who make these kinds of erotic thriller movies need to realize that the viewers aren’t rooting for the good guys (or the bad guys for that matter.) They’re rooting for sex scenes to happen involving the most physically attractive characters in the movie, prefaced by an underlying sexual tension within the context of a forbidden premise. The viewer wants to see the teacher succumb to his psycho student’s advances (after resisting at first.) The viewer doesn’t care about him being a good guy and saving the day by rescuing his cheesy fiancee. Not in this kind of movie anyway. As a side note, in the sequel Devil in the Flesh II (this time starring Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) the girl does manage to successfully seduce her teacher, (albeit with the same predictably disappointing ending) so in this sense it is the superior film.
Fast forward 20 years and these days McGowan has a shaved head because she no longer wants to be seen as a “sex object.” It might seem strange coming from someone who wrote the paragraphs above, but I can’t say that I blame her really. Even average everyday girls get hit on or have to fend off creeps in pretty much any situation where human interaction can possibly occur. I can only imagine that for an actress with a public image as a sex symbol, this kind of attention would be amplified to unimaginable levels. At some point a girl may want to be noticed for something else, anything else. Not only that, but McGowan herself has (allegedly) been subjected to actual abuse by Harvey Weinstein and probably a few others as well.
So she’s a hardcore feminist activist now and an icon. Good for her I suppose. As a cynical, somewhat apathetic guy I find her interviews painful to watch, with all the excessive, misplaced self-aggrandizement and melodramatic talk about “bravery,” “revolutions” etc. It all comes across really awkward and delusional to anyone outside of her own head. It is also pretty lame to use “Brave” as the title of your autobiographical book about yourself. Still, I can’t bring myself to dislike her. For all her bombastic bluster, she still seems like a nice girl and a sincere person. This is a girl that had a rough time and went through some bad stuff and just wants to break free of all the bullshit. Anyone that displays an ability to stop giving a fuck about conforming to groupthink on any level always has the potential to go further, even if they ultimately choose to just embrace a bunch of other dumb stuff instead.