Friday, January 27, 2006

...Or one of these days you'll be made to cry

REV. A. JOHNSON "Let That Liar Pass On By"

Here is my favorite version of this great tune, posted here in reference to the media's obsession with James Frey. Frey is certainly old news by now, but I did start this post a week ago and then I got side-tracked with stuff: a nasty cold, packing up YETIs after the power of Pitchfork compelled hundreds of kids to order it instantly just based on a little news blurb on their site the other day, trying to make some $$, and curating/ hanging that art show which opens later on tonight and has now swollen to have 24 artists and well over a hundred pieces -- it's kind of crazy. I'll post pictures if I can figure out how to.

The fake Frey controversy does remind me of a common affliction in "the rooms" that we might term "bottom envy." I've had friends over the years state repeatedly that they were "only addicted to---(insert the name of drug less 'hard' than heroin)" or how they "never lost all their possessions and wound up homeless," but they still hit bottom... And I've always felt there should be no need for such qualifications, ever. No one's going to twelve-step meetings for the coffee; if you're there, you're there. It just doesn't matter how macho the war stories you swap over coffee afterwards are. If you had to quit 'cause you thought you might lose your job you are fundamentally no different, when it comes to recovery, from your friend who quit because they were a male crack whore who lost both their legs and had their kids taken away and did four years upstate. This is a beautiful thing, and it teaches you a lot about empathy, among other things.

And one of the myriad rad things about recovery is that we're all there just for one reason only, that we desire to stop using/ drinking/ eating/ whatever-ing. It's a deeply level field, profoundly level, 'cause all it ever takes is one slip to be back in the same place you were before you first walked into that weird, unmarked room in the corner of a church. I understand that Frey, in his multimillion-selling non-non-fiction novel, states that he is not down with twelve-step programs, feeling that they're just another addiction, or words to that effect. And fair enough for him -- even if that were true, I'd gladly take meetings over dope, if only 'cause they're free and the girls a lot better looking.

Seems to me that Frey likely heard some good stories at meetings or in group therapy and simply copped them, maybe 'cause he felt as if his own experiences were not "real" enough. Which is a shame, 'cause I feel that there's a great myth that in order to get clean and sober you have to end up as I did --crazy, homeless, penniless, etc.-- before you finally are willing to try anything to stop using. I'd love to read a great addiction memoir that tells the story in less an after-school special way. Besides, Cain's Book has already been written! No one is ever going to trump that one when it comes to the utter dispassion (is that a word?) and savage boredom of the junkie life.

The Frey thing makes me sad, and it's just another distraction from very important things going on today -- like how lame the Pazz & Jop poll results are!

I didn't end up submitting quotes, because I found myself writing only to try to impress other critics, but I realized after thinking about it that I mostly just don't care about other critics anymore. There are maybe five superlative music writers working today and we all know who they are. That's it. Only maybe five. (I am certainly not one of them, nor do I care to be: I'm way too scatter-brained, not obsessive enough about only-music, or writing about it anyway, so I'll never fully excel at it. I'm not that good a writer, and am too lazy to be a good reporter. I am late with copy more often than I'd like. Basically, I'm sometimes a hack, and at other times a fanboy. I can't write a "think piece" for shit. I'm pretty damn good at interviews, though I tend to talk over whomever I interview. I'm pretty good at describing how stuff sounds or what it feels like to be ridiculously psyched about something. And I'm a better editor than I am a writer.) OK, glad we're all clear about where I stand, or rather don't stand!

Has anyone ever read MacunaĆ­ma? I think it might be pretty great, though I've just started it...


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