John Wayne and Jack Kerouac

Geez, there are so many movies around here. They are stacking up. Movie pollution.

Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. But here in Hollywood, everyone is into movies. And I’m not. I like books.

Yes, I’m feeling a bit resentful. There is no one to talk to about books anymore. Just my beloved book club.

Okay, so a friend at work gave me a book to read. It was good timing, because I was running low. I had finished Devil in the White City (I’ll talk about that later), and I hadn’t started House of Mirth (almost done, I’ll try to review it for you).

So my friend gave me this book Ask the Dust by John Fante. As soon as I opened it, I smelled Beatnik.

And I hated the main character.

When I read On the Road, I also hated Sal Paradise for his selfishness. But at least he was going stuff, moving around.

Arturo Bandini was doing nothing.

I hated him violently for most of the book, but then the book turned out to be worthwhile in the end.

I hadn’t read more of the beat genre that Kerouac, really. I kind of like what they stood for, even if I don’t like the aimless and self-centered way they went about it.

But I had a flash of insight. Arturo Bandini talked in poetic terms about his thoughts and experiences. Even if they were kind of annoying thoughts and experiences, he did talk about them in a pretty way.

And when he is coming from the 50s, that was a big deal.

The 50s was the time when John Wayne was the ideal of manhood. At least for a lot of people. John Wayne annoys the freckles off my face. I hate that he is such lump. He never talks about what he thinks or feels. He never says why he does stuff. He just shows up and rides horses, shoots things and gets the girl.

Chris has foisted different Westerns on me, including many Wayne films. The last one I watched, I only watched on the condition that he never make me watch another John Wayne movie again.

It was “She wore a yellow ribbon”. Every once in a while, I will bellow out “CALVARY!” in memory of the film. It was memorably bad.

But anyway.

IF men were walking around behaving like John Wayne in the movies…

THEN any expression of the internal thought life and emotions of men would be welcome.

ALSO the beats’ way of talking about their feelings was kind of pretty.

SO even though they were self-centered and shallow individuals in many ways, it must have seemed like a shaft of light down a dark hole to get a little bit of masculine expression.

When “Howdy Pilgrim” was the alternative…

Political bling bling

I live in LA. This place is so strange, with the fact that so many people CARE about brand names. DESIGNERS are the thing.

I have a friend who is an even bigger thrift shopper than I am. She has the whole town scoped out. Really, there are so many cute outfits to buy, you kind of have to go for the cheap to stay afloat.

I asked her for tips on non-thrift stores. She said, “I never really buy things new. You can always find clothes for cheap.”

But I saw her looking for a designer purse. She thought it was a deal to find one for 200 dollars.

This is almost beyond my comprehension. But she explained that people knew that these bags were expensive, and she wanted a little bling bling.

I have heard of this before. When you see ads for Jaguars on TV, it is partly to sell the cars to the few who can afford it. But it is also to educate the poor slobs who can’t afford, to let them know that the Jag oo ahr is the car to admire, the one that says you’re rich and have arrived.

Okay, so whether the car is actually a good car, that’s of lesser importance. Sure, it’s probably a decent car, I guess. But I hear that they don’t last very long…They say that if you have to worry about that, you can’t afford it anyway.

Yeah, well. I myself like to know what I’m getting and whether it’s worth my investment.

Mabye I’m wrong…I haven’t looked that closely into the quality of a jag.

Yesterday, I was listening to NPR talking about the Democratic party. ‘What can be done to broaden the appeal of the Democratic party?’

Somone suggested that Democrats should adopt part of the libertarian platform. Others had all kinds of suggestions about how Democrats could appeal to a larger group.

Because, you see…Being a democrat is so Coool. It’s the hip political party…IT’s the one that cares about Women, about the underpriveliged and the arts and all the COoooOolest stuff!

Hmm.

But what are we getting for our investment? what have the democrats really done about the stuff they purport to care about?

I think that the democratic party have bought into their own empty brand too much.

Maybe that’s why the faces and celebrities of Hollywood are backing the party with the cachet.

“dahhhling. Don’t bother me with such trivialities. Budgets and such things are all just fog. Simply everyone who counts is democratic.”

Politics is hard. It’s difficult to find solutions to problems. But if your focus is to help the less fortunate, why don’t you listen? Why dont you stop and look and see what they problems are?

I don’t think selling a brand name serves anyone’s purpose.

Maybe I’m wrong. I haven’t looked into it so deeply. But…