Regular readers of The Wit of the Staircase know that writer, filmmaker and former video game designer Theresa Duncan lives in Venice and is likely to post about literature, clothes, the nuances of perfume and Mr. Wit, the artist Jeremy Blake. She returns with regularity, though, to mostly admiring contemplations of Kate Moss as cultural icon. Duncan explains on her first blogiversary in a post inspired by praise of the Brit model by director Mike Figgis:
It's as if looking at Moss--and this from a man who looks for a living--was some utterly far out human adventure, like the wild ride had by those internaunts in the Raquel Welch movie who shrink to such Lilliputian size that they whoosh through the bloodstream in their equally miniscule hemomobile....If Kate Moss was really great at something in particular she'd hardly inspire madmen to run through the streets shouting her name. What makes Kate Moss spectacularly thrilling to contemplate is implied in the name super model, with the outline this word implies serving as the container into which Lacanian jouissance pours like the endless chocolicious waterfall at Wonka's wonderful factory. What makes Kate Moss wonderful is that she is good at nothing.
Female beauty, like cocaine, is a controlled substance. (I write this now from a suite in the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, a city built by men from the East who turned female beauty into a global fantasy Empire. And then of course there's our town's other fantasy empire, and I don't mean Disneyland or Lockheed Martin, I mean Flynt Enterprises, in their big, proud building over on Wilshire.) The thing about Moss, as I have said here earlier, is that there is no Louis B. Mayer or Larry Flynt to stop and start the flow. She operates out there all on her own without a curfew or a credit card limit or a license from Phallocentric Central.
Kate Moss is the desiring-machine embodied, which is to say not embodied at all, but deterritorialized, borrowing again from our friends Deleuze and Guattari. Like cocaine, Kate Moss just makes you want more Kate Moss.
In a sort of flip-side to the worship of female beauty, author, actor and "Mind of Mencia" writer Pamela Ribon watches an adolescent girl size herself up against a bombshell at the pool and empathizes with how "it's different when you feel less than." The post I'm excerpting, though, delivers one of the most piercing putdowns of a jerky Los Angeles driver that I've seen in a while. It could have been just another unpleasant and anonymous traffic encounter — except that she recognized her antagonist. She titles the piece Dear Weezer Bassist:
I want you to know that I love your band, and have loved your band for a very long time, longer than youíve been a part of it. I want to start with praise, because what I have to say after this might sound a bit mean, butÖ well, you deserve it.
See, the thing is, I think thereís enough room in our small neighborhood that we can share it. I understand that sometimes you have to go out early on a Monday morning during a holiday weekend, but maybe you didnít want to. Maybe someone sent you out to get milk, or you woke up and realized you were out of smokes, or you were racing home to get inside your apartment before your girlfriend realized you hadnít come home that night. Iím not even going to pretend I know anything about you, other than you have a sister, one who used to email me back when you were just joining the band to tell me how cool you and your band were. She would tell me about your secret shows, the ones at the Viper Room, and she often tried to find a way that I would get to meet you.
I didnít think it would happen on the corner of Eagle Rock and Colorado, and I certainly didnít think it would happen when you tried to run over me with your faux-British Mini Cooper while you were openly cursing at me.
Dude. I had the right of way. Not only was I a pedestrian, but I had an illuminated walking man that said it was my turn to cross the street, so you were supposed to wait just a few more precious seconds before taking that right-hand turn.
How slow was I going, really? Enough to merit that cursing and then fake-out by speeding around me like a jackass, like I was the one who was going to make the next album come out in 2009 instead of tomorrow? You want to know why I was walking so slowly? Because I woke up at six in the morning to run ten miles. Thatís right, mister, I had been up for hours before you even jumped into the Coop, so forgive me if I was walking just a bit more gingerly on my way to a hard-earned breakfast. Iíd already covered every mile of Eagle Rock before youíd even brushed your teeth.
On to a unusually introspective post by Jon Weisman that is nominally about baseball, but really isn't. He admits to feelings that many of us share at times in our lives.
I can remember the first ball I ever caught in a game.
It was during softball at the after-school playground at Collier Street Elementary, I think during third grade. Undeveloped as I was then, I was playing catcher. A batter swung and foul-tipped a third strike into my hands and I held on. If you can remember how Timmy Lupus looked when he caught his ball at the wall, that's how I felt. And my schoolmates were equally amazed and excited for me.
That play got me going. A year later, I was playing second base and started a triple play with runners on first and second base by catching a line drive, stepping on second and throwing to first. I can remember following my throw to first base to slap hands with the first baseman before turning to run triumphantly off the asphalt.
I was getting better and better. I was developing.
Those plays were about 30 years ago. As far as I've come, I don't feel any more developed than that kid. In fact, about the only maturity I feel reflects the family I have to help take care of. Beyond that, I'm pretty much the same guy who was out there just hoping he could make the play and reveling when he did. From inside the moments, the experiences I had then were just as sophisticated and challenging, as mundane or remarkable, as the ones I have now....
I'm moving backward in school, not forward. Even as I get older, even as I learn, life is more challenging than it was when catching a ball was the most glorious achievement. The sum total of my ignorance today could fill the gap beneath Hoover Dam. The world unfurls around me in profound detail like a flower blooming in time-lapse photography. I'm a speck in that flower, surrounded by light and dark I can't comprehend.
Maybe the biggest difference between being an adult and being a kid is that when you screw up, there's that much less of your future in front of you to make things right. Your ship is weightier and harder to turn around. And you see more clearly that where you want to go might be out of reach. (Oh, and in many cases, there are passengers on that ship, depending on you.)
I don't want to go back in time. I just want to catch up. It just gets harder and harder to know what to do.
The only solution is to always be a kid. Always judge yourself by your effort and intentions and not the results. Take pleasure in the good and regroup from the bad. Don't keep score.