Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Of Gods and Monsters

I was talking to Sean "Puffy" Combs today. Long story. One of the things I don't talk about much, my internship with him, like the TV show I was on for two years. It just doesn't come up all that often. Anyway, he hit me on my cell, and was like "You, dog, love your blog, why haven't you talked about God lately? Cause last time I hung with G-diddy, he was all like 'yo yo yo Damon's got the good blog, talking bout me all the time' and shit. What's up, you guys on the outs?" And we talked about my lady, and J-Lo, and the Cavs, and Kanye, and, well, stuff.

But actually, no I still talk to God all the time, but alas, having a preggers wife means carousing with the boys isn't as oft a possible, cause weekends are now prioritized as wife time. Which means when I can swing it after work I hang, but with LA traffic the way it is, that tends to mean an hour or two or a movie with the group on the weekends, and then maybe The Cat and Fiddle for a while (where it used to be we'd close that shit down). And even the evenings get to be shorter cause I like spend some QT with the wifey when I can.

But a couple days back I got some time to sit with the boys, and God resurrected Pauline Kael to review my blog. That's the problem with drinking with God, never mind the drive home - and it's hard to say no to God's wine cellar, and assorted pleasantries (I can only be so polite) - some shit comes up and it's exciting, and then frustrating at the same time. Moreso than watching Cheaper by the Dozen 2, which is simply torturesome. And then if God gets drunk enough he starts making promises, many of which he ends up keeping, and saying things you don't want to hear (like he told me where Lindsey Lohan's going to be in twenty years... and then he spoiled the sex of my first kid. But you can't get too mad at God. He's God, and he's some great verbal skills). So he brought back Pauline Kael from the dead to write a review of my blog. It was humbling, to say the least:

"It's interesting to note that the epistolary has come back into a new sort of bastardized vogue with E-mail. Though letter writing was dying as I was, the internet has allowed for instant communiques of varied length, to which the latest iteration being the Blog. But the Blog, like pop culture, is an emphemeral artform. It is fast food thoughts, with a shelf life as long as it is kept warm. It's sad to see so many of my colleagues drawn to them, but the advantages (space, lack of editors) are also their greatest shortcomings. There's a powerful sort of empty vouyerism to it all, the false honesty of a public diary. Artists may censor themselves more in personal writings than in art, and that is why an artist's art is usually more interesting than their reflections, even if grains of greatness and truth can be found in them. I doubt a great writer could perfect the art of the blog, but if they did, it'd be like mastering the Limerick.

Summoned as I was from the dead to write this, I was instructed to peruse Erratic Thriller. Immediately the blog is off-putting as the author feigns modesty with his header in an attempt at cleverness. And starting from the beginning as I did - which seems backwards - one senses the author (Damon Houx) finding his footing. Essentially, as two out of three items in his profile suggests, he is interested in two things, movies and sex (and sexuality), but his work is weighed down in the mundanity of his life. Which is the inherent disadvantage to the blogging form. His movie observations are occasionally clever if I am to be kind, though his reviews are often too brief and too stock. Like many of his contemporaries, he fetishizes films that don't deserve the sort of attention he gives them. Witness his latest entries, where he speaks more authoritatively and with greater interest about a shoddy remake of a horror film than of Ozu, whom I must admit I tended to find lacking (Houx does little but applaud an artist he seems to little understand) {Houx note: BULLSHIT}. Too often he is a status quo writer with brief bits of fancy, though too often he doesn't question the reputation of older features without giving them a curt dismissal.

Like any personal dialogue, it's cruel to disect and criticize someone for who they are - some people may just lead more interesting lives (but that too can be seen as a cop out, great artists tend to manage a sense of interest in life's small pleasures). But it's more unkind to the reader who has to slog through such pedestrian narratives. If writing were a protean artform this attention to the banal might have greater purpose, but all human beings eat, produce waste and sleep, while many if not most enjoy sex and culture, to which one wants to find insight into the human condition to make such observations of worth. Some artists have their diaries collected post humously, and one fears the bloggers who may find their works collected. If I were them, I'd make sure their blogs were wiped off the face of the earth."