friend family and flim-flamming the something-something

I was supposed to go see Fuck Buttons in Allston last night, but for a variety of reasons it fell through. Meredith and Andy weren’t really into the band and it was a twelve-dollar cover; those two things wouldn’t have been enough to skip the show, but Fuck Buttons went on a nine and Paul’s sweet potato pie only came out of the oven at five of. I had planned on writing a review of the concert, but instead I will simply recommend the band: noise/drone/electronica, and heavy on the noise for their first album, Street Horrrsing. (The other day while I was doing dishes, I turned on “Colours Move,” my favorite song. Starts out with a noise drone  for an entire minute before it introduces a staticky drumbeat. Immediately from the other room, Meredith said, “What’s that noise?” “Music,” I said. “Oh,” she said. “I thought it was one of the appliances.”) The band lightened up, tightened up, and smoothed out their sound for Tarot Sport, the album that just came out in October; however (unlike Pitchfork) I liked the first one better. But lo-fi is frequently more my thing.

Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers is marginally tolerable, for Tom Wolfe, but not good. I think just about the best thing I could say about it was that I finished it, and that only because it was 130 pages long. Wikipedia says that “both essays looked at the conflict between black rage and white guilt.” And yeah, they did, but not in a way that was constructive, or interesting, or really anything other than Tom Wolfe trying to hard too hard to be a dick. “These Radical Chic Evenings” was just stupid. I like knowing things about the Black Panthers – I wrote over a hundred pages about them last year – but I really, really don’t care about their interactions with rich New York socialites. And it’s not even that. An analysis of “radical chic” when it came to a bunch of rich Jewish socialites and their white guilt vis-a-vis the Black Panther Party would be exactly the sort of thing I would like to read — it’s Tom Wolfe writing about something that I would like to know more about, but instead of being educational he just turns me off the subject entirely. Just like The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

And as for “Mau-Mauing the Flak-Catchers”… I don’t know. Interesting, in the sense that learning about the black lumpenproletariat is interesting — which is to say, I learned things that I didn’t know before — but not actually that interesting, since I finished the book yesterday and am now straining to think of anything to say about it. Which is, of course, the worst kind of insult. It’s not memorable, it’s not funny, and Tom Wolfe should maybe have stuck to writing novels. (I started Bonfire of the Vanities over the summer, and I though it was okay. I’m better at tolerating irritating authors/narrators in fiction.)

Thanksgiving was today. Food was gobbled, Great Lakes Christmas Ale was so guzzled, and good times were had by all. I’ve got myself a nice food baby pot-belly. Everyone else is passed out. For a while I was futilely hoping that their “naps” were actually going to be naps and then they would wake up and we would all hang out, but after about four episodes of Arrested Development I pulled myself up off the couch, put the turkey in the refrigerator, and went to bed.

So here I am.

There is nothing quite like friend-family holidays, where being drunk and vulgar is a measure of pride, not of censure.


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