numbers without guidance

Friday, January 3, 2003
@ home

     Just a few quick thoughts after a few drinks:

Widespread Panic sucks. I just want to get that out. I’ve heard so much about them and neglected to make time to actually listen to them until tonight. I understand they have young architects and political directors at non-profits and bartenders flying around the country to hear them play. I don’t see it. Unfortunately, we can’t make a class/educational distinction among the people who enjoy them. Rather, the only justification is a lack of taste. And there’s no accounting for taste. Which is why I’m going to be a taste accountant. Wide open field. “Oh, you like that band? That’s a debit on your account. At least you have a decent wardrobe, though.”

There’s something about music. Guitar-playing. That fluid motion. Those sound waves of distortion expressing one’s excitement or anger or expectation. For what else is music if not expectation? Have you ever played the game where you try to guess what the next chord in the song will be? The next lyric? The next musical phrase? It goes further than words at times, I think. But it tends to only leave one with a general feeling. Music isn’t as able to bring out the specifics or details as writing. So I guess each has its specialty. Still, I envy the musician and wish I’d continued practicing and being a decent trumpet player. I wish I’d learned to play guitar. Sometimes I wonder if my thoughts and words couldn’t be better expressed in song.

I spent the weekend in Houston. I won’t get into my reasons for going there or for leaving early in this entry. Maybe later. But as I drove to Houston and while I was there, I started thinking more and more that the American Dream may be the wrong dream. Maybe we, as Americans, have been dreaming the wrong dream for far too long. Rather than single family houses and yards with small gardens and picket fences maybe we should have been dreaming of lofts in the city, urban density, and cultured friends. I wonder if maybe our dream should have included the effective creation and use of public spaces, mass transit, and mixed-use developments.

This leads me to another thought:

When did the conspicuous consumption of goods become more valuable than the consumption of knowledge? When did the trading of a dollar for a piece of IKEA furniture become more in vogue than the exchange of ideas with another human being?

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