Open City, by Teju Cole

A densely written novel with little action but tremendous awareness of one human being’s self-understanding or lack thereof. A devotion to art and music cannot overcome the narrator’s indifference to others. The book destroyed a tenet of mine: that a life devoted to the arts makes us more compassionate and self-aware. Not always so.

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The narrator can speak eloquently about the open city but cannot speak to his own savage behavior. A great mirror to the uneven nature of political awareness, personal commitment and the lure of incredible moral forgetting that we can make of art.

Things don’t go away just because you choose to forget them.

Teju Cole has written an astonishing, haunting book. Read it, and his twitter feed, too. He won’t disappoint y0u.

The Forever Internet and Our Digital Identities

Then the internet was new. In the blush of coming out, I’m sure I posted regrettable material back in 1996 when I got my AOL account.  And I had no idea about the waybackmachine. Facial recognition software was material for sci-fi novels. Now Facebook makes all but our birthdays and contact information available on the internet.

Now I’ve come to the realization the internet is forever. What I post in an instant may very well live long after my mortal body returns to the earth and air. Academic Juan Enriquez believes Andy Warhol had it wrong: In the future, everyone will have only 15 minutes of anonymity.

B/W Photo on division

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Limits and Having a Thing for the Blue Suit

Having a Thing for the Blue Suit

I have been obsessed with men’s clothing for as long as I can remember. The snazzy men’s clothing in the now defunct Montgomery Ward’s catalogues made my heart race. I recently purchased a catalogue from 1968. What with the DACRON(™) and other types of manufactured textiles combined with the horrible art direction, I should have left those memories in their nostalgic (for what, you might legitimately ask) memory holes.

But I digress.

My obsession has caused me to buy thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of clothing over the last twenty or so years. It doesn’t help that my body shape and muscle and fat distribution seemingly change faster than Michigan weather; but really, I could have held on to some things and put them in a pile for the months when I was thinner/heavier/skinnier/fatter. I did not, however, do this. While I believe I’ve pared my wardrobe down to something resembling reasonable, I have been, nonetheless, revisiting it as the weather changes from warm to cool.

I realized the other day I spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about what I will wear. This is a peculiar kind of fever, and it never occured to me start a blog about my obsession. Apparently I’ve lost my window of opportunity in which to make large sums of money taking selfies in my outfits posted with the hashtag dressedbytheinternet.

It all just seems to much. And so does dressing, particularly in the fall, when birds depart and squirrels bury their treasured cache, and soon the deciduous trees will be tall and stark, shorn of all their leaves. Much of my current wardrobe doesn’t fit. Last year I tweaked my hormone dosage and expanded outward rather like a balloon slowly being filled with air. I’m overwhelmed as to what to do next. I don’t have the energy for a complete new wardrobe nor the desire to lower my sartorial standards.

Thank god for Bill Nighy.

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