In Which Our Heroine Grumps At Ads

25 September 2003

The heat broke -- I don't think I mentioned that in yesterday's long entry. It's no longer summery warm here. Which is more than fine with me: hauling stuff around is much less fun in an apartment with a barely functional window unit AC trying to get ahead of heat in the 90s.

In other news I didn't mention in the long entry, my grandpa is home from the hospital and doing well. When I talked to him on the phone, he said, "If I could just mow my yard," but he can't, and he knows it, and a family friend did it for them, which was sweet.

Trader Joe's is not my current favorite place out here: they don't have my ravioli. Timprov checked when he went on Saturday, and they were out of gorgonzola-walnut ravioli. Then I went yesterday. No dice. And I don't think we're going to have the time and inclination to go back. A week from today we're fetching C.J., and we'll also probably be packing much of the kitchen. So no gorgonzola-walnut ravioli from Trader Joe's for me. Sigh.

Timprov packed a box of comics and up to box #33 of books last night. There's still some fiction waiting, and almost all of the nonfiction. And in some ways books are the easy stuff to pack: designed to stack, mostly made in a few standard sizes, not needing to be wrapped in towels or paper or bubble wrap.

I'm still reading Blood Music, and it's fine, interesting, but I think it's another book that probably would have been better to read when it came out.

There are a couple of ads that have been bothering me lately. "Jesus Christ Superstar" has ads on the radio that call it "timeless." Don't get me wrong -- I'm as big a fan of that show as the next guy, and in most instances bigger. I think it's good stuff. But timeless? No. It's from the very late '60s and early '70s. And in another century, anyone educated in musicals or rock opera or whatever you want to call that set of genres will be able to pick out that this piece was written in that era. There is nothing wrong with that.

I think the problem comes in with two different concepts of greatness in art. One is transcendence: if you have a great piece of art, it lifts itself away from era (and genre!) and joins the non-intersecting set of "Great Art." And choirs of angels ascend and descend, singing praises. In the other concept, era and genre are part of a great piece of art. They aren't the entirety of it, but they also aren't shackles to be thrown off. They're simply facts, something else to know about a piece of art -- a context to place it in. In the second concept, you don't have to call a piece timeless to praise it, because being in time is not a bad thing; you don't have to sneer that it isn't genre, because that's not a bad thing either. And you never have works that don't belong to a genre because they're "too good." (Can you imagine someone in the world of the visual arts saying, "Oh, that's not an Annunciation painting, it's too good"? How about poets: "that's not a persona poem, it's too good"? Mostly it's just writers who get that sort of thing, and musicians a little bit. Bleh.) I think it's important to have sets that intersect, to acknowledge that "good art" and "1970s art" and "genre art" can overlap as categories. So there.

And then there's a billboard picturing a little boy in a Giants' uniform. And it says, "Baseball can't change the world. Just his." This billboard is one we see coming in to our place from the north -- so we see it a lot. And it infuriates me every single time. I know it's meant to make me go, "Awwww, it can change that kid's life!" But it doesn't. The underlying assumption is that this little kid doesn't matter. Changing his world will do nothing to The World, which is a big impersonal thing that has nothing to do with him or dozens or hundreds of other little kids. If you change their world, the larger world will not be touched? Bullshit. The World is a socially additive process and a chaotic system. If baseball can change this kid's world, it can change "the" world, because this kid is part of the world and interacts with it. And if he picks up defeatist laziness from the people and culture around him, that'll change the world, too.

Grrrrr. Harumph. Stupid billboard.

Ah well. Anyway, I'm going up to Oakland to hang out with David today. That's the plan. The rest of the plan involves cleaning things and packing things, mostly. Reading, working, cleaning, packing. Wooooo.

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