Philip Roth on Getting it Wrong the Right Way

You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be…and yet you never fail to get them wrong.

You get them wrong before you meet them, while you’re anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you’re with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion empty of all perception, an astonishing farce of misperception.

And yet what are we to do about this terribly significant business of other people, which gets bled of the significance we think it has and takes on a significance that is ludicrous, so ill-equipped are we all to envision one another’s interior workings and invisible aims?

The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It’s getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong, and then on careful consideration, getting them wrong again. That’s how we know we’re alive: we’re wrong.*

*Excerpt from Philiip Roth’s American Pastoral.

DeBrusk, Cassidy and Boston’s Ugly Hockey

There’s a lot of chatter about Nazem Kadri’s retaliatory cross-check on Jake DeBrusk, an ill-advised moment to be sure. But let’s be clear on this – DeBrusk never should have been on the ice at that point, given his deliberate knee-on-knee hit against Kadri the previous period.

That is a five-minute major, game and suspension right there, yes?

Straight from the NHL rules handbook. So what about it, ref?


Nope. No call at all. According to Morgan Riley, the ref said Kadri “jumped in the air”. Or more laughably, Bruins Bruce Cassidy stated flatly, “The hit was shoulder to shoulder.It’s Kadri’s prerogative to stay down.” Let’s look at those images again.

As much as I’d like to meet Cassidy halfway, feel his heartbeat, hug his pillow and all, but he’s as close to the truth as Albuquerque on that one.

The Bruins brand of hockey is an embarrassment to the league as is DeBrusk’s knee-on-knee hit, as are Cassidy’s passively unpleasant comments as are Boston’s ‘energetic’ fans.

Did Kadri deserve a penalty? Yes. Did DeBrusk. Yes. And so…what is this then? There better be a better answer sometime soon – read NHL hearing for DeBrusk – or else it seems that the league has a bigger problem. (Hint: It rhymes with Zenophobia.)

Salutations Make Everything Better

Hi there. Just a friendly reminder:

Everything you think and do – yes, your device most of all – is a vain attempt to evade the inevitability of death.

Warm wishes.

No Words For Dreams

I dreamed that I flew-skittled along the edges of an inside-outside lake-city and I was climbing a long ramp of some kind when I lost it. I mean, I thought I knew it or had it so clearly in my head. But, no, not anymore.


The thing of it is that it was there, clear, more substantial than real, like the vivid darkness of outer space. I was awake and actually held a shard of it, a whirring instant of something that, in my head, still made perfect sense.

But, no, it left me as I tried to frame it, build it into something else, an artifice.

Words didn’t belong. This phantom certain things did not want to be touched.

This place, here where you read and I write, and we find a beginning or end, the words kill it because it’s not that, no and shh-shh, uh-uh and z..

Politics of the Day

I didn’t post a note in honor of International Women’s Day for the same reason I failed to acknowledge Black History Month or bow to Mother Earth on April 22.

It’s not because I don’t care but rather that these commemorations are more of a list-checking exercise aimed at a mass of people – let’s call them ‘bunch of white guys’ – who fail miserably to be respectful, tolerant and supportive every other day of the year.

And so happy day to you.

What “Sorry to Bother You” Says About “Blackkklansman”

There has been a lot of brouhaha – some of it in The New York Times– regarding Green Book winning The Academy Award’s Best Picture, many suggesting Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman was much more deserving.

I am not sure what to make of this childish outrage, given that the awards orgy has far less to do with film-making than faux grandstanding.

Hollywood’s attempt to do the right thing in correcting racial representation in filmmaking, as right and wonderful as it is, has all the grace of Lenny embracing his mouse, or a strung-out actress clinging to her award.

The thing is Blackkklansman was a mediocre film at best, burdened by limited characters, heavy-handed newsreel footage and a trite rendering of the central issue – racism.

Boots Riley called out Spike Lee for much of this, offering a blow by blow assessment of the film in this tweet: https://twitter.com/bootsriley/status/1030575674447212544?lang=en

The long and short of it is that Blackkklansman wasn’t a Spike Lee masterpiece – apologies to Barbra Streisand – and pales in comparison to Jungle Fever, Mo’ Better Blues, Malcolm X and Do the Right Thing. Nor does it compare to Boots Riley’s own Sorry to Bother You, a film that takes risks and challenges the viewer.

No, Spike Lee wasn’t robbed of anything, nor did The Academy fail in the selection of Green Book. It’s status quo, folks. Even if the New York Knicks won a game.

Waiting for the Cossacks

I’ve spent my life in a state of high anxiety, waiting for the Cossacks. I am always worried. When one cause of worry exits my skull, it is replaced immediately by another. They meet shoulder to shoulder, one entering, the other exiting the cave leading to my tympanic membrane.

Lee Israel, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Mission Aqaara: Complete!

The last installment of Aqaara was posted yesterday on Outer Places: https://www.outerplaces.com/science-fiction/item/19279-aqaara-16-don-gibson

They are in orbit, preparing to descend, leading us of course to part three of the trilogy, Mina, when life on the new world begins. Please read and share!

Remember Being A Kid Too

Remember being a kid where the world opened to something, no matter how fucked up and confused, a mess of a house, people not acting right, nobody paying attention, and it was just beyond that, through those faux trials that something would be revealed, a room of mirrors, a skeleton villain to smash up, and then outside in the fresh air?

I liked those days as much as I could, even without the booze, turning off the reality of what a shitty crew everyone was – sister, brother, mother, father – not a clue of how to care, make any sense of anything except to do what was next – this holiday, that dinner – sitting there waiting for someone to pick me up. Yeah, being an adult is better.

Remember When You Were a Kid?

Remember when you were a kid and thought you knew more than anyone gave you credit? Remember when you were all grown up and thought you knew everything? Remember when you got older, maybe halfway from start to finish, and you began to forget what you said? Remember that? No? Of course you don’t.

All you could remember was when you were a kid.