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Catching up on opinions



Here are some scattered opinions of mine.  Take them and please leave them.  They are worth what you paid for.

I don't know that the above video is going to help Occupy LA.  I think in fact that it could hurt the movement.  It looks almost exactly like one of those videos they show on local news broadcasts to make strikers look silly.  There's no message, except one that claims "We support a general strike."  Whatever that might be.

Joan Didion lost her way a while back, but now it's run to farce.  Perhaps she was emboldened enough by the critical acclaim--which is to say, commercial critical acclaim--of her first semi-tragic memoir to write yet another.  (How many memoirs does a person get, anyway?)  She professes to engage academics, specifically the academics of grief, in her memorializing, but late in life she has sidestepped the greatest academic finding of all: the one in gerontology that indicates that happy people in their twilight years write "generative" narratives about their lives, in which they celebrate their creations (which, in a way, this latest work does, even if you don't hear it in her interview voice), but unhappy people write "contamination" narratives, in which they try to rationalize every pitfall (which this latest work certainly does).  Didion's contamination track started long ago--but can one make a whole late career of such empathy-seeking? I expected a much different career arc from a woman who so long ago at Vogue wrote such a masterful essay on the subject of "self-respect," which memorably concluded that not every light in life is a green one.  Then again, I should have known better, expecting something different from the New York commercial mill, which doles out whatever it thinks we must be in the mood for, so long as it has a recognizable name attached.  Even when it means allowing a scribe in twilight to make a commodity of grief.

For some reason, John Cage is an ongoing part of local conversation.  That's OK, but the conversation is all wrong.  Cage of course was a writer--if you think he was a composer, simply try to call to mind the air of a single tune he "composed."  I'm absolutely certain that people to whom he means something identify more with something he wrote than something he composed.  He was certainly an artful dodger as a writer, and ran to New York the second he figured out that he might be able to make a life there.  There is a lot of scribbling going on around town that has this entirely upside-down.

Did you know that SF Mayoral candidate Joanna Rees had an emergency full hysterectomy last week and only missed 24 hours of her campaign? You might safely call Rees one of the one-percent, rather than the ninety-nine percent, but sometimes the one percent are high achievers in every way, not just financially.  I have liked her from the time I've followed her, and I understand she's a close third in that race and closing hard with four days left.

And speaking of elections--what is local pr guy Ed Headington thinking, presuming to run for State Assembly after having done--exactly what? The man has ever been the obliging publicist, servicing others with photos and copy.  That's not leadership.  It's like mellow Mike Deaver suddenly running for US Senate.  Ed must think--like Stephen Box--that he's the smartest man in the room wherever he goes, and that that singular quality must certainly make for an Assemblymember.  Good luck reaching even Box-level numbers.