Thursday, 21 July 2011

NW Magazine: May Contain Traces of Existential Uncertainty.

Spent a few solid hours sprawled in an upholstered armchair reading NW today. Yes, I am on holiday from purpose and exertion, well spotted. Some people would say that those are hours that I can never reclaim, but these people are my natural enemies. I say the more hours chewed up by mindless frivolity and/or brain cell popping extravagance the better. What are these people saving these hours up for anyway, picnics in meadows? No, I have never understood their kind.

By the way, I learnt a new acronym today: MAMIL. A MAMIL is a Middle Aged Man in Lycra. You know, the one's who's raised, pumping buttocks confront you as you calmly hurtle at high speeds across the lanscape in your sealed metal chamber and cause you to raise your fist and blare your air horn and swerve at the last possible minute into oncoming traffic to avoid manslaughter charges? You know the ones. MAMILS. Good people.

Where was I? Oh right, NW. There is something inherently unsettling about this magazine and it is for this reason that I find reading it such an illuminationg and infuriating experience. AND WHO DOESN'T ENJOY A LITTLE ILLUMINATION AND INFURIATION, RIGHT?

This is really meoldrama in magazine form. Low rent melodrama. Every inane article is a morality tale with clearly defined heroes and villains and rich, interlocking layers of romance and drama and weight gain/loss. Still, unlike the tradition of 19th-century melodrama, you never quite know where you stand with NW. The reason for this is that none of the writers have any idea of what the fuck they're talking about from week to week, which I guess is par for the course when you're in the business of furiously making shit up and packaging it as some kind of essential truth on a weekly basis under a tight deadline. They tend to lose sight of where they stand over the course of a fortnight or so, and it shows. For the reader, it can make for a perplexing experience.

Straight-up bullshit and bald-faced deception can be refreshingly pure in the public arena, but only within reason. A gossip magazine making outlandish and patently untrue claims is a little different to the outlandish and patently untrue claims Julia Gillard has based her prime ministry on thus far, and these are different again to the outlandish and patent untruths a certain ex-boyfriend of mine based the majority of his public and private identity on, so, y'know, it's all relative. Nonetheless, it can be destabilising and unnerving for those on the receiving end of it. Shit of bull is hard to swallow and stomach no matter which way it's fed to you.

I don't think anyone's hanging their hat on what NW churns out. Still, people are capable of believing some wack shit. How else to account for organised religion?

This is where NW comes in, because if there's one thing it teaches, it's low level existential uncertainty, and goddamn if that is something we could all do with more of in our lives.

We work. We shop. We sleep. We accumulate fatty tissue. We die. What the fuck, right?

Frankly, my faith in humanity has always been on shaky ground, but I'm down with spending $4.95 to have my cage rattled, absolutely.

And amid all the inanity there are some fundamental truths in NW - some clean branches, some fists in the face of death. You have to tease them out, sure, but I'm down with that - I have free time and an accomodating armchair in a sunny spot. Still, they're my truths, not NW's, and not yours either, and I keep them close. Also, I paid good money for my truths, go buy your own you cheap bitches.

Anyways, doesn't one of Newton's laws dictate that everything balances out or something? Granted, I am yet to see conclusive eveidence proving this particular theory, but a photo of Reggie Bush went some ways toward assuaging my doubts and soothing my scepticism. Reggie Bush makes me call out things like "dammn, workin' it the fuck OUT" and "holllAH" in a Tyra Banks voice. It's inexplicable, but so are most things. Try it for yourselves, see if you have a similar reaction (and if you're worried about allegations of sexual objectification or wotnot, don't be. Toddblog flies free and loose in the face of all that).

I mean, goddamn. God to the Damn.

See, if you were to walk past my sunroom window and see me slack jawed and reclined in my armchair so as to be just about parallel to the windowsill, you may think you have had the good fortune of stumbling across a real, live, long-john* wearing bum**, in which case you would be only fifty per cent correct, fool. Essentially, you would fail to recognise that what you were witnessing was somebody experiencing generalised, nonspecific existential anxiety, bought and paid for in full, thanks very much.

And, anyway, what the fuck would I think of you, lurking in my shrubbery? I wouldn't think. I would reach for my gun first and think later and my thoughts would then run something along the lines of " down...several million to go..."

*Loose, striped long johns like the ones the whores at the Gem wear in Deadwood. I bought them yesterday in the aftermath of a surreal day that saw my friend's bag stolen in strange and hard to make sense of circumstances, which led to me spending time shopping one handed while holding the hand of her five year old daughter which was, now that I think about it, the longest time that I've ever been alone with a real live child in my life thus far. Yeah, what?

By the way, is Al Swearengen's rancid, button-up onesie not the single greatest item of clothing to ever feature in an HBO production? I vote yes. Fuck Carrie Bradshaw's tutu, Swearengen's soiled onesie is where it's at in terms of evoking, oh, I dunno, the haphazard, cruel and essentially meaningless nature of human existence and the weaknesses of contemporary capitalism and democracy, for starters.

**Why has the word 'bum' fallen out of fashion? It's not just me, is it - 'bum' as an insult has definitely lost it's potency and currency, right?

To my mind it's a wonderful, richly evocative word, and one suggestive of poor hygiene, long term unemployment, the clap, low-grade drug addiction, dental neglect, fingerless gloves, bin fires and general uselessness. See also: deadshit - my personal favourite.

Maybe when 'loser' and 'douchebag' finally die off from terminal overuse 'bum' will rise from the ashes and enjoy a resurgence in popularity among those looking for a generalised, all-purpose insult won't incur obscentity charges or chat room eviction.

Anyway. This is a nonsense post. All of this was written with Toddlers and Tiaras blaring in one room and Jane's Addiction playing in this one. Toddlers and Tiaras because I enjoy hearing snatches of Southern accents; I'm charmed by the way the women in particular can stretch words like 'vehicle' out to four or, if they're especially relaxed, five syllables - and the accents are always Southern, because it seems like every household in Louisiana and Kentucky with a vaguely presentable toddler in residence is rolling them out onto a pagent stage - and Jane's because, well, I enjoy hearing Perry Farrell hollering 'motherfucker' and 'goddamn' and good-naturedly abusing audience members in his not-of-this-world voice:
"Oh there's that same asshole again...I thought it would never come to this....But the guy threw a Birkenstock at me....I mean, this guy's a real moron. He doesn't even understand fashion."


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