Benji the Hater: The Perversion of Perfection

Benji Says

I hate car commercials, not just because I'm a dog and I can't drive (thats what you think!). Not just because I have no idea what the acronym, APR stands for, or why terms like "0% finance" should make me stain the carpet. I'm just not that impressed by them. Sure, some of the music is good; better than most commercials actually but I also love the soundtrack to a lot of god-awful 70s and 80s films, it doesn't make the piece of shit any better!

Here's the commercial that I just saw:

Forward Living, huh? I'd rather live my life in reverse like my man, Leonard Shelby. Seriously, who wrote this?!

SCENE - Man in Lexus stops at Wolf in a city street at night. They regard one another, in an ambiguous, pseudo-gay, we-used-to-be-ex-lovers sort of way. They pass one another and corny European Coldplay-esque music cues.

I wish I were that Wolf in the street I would've fucked that dude's life up! I'd make meatloaf out of that dickbag's face!

You heard it from me, Benji!

American Idlers

Yesterday I went to see a friend perform live at an open mic showcase in the lower east side. It was an interesting night. However, I came to a rather obvious conclusion based upon some of the other acts of that same interesting night. There are people who are purposely attempting to become pop stars. This is a no-brainer if I'd only stop to consider today's entertainment, Making the Band, American Idol, and other shows that turn nobodies into pseudo-stars overnight. It shouldn't surprise me then, when a girl heads on stage half-naked with back-up dancers at an open mic. The back-up dancers, shocked me more than the see-thru nylon bodysuit. All she needed was a headset microphone and flashy lights. Of course the song was generic and the performance was an insincere attempt to ironically "dress up" the otherwise boring song.

The notion of chasing fame is not a new one, I'd just never experienced it in person before. Half of the acts in this open mic event were doing just that, purposely promoting themselves to become the next copy of whatever pop artist is currently the representation of their respective genre. I'm not angry, nor am I passing judgement, I'm only a bit confused. I don't understand why someone would purposely want to become that big. I guess to me, I only see the bad side. Tabloids, Paparazzi, E! Hollywood stories, stress, claustrophobia, or even simply not being able to do everyday things without people freaking out about it. To each is own, "one man's waste is another man's soap." I suppose being rich and influential is enough of a compensation but thats only if you're poor. Once you're rich and influential, where do you go from there? No Human is satisfied once they're dissatisfied. All it takes is one grievance to get the dominos tumbling. Any brief moment of accomplishment is only going to bring about more confidence to attempt new accomplishments; ones you never even desired before becoming rich and influential. And the higher you climb the harder you'll fall, and if you fall too early, you'll try so hard to get back up and in the Entertainment Industry, which drools out new versions of what's Popularly Acceptable weekly, you'll find that you've been replaced even before you fell.

But Fame and The Pursuit of Fame is a talent. It really is, its hard work to be safe and relevant during an entire career. It takes energy, innovation, and an uncompromising will to try to "make it" in the commercial music industry. My problem is that I usually expect an artist to use this energy, innovation, and uncompromising will on their music itself. I don't care about the gimmick, because more than anything I listen to the music, not the recording, not the video, or stage extravaganza. But listening alone, is no longer enough, we have passed that point where listening is stimulating enough; we need that television from Back to the Future II, the one Marty's son is watching with like 12 channels on at once. We need phones that can be used as the media equivalent to the swiss army knife. Ours, is the ADD-Age, in addition to not being able to stay interested in one thing for too long we need a sum of everything at once. Sadly, its nearly impossible to thoroughly appreciate anything through such simultaneous over-indulgence.


The Past Must Be Heard (Loudly)

Conclusions by Luigi Russolo

from The Art of Noises (1913)

Conclusion 1

Futurist musicians must continually enlarge and enrich the field of sounds. This corresponds to a need in our sensibility. We note, n fact, in the composers of genius, a tendency towards the most complicated dissonances. As these move further and further away from pure sound, they almost achieve noise-sound. This need and this tendency cannot be satisfied except by the adding and the substitution of noises for sounds.

Conclusion 2

Futurist musicians must substitute for the limited variety of tones possessed by orchestral instruments today the infinite variety of tones of noises, reproduced with appropriate mechanisms.

Conclusion 3

The musician's sensibility, liberated from facile and traditional rhythm, must find in noises the means of extension and renewal, given that every noise offers the union of the most diverse rhythms apart from the predominant one.

Conclusion 4

Since every noise contains a predominant general tone in its irregular vibrations it will be easy to obtain in the construction of instruments which imitate them a sufficiently extended variety of tones, semitones, and quarter-tones. This variety of tones will not remove the characteristic tone from each noise, but will amplify only its texture or extension.

Conclusion 5

The practical difficulties in constructing these instruments are not serious. Once the mechanical principal which produces the noise has been found, its tone can be changed by following the same general laws of acoustics. If the instrument is to have a rotating movement, for instance, we will increase or decrease the speed, whereas if it is to not have rotating movement the noise-producing parts will vary in size and tautness.

Conclusion 6

The new orchestra will achieve the most complex and novel aural emotions not by incorporating a succession of life-imitating noises but by manipulating fantastic juxtapositions of these varied tones and rhythms. Therefore an instrument will have to offer the possibility of tone changes and varying degrees of amplification.

Conclusion 7

The variety of noises is infinite. If today, when we have perhaps a thousand different machines, we can distinguish a thousand different noises, tomorrow, as new machines multiply, we will be able to distinguish ten, twenty, or thirty thousand different noises, not merely in a simply imitative way, but to combine them according to our imagination.

Conclusion 8

We therefore invite young musicians of talent to conduct a sustained observation of all noises, in order to understand the various rhythms of which the are composed, their principal and secondary tones. By comparing the various tones of noises with

those of sounds, they will be convinced of the extent to which the former exceed the latter. This will afford not only an understanding, but also a taste and passion for

noises. After being conquered by Futurist eyes our multiplied sensibilities will at last hear with Futurist ears. In this way the motors and machines of our industrial cities will one day be consciously attuned, so that every factory will be transformed into an intoxicating orchestra of noises.


Fish Out of Water

I had a dream last night

a fish on land

gasping for breath

just laughed

and sang this song

is life like this for everyone?

is life like this for everyone?

Gill Expansion

I love these lyrics. They are by an artist who's songs are instantly residence of my heart and mind. Lhasa de Sela, who I have blogged about a number of times already, is like if my brain were to separate from my body and sing to me riddles that may one day lead to a reunion.

Forget that "fish" is a very common symbol for savior, forget that "water" similarly symbolizes origin or purity and truth, just think of yourself and your life, just think about how you breathe. Its no big deal to you because you are used to it. How painful it must be to a fish? What were the steps for that ancestor of ours that dared to venture further than the rest and emerge from that primordial beach. Surely Grandpa Zoa had to become amphibious before reptilian and later mammal. How painful was it, breathing air, to the amphibian pioneers? That is before they got used to it.

I immediately think about scent. Have you ever been on a train with a noxiously oppressive odor? Have you noticed that some commuters remain in that same train car, regardless of the green cloud above their heads. After a while, the olfactory senses become used to the otherwise repugnant stench. The way a serious cigarette smoker can't smell his/her clothes the way a non-smoker (like myself) can immediately become repulsed by it.

The lyrics bring to my mind, overstimulation and how an outsider may respond to what may appear absolutely normal and in fact, natural to others.

I love that the fish laughs, perhaps finding the situation ridiculous. "Only a masochist would live under these conditions," the fish might think to itself. If breathing in this song can be said to be the act of living itself, then you may do well to conclude the fish observes a pain that rolls synonymous to living. A somewhat prerequisite suffering taxed on us land breathing creatures. If this is the case then we don't seem to mind, in fact, some of us believe it natural. "Life's a bitch and then you die!"

I don't think Life is a bitch, Aesop Rock sums it quite nicely when he said, "Life's not a bitch/ life is a beautiful woman/ you're just mad cuz she won't let you get that pussy/ maybe she didn't feel ya shared any similar interests/ or maybe you're just an asshole who couldn't sweet talk the princess..." Its all about circumstance, true-- but is pain truly part of life? Has someone lived more simply under the basis that they've experienced more pain and suffering than another? Or even experience itself, is Life defined by experience? If a person does, by comparison, very "little" in life, does that in some sense imply that that person has wasted a chance to truly live? By such criteria, only the thrill seekers are worth the lungs in their chests. But most thrill seekers are just bored and overstimulated, they constantly need to "raise the bar" to feel as if Life has any meaning. Nothing wrong with that. I myself am bored and in many aspects overstimulated. But is there anything wrong with being satisfied, truly satisfied and happy doing nothing.

What was I talking about? Whatever!


Pac Man: Domestic Ghosts (Episode 002)

Pac Man takes the trash out after dinner. The neighborhood is quiet, the same. He stands there in his driveway and out comes Mrs. Bottle Pop, she smiles and waves with her slim cigarette in hand. Her dark skin, immaculately smooth and fragranced by dish-soap and sweat.

"You smell nice Sandy."

"Oh, thanks hon. I can't imagine that I would, after chasing those monsters to sleep." She indicates the house behind her.

"Yea." Pac man tries to pretend he's interested. His mind has already given up on the conversation. Mrs. Bottle Pop senses his eyes tracing her.

"I saw when you pulled up this afternoon, you seemed a bit distraught hon, everything alright?"

He wanted to say "no," but, "no less than any other day" was what become of the idea.

They shortly returned, each to their steps and up to their houses, in bed with their spouses as the same night closed them off from any further activity until the merciful sun arose the following day.


Benji the Hater: Well Gang, Looks Like We Have Another Asshole in Our Hands!

Benji Says

So there's this douche bag of a character named Frederick Herman Jones but to many of us that watched the popular cartoon series, we knew him as Freddie.

We all remember his stupid orange ascot that matched his stupid-ass orange shoes; also, his anxiousness to split the mystery gang into groups and search for clues. Let it be known that he always choose to be paired with one of the females, what an asshole!

Scooby-Doo Where Are You?

I was never crazy about this show anyway, but that guy didn't make it any easier. I fucking hate Freddie, maybe even more than I hate Freddie Prinze Jr.

I hate his voice, I hate his comments and suggestions. He looks like a jock who couldn't play due to an injury and somehow got stuck with the mystery gang, if for no other reason than to ball Daphne or Velma if not both.

Too bad Shaggy was such a pothead, if I were him I'd have told Freddy what's what! I should've been Scooby-Doo, I WOULD'VE SMACK THE SHIT outta Freddy and any "ghosts" who got fresh! You heard it from me, Benji!


In the Beginning There Was the Word

I just finished reading God: A Biography by Jack Miles and I must recommend this book to anyone at all interested in religion or mythology or literary criticism. Jack Miles presents his thoughts through neutral intrigue and carries the reader forward, on a second hand adventure. Its almost as if I'm watching the author read the bible and following as he draws commentary that provides more for The Bible as a work of literature than a work of spiritual worship. Providing the first helps you understand the second, or at least opens new perspectives on the second.

I think I began reading this book in November. Or I began reading this book once again, since I've owned the book for a few years now and only was able to get passed the first 3-4 chapters this November. I've been really bad at reading, lately. Finishing the last sentence last night while attempting to watch The Matrix: Revolutions was somewhat satisfying. In fact very pleasurable, if it were only the book. I really want to talk to people about Jack Miles' Pulitzer Prize winner but so many of my friends don't want to hear about God. Immediately, guards go up and they assume I'm at all interested in a manner that finds me attached religiously to the subject. Not so, I couldn't be more detached after reading God: A Biography. Ironically enough, I'm quite eager to buy a copy of The Holy Bible to read. Its an important piece of literature and history. Not that the events in the Bible are in fact historical but the Bible itself and its effects have shaped history since its completion. It brings to mind, what religions have come from the reading of this work and also how much has become interpretation versus what is literally written in the scripture.

I think I will now reread Philip K. Dick's The Divine Invasion accompanied by a side reading of another book I've procrastinated to commence, The Gnostic Jung.

Pac Man: Domestic Ghosts (Episode 001)

Pac Mac walks into his home. He can hear the kids running upstairs, the living room's a mess. Mrs. is cooking, she blows her husband a kiss. Pac Man smiles though he notes its no longer up to him. He smiles everyday when they repeat that same ritual. Mrs' kisses aren't even really there, they're just a reaction, like slapping the air for an annoying fly. Pac Man heads upstairs into the bathroom and sits at the corner of the tub's rim. Holding his breath for a good minute before letting it back out. Breathing heavily, like he used to when something exciting would happen to him.