Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Looking Back?

The week between Christmas and New Years’ is unique. It is a mix of overlapping family activities, best of lists, nostalgia and some good honest reflection. The latter is my favorite part and can get morbid. In order to enhance this mood I put an old punk rock record on the turntable. Technology hinders my critical skills. This LP turned up in a spring-cleaning before heading off to Princeton Record Exchange to unload some excess vinyl for profit. On the way, we listened to Terrestrial Radio. WPRB in Princeton is still my fave, always random and surprising. My family introduced me to Spotify so I can hear anything at anytime exhaustively with a little cable connection to the cigarette lighter in the car but it is to fussy and leads to arguments.
As cultural critic, I feel somewhat responsible for summing up things generally rather than with specific examples. Twenty-Fifteen has been proclaimed “dark” by some in authority. Really? They may have in mind all the violent death and mayhem. It seems that deeper creative currents (insight) have given way to transitional memes that cancel them out. Wrap-ups of the best of 2015? What’s coming up in 2016? All ignore the real place we seem to be historically. Between eras possibly. Let me start with the lame rock and roll NPR show Sound Opinions. They seem to revel in their own middle of the road (unremarkable) tastes that are neither eclectic nor bland. Simply dull. In order to stay up to date they stick popular rap tracks in their lists. Commending 2015 year in music? Why? To be fair, they did a pretty good tribute to David Bowie recently. How could they not?
The list of excellent TV is long and full of popular shows that all have different audiences. No one show can claim a whole demographic except maybe the Walking Dead, Couch Zombies. It gives me nightmares. Speaking of monsters. Last year, I had an altercation with a real Pit-bull and have been considering buying a high-tech crossbow. Some of my friends were voting for the dog!
Political pundits have their own lists. They keep their noses close to the fray never standing back for a wider view. Whether the absurdity of election environment or the affect of Islamic Terrorists and what name they prefer, the Media is cautious, propelled across a shallow surface that never dwells on any meaning in particular apart from opinion itself. Who cares what people think about fleeting situations they don’t fully understand!
On the way back to Philadelphia, we noticed the Revolutionary battlefield at Clarke House. Oddly, the battle took place the week between Christmas 1776 and New Year’s Day 1777. As far as I know it involved the British coming from New York to face Washington’s troops after they crossed the Delaware to attack nasty Hessians in Trenton. That much is fact according the interpretative panels. The location of the record store and radio station in Princeton, New Jersey may be coincidence.

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