A Summary of Our Academic Conference, The Unstable and [de] Mutable Boundaries Between Meteorological Atrocities and Human Political Economies with Bodies-as-Subjects Coming Into Being As They Are
The approach of Hurricane Sandy has already altered the entire course of me and my friend’s lives. On Sunday, I was supposed to shop for vintage sweaters and attend a poetry brothel. These would’ve probably been some wonderful moments. But Hurricane Sandy put a stop to all my hypothetically marvelous adventures.
Instead my friends and I were bunkered in our apartment in Alphabet City.
What were we to do?
If we were VIDA, then we could count the number of times a masculine pronoun appeared in this week’s NYT Book Review and then compare it to the number of times that a feminine pronoun appeared in this week’s NYT Book Review and then get really angry about it and channel all of our anger into a neat and tidy chart.
If we were overly anxious New York Jews then we could close down the subway system at 7 PM, hold press conferences using folksy idioms like “up and about,” and dress like men who spend a great deal of time in well-off subdivisions of Connecticut.
Also, if we were male homosexuals, we could have sex nonstop sans condoms.
But my friends and I aren’t any of those things. So, in lieu of that, we chose to hold an academic conference that had an awful lot of relevance to our current predicament. Our conference, which was held last night (28 Oct. 2012), was called The Unstable and [de] Mutable Boundaries Between Meteorological Atrocities and Human Political Economies with Bodies-as-Subjects Coming Into Being As They Are. This conference has already been compared to some of the most vivid and vivacious academic conferences ever held.
Here’s a summary:
I just put in my fucking laundry. I put everything together in one load. There was a girl next to me. She came across the place, put her clothes next to my clothes. I kind of wanted to giver her my business card, I had nothing interesting to say. She was a typical dreamgirl.
Can we stop all this? Can we just stop for an hour?
The Indian buffet on 39th Street simmers as fat men in blue suits break their day into two unequal pieces. Neither piece seems palatable, at this juncture. The morning was dull and the afternoon will be a replete – so the whole day is a tangled mess, layers of nothing upon layers of too much. Clients have weighed in, money is on the line, and all of the executives are out of office (OOO) selecting window dressings for their new condos in MiMa.
It’s ten AM, do you know where your money is? Who touches your credit? Who makes it feel safe? Touching candy, scraping paper skin over the fires of the market, these are the goals of the new new Downtown set. These are the men and women who give your money value, who quantify your life growth. They deal your commodity. They are the men and women who take your life and make it fabulous.
She whispers to money before she dreams, in her loft Downtown. Money takes her to bed. She kisses her own power like an empty vase
On the other side of the world, in New Jersey, money begins to seek power. It begins to roll in the direction of Wall St. It divests itself from your retirement plan. Money wants to be in Manhattan. Money wants to be strong with sexy friends, cigars, power boats. A vacation for money would be a week on the beach at Battery Park, in the 1980s, during the bond market boom. Your money wants to merge, to kill. Your kids go off to college, your money goes off to war.
And now your moeny has gone digital – just like your love life. Your money is dating your iPhone. Your money is fucking your second wife in the back of a Towncar. Every morning at 9:30 AM Eastern, your money sits at a Bloomberg terminal and watches itself breathe.
You can’t have your money now. It belongs to math and it belongs to disappearing mental real estate – the headline market, the gold hedge, the metals sector. Your money is bored by you. Your money is long gone – blowing lines of coke in some Russian death bar with the twin daughters of a brand new oil baron. Say goodbye to your money.
Previously: Happy Hour
Midtown Skin Essay Series with Parts 1-5
1. Happy Hour
The sound from exhaling smoke is everywhere. People breathe with their hearts as rain clouds come from New Jersey. But they do not fall. The sky is gray and empty of a future. Women cruise through revolving doors into catalogs of private romance. Men linger with their fantasies for a moment, on the curb, outside of the brokerage firm. The bosses wait together for their car service, placing bets on who will fuck at the VP afterlounge. Lincolns in line stretch down the blocks past marble stairs and hedges. These cars are thick and black and they do not forgive. At this hour, corporate art can sneak into our souls. The markets change over to Asia. All through Manhattan, the people are killing their day lives. Captains of Industry are embracing their moment of blindness, at the intersection of work and sex. Everyone follows a different path to the gratification called home.
Another day, another obituary for the publishing industry which, despite countless instances of garment rending for its death, somehow manages to continue… not dying. Garrison Keillor begins his lament by naming all the fancy writers he ran into at a fancy New York party, the implication being that he doesn’t quite belong in the fancy writing world and yet, there he is. Of course, because this is Garrison Keillor, he has to make an aw shucks reference to the Midwest and continues to offer his bona fides as a man of the people because he drives a car with 150,000 miles on it. That’s such a quaint practice when it’s a choice, driving a car into the ground. For people who cannot afford a new car, 150,000 miles probably holds considerably less charm. Keillor does this, of course, to remind us, yet again, that he is not one of the publishing glitterati. He is a stranger in a strange land, or at least, that’s what he wants us to think so he can continue hawking his down home Midwestern charm and wisdom, or what some might call, schlock.
I thought I’d give yet another shout-out to Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch’s Ten Talks/Two Walks from Ugly Duckling Presse. Written in the form of “sixty-minute, sixty-sentence walks around Manhattan and a pair of dialogues about walking,” the book’s observational humor often digresses into moments of tastefully awkward poignancy and makes clear, through tugging at the errant threads found in New York City’s human scenery, that everything is truly connected in a glorious form of mental acupuncture: men fighting with lampposts spawn a recollection of a flexible phone conversation, the actions of strangers remind the narrators of their own behavior, and the outside city is shown to be a reflection of the internal time and time again.
As someone who is an outsider to New York (I’ve been there only twice to salivate at the foot of its cultural picture window), Ten Walks/Two Talks grants readers rare and tender access to all the parts of NYC that won’t be shown on Will & Grace anytime soon—and even to some of the parts that may, although they won’t be portrayed in such a koan-like, meditative manner as within this book. If one wished to expand the American Museum of Natural History to include the human specimens found on a collection of random street corners, there could be no better curators selected for the job than Cotner and Fitch. With brand new taxonomic categorizations like “dwarf carrying bag of bananas” and “gold spandex wearing friend to the geriatrics,” this book makes an evocative catalogue of all the city and the imagination have to offer.
Last time I went to the NYC, I paid too much for leggings and ate things that have milk in them when ordered in New York City but do not have milk in them when ordered elsewhere. This was very fun, but next time I think I’ll just walk around and stare.
March 19th, 2010 / 6:23 pm