Sunday, August 19, 2007


The Prince of Darkness returns!

Boy! I don't know how I missed this one. I've definitely been out of the loop of reality of late. Maybe the Reggae conflict has overshadowed the event. In any case, Bruce Anderson has returned. He's back in charge at the Anderson Valley Advertiser, which has a website now where you'll find his return interview.

I won't bother to make an introduction for those of you who don't know him. He's a brilliant writer, and a consummate iconoclast. Many people will also tell you he's, well, a supreme asshole. To say that not everybody is going to be overjoyed with his return is about along the lines of suggesting that PB and Anna Hamilton won't be having any Sunday dinners together anytime soon. Anderson has pissed a lot of people off, some of who probably deserved it and others who clearly didn't. His scorched earth writing about the Judi Bari saga is a classic example. I hosted him on my radio show a few years back (and subsequently gave Darrel C. "equal time") and it was one of my more lively shows. I should point out that many of his detractors accuse him of being very loose with the facts, at least when it came to the Bari story. I'm sure the thread will be rich with accusations to that effect.

Setting aside the controversies, his writing is extraordinary and fun to read. Then again, I haven't really been a target of his. Not yet anyway (though I was briefly slammed by one of his writers, but as I said once before, it only made me feel more important than I was). I was just going through my e-mail archives and I found this old piece of his on modern bookstores and progressive magazines. You either love his stuff, or you don't.
"If you're like me, and you must be pretty much on the same page if you read this fine newspaper every week, the new book stores are of little interest other than as a place to buy a book that you can't really afford but can't wait to be remaindered when you buy if from Hamilton for $3.95. You want to read it NOW. And the new bookstore sells NOW. (Kids aren't the only segment of the society prone to the pull of instant gratification. Book fogies are right up there with junkies in unreasoning compulsion.) New book stores irritate the hell out of me, frankly, because they're a living reminder of how far the culture has slipped. Of course to stay in business a new bookstore has got to sell what people pay to read, hence the shelves stuffed with the aforementioned Toms and Dicks. Hawk, along with Dr. Laura, Miss Butterfly, Tome Clancy, Michael Jackson bios, and all the rest of the downward cultural indicators in print form. The cover art, if that's what it's called on new books, is as awful as the gibberish on the page. Fifty years ago even bad books came in interesting wrappers designed and illustrated by real artists. No more. If the product wasn't in book form you could be browsing in WalMart for all you can tell from the packaging.


The magazine racks are even more offensive than the new book stores. Here's the cover of a recent collection. Small seas of brightly colored covers committed to nothing at all of the latest in mindless consumption. Hidden away in the "serious" part of the mag rack there with the three copies of New Left Review and maybe two copies of Monthly Review, there's the Nation wondering on its cover if Nancy Pelosi will move the Democratic Party in a more "progressive" direction and, on the same cover, another inane ditherer is worried that Ralph Nader might run for president again. I have a suggestion for the progressive print people: Combine The Nation, In These Times, Utne Reader, The Progressive, Mother Jones, and Z in to one monthly magazine called WUSS. A Publication for Greek Seaman's Caps and People Who Drive Used Volvos With Lots of Bumperstickers On Them."
Hmmm. What's going to happen if he catches up with the Reggae conflict? Then again, maybe he won't bother. All of the sudden the old quote by Tom Lehrer comes to mind: "I gave up satire the day they gave Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize." I mean, what could Bruce add to the mix?

oh brucie baby isn't too interested in the reggae story- "a pox on both their houses" etc...
Well, that's an angle in and of itself.
Well, he could point out that they gave a peace prize to Yassir Arafat.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was somebody that could write like Bruce Anderson and also had some scruples? The sad thing is, when reading his stuff, you always have in the back of your mind; am I being ‘put on’ or can this be real? It’s kind of offensive to know that a person would rather take advantage of another person’s nievity to have his great joke than to take the time to be truthful and considerate. Another thing that bothers me is that he is the kind of person that would use his great talent to cause pain to somebody that had tweaked his ire. One more thing that really bothers me is that he is so darn much smarter than I am, and I know that if I ever got into a battle of wits with him, I would surely lose. The only thing that I have left to admire about him is his talent. The rest of his character leaves something to be desired.

I thought he died, are you sure this isn’t his “joke” from the grave?
Get my point?
Along the same vein, what happened to Reggae Warrior? Did he touch the wrong key and cause himself to self distruct? His url is empty.
Hey, I like new book stores.It's where I go to get the latest hot pic of Ann Coulter. Now if Brucie offered that in his A-hole Valley Pennysaver.....
been reading his new incarnation the past month; he's mellowed: no nasty attacks but direct and subtile mention of Mike Sweeney...

he's brought his son (unreadable to me but thats probably me) back and some of his other holdovers...

he's a charactor: a pleasant person in person even when his rag viciously ragged "you."...

i wonder if he still DESPISES darryl c...

yes RW is gone; he did his thing (being a real time discussion board before Reggae when Eric went to moderation) and now Eric is back live...

RW will probably have the next new blog, seemingly unconnected to Reggae?...
Wow, "one-trick-pony"(RW) is gone?
How predictable. Good-riddance!
The Anderson Valley Advertiser had gotten kind of stodgy in Bruce's absence. It's a much livelier read now although somewhat mellower as was pointed out. I miss the old vitriol--even though it occasionally made me wince.
Speaking of "The Prince of Darkness" what happened to the Reggae Warrior? This blog spots has disappeared.

Hmmmm...what could this mean?
I have no idea what happened to RW's site, but my own blog has gone down a couple of times due to google-tech issues. I wouldn't write those eulogies quite yet.
been reading his new incarnation the past month; he's mellowed: no nasty attacks but direct and subtile mention of Mike Sweeney..

And he doesn't have Judge Lechowik to kick around any more. How about Norm DeVall?
" people who use the word envision need not apply"

that's the way I feel about people who use the word paradigm. When I see the word paradigm I know what follows will be overblown bullshit.
The word I hate is "network."
Yeah network belongs there with interface.
Well, I particularly object to it used as a verb.
My favorite groaner is; "Having said that"....
But I like the word plethora. It's cool.
Well, I happen to love the word "paradigm" (I love "plethora," too), but having said that... JUST KIDDING!

Seriously: I agree that "paradigm" has become terribly overused, along with "genius." There are VERY few geniuses on the face of this Earth, and it vexes me to no end to see that description tossed around to describe everything from the latest slick movie, to the latest slick advertising campaign, to the latest slick darling of the art world.

Which, in a way, often amounts to the same damn thing.

But, wait... weren't we talking about Bruce Anderson? Oh, PLEASE, Bruce, gives us some insight on Reggae! Because I am, you know, stuck with writing about it from a strictly clinical point of view.
My favorite, least favorite expression? "Absolutely" It gets tossed around in excess, like, when someone has nothing valuable to contribute, but would like to agree, and sound all intelligent, "absolutely!"

My personal mission is to reestablish the poor forgotten adverb in the common vernacular. It is a long uphill battle and it is going slow...heh heh get it?

Listen, you can have a slow journey (slow is an adjective, describing the noun, journey) but a journey cannot go slow! It must go slowly, because you are modifying the verb "go"....oh, whatever, it is probably hopeless...
No no. It's "if you will," if you will.
Does Bruce still think Judi blew herself up?
Actually the overused word that bugs me the most is--'actually'.
"Oh, might I actually like it?! Well isn't that actually, actually nice?!"

Line from Educating Rita
As for what Bruce believes, I think he endorsed Virginia Coleman's book. I never read it. I met Darrel on the street once when it came out a few years back and he told me it was full of historical errors.
The book was "The Secret Wars of Judi Bari" by Kate Coleman and Bruce was disappointed with it. He said it was poorly written and badly researched.

Bruce never said that Judi blew herself up. He thought the perp was her ex-husband Mike Sweeney.
I don't know how Reggae gets into every discussion, but I have nothing to say about it here.

Here its the word I love to hate: decimate. This word means to reduce by 10%. "Decim" = 10, like "decimal"

Almost every use of the word recently has been a mistaken substitution of it for "devastated". In most cases where the media tells us something was decimated, we'd be a lot better off if whatever the subject is were decimated when the word is used, instead of devastated, which is normally what has happened.

I try to go with the flow of the changing language, but I just can't get past this particular change.

I have to admit I also don't like the radio telling me about programming by "PRI innernational" That 't" in the middle of "Inter" is vanishing in English as she is spoke.
Or how about the diction nighmare when speakers or singers crunch you with whatever is before it..."tell them kgo sentchew"...or "I wantchew to want me,I needchew to need me"....

want You
need You
sent You
cut my hair...shaved my beard...ok, guess i'm an old fogie, fuckit...the words i hate are "right on!"...right on used to really MEAN something, like free huey, it means: ok...


also "awesome"- freakin' over-used...

ok, i'll get out of the way and die...
That's heavy.
I gave up on 'decimate' decades ago, since I don't discuss Nazi or Roman war crimes that often anyway. What I have to give up on now is 'fortuitous', which people understand is an even more syllabic way to say 'fortunate.' Hey, say fortunate! It's easier, too! Fortuitous meant 'accidental' until empty pretension became our preferred style of discourse. Yet another argument for political reform . . .
fudiciary..eye roll
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