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Arts and Culture

Americanface, Episodes 1-4

All this week's episodes rolled into one.

By Andrew Struthers 23 Oct 2009 | TheTyee.ca

Andrew Struthers is a filmmaker and writer in Victoria.

1: The Creative

What is the sound of one hand

2: The Receptive

CDs, those once-futuristic discs sold to us c.1982 @ $30 ea., twice the price of an LP. But in the long run, contrary to Keynes, we would all save money because CDs last forever.

Forever turned out to be a lot shorter than scientists predicted. I have LPs from the 80s that have outlasted the CDs that were bought to replace them. CDs merely torqued the speed of SNAFU.

But the more things change, the more they stay expensive. Vinyl is back. The music sounds beautiful, just like on a CD, but the silence between the notes is deeper.

Should we put the future behind us? Did it get old fast? Did you double your fun as the days got shallower?

3: Difficulty at The Beginning

The Vancouver crash pad where I ran my mind into the ditch lay at the bottom corner of an ancient brick building on Broadway and Hemlock -- basically the on-ramp of the Granville Street bridge.

Rent was $120, and you got what you paid for. The toilet bowl housed a patch of dwarf eel grass that did the Coriolis on the flush. When the cable guy came to install new wiring for the upscale apartment above us he cut the cable too short, and rather than measure again and cut a new piece, it being towards the end of the working day, he simply stapled it diagonally across our crumbling back wall so that it reached the ceiling.

The Occupant, my bohemian pal Jerry, worked in the Qwiksave further down Broadway. He was a stock boy, which meant if a label came off a can of food we got it gratis. Mornings, we sat on our doorstep eating mystery breakfast, watching the cars of commuters pile up and purge as the lights changed.

Jerry was one of the infamous Stack brothers, who first opened my mind to the concept that art was a way of being, and not just a series of paintings with name tags. Brother Steve had stuck a note above the bathroom mirror: I AM DREAMING. By constantly confronting yourself with this notion in waking life, the theory went, you would one night, while dreaming, have the same thought and click! You would realize this was all in your mind, and therefore you could do anything.

After I blew my fuse Steve's note took on an ominous tone. I began to suspect that if I unclenched my mind like a fist, I would wake up in some other reality. I didn't want to do that. So I clung to the raft of memory like the victim of a shipwreck.

4: Youthful Folly

I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was terrified. There's nothing worse than having your mind turn on you like a beloved family pet gone rabid and rheumy. I had never heard of "conspiracy theory," so I thought I was alone.

The Internet has changed all that. Conspiracy theory is almost mainstream. A 2007 Scripps Howard poll indicated that a full third of the general population believed the Bush administration was somehow complicit in the WTC attacks.

Expunging Bush changed nothing. Now, a full third believe Obama was born in Kenya, proving he's not really the President. Worse still, fake nudie pics of his unpregnant hottie mom circa 1961 prove he doesn't even exist. No wonder he was able to win a Nobel for doing nothing.

As is their wont, rational souls everywhere have fallen into the trap of trying to reason away these inconvenient beliefs, which will get you about as far as a face-to-face with a Tamil Tiger. Conspiracy theories, born of the irrational mind, are impervious to standard left-hemisphere weaponry such as data, dialectics, and gaping incredulously from behind a desk.  [Tyee]

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