2004 Notebook: Weak VI
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6 February 2004
No. 1,213 (cartoon)
Why are you always so taciturn?

I have a lot not to say.

7 February 2004
Technological Shortcomings
Everyone’s going on and on about the wonders of modern technology, but I don’t believe a single word of the hyperbole. My mortal remains will have passed through many generations of scavengers and worms before any human being will ever touch a reliable computer.

A very long time from now, a human being may be able to transfer a set of thoughts to a storage medium with all the subtleties and personal connections intact. Today, I’ll be pleased if my computer doesn’t crash before I finish writing this. To that end, I shall stop now.

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8 February 2004
Deformed Lemon
Brady gave me a deformed lemon at the party yesterday; she thought I might like to photograph it. I like Brady, and so I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it’s been well over half a century since anyone but a scientist or a photo weenie photographed deformed fruit.

Nevertheless, I photographed the lemon for her. I hope that wasn’t a mistake.

9 February 2004
I have a battery-powered electronic gizmo that’s about half the size of a slice of bread; it stores audio recordings and various bits of digital detritus. I quite enjoy having six-thousand songs from which to choose when I’m away from my collection of ten-thousand other pieces of alleged music.

I thought this digital music thingie did about everything I could ask of it; that’s usually a mistake when it comes to technology. And thus I wasn’t particularly surprised to hear that some Russians who peddle audio books have come up with a clever innovation: they’ve fitted a doodad like mine into a Kalashnikov ammunition clip.

“Hopefully, from now on many militants and terrorists will use their AK-47s to listen to music and audio books,” suggested former pop musician Andrey Koltakov, a partner in the venture.

The inventors added that the music clip can be easily replaced with an ammunition clip full of bullets, but I wonder if that’s really necessary. After all, I know a lot of music that’s both painful and disorienting. If this isn’t an oxymoron, the Russians may be close to devising a relatively humane offensive weapon.

10 February 2004
The Perfect Husband
There are many kinds of marriages, including a peculiar French union recently in the news.

Christel Demichel finally married her boyfriend, Eric, after an unfortunate postponement. The wedding was delayed when Eric was killed a year and a half ago by a hit-and-run driver motoring in the English style, i.e., on the wrong side of the road.

Marrying the dead is unusual, even for the French. Ms. Demichel’s lawyer, Gilbert Collard, had to go through extraordinary measures to take advantage of an obscure legal provision introduced by General de Gaulle.

“I need to go beyond death,” Ms. Demichel said, “especially as his death was not his fault.”

I found her remark about the semi-posthumous (?) union interesting. That may be the first time any spouse successfully used the it’s-not-my-fault argument.

11 February 2004
A Tedious Prince
I want to a disappointing talk by Richard Prince tonight. I suppose it was predictable, since Prince has come up with very few aesthetic ideas of note, most of which involve some permutation of appropriating other people’s work. (We artists never steal, pirate, or copy other people’s works; we appropriate them.)

Prince has never demonstrated the elegance or intelligence of his clever appropriating predecessors; his most remarkable accomplishment was to develop his name into a brand that could be marketed by art dealers. He succeeded on a commercial level; he’s monetarily wealthy.

Thus Prince appeared both greedy and arrogant when he complained how painful it was to discuss money with a photographer whose work he intended selling as his own. The poor, sensitive soul.

Prince didn’t seem to be intelligent enough to differentiate between appropriating someone’s work for a purely aesthetic purpose and taking their work to sell as entirely his own for a large sum of money without offering to share a penny of the substantial profits. And more to the point, he seemed disturbingly unimaginative, or at least not clever enough to access the huge amount of intellectual property legally in the public domain.

Since Prince didn’t have much to say, he spoke only briefly before being rescued by an admiring interviewer who failed to ask a single difficult or challenging question. I don’t know that with any certainty, though; I walked out.

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©2004 David Glenn Rinehart