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This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Monday
Jul202015

In Which No Pleasure Is In Itself Evil

Nevermind

by DICK CHENEY

True Detective
creator Nic Pizzolatto


The New York Post had a headline this weekend that read 'Don Voyage.' Apparently questioning someone's service in the Vietnam War is enough to exclude you from consideration for anything. Bulworth is still a fairly prescient movie. I never served in the Vietnam War, or in any other places, but I have a lot of ideas about it. My main one is that it is just about as bad as it looks, but regular people never see it, not really.

There are a lot of things from which we are protected. Ever seen a dead body, for real, on television? Someone always has an excuse for why the most horrible thing is beyond all reason, but what does that make the second, third, and fourth most horrible things? Just fucking fine?

Colin Farrell got a new look, but she still looks like skunk. No justice. 

Just one time I would like to turn on my television or read a book and find out what things were really like. I have to say I don't think it's terribly important, things that happened forty or five years ago. They might as well not have occurred. I passed by a protest of nuclear weapons the other day. About 2,000 people had turned up for this important cause. Their cell phones and tablets were being powered by something, made by someone.

If the world makes us hypocrites, then we might as well sit in our own shit comfortably. "The minute you smelled shit," Vince Vaughn explains to his prissy, infertile wife, "you would be on the next plane." He is conveying to the love of his life why they can't just be farmers.

Ask her to marry you, Ray.

There is a sign outside the Chipotle I went to until it was closed down because of rats like so many others in the chain. It says No GMOs. This campaign against science — and it is a campaign against science — tells us that food becomes somehow awful if we grow it for a purpose. Do you know how fucked up a thing that is to say to someone who is starving? Do you have any idea how babies are made? Where's Alan Sokal when we need him?

What happened to the guy who used to run the evidence room? Is he Rust Cohle's new partner? Give me something!

It is amazing how every ideology, no matter how innocent, makes enemies. I believe I can summarize each major character on True Detective by showing how their worldview is not completely their own:

Taylor Kitsch/Kierkegaard "Love builds up by presupposing that love is present."

Colin Farrell/Hegel "The inclination to act as the laws command, a virtue, is a synthesis in which the law loses its universality and the subject its particularity; both lose their opposition."

A romantic walk on the beach. If only they could switch haircuts.

Rachel McAdams/Karl Jaspers "A choice made now, today, projects itself backwards and changes our past actions."

Kelly Reilly/Epicurus "No pleasure is in itself evil, but the things which produce certain pleasures entail annoyances many times greater than the pleasures themselves"

Adoption is a hell of drug.

Vince Vaughn/Erasmus "This type of man who is devoted to the study of wisdom is always most unlucky in everything, and particularly when it comes to procreating children; I imagine this is because Nature wants to ensure that the evils of wisdom shall not spread further throughout mankind."

Ben Casper/Nietzche "Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?"

What are the chances of these two ending up in bed together?

It is not religion that is disappearing — it was always some definite, resilient portion of the population determined to make God real. It is philosophy that has vanished from our society. I remember taking a class on Kierkegaard in college. The European professor explained how we had to know that Kierkegaard was a sexist, but that these ideas were divorced from his intellectual ones. I said, this isn't like Shakespeare cheating on his wife! How a philosopher treats human beings seems pretty important.

But that too has been lost. I don't care how a person treats people they barely know — strangers are dogshit anyway. I want to know how they treat the people they love. That's why Ray Velcoro's "just alcohol" redemption tour rings so hollow. I hope his wife gets full custody. And Rachel McAdams probably needed that harassment support group — after all, she was sleeping with a subordinate. Granted it was a nice gesture to allow him access to her pooper, but that doesn't make her Florence Nightengale. The law isn't a convenience. It may be pointless or unjust, but it is not a means. It is an end.

See, it really isn't that hard to write like Nic Pizzolatto. You just need to spend a lot of time on wikiquote.

He's looking at Velcoro with a bit too much intensity, but I have to say I loved his mother-in-law.

Vince Vaughn's Frank Seymon had to default on his mortgage and move into a small apartment. Velcoro couldn't even come by to help him unpack. I don't know exactly how you can be set up to hurt a man when you're a police officer and you can fully be expected to do the research yourself on whether he assaulted your wife. Abigail Spencer's new boyfriend better check himself. That guy is just meansies.

I wish there were more Donald Trumps so we can find out if all the things people assume are true are actually factual. Tiptoeing around reality only benefits those for whom that reality represents sustaining power and wealth. I believe Foucault said that, or maybe it was my wife in the throes of ecstasy. It's not surprising I could confuse those two sources.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Let the Laughter In" - Hannah Peel (mp3)

"Pale Green Ghosts" - Hannah Peel (mp3)

Friday
Jul172015

In Which We Are Crass And Candid When We Need To Be

A Tiny, Buzzing Hole

by KRISTINA BRAVO

It was in the fourth grade when I had my first accidental exposure to erotic literature (here the word is used slightly). My aunt, whom my family was living with at the time, had a room walled with Danielle Steel-type books that to my mother’s dismay were freely available for my perusal. Most of them were cheesy and tawdry romances, usually given away by their cheesy and tawdry covers. Narratives went along the lines of pre-middle age loves and heartbreaks, filling up summer break tee-hee afternoons that would have otherwise been spent in nap times.

Some days however, I stumbled upon highly-charged, sensual plot lines that would discombobulate any normal pre- adolescent mind. Questions involved: suction, functions of certain orifices, barbaric playthings, and multi-syllabic vocabulary words like “fornicator.”

In my aunt’s defense, this ten year old’s curiosity died without much fight from an adult’s staunch refusal to answer such questions. A witty, English lady came into the picture and the rest of the summer was wholesomely consumed by wizards and witches. It wouldn’t be until years later that as an adult I would revisit the forbidden genre by way of another female author: Anaïs Nin.

My rejection of a certain popular erotic fan fiction that spawned from a young adult series which, I regrettably did read (ensuring that I was never again to use the word “saga” cringe-free), had admittedly left a tiny, buzzing hole in my otherwise diverse bookshelf. Somehow, Sappho’s fragments just didn’t satisfy. It’s in this deprived spirit that I first picked up a slim volume of Nin’s work.

Written in the early 40s and published posthumously in 1979, Little Birds is a small collection of thirteen short stories. For a dollar a page, she, among other impecunious young writers and poets, produced sexual tales for food. In the preface, Nin writes, “Most of the erotica was written on empty stomachs. Now, hunger is very good for stimulating the imagination.”

Hungry she must have been in “The Chanchiquito.” The titular vermin is a folkloric, porcine creature that roamed the streets of Brazil. It had “a passion for running up the skirts of women and inserting his snout between their legs,” making it inadvisable to bend over and pick up wind-blown hats. The story within a story at once resembles a Twilight Zone episode and an Ovidian tale, tracing a theme out of artistry and throbbing sexuality overlain with a bizarre, mythopoeic tone. Like the charmingly outdated references to genitals as someone’s “sex” (“Jan darkened the hair around the sex, carefully, as if he were painting grass blade by blade, and added detail to the converging lines of the legs.”), it’s enough to inspire a tee-hee snicker from any misbehaving ten-year old reader.

Other tales are more serious, threading on thinly disguised biographical exploits. Famous for her lifelong, fortune-reversing diary, Nin was the literary equivalent of a socialite-cum-tabloid fodder. 

In her diary, she is the reality star of her own highfalutin screenplay, a writer in the process of creating a character of herself. But in her dollar a page stories, plots are more bare-boned, moving on a conveyance of lurid experiences towards a titillating end product.

“Model” is the longest at twenty-five pages and is placed in the middle of the anthology:

The painter was carefully watching me, watching every expression of a pleasure I could not control, and now it increased so that I abandoned myself to the motion of the horse, let myself rub against the leather, until I felt the orgasm and I came, riding this way in front of him.

Suggestive of her early life as an artist’s model, it rings that age-old tale of artist/model symbiosis (this romantic pattern repeated itself throughout Nin’s affairs, a list that includes Tropic of Cancer author Henry Miller, Freud’s right-hand man, Otto Rank, and most disturbingly, her own father, who was a pianist and a composer).

There is a voyeuristic distance between participants in all of these stories. Someone is always watching someone else, who might as well be on a stage with a wand in one trembling hand and a top hat in the other. The reader has the same relationship with the author. Little Birds may not have the decorated language of her diaries, but here, Nin doesn’t cease to be the enticing performer that she naturally was.  

“Lina is a liar who cannot bear her real face in the mirror,” opens the third story about a sexually repressed lesbian momentarily liberated in a Parisian three-way episode. Nin’s is a distinctly female voice in erotica, and appropriately, it is a cadenced voice of discontent. Whether it’s grievance from failed male performance, subdued urges or prostituting herself — sometimes quite literally, to get what she wants — there is a constant struggle for recompense in Nin’s narratives. She might have been performing for an audience, but her writing organically quivers and sighs with every discomfort and every wilting tumescence.

With its quirks, pulse and transparency, Little Birds above all else satisfies the sybaritic reader, and not just in a 1940’s sense. Sure the book is at times drifting, but remains crass and candid when it needs to be. Nin sure knew how to satiate an appetite. Her indelible images stays in one’s mind, where they make themselves known in sometimes inappropriate moments. Kind of like the amusing meanderings of a more irresponsible aunt — one who’d gladly answer questions you didn’t even know you had.

Kristina Bravo is contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. You can find her tumblr here.

"Random Name Generator" - Wilco (mp3)

"The Joke Explained" - Wilco (mp3)

 

Thursday
Jul162015

In Which Halle Berry Has Involved Herself With Some Questionable Individuals

End This

by ALEX CARNEVALE

Extant
creator Mickey Fischer

There is a scene in CBS' miscarriage of a television series Extant where Halle Berry starts to make out with her alien son. She is interrupted by bounty hunter J.D. Richter (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) before things get too exciting. Halle Berry is looking kind of run down. I'm worried about her.

Every Extant begins with a recap of the series so far, which takes about twenty-five minutes. It is then followed by a moment of Halle Berry screaming about one of her sons. The first is named Ethan, and he is an android. The second was the alien son she conceived in space, and for whom she harbors a quasi-sexual attraction. Her reaction to this situation, as with every other stressful moment, is to break down in womanly tears.

There was only one movie, Mathieu Kassovitz' masterpiece Gothika, where Halle Berry was locked up into a mental institution and acted completely unhinged through the film's running time. Every single person involved in Extant took this to heart as the most magical thing. Berry's Molly Woods has the same initial reaction to every situation she is put in — she starts screaming and fecklessly battering the person with which she is upset.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan was brought onto this horrific tragedy of a television show to explain "I have a problem with authority." He is a veteran of the war in Iraq. His acting has regressed to a primordial state in which every single line he delivers is smirked out. Unlike previous roles, Morgan has grown in his grey beard and he looks every bit of his forty-nine years. "Listening to bullies isn't my strong suit," he explains. Mmk.

The most charismatic young actress in Hollywood was brought onto Extant to class things up a bit. Kiersey Clemons was cast as an unfeeling android named Lucy. (They were unfamiliar with the movie of the same name.) This strikes me as a misuse of Clemons' considerable talents, but that is the least of Extant's problems. Switching the casting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Clemons would have made for a show that is about 100x more interesting.

The first thing Lucy asks when she wakes up is to look in a mirror. The scientists behind this program have equipped Clemons' character with an ethical implant, which is an incredibly made-up sounding thing. It seems that something subtle has gone wrong with Lucy, and we are meant to know this by the fact that she takes a woman's dress from a closet without her permission.

Molly's android son Ethan (Pierce Gagnon) is tucked into bed with a children's book every night. His most recent tome was The Velveteen Rabbit, which is about a stuffed rabbit coming to life. Do you get it, or do you maybe need to watch another recap of Extant? Molly Woods went into space... BUT SHE DIDN'T COME BACK ALOOOOOOOOOOOONE!

The government tries to kill Molly and her alien son in a drone strike while they are making out. When she survives, they incorporate her as part of their team to track down the alien. Team leader Toby Shepherd (David Morrissey) has no other options. "We're putting our faith in a woman of questionable emotional stability!" someone screams in objection. They give Molly a superpowered gun and some remedial instruction. "When I set my sight on a target, I nail it!" she cries out happily.

But don't forget about the nerd! He wears a sweater to work! Someone thinks this is a real thing:

We can fix this, one of the scientists tells the nerd. We can change the algorithms. Oh, good. Fixing Extant is completely out of the question, it is like watching kids get dressed up to perform their part in a school play. Actually, the acting and writing is substantially worse than that. About 90 percent of the scenes begin with someone saying, "Let me get this straight," so we know the story is being recapped.

It turns out that Halle Berry's alien son is impregnating a bunch of women. They die as a result of conception, which is incidentally not really his fault. Although she has agreed to murder her son, she finds she is too weak to actually go through with it. Instead she begins to cry.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

"Royal Geography Society" - China (mp3)

"Pinwheels Spinning" - China (mp3)