Sunday, April 27, 2008

What We Already Know and What We Don't

First things first: Shout-out to LINDSEY for giving me her to ticket to the DESTROYER show in Asheville this weekend.

Now for THE MEAT:
Earlier in the semester I read/did an oral report on SIGMUND FREUD'S essay, "RECOLLECTION, REPETITION AND WORKING THROUGH", in which he writes about how to rid oneself of current mental/emotional problems by confronting the issues of the past. In the essay, he says that the analyst should ask the patient simple questions relating to the problem to engage him or her in a conversation and to begin a discussion of the present issue. He states that:

One must allow the patient time to get to know this resistance of which he is ignorant, to 'work through' it, to overcome it, by continuing the work according to the analytic rules in defiance of it.

By talking about the topic, the patient will move backward and "discover" the root of the problem.

The word "DISCOVER" is in quotation marks here because FREUD says that the conclusion the patient reaches is not really any uncovering of a forgotten or never-known fact. The thought has been present in his or her brain all along, and one simply has to discuss and confront the matter at hand to arrive at the realizations that can lead to a resolution or an explanation for a problem at hand.

Now, I just watched USHER'S music video for his 2001 single, "U DON'T HAVE TO CALL." In high school I was very fond of this song (and still am now), but I have not listened to it in probably 2 years. About two-thirds of the way through the song, in between the refrain, "U don't have to call", he emphatically sings "U don't GOTTA call". As I listened to this part of the song, I thought to myself, "I knew he said that, or did I just think I knew it?" I could not tell if I really had just learned the place of this specific lyrical interjection or if I knew and just came to realize it because I had gone back and examined this song that used to be ubiquitous in my past.

What's more, I think I remember that lyric being "U don't care to call" rather than "...gotta call". Had I figured out that it was "gotta" just now, or did I have this debate with myself back in 2004 when I listened to this song frequently? I do believe FREUD'S claim that one must revisit past happenings to uncover reasons for the present, but I just have trouble identifying when these instances are actually occurring or if I just THINK and am trying to CONVINCE myself that they are. Since I read this essay I have had a few different run-ins with this problem. We may end up discussing this later on if /when another instance of this type surfaces.

Also, did you know that the album, 8701, from which "U DON'T HAVE TO CALL" comes, is named after the time that spanned USHER'S career as an entertainer up to the point of it's release (1987-2001)? It was also released on August 7, 2001, but this date is, for the most part, coincidental. This sounds like something that THE BEATLES or PINK FLOYD would have done back when popular music still had cool hidden conspiracies. I guess the moral of this BLOG POST is that USHER is one of the edgiest artists of our time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Minority Report, Punk and Jackie Robinson

[Prologue for this post: I have not yet addressed the issue of COMMENTING on my BLOG. Please feel free to leave your opinions or suggestions. I would like for this to be a dialogue between READER and BLOGGER.]

Yesterday I began reading Gloria Naylor's novel, BAILEY'S CAFE for my ENGLISH 386: POST-MODERNISM class. I have fallen behind at the tail-end of the class because the last two works that we have had to read have not really mattered in the class' grading scale, and I still only made it to page 16 of the book, which I was supposed to have read by Tuesday (4/22).

ANYWHO, up to page 16, the narrator, a black male who works at a cafe in Brooklyn, has started discussing America's past time: BASEBALL. He states that he gained a love for the game very early and he speaks as if he knows the sport very well. He comically talks of how there were two separate leagues for white and black people, not, as one would assume, because of segregation (oh yeah, the book is currently taking place in the 1940s, I think), but because the black people would completely dominate the white people if the teams were made to play eachother. Whilst reading this, I immediately started thinking about JACKIE ROBINSON, the man well known for being the first black person to join the all-white BROOKLYN DODGERS way back before the Civil Rights Movement happened. I did not really relate him to the story at all, I just started to think of a book that I read about him when I was a child.

Then, all of a sudden, the narrator brings up the subject of none other than JACKIE ROBINSON. I assumed he would speak of the man in a positive light, but he simply discusses him as a player who cannot hold his own in the "real", black leagues and says that if the DODGERS are suffering and need a "colored player", then "...dammit, bring in a colored player." This struck me as comical, but I also started to ponder the authenticity of many other people who we today regard as heroes. Naylor's narrator spouts off a few players' names who apparently can blow ROBINSON out of the water, but their names have not been solidified into Civil Rights chapters of history books or in any Baseball hall of fame. (Full disclosure: I am aware this book is fictional)

For example, when speaking of PUNK ROCK, many people will name-drop THE RAMONES, THE NEW YORK DOLLS or THE SEX PISTOLS. These are manifestly influential groups, but there are also other PUNK innovators like SUICIDE (pictured) and JIM CARROLL who, while I'm sure are common names for enthusiasts, do not resonate often in many discussions of the PUNK MOVEMENT. I read PLEASE KILL ME, which I understand is supposed to be THE book on PUNK, last semester and saw neither of these names mentioned, yet they still remain cult heroes. I am not saying that these dudes wanted to be remembered and leave a huge legacy (they were PUNK, you know?), but it just brings up the question of what other minor groups were present in New York in the 1970s who have been forgotten over the years?

I appreciate the alternate view points provided by books like Howard Zinn's A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES that introduce a new angle and illuminate the past in a new way. This practice of seeing other perspectives can really open one's eyes to, say, the fact that JACKIE ROBINSON was not the best black BASEBALL player in America in the 1940s. The problem is, though how can we see a different perspective of every historical subject EVER??? It is time-consuming enough to absorb information from just ONE source. And how do we choose which source to trust??? What kind of history are we learning everytime we read a new "fact"???

I also just re-watched Stephen Spielberg's MINORITY REPORT (2002) and it addresses similar issues of a society that fails to acknowledge MINORITY REPORTS given by the people who decide whether or not someone is guilty of murder. TOM CRUISE'S character, John Anderton discovers that the 2054 United States government and the PRE-CRIME department have been ignoring VITAL CLUES that can lead to the TRUTH that is sought-after throughout the entire film.

I am sure this matter gets pondered quite often, but Gloria Naylor's BAILEY'S CAFE really made me mull it over. Any contributions on the matter would be appreciated.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dan Deacon, Beach House and BRYCE AND BRANDON???

So, I was not planning on blogging today because I did not have any INTERESTING MATERIAL to include in a post. That is, not until my buddy NICOL sent me a message via He told me that the new issue of ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE, of which I am normally not a fan, totally has a picture of me and my twin brother, BRYCE.

After hearing this, BRYCE and I rushed to the University of South Carolina Bookstore and took two pages from the latest issues of ROLLING STONE, the one that is titled "The Best of Rock 2008".

This page of the magazine is profiling their choice for best music scene: Baltimore, Maryland. The page includes photos of popular acts BEACH HOUSE and DAN DEACON, and it just so happens that they used a picture (from Flickr it appears) that was taken at a DAN DEACON/GIRL TALK/WHITE WILLIAMS show that BRYCE and I attended last semester (in Asheville, NC, not Baltimore). In the picture, as you can see, BRYCE'S face is directly over DAN DEACON'S right shoulder and I am in the right of the frame with my hand in the air.

So, many thanks to NICOL for pointing this out to me earlier today. If you are still skeptical and think this is an elaborate hoax, then go find an issue for yourself and check out page 62. That is all for today. I will hopefully have more INTERESTING, less egocentric, MATERIAL soon.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Two weekends ago my good friends WALKER and WEST came for a surprise visit all the way from Charlottesville, Virginia. Amongst other things, WALKER came bearing the recently-gained knowledge of two sentences that seemingly repeat the same word over and over, but still form grammatically correct statements.

These sentences are:
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.


James, while John had had "had", had had "had had"; "had had" had had a better effect on the teacher.

I am not here to explain the correctness of these sentences, but a quick reading of the Wikipedia article on each can help to uncover their meanings.

I immediately found these sentences both amusing and highly mind-blowing, and now, 15 days later, while working in the library I have fashioned two of my own homonym experiments/sentences.

I am not as proud of this first one, but it was my initial attempt so I will include it here:
Art and Art, art Art and Art's "arts" art?

This sentence engages the word "art" as a verb which is synonymous with "are", name and in the noun form that refers to poetics, painting, sculpture, et cetera. This sentence presupposes that jazz musician, Art Blakey and graphic novelist, Art Spiegelman are discussing the music of Everclear's Art Alexakis and Art Garfunkel of Simon and Garfunkel. Speaking to Spiegelman, Blakey speculates the authentic artistic value of the two popular musicians' works.

Here is my second example in which I take much more pride. It is a posed question with an immediate, complete sentence answer.

Can Can can can-can Caan can can?
Can can can can-can Caan can can.

The different forms of the word "can" that I use here refer to the verb, meaning "to be able to", the German kraut-rock band, the high-kicking dance, the slang verb that means to figuratively trash or negatively criticize and the actor James Caan who is known for his roles in Elf (2003) and Misery (1990).

For the explanation of the question I will replace the verb with its meaning, "to be able to", the band, Can with the band, Canned Heat, the dance with "the macarena", the other verb with the word "trash" and the actor, James Caan with actress, Jamie Lee Curtis.

Are Canned Heat able to trash the same macarena that Jamie Lee Curtis is able to?
Yes, Canned Heat are, in fact, able to trash the same macarena that Jamie Lee Curtis is able to.

So, because the word "can" is very ambiguous and has multiple meanings, this one word can serve to populate an entire sentence and still be grammatically correct and make complete sense.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

First Ever Blog Post (of Many???)

I have decided to try out the practice of keeping an internet weblog after toying with the idea for some time now. What I would like to achieve through this blog is to have an outlet for what occupies most of my thinking time and try to formulate my mental explorations into well-organized, fully-realized posts. Consider this the beta launch of Totally Brandon: The Blog as I feel my way around the world of blogging and figure out if it is a fitting medium for me.

Earlier tonite I discussed the matter with my friends ANDY, JAMES, CHAZ and (brother/friend) BRYCE. ANDY recommended the name "Who Let The Blogs Out" to me, but I felt that would detract from what I am aiming to do with it, which is to have an entirely idiosyncratic internet environment. This brings me to the topic of the chosen name: "Totally Brandon." While contemplating a fitting name for my new blog, I considered a few punny names, but I decided on "Totally Brandon" so this would A) be congruent with my names in other internet environments like Ebay and CouchSurfing, and B) encompass my theme of wholly self-conceived ideas.

As this is just an introductory post, I do not have any INTERESTING MATERIAL, which is what I will strive for later, but consider this a kind of thesis proposing my reasons and goals for blogging.

Stay tuned!