19 September 2007


I am inundated with writing this fall. Every day, Monday through Friday, I have at least an hour and a half devoted to writing, talking about writing, or listening to other peoples writing. Should be an incredibly productive time. Or I will be just boggled by everyone and everything. This is mostly a spot for The Hidden T.R.E.W.T.H. (Tabloid Realism Enlightening World's Troubled Humanity).

I sometimes say that it is a stupid acronym, as acronyms go. But I said that last Sunday and Bradley admonished me: "don't say that". He was serious and it changed the mood of the conversation. I thought about it some more, and realized that it is not stupid.

First of all, it does enlighten. The Inside is a totally foreign place for most 'citizens' of the United States. A little peak in, even in the form of inmates' writing, can do nothing but enlighten. To have the sense of the Inside, to attack the idea that we are Outside of prison because we are not criminals, is incredibly valuable.

Secondly, the incorrect spelling is not silly. Rather, it refuses to conform to the supposed right rules of the English language. Language is always a proposition, and there is a true side and a false side. Spelling the word truth like this: truth, is true. Spelling it like this: trewth, is false and wrong. Where does the dominance of 'convention' come from. Why not spell things wrong? Why not write? It is easy to say things that are true and obvious, it is much harder to say something untrue.

Finally, when you graf write T R E W T H across the cover of a publication, it looks cool.

04 September 2007


In relation to my promised building of a fixed gear bike.

God. What is it about hipsters that we dislike? That makes us sneer? Where is the line drawn between us and them? And who is paying for all those bikes?

In a glorious and exciting trade Peter is helping me to build a fixed-gear, and I am teaching him to cook. We will trade cookbooks for bikebooks, and kitchen intuition for dérailleur adjustment technique. I rode Peter's bike for 24 hours from Sunday to Monday (while he trekked out of the state on mine). I have never been so exhilarated on a bicycle before. I felt like hot lightning. I was up near Pembroke campus and wanted to go to Prospect Park, which would have been about 20 seconds away, but I was thirsty, so I shot home for a glass of water, and then back to the park. Monday morning I was sore. The first time I'd been sore from biking that I can remember.

Having my own monster bike back is lugubrious. I can hardly move the pedals. I wallow in gears, brakes, and a seat the size of a couch. The result of all this is that I want a fixed-gear bike, and I want to ride it, and I want to be hot lightning again.

The problem, and the reason I'd like to write about all this, is that I want other people to see it. Eyes will move over my single gear, and take in my constant pedaling. Somehow it will be different. It will be cool. But where does this 'cool' feeling come from? Cursed while blessed I am. An inability to shake this awareness haunts me, blows past me as I ride.

Cool and hip are two distinct things. I am defining them now=> Cool is the feeling you get when you wear your favorite shirt, rock new kicks, bust moves, answer questions, say hi to a lot of people, sing, and even vote (I voted!). It is a totally imagined awareness of people noticing your cool item/talent/attribute/sticker. I repeat: all imagined. I feel cool when I wear my green jean cut-offs because I think they look good, for example. I feel gazes slide smoothly over my thighs, even though they do no such thing.

Hip is what everyone thinks can't be cool because it is too cool. Bikes, being in bands, 'finding' bands, big basketball shoes and tight pants, screenprinted shirts, etc. I see the hipsters on their painted fixtys and I feel certain that they are too hip. But, and I think this is the key, who is this everyone? It certainly doesn't actually refer to everyone. Hip hop culture does not celebrate or reject or even recognize this kind of hipness. In the words of a former resident at the Training School, "Man, why you dress all weird an' shit? I seen y'all, wearing tight pants and all." Its not good, bad, or ugly. Just weird.

I propose that the 'everyone' that we are dealing with here are the hipsters. The visible hipsters, the hated ones, are the ones most likely filled with the most insecurity. But we only hate them because of our own insecurities. Who would actually snicker over a bike if it didn't affect them on some insecure emotional level, whether they are snickering over a lack of gears or a surplus? "Fixed gear, that's so hip"/"Mountain bike, ohmigod. Hideous." Anyone culturally informed such that they can mock someone for being a hipster, is a hipster. Anyone who wants to play the game. To stick the nose in the air. To jump when cool kids don't jump. To not jump when cool kids do. We are all hipsters. Anyone who knows what I'm talking about, who is affected, who jokes, 'that's so hip'.

And its fine. That is the great thing. Who cares? The necessary part is that we recognize it, own up to it, and then release our little dislikes and insecurities. We are all here in relation, and we all jump sometimes, and the better we feel about the whole deal, the higher and further we go, right? If I am perfectly honest with my self, as cheesy as this gets, I find that almost every judgment I make on others reflects on something in myself, some doubt or criticism. Through our complex network of hate and insecurity we are all creating the hipster snob, for good or for bad, s/he is the product of everybody's insecurities, slammed into a single human, wearing tight pants and placed for some reason onto a bicycle with a single, fixed gear.

03 September 2007

Bike and Dance

Bike and dance is a program like bike and build but where instead you are biking across the city (not country) and you are dancing (in lieu of building). Or you are building dance circles and squares. Shake your brakes. Fire your tires. It is a nonreligious program, focusing mostly on the troubled existences of pedestrian and auto motorists. Pedestrians are generally invited to dance, and elect one of two obvious choices. 1: the ped chooses to join, reinforcing the positive image and state of well being that he or she already accesses daily 2: the ped opts out, shakes the head, mumbles etc. this still has positive effects as it will hopefully bring out insecurities and dance related phobias. The dance-o-phobe is far out of reach and the normal Bike and Dance venture can do nothing for the fearing. Cars are ridiculed with slightly exaggerated dance moves, pointing, and exaggerated dancing pointing.

Today we undertook one such Bike and Dance, and it was a success. Love for dance was demonstrated, heart and soul were touched (separately and together), and chains were shaken. Bike chains, and funky shaking (not shaking-things-up shaking). And best of all I wore a spandex sexy outfit. Basically a wrestlers uniform. Plus a Lucha Libre mask. I was El Peligro Blanco (White Danger). I brought out all the insecurities, disgust, and creeped outedness that a Biker could desire. Dancing on the bikes, off the bikes, and with the bikes - a little too close sometimes. We shook our shoulders and their hands. We scooted out and woke in dancing fervor. Nothing else to do now. But dance.

(I support Brown Student Radio)

(I support them with my spandex covered love)