in which the author discusses five books he’d read, if time permitted.
1. Draw a Straight Line and Follow It: The Music and Mysticism of La Monte Young, by Jeremy Grimshaw.
Genius minimalist composer La Monte Young spoke at my college in the mid-1990s. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what he said because he was wearing a pair of minimalist jeans with huge splits along the seams of the legs, revealing all-too-much of his very un-minimal tookis and, yes, even distracting glimpses of his possibly-minimal junk to any interested parties. After the lecture, a friend commented: “Dude, did I just see La Monte Young’s ass?”
2. Dance with Me: Ballroom Dancing and the Promise of Instant Intimacy, by Julia A. Ericksen.
Ballroom dancing is cool. Vince Vaughn danced in Swingers. Wait: Was there dancing in Swingers, or did they just say “Vegas, baby” a bunch of times? There was definitely ballroom dancing in Strictly Ballroom. At least, I think there was; I’ve heard a lot about that movie, but I’ve never seen it. I did see Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, but who hasn’t? But whether you are a ballroom dancer, or aren’t, or like ballroom dancing, or don’t, you must recognize that ballroom dancing is an excellent metaphor for that ways that bourgeois expressions of raw physicality can establish the “instant intimacy” of this book’s subtitle in mysterious ways that transcend gender and hearken back to a mystical, preverbal past when movement, not language, was ur-Man’s primary mode of expression. Just like in La Bamba.
3. The People of the Book: Philosemitism in England, From Cromwell to Churchill, by Gertrude Himmelfarb.
When my high school girlfriend’s mother and stepfather went on their annual trip to Barbados and left her alone in the house for ten days, I became a firm philosemite.
4. Time Travel and Warp Drives: A Scientific Guide to Shortcuts Through Time and Space, by Allen Everett and Thomas Roman.
Dear scientists: You seem to be discovering a lot of cool stuff lately. Recent findings include possible life on Mars; a planet in the habitable zone of a distant sun; and particles whose behavior may contradict Einstein’s theory of relativity. But, frankly, these discoveries aren’t what I’m interested in. I want: 1) Flying cars and 2) an E.T. that isn’t a one-celled organism, but a living, breathing, thinking creature that flies around in flying cars or knows how to build them or, at least, has psychic powers. When you build a flying car or find a creature that can build one while reading my mind, call me. Sincerely, Guy tired of reading anti-climactic science articles when bored at work.
5. How to Fix Copyright, by William Patry.
I like Boing Boing, but as a musician whose livelihood was party destroyed as a result of the Internet’s general disinterest in copyright, I can’t always hang with them when they get mega-Occupyish about copyright stuff. I prefer when they post videos featuring Rick Perry talking about sausage.