American Metaphors

The guy at the front of the Reno Trader Joe’s checkout line catches my eye and chuckles “A thousand bucks man. Eight days worth of Burning Man chow. For our whole camp. Crazy.” He and his buddy slap down their credit cards on what seems an impossible amount of food to consume in those days, even for people hardlining for some organic, free-range style munchies.

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“My feet. That’s the signal. They start twitching. And I know it’s coming,” C tells me.

Out the window of the rushing train, the sun climbs up out of the eastern horizon of Colorado. I met C early this morning for the first time after she agreed to be interviewed for a project I’m working on that involves Denver’s transit system.

She continues, “You know like on a roller coaster when the car slows at the top?”

“Oh yeh, of course,” I say “There’s that ‘clack, clack, clack’ as the car slows and groans beneath the weight and incline. Then it gets to the top and pauses.”

“Well, when I feel that—that twitching—I sit down ‘cause I know it’s about to happen.”

“Sit no matter where you are? Middle of the street? Anywhere?”

“Anywhere. I have to.”

“And then…”
Continue reading The Mind Eraser

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Lower Manhattan, New York City
7a.m. I rest in front of George Washington’s statue at Federal Hall at 26 Wall Street. I sit with my camera bag waiting for the light to move so I can get a good exterior shot of the New York Stock Exchange across the street. I am on assignment this morning recording a segment on the Exchange’s trading floor.

Washington’s statue tells me that he took the Nation’s first Presidential oath of office here on the balcony, the last day of April, 1789. The Stock Market across the street was formally started in May a few years later.

Continue reading Reading Virgil on the New York Stock Exchange Floor

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Given that the swastika is often read as a kind of perverted cross, and the marking of the forehead has a particular religious resonance, we can read that Raine’s forehead carvings invert the Ash Wednesday observance. The Ash Wednesday marking is a highly ritualized display of absolution. Raine’s marking scenes are highly stylized rituals of condemnation intended to foreclose such absolution. Aldo’s knife is a pen (however worn the analogy) with which he carves/writes/creates a space where evil cannot repent, a person cannot be forgiven, cannot switch sides, cannot become new, cannot shed a uniform for new clothes and be cleansed.

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Now, finding my daughter hula-hooping or wearing wigs (even a man-wig) isn’t surprising. She scours thrift and costume stores for groovy wigs and is building a nice collection. She’s got a Liz Taylor wig, two Amelia Earhart wigs, a Paula Dean wig. Her Roger Daltrey wig is her only man-wig. It’s the combination of the wig and The Who and what those things meant to me in my own identity-formation that took me back a bit, equally as much as hearing my guileless pre-teen daughter belt out “we’re all wasted.”

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