"I like to think that some small canister of hope and tranquility washed ashore that day and we, in the right place, found it. These are the things I imagine all lovers wish for amid the hot commencements of love and promises, their histories and failures washing ashore like flotsam, their innards girthed against those architects of misery, desire and restlessness; their hope rising against the air as it fondles the waves and frolics them skywards. I like to think that, if the heart pauses awhile in a single place, it finds a home somewhere, like a vagabond lured by fatigue to an unlikely town and, with a sudden peacefulness, deciding to stay there. I like to think these things because, whether or not they reach fruition, they provide the heart with a kind of solace, the way poetry does, or all forms of tenderness that issue out amid the deserts of failed love and petulant desire. I like to think them because, meditated on amid this pattern of off-white and darkness, they lend themselves to a kind of music, not unlike the music a dove makes as it circles the trees, not unlike the sun and the earth and their orbital brothers, the planets, as they chant to the heavens their longing for hope and repetition amid orderly movement, not unlike the music these humble wishes make with their cantata of willfulness and good intentions, looking for some pleasant abstractions amid our concretized lives, something tender and lovely to defy the times with, quiet and palpable amid the flickers of flux and the flames of longing: a bird rising over the ashes, a dream."
-Michael Blumenthal, Wishful Thinking
"Ro Di Geda" by Colbert Mukwevho
some gorgeous old-school South African reggae (Venda-style), sung by the rastaman revolutionary Colbert Mukwevho
It’s always night, or we wouldn’t need light.
You will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don’t, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.
—Adrian Tan (2008)
Every man got a right to decide his own destiny,
And in this judgment there is no partiality.
So arm in arms, with arms, we’ll fight this little struggle,
Cause that’s the only way we can overcome our little trouble.
-Bob Marley, Zimbabwe
I must’ve been about twelve years old when I first started to download MP3s off the Internet. Our family was living in a village in Tanzania, and I had just discovered (with great joy) that you could find pretty much any song ever recorded, online. I was using iTunes to get my music at the time, and $1.00 seemed pretty steep for a song, considering that was equivalent to an average day’s wages in Nshupu. But as a result, I chose each song with extraordinary care, and afterwards I listened to it over and over and over, a hundred million replays until it was written all over the inside of my skin, till I was sweating the lyrics at lunchtime, and humming the chords as I slept.
Last night, the Berkeley-bred, Internet-beloved rapper Lil B gave a sold-out lecture at NYU’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. It’s possible that this was a beautiful, inspiring event, at which people rallied joyously around a quirky young entertainer’s timely message of empathy and kindness. It’s also totally possible that the whole thing was an epic tragedy, in which a young man’s urgent plea for basic human dignity was repeatedly laughed at by stoned college kids who preferred to shout catchphrases at him while finding his existence hilarious. I think it mostly depended on where you sat, and who was sitting near you.
Glowing bioluminescent plankton in the tide line wash up onto a beach on Vaadhoo Island, Raa Atoll, Maldives, with a ship’s lights on the horizon. Picture from The Telegraph.
It is saying these things that keeps us from falling apart. And maybe by imagining these futures we can make them real, and maybe not, but either way we must imagine them. The light rushes out and floods in.
—John Green, Quentin ‘Q’ Jacobsen
"Cultural populism is a lot healthier than the crabby elitism that used to prevail. The old way was guided by perverted logic (the fewer people who like something, the more valuable it is), while the new way is guided by a sounder reasoning (the more people who like something, the more valuable it is). The downside of this is that everyone already likes what you like, but the upside is that good artists actually get their due, and a crazy cross-pollination of genres can happen that didn’t seem possible before."
-Alexandra Moloktow, in Why the Old-School Music Snob is the Least Cool Kid on Twitter (great article about being a music fan in 2012)