Thursday, October 04, 2018

Reviewing My amazon Purchases from 1998

Yes, there's a lot you should hate about amazon. However, one thing I like--which, of course, doesn't cancel out anything else--is the fact that you can see your purchase history aaaaaaall the way back, providing an archeological window into your past and your changing interests. For me, my first year of amazon was 1998; that was when I got to college and had an internet connection for the first time (not counting extremely occasional access at school or friends' houses). Of course, amazon then wasn't the behemoth it is now; they were still mainly a book-seller. I think they'd just recently branched into music, though when I bought music in those heady days, it was mainly from Music Boulevard. Remember them? If you don't--or if you do--It could not possibly matter less. Anyway, what did I purchase from amazon? Let the embarrassment commence!

WELL YOU CERTAINLY STARTED OFF ON A GOOFY FOOTING, ME, I'LL GIVE YOU THAT MUCH. Yeah. There was a period in high school and college when I was really interested in Robert Anton Wilson. He is, of course, best known for the Illuminatus! trilogy, a real landmark of seventies counterculture. Altered states, conspiracy theories, really explicit sex. I always liked it in theory, but somehow I never was able to get all the way through it, or even very far. I lacked the literary stamina. I did read and enjoy his later Schrödinger's Cat trilogy, which was basically the same thing but--or so it seemed to me at the time--more accessible. I sometimes wonder if I should go back and give Illuminatus! another shot. I'd definitely be able to get through it nowadays. It does seem like the kind of thing I ought to like; I just wonder if it might not be really ideal for someone younger than me. Hmm. Well, one thing I don't wonder is whether I should go back and reread some of his nonfiction. No! Don't do that! I read--or at least read in part; I'm not sure if I got through any of them entirely--a number of these essay collections, and...they're pretty woo-woo-y. Don't know if it was this one, but one of them has a bit about how he plans to never die, on account of how fast technology is advancing, they're totally gonna hit on immortality sooner rather than later, right? Well, that didn't quite work out. In general, I'd say that he sort of touches, sometimes, on genuinely interesting issues, but he's so credulous and uncritical that it's not actually very useful. Did seem like a nice guy, though (yes, aside from his deeply unfortunate MRA leanings, which I suppose go along with the credulity thing).

UM. I had my say about Sarabande a few years back. I'm actually kind of surprised to realize that my interest in her work persisted into college, but it just goes to show: there's a part of you that thinks "hey, I was an adult!" back then, only you weren't. You really, really weren't.

Hey, good job, past me! You actually did something right for once! High five! For whatever reason, the third Bunnymen album wasn't released in the US (or wasn't then; I assume it's been by now). It really is good. Certainly better, as a whole, then Crocodiles or Heaven Up Here. It can get a bit monotonously gloomy, I'll grant you, but it has a lot of good moments. The singles "The Cutter" and (especially) "Back of Love" are quality, but my favorite was always "Clay."

Yeah, this was definitely for a class. Or, to be more specific, I'm pretty sure it was for the individual study project that you had to do with your professor for each class at SLC. Hard to know what else to say about it, really. Except that I'd already read the Odyssey in high school and been familiar with the plot for far longer than that, so you'd think I could've found something new to study. Bah. My intellectual laziness of the time strikes again, I'm afraid.

God I loved Dave Barry in my younger days. Thought he was just the most hilarious thing ever. But for whatever reason, I gradually lost interest; I think this would've been about the last book of his I bought. Haven't read him in a long time, so this might be an unfair thing to say, but I strongly suspect I'd find him pretty darned unfunny if I went back to him. Hey, remember when he tried to write a few Carl Hiaasen novels, even going so far as to use Hiaasen's adjective-noun title convention, fercrissake, dude? Only they weren't very good (okay, Big Trouble was amusing in the most lightweight, insubstantial way possible; Tricky Business was just bad) because he ain't no Carl Hiaasen, who, for the record, I enjoy to this day? Dumb times. Dumb times.

Odd. I did read Dante in a class that first semester of college, but surely the books would've been available in the campus bookstore? It might be that we only read excerpts from Paradiso and thus only had photocopies or something, but I wanted the complete trilogy. For the record, the book I got was not the one in the picture; I think it was this:

I liked that each of the three volumes had the same striking, mainly-white cover aesthetic.

Paradiso is, let's face it, kind of boring. I'm sure you can find contrarian takes on this, but my feeling is that that's about right.

Oh COME ON, MAN. What is this? Don't get me wrong; I do have great affection for my memories of these books. I have no doubt that they're actually kind of bad, but I refuse to listen to the I Don't Even Own a Television episode on Dragons of Autumn Twilight because man, screw you people. You're not allowed to make fun of it if you don't also love it!  

But really, why did I possibly need this? And who the hell "collects" Dragonlance books? I mean, okay, I did, but that was just to read. It wasn't as, like, collector's items. Pointless to have this one over the more convenient-to-read mass-market paperbacks.

He was a sweetandtenderhooligan!

Look, Morrissey's an insufferable twat and a racist and his solo career has been almost unfailingly bad, but I will defend to the death the greatness of the Smiths. So many unimpeachably great albums and songs. I bought this single (EP? whatever) because it includes two b-sides, "Work Is a Four-Letter Word" and "I Keep Mine Hidden," that weren't included on the Louder than Bombs compilation (which compilation, incidentally, would be the best place for a Smiths novice to start). Are they great songs? Eh...but it was cool to have them. For some reason it also includes a live version of an early James song, "What's the World?"

Oh really, that's all? Well. I guess we're done here then! Tune back in later, or more likely never, for 1999!


Anonymous Anonymous pontificated to the effect that...

I have to say I find Robert Anton Wilson extremely troubling in a post-postmodern context. While I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant well in telling people to reject the authority of whatever popes they were in thrall to, I think he was so open minded his brain fell out, and I can envision a direct line from his rejection of empiricism, logic and critical thinking, through anti-vaxers and climate change denialists, to "fake news", "alternative facts", the false narrative of Nu-Nazis as the true oppressed class, and the Trump presidency.

3:06 AM  

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