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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
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Like my brownhouse:
   erosion of celebrity
Sunday, November 28 1999
Kim and I went downtown today to see a matinee showing of Toy Story 2.
I'm sure some day this film will be held up as the missing link in the evolution of the thing we'll call movies from their humble ancestors: stage performances and animations. What really struck me about this film was not the antics and movements of the animated toys, but the use of animation to depict real world organic forms: the little brown dog, the evil guy, the little kid and the natural world. It's still stiff and awkward, but the evolution is proceeding at a frightening rate. There's one remarkable (yet strangely understated) scene where the evil villain lies sleeping on his back. Everything about him looks as if it belongs to a genuine actor. But he's completely artifical, right down to the stubble on his face and the yellow Cheetos™ powder encrusting his fingers. I have feeling that some day all actors will be generated this way, in real time, on even the cheapest computers. And they'll be utterly indistinguishable from real humans. At that point our notions of recorded reality will demand serious adjustment.
It's a pattern we already can observe in the world of recorded music. For all practical purposes, the emergence of new music styles has stagnated, simply because now anything is sonically possible. Ironically, without limits, without rules, creativity languishes.
And what will become of our notion of celebrity when all the characters of our dramas are animations? Bart Simpson can only go so far with his fame; he can never actually sign a book. The fact is, his character could easily outlive Matt Groening. The creativity that makes the Simpsons such a hoot is far greater than that which resides in Matt Groening himself. And the sad fact about most people is that they have difficulty making the cognitive leap necessary to tie the value of a writer/animator/artist with the value of his work unless his face figures heavily in the production. That's why movie and rock stars are pop icons while writers and artists never are.

Kim and I did lunch in the Gas Lamp, at a fancy Italian place called Trattoria Portobello. We were the only customers and our lunch cost $50.

My haircut has been a work in progress for several weeks. Now it's down to about an inch in length. Since I'd been using scissors without the assistance of a mirror, the back has been all hacked up for the past day or so. Today Kim and I tried to track down a pair of hair clippers without and luck; Rite Aid might have had tussin, but they were completely sold out of clippers. Kim thought I should say fuck it and got to an actual barber, but I've never been to a barber in my entire life and at this point it's a matter of principle. Using a mirror, I managed to get the back to look a little less like a Forest Service clearcut and I was content.

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