Archive for March, 2011

In this week’s New Yorker

March 16, 2011

Quick spin through this week’s issue:

Excellent Talk of the Town piece by David Remnick on how Benjamin Netanyahu is increasing Israel’s isolation.

Paul Tough’s article “The Poverty Clinic” asks “Can a poor upbringing make you sick?” Obviously, yes, don’t need to read that.

Ian Frazier on seals in New York harbor: St. Theresa not interested.

D.T. Max on a chess prodigy: yawn.

Dana Goodyear on two therapists who help movie industry creators with writer’s block by focusing on Jungian shadow work: I’m a therapist, so of course I read this story eagerly.

Ben Marcus’s short story “Rollingwood”: I met Ben at a writers’ colony once and liked him. His work is very strange narratively, and this is no exception — it’s a little tamer than usual but still unsettling.

Peter Schejldahl on Glenn Ligon’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum: very interesting.

Anthony Lane on Battle: Los Angeles and Paul: I always like reading Lane when he writes about dumb movies I’m probably not going to see. Very entertaining.

Quote of the day: GUILT

March 12, 2011


Guilt is not a feeling but a belief or judgment. Appropriate guilt is a judgment that is self-confronting and leads to resolution. Neurotic guilt is a judgment that is self-defeating and leads to unproductive pain. Appropriate guilt is resolved in reconciliation and restitution. Neurotic guilt seeks to be resolved by punishment. In appropriate guilt there is accountability. In neurotic guilt there is blame. In short, appropriate guilt is an adult response; neurotic guilt is the response of a scared child within us….

In every experience of neurotic guilt, there is something we are refusing to acknowledge.

1) A Disguise for Fear: Guilt that holds us back from acting can be a disguise for the fear of assertiveness. Guilt that follows a strong choice can be a fear of loss of love or of approval. We may fear the consequences of not being liked or of our losing control when we have strayed too far from an inhibition. The prior guilt can paralyze us and we then remain stuck or passive. The consequent guilt makes us ashamed and frightened of reprisals or of being known (or of knowing ourselves) in a new way.

2. A Downplay of Responsibility: Guilt after acting or after the omission of an act can be a way of minimizing the power of the choice we have made. We are less responsible if we judge ourselves guilty because then our whole self was not committed. Paradoxically, guilt thus lets us off the hook and creates a false sense of righteousness.

3. A Mask for Anger: Guilt can mean justifiable anger that we believe it is unsafe or wrong to feel or to express.

4. A Dodge of Truth: Guilt is sometimes used to avoid an unacceptable truth.

It is impossible to eliminate neurotic guilt entirely. Allow this guilt to be in your mind but no longer let it lead you to act or not to act. Make choices with guilt, not because of it. Simply notice what your guilt may be covering up. Is it a mask for fear, refusal to take responsibility, anger, denial of a truth, etc.? Then each time you experience neurotic guilt you acknowledge it as a signal of some avoidance. The guilt then dissipates enough so that you can address the authentic excitement and feeling underlying it. The guilt becomes what it always was: a concept not a precept, a belief not a verdict, a thought not a reality.

Fear is blocked excitement; anger is ignited excitement; guilt is mistaken excitement.

— David Richo

Quote of the day: TERROR ALERTS

March 11, 2011


“European Terror Alerts”

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbor” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be all right, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is canceled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

— John Cleese, British writer, actor and tall person

Theater review: the Wooster Group’s VIEUX CARRE

March 10, 2011

My review of the Wooster Group’s production of Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carre has just been posted on Check it out here and let me know what you think. The show runs through Sunday at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, and I highly recommend it.

Playlist: iPod shuffle, March 9-10, 2011

March 10, 2011

“The Mirror-Blue Night,” Spring Awakening OCR
“The Crying Light,” Antony & the Johnsons
“Broken Places,” Suzzy & Maggie Roche

“Zombie Pt. 2,” Red Hot + Riot
“Singles Bar,” Tracey Thorn
“Wesedonk Lieder No. 4: Schmerzen,” Regine Crespin
“Devil in a New Dress,” Kanye West
“Nothing without You,” Vienna Teng
“Railroad Wings,” Patty Griffin
“Wrong,” Everything but the Girl
“Do You Mutilate?,” Of Montreal
“Beautiful, Dirty, Rich,” Lady GaGa
“Don’t Worry Baby,” the Beach Boys
“Frauenliebe Und Leben,” Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
“Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car,” Iron & Wine
“Before I’m Done,” Toro Y Moi
“The Altar,” Wye Oak
“Ghost Riders in the Sky,” Judy Collins
“Wildewood Spring,” Eliza Gilkyson
“Gentle Rain,” Barbra Streisand
“Lovers Dream,” Phil Roy
“Van Dyke Parks,” Van Dyke Parks
“Born at the Right Time,” Paul Simon
“Turning Into Beautiful,” Ferron
“Arere,” Cassandra Wilson
“Rogers Park,” Justin Townes Earle
“Before Cologne,” Ben Folds
“Take Your Shoulder from the Wheel,” Mark Weigle
“With or Without You,” Keane
“Hormones,” Tracey Thorn
“Anthem,” Leonard Cohen
“DJ Got us Fallin’ in Love,” Usher featuring Pitbull
“The Moment I Said It,” Imogen Heap
“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” Spamalot OCR
“A Good Place,” Grizzly Bear
“Water,” Sugarcubes
“Civilian,” Wye Oak
“My Funny Valentine,” Rufus Wainwright
“Fuck You,” Cee Lo Green
“Kiva Simova,” Jennifer Berezan

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