23 May 2008

Tom Waits -- good or whack?

Sometimes, the stuff Tom Waits says is completely cool.

Q: What is a gentleman?

A: A man who can play the accordion, but doesn’t.

Sometimes he seems like a parody of a Tom Waits-type character.

Q: What’s heaven for you?

A: Me and my wife on Rte. 66 with a pot of coffee, a cheap guitar, pawnshop tape recorder in a Motel 6, and a car that runs good parked right by the door.

via Rubber Room With A View


russ said...

good good

tormp said...

agreed. in defense of mr. waits his picture of heaven might refer to an actual memory and only coincidentally sound like pretentious / schmaltzy dross.

i recently read this idea that popular art vacillates on an endless dialectic between the poles of romantic and ironic.

if you live too far on the end of an ironic period, you have to quote somebody else to express a legitimate romantic sentiment or people think you are a douchebag. for example, now it might be possible to get away with "heaven for tom waits is an etc etc", as though you approve, and seem like a cool douchebag instead of a douchey douchebag. but if you were to claim such statements as your own, you would just be posturing.

tormp said...

A: We’re going to PEHDTSCKJMBA (Phoenix, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, Tulsa, St. Louis, Columbus, Knoxville, Jacksonville, Mobile, Birmingham, Atlanta).

is that like, Columbus, OH? one of you effers has to go. come on.

dewey said...

i recently read this idea that popular art vacillates on an endless dialectic between the poles of romantic and ironic.

You read sophisticated things.

Would you say that popular art is in a romantic period right now? or an ironic period?

Because if these terms mean what they seem to mean to me, then popular art has been in an ironic period for most of my lifetime. Or -- another interesting possibility -- I am only able to perceive the ironic poles, and I ignore the time in between.

I mean....were we supposed to take grunge rock seriously?

tormp said...

yeah, ironic would be the dominant trend for the last 50 years or so. i was specifically referring to the author's postscript on the name of the rose. and in referring to "ironic" i think eco was talking specifically about aesthetic postmodernism.

the postscript was also vainly concerned with whether it was possible for "high art" to be also popular art without being intentionally ironic. this is the kind of debate that i would have found compelling in high school but that now seems kind of naive or unimportant.

anyway, that book was a really fun read. i read it for the second time recently on a couple of long plane flights. the first time, i was a freshman in high school, and i think it was the first "serious" book i had ever read outside of the standard canon of Important Books for the Secondary Honors Student.

it was like reading a completely different book; i realize now that i had no grasp of its themes then. eerily, the postscript also includes a discussion on constructing a narrative that is palatable to both an untrained reader and a reader with some education and critical skills. so with this book i got to be both, which is really neat. but at some point the window for that kind of experience became limited. i'm no longer capable of reading in that mode anymore, it's kind of sad. it makes me wish i had been more ambitious with my reading back then, so that i could double back in the same fashion.