Monday, December 18, 2006

Keith Richards, meet Dorian Gray

Keith Richards turns 63 today. Happy Birthday, Keith! You're sure looking good!

Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray was/remains one of the finest novels ever written about the meaning of human action and morality. The story revolves around a young man and his portrait, taken in the flower of early adulthood. Dorian Gray (the man) remains ever young and beautiful, even as the painting changes and grows grotesque.

This is uncannily similar to the Rolling Stones. Keith Richards et al. project perpetual youth and mastery, all while living debauched lifestyles. Here's what I mean:

The Stones' music is the living Dorian Gray, and the Keith Richards, Mick Jagger et al. are the Picture of Dorian Gray: in their bodies they display the weight of their life choices, while their music remains forever young and irresponsible.

This is an awful portrait. No 63-year old should look like this - at least no 63-year old millionaire, who's never had to work for his bread under the hot sun.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I officially don't exist ...

... if the opinions of the teenagers on my morning bus count.

This morning's commute was packed, and I had to sit waaayy at the back, where the trouble-makers sit and fight. It was strange. They didn't respond to my existence at all. They cared more about the middle-schoolers in the middle of the bus than about this 31-year old sitting right in the middle of their conversation.

They actually had to crane their heads to look around me. They didn't hassle me, they didn't complain that I was occupying their area - none of that. It was as if they didn't even realize I was there.

Which is a nice place to occupy, relative to the social world of adolescents. I was able to read my book - Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass, which I recommend - entirely unmolested.

I am certain my station in life has to do with my cosmic irrelevance to them. They have their teenaged dramas to work out, including hierarchies, sexual tension, racial tension (all of the kids in question are black at largely white high schools), and, of course, their coolness. They have to look good, but they only have to look good for people for whom it matters.

In my book I say that coolness is a performance, and that it requires a willing audience. I cannot possibly be a meaningful audience for these teenagers’ performance of cool, because I don’t overlap in their worlds at all.

So I was able to read two whole chapters.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's on Paper

I got my first real copy of my book yesterday. I guess they (InterVarsity Press) opened the first box and sent me the top book. So that's the only one in circulation. Since you're all lining up around the block to buy copies, you'll have to wait a while longer.

How does it feel, you ask? I don't know. It feels nice, I guess. It's kind of surreal. When I got the contract, a year ago, it felt like more monumental of a moment. Now, it feels just peaceful. Finis, as the frogs say.

Here's me on the night of getting the contract:

and here's me today: