19 November, 2008

Buchi Emecheta's The Rape of Shavi

I was going to write about Buchi Emecheta's The Rape of Shavi, which I just finished yesterday (a very quick, 178 page read), but it turns out that all of my thoughts about the book have already been eloquently stated in this New York Times article that's a month older than I am.

Essentially, though trying to be a timely allegory, the novel doesn't exist outside of its own pages, and hardly within them. Emecheta, a woman from Lagos, Nigeria, who had previously written a couple autobiographical works, sets her fable in the fictional, hardscrabble village of Shavi, somewhere on the lakes of Ogene in the southern Sahara. Emecheta can't quite decide whether the Shavians are heroic, idyllic primitives or warmongering imperialists just waiting to explode out of the past; one things for certain: they're not complex, well-rounded human beings, since no character is afforded more than a few pat summarizations and philosophical objectives.

Some offensive because they're supposed to be offensive liberal white intellectuals crash-land a flaming bird--birds being an oracular animal to the Shavians--into the Shavian wilderness, and the two groups spend a couple years teaching their moral flaws to each other. Their being there is somewhat nonsensical; they've fled Europe in a supposedly indestructible plane because they were certain that the civilized world was on the brink of nuclear holocaust. I'm not sure how people that paranoid and jumpy could be smart enough to build an indestructible plane, but what's more surprising is that when they land said indestructible plane and meet the locals, they can't even figure out where they are. It takes several chapters for them to deduce they're in Africa, and then only because a modified version of a certain African instrument is used in a celebration. Come on, guys? Weren't you looking out the window? Wasn't there any navigational gear? Can't you freaking tell when you're in the Sahara surrounded by a stereotypical African tribe?

The thoughtful, slow-moving Shavians--themselves refugee slaves from five hundred years ago--distrust the leprous, albino monkeys at first, many assuming that they're not human, but eventually they become convinced that, because of the flaming bird they arrived in, they are angels from Heaven sent to test their hospitality as well as deliver gifts that will free them from starvation and drought. This is a key distinction between the Europeans and the Shavians, perhaps the difference that's supposed to be most important. When the plane is fixed, a Shavian returns with the surviving Europeans to England. This man wrapped in goat skins who crash-lands into England in a strange, unregistered plane with five people who have been missing for over a year is detained by immigration officials for a couple of days before being released and embraced by society, which quickly corrupts him with its Western ways. Whereas the Shavians bestow great honors upon the visiting Europeans, the Europeans temporarily detain the visiting Shavian.

But here's the essential difference that's ignored by Emecheta: none of the Europeans think that the Shavian is an angel from God, which he proves by quickly adopting only the worst of Western habits (and there are no good Western values in this book; we're a bunch of jumpy, arrogant baby-killers with no respect for the simpler things in life). Likewise, no European suspects the Shavian is a contagious leper or a beast. It makes sense that the Shavians would pay special attention to visitors from the sky when a) they've never seen airplanes or white people and b) they never receive visitors. It's a little silly to expect one of hundreds of daily immigrants to be treated like royalty, yet Emecheta condemns the British for not giving the man a plush suite at Buckingham Palace.

One of the white people, a female doctor, is cut down a notch for attempting to impose her arrogant Western medicine on the Shavians. Watching a breach birth in progress, she attempts to provide her assistance in possibly performing a Caesarian section and saving the infant's life. She is shooed away, the birth is performed naturally in a squatting position, and everything ends up okay. Later she beats herself up for having fooled herself into thinking that her medical expertise would be superior to tradition (a tradition which, keep in mind, believes that female clitorisation is necessary for a woman to have sex--an act that is brought up but never really explored, a mutilation that is treated as a normal operation). I guess I'm biased, but I like to think that Western medicine and medical procedures have probably saved a few lives. There's something to be said for doing things naturally and holistically--but, uh, the outcome isn't always as peachy.

The Shavians don't exist in the real world, but they seem more realistic than the one-dimensional Europeans in the novel--Europeans that actually do exist and that Emecheta would've known. Lagos with its population of 8 million isn't exactly isolated Shavi. It's difficult pinpointing a reality in this book (the valuable, "hard" stones that proliferate the Shavian land and aren't quite diamonds add an extra dimension of implausibility), which makes the hamfisted statements and talking-head dialogue all the more difficult.

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Fairy tales have always been pretty bleak, I think because you need a grim landscape from which the goodness can emerge. Morality and virtue aren't that interesting if there's no evil to oppose them. Hence the cackling wicked witch and her winged monkeys, who made dusty Auntie Em and her crumbling wooden home seem all the more comforting. Or Bluebeard's bloody wife corpses hanging in his private chamber--maybe we shouldn't be spying on our loved ones, maybe ignorance is bliss, or whatever the point of that story is.

Charles Dickens, writing from the poorhouse in industrial England, loved depicting the humanity that feel somewhere in the cracks between the Victorian stuffed shirts and the grubby-fingered lowest common denominators. Oliver Twist, used and abused by both the bumbling bleeding hearts and the miserly pickpocket masterminds, did the best with his meager resources and scrappy courage, and in the end his basic goodness mingled with guiding providence and he triumphed over prostitution and poverty.

Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, based on the novel Q&A by Vikas Swarup, is a Dickensian fable where a huge portion of predestined luck, an underdog commitment to always doing right, and an ability to suffer the system and make it work allows impoverished orphan Jamal Malik (newcomer Dev Patel) to rise above his brutal, oppressive surroundings. More so than ever in Dickens, however, these surroundings are gritty, stark, and disturbing, with none of the comic caricature that surrounded the Scrooges and Fagins his work.

Of course, Boyle's no stranger to horrific morality tales--recall the eye-gougings and blood splatterings in 28 Days Later or the blue baby in Trainspotting. Nor is he unfamiliar with warmhearted family films, as Millions proved. Slumdog Millionaire mixes both, opening with the film's skinny, teenaged protagonist hanging by his wrists, soaked in sweat, about to be electrocuted by two spittle-spewing interrogators.

Irfan Khan, as the head police inspector, is convinced that Jamal, an assistant at a call center whose primary job responsibility consists of serving out cups of chai, an orphan with no education, no fixed address, and no recorded background, has been cheating during the smash-hit game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" (the Indian version). Jealousy is a strong motivator; how could a poor urchin who's done nothing with his brain all his life be so close to earning so much money when doctors and lawyers and educated, wealthy people have all failed short? How could an Indian boy who doesn't know that Gandhi's face is on the 100 rupee bank note know that Benjamin Franklin is on an American 100 dollar bill?

The bulk of the movie, of course, consists of flashbacks that reveal the twists of fate and important moments that have guided Jamal's tortuous, torturous life--rising literally from a shit hole, escaping with his brother and a pretty girl named Latika from a race riot that kills his mother, living in vast garbage heaps, panhandling on trains, perfecting con games, and falling prey to trustworthy, smooth-talking adults out to destroy their wards. India may be post-caste by the time of the film (in the late 90s through 2006), yet society seems bent on keeping the downcast down: Hindu racists storm Muslim slums, police target poor suspects, and an angel-faced savior toting ice cold Coca Cola recruits an army of ruthless eight-year-olds to serve as deformed panhandlers on tourist-busy boulevards. Some of the handicaps are easily faked; others he inflicts himself, since in this world "blind singers earn double." Money costs and you have to earn your pay, even arbitrarily. No boy singer gets money just for a beautiful voice; the eyes have to be taken first. Jamal can't just answer game show questions correctly. First his head must be violently ducked in a bucket of water.

So when one of the giveaway first questions ponders India's national motto--"Truth alone triumphs"--Jamal falters. Lies and cons have saved him more than honesty, and having seen what he's seen he knows the reality behind "Money alone triumphs." He uses a lifeline and asks the audience, which overwhelmingly knows the answer despite his ignorance. Jamal's success depends on luck and true life experience, not anything he's read. His success is also independently won; when a trustworthy source offers him an opportunity to actually cheat, he struggles with his options, having learned long ago that in his India there are no trustworthy strangers.

More interesting than the theme behind his rise on the show--that experience fosters a more worthwhile, meaningful, and memorable intelligence than a memorized education--is his reason for being on the show. Having never known the benefits of money yet having witnessed its destructive power in the life of his ladder-climbing gangster brother, Jamal doesn't particularly want the twenty million rupees he stands to win, probably doesn't even know what he'd do with it. What he desires is more human and more valuable--a chance to be seen by the love of his life, Latika, on the most-watched show in India. Fate has brought them together and torn them apart many times. Crime and money have cursed and fooled and abandoned both of them. With his shy face on the small screen long enough, he might just be able to reconnect with the only person he's always trusted, loved, and been able to depend on, the most beautiful girl he's ever seen, something her billionaire thug husband can acquire but never own, something unsullied by the filth and money surrounding everything.

Jamal escapes his interrogation when the inspector realizes, "You can't be a liar. You're too truthful." Latika escapes her sexual hostage situation when an important friend realizes that more is at stake than sex and money. And in the end a Dickensian happy ending is earned. It's not one that's incredibly deep--all in all, Jamal and Latika hardly know each other beyond their faces--but its purity shines amongst all the grit.

The final question is predictable to anyone paying attention to the details. What happens after the question is a touching surprise.

Boyle has earned another success with a fast-paced, pleasurable, and meaningful story. Dev Patel's acting is solid as the skinny, cute underdog, always prepared for the attack but never quite knowing how to prevent it, staring at a bright world at once swathed in color and grime, soaked in a sun that illuminated while it swelters and blisters. The music by M.I.A. also adds a nice touch, with her songs that are simultaneously fun and serious.

Slumdog Millionaire is a fable with messages and outcomes that are a little too good to be true and a little too sweet for the most cynical of us, but vivid, on-location shooting and top-notch direction add just the punch to make it rise above.

Slumdog Millionaire
d: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan w: Simon Beaufoy
(Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor)

05 November, 2008

Thomas Mann and the Artist Other

Vintage International's Death in Venice and Seven Other Stories

The creative mind is an alienating and lonely place in the short stories of German Nobelist Thomas Mann, a shadowy, self-sufficient cell in which the creative person hides and stews, occasionally peeking out at the simpler world beyond.

Art is effervescent, a resident of the mental aether, fueled only by other mental sustenance--its own creative momentum, the growing breadth of knowledge and understanding, other creations and works of art. The artistic mind needs artistic fodder, and no external incentive can truly satiate it, if the urge to create can ever truly said to be satiated. Fame and money, honor and sexual favors, privilege and notoriety, all can benefit the person encasing the artistic mind, but the mind itself becomes encumbered. In the work of Mann is a fatal dichotomy between the internal and the external: the outside man with his belongings, his social relationships, his loves, his physical appearance and surroundings, and the inside man with his private thoughts, his emotions, his intelligence, and his need to procreate his knowledge. Rarely do the two coexist happily and fully empowered; the benefit of one tends to destroy the other.

In "Death in Venice," published in 1912, the acclaimed author Gustav Aschenbach has steadily and quietly acquired the trappings of literary fame, culminating in the addition of the surname prefix "von," a preposition denoting nobility. Aschenbach has grown tired and lonely, distracted from his art by the clutches of aristocracy. He undergoes a standard upper class treatment to deal with his writer's block, an exotic vacation on the sunny shores of foreign Venice, itself now an old and tired resort, humid, filthy, and gray. The vacation will presumably calm and enrich his mind, but of course the more realistic outcome is one of softening distraction, a thoughtless immersion in sunshine, rich food, and other sensual pleasantries.

On the boat ride, Aschenbach experiences a revulsion at the sight of a superficial old man, a disgusting, flamboyant clown in adolescent attire, with a youthful but clearly artificial wig, a thick smearing of rosy makeup, false teeth, and a nauseating exuberant attitude, eagerly pursuing young sailors as though they are fooled by his costume. The old man is a fake, obsessed with an external, physical youth he can never again possess, living backward, unable to accept his own reality. With age comes maturity, wisdom, a strengthening of the artistic abilities, but the old man shuns these hard-fought skills, instead chasing after the easy gifts of youthful vigor and beauty.

Filled with contempt, Aschenbach arrives at Venice committed to his ideals, eager to embrace the mind he has spent decades shaping and honing, willing to shed his long-gone youth. His sojourn soon weakens his commitment, however, as a full belly and mindless trips to the sandy shore allow his thoughts to prattle and his eyes to fall on a blonde, Polish adolescent, a pubescent Adonis with flawless features, traveling with his wealthy Eastern European family. Despite being a widowed father, a surprise sexual obsession creeps in, at first explained away with pederastic allusions to Roman and Greek mythology but eventually acknowledged as outright infatuation. The unblemished youth, the overwhelming self-confidence, the full future ahead--Aschenbach becomes enamored of all these features of his young Tadzio, a boy he fearfully and lustfully pursues without ever speaking to or interacting with, beyond an unheard, whispered "I love you."

Lust, regret, and unjustified optimism flood into the recesses of his mind, preoccupying his thoughts and commanding his actions. Artistic creation, intellectual stimulation, moral ideals, and even concern for physical well-being slip away as Aschenbach pursues his unconquerable tease. With obvious threats of an intense cholera epidemic sweeping Venice and with his health beginning to falter, Aschenbach forgets his original salubrious intentions, seeking every opportunity to prolong his stay in this false paradise. In the end, he becomes the elderly clown he once scorned: dying his hair, rouging his cheeks, and expending much money on foppish attire. As he dies in his beach chair, completely hypnotized by the illusion of paradisaical youth that surrounds him, he witnesses a boyish opponent trample his perfect boy hero into the sand, revealing a crying, weak, and selfish boy beneath the godlike physical perfection. Nostalgia and regret may make childhood seem perfect, but childhood is a time of powerlessness, egocentrism, and emotional volatility.


In "Tonio Kröger," published in 1902, the inverse occurs with equally regretful though not quite as tragic results. Tonio, an introspective, wealthy schoolboy ostracized for his foreign name, exotic Italian mother, and effeminate disposition but tolerated due to his family's social standing, admires his equally upstanding buddy Hans Hansen, an Aryan ideal with blonde hair, blue eyes, an outgoing personality, and boyish attributes. Tonio admires Hans, who--in appearance, at least--remains unsullied by self-doubt, emotional conflict, and troubling thoughts. Hans is friendly and blameless, thoughtlessly acting according to societal standards, and the only books he reads are about horse racing. Tonio respects Hans's bourgeois simplicity while belittling his own commitment to literary novels and poetic thoughts, and when he realizes that the only way they could ever closely connect would be for Hans to muddy his charm or for Hans to turn off his brain, Hans decides to preserve Hans's mindless posterboy ideal by retreating from their tenuous friendship. Similarly at the age of sixteen he departs from Ingeborg Holm, his beautiful, spoiled dancing partner who detects Tonio's complicated differentness.

By adulthood, his family prestige having vanished, Tonio becomes a famous writer in exchange for abandoning interaction with the real world. In Tonio's mind, a person on the verge of artistry must choose between being vibrant and devoting oneself to art. To pursue art is to kill the external self, to destroy any enjoyment of physical reality or personal relationships. The artistic temperament makes pleasantries too complex to be truly enjoyed, and hedonistic pleasures distract too much from mental fulfillment. Tonio consciously chooses death, in his mind sacrificing himself so that other, more simple, more beautiful people can more easily enjoy the outside world.

Tonio Kröger is a socially awkward, sexually confused pariah, demeaning the people he admires most to protect his fragile ego from rejection. His dichotomy of dead artist versus living simpleton is unfounded and fatalistic, and his painter friend Lisabeta seems to realize this as she quietly dismisses his diatribe on the subject. In the end, he journey north to Denmark, home of the loner intellectual Hamlet, passing through his hometown--all the more transformed due to his own transformation--on a quest to gain some refuge from his alienation. He confesses his love for humanity but remains too trapped in his fears and preconceptions to become a part of it.


Detlev Spinell, the unsuccessful, pretentious, and cowardly novelist from "Tristan," published in 1902, also suffers from his own feelings of martyrdom and condescension toward the easy-living, non-artistic simpleton. His one claim to fame is a short, substanceless novel bogged down with florid descriptions of furniture and scenery. All the same, he parades this novel around the sanatorium in which he resides, frequently rereading it and pushing it off on any interested potential admirer. He acknowledges that his profound intelligence has made him physically weak, but his praise toward normal, hardworking humans with their flabby ideas, coarse tastes, and strong wills is backhanded and insulting. His love for his alien distinction blinds him from how others more realistically perceive him and prevent him from having valuable interactions. His writing his hyperbolic, absurd, and clumsy, and his perceptions of his fellow men and women are offensive. Rather than loving the totality of a woman--her unique shortcomings, her attractive qualities, her human flaws--Spinell prefers to see women only briefly from the corner of his eye, never tarnishing his perfect first impression with unsightly realities.

When a philandering, foreign merchant's wife, the sensitive, piano-playing daughter of a dying German dynasty, enters the sanatorium with respiration problems following the birth of her healthy baby boy, Spinell chooses to fall in love with his illusion of the heroine--a fragile piano prodigy possessing the greatest thoughts and talents. Flaws such as a garish, bulging vein on her forehead irk him, but he loves his image of her all the same, criminalizing her pragmatic, normal husband while urging the woman to exert herself through music, an exhausting activity that, as warned by her doctors, kills her. According to Spinell, artists have a duty to succumb to their art, to sacrifice themselves to their ideals, that each minute spent living in the real world is one step farther from true divinity. Spinell is, of course, sociopathic, and his confrontation with the husband, who reveals to Spinell a more mundane portrait of his wife, is tense and charged.


Aristocratic pretension and the tension between nobility/wealth and art emerge again in "The Blood of the Walsungs," a disturbing tale from 1905 in which two incredibly privileged twins, their thoughts bogged down with their own superiority, fashion, wealth, and societal conventions, look down upon inferior outsiders so hatefully that their quest for companionship leads to incest. Siegmund longs to be an artist and to have interesting, imaginative thoughts, but his preoccupations with customs, fashions, and money oppress his ideas.


A depressive longing for youth and nostalgia emerges again in "Disorder and Early Sorrow," from 1925, wherein a history professor with a one-track mind dedicated to the fully explainable events of several centuries ago (and how they sometimes relate to the modern topics at hand) stresses over the atraditional behaviors of his rebellious children and their new styles of culture, dress, dance, and politics. Like "Death in Venice," the story's obsession with resisting progress borders on the pedophiliac, as the professor bestows all of his faith and love (approaching sexually deviant expectations) on his youngest daughter, a girl as yet untarnished by the revolutions and odd styles of the times.


And in "Mario and the Magician," from 1929 on the eve of European fascism, the artist becomes a complete dictator, a fully committed mastermind who expends all his energy, health, thoughts, and life on exerting power over and for the benefit of the common man. The magician Cipolla, whose advertising sways an entire Italian town to attend his performance, is a hunched, chain-smoking, alcohol-swilling hypnotist who bends both the willing and unwilling to do what he desires. The people dance frantic jigs and become erect as boards so that the sneering, condescending man can use them as chairs. The audience delights at the mystery yet allows a smidgen of concern for the hypnotized, to which Cipolla responds that it is he who should be pitied, it is he who does all the work, who must supervise the slaves, who must constantly exude totalitarian control.

"Mario and the Magician" is fascism in a microcosm. It details a people's ability to be persuaded by the smooth talking and originality of a dictator. It showcases the slow succumbing to undesirable events; the first-person-plural narrator ("we," this is all of Italy and Germany, all of humanity perhaps, not just the stereotypical family in the narrative) at one point longs to leave the performance with his kids, but allows himself to remain locked in with everyone else, choosing to further examine the spectacles rather than raise the energy to break out. The somewhat admirable fascist seeks pity while degrading his subjects, going so far as to expose the deepest, most cherished secrets in the mind of Mario, a docile, easygoing, reticent, handsome waiter (already a servant, already subjected to daily degradation). Mario is an everyman--a quiet, unheroic working man who embraces his hope of marrying his dream girl. When the magician dashes that dream, fooling Mario into kissing Cipolla's elderly, distorted, leering face.

"Mario and the Magician" ends on a hopeful, though violent, note. With Mario's deepest, holiest thoughts having been trampled upon, he incites revolution, producing a revolver and murdering Cipolla. The spell breaks and the people resume their normal lives, free of the autocrat's chains.

Art, intelligence, and thinking are powerful forces that can take on almost viral qualities, infecting the brain and destroying chances at happiness, love, social interaction, and physical fitness. On the other hand, too much happiness, too much social interaction, and too much wealth can also be toxins, poisoning one's ability to think originally and creatively, to pursue ideals. There are not many examples of people who are both intelligent and happy, artistic and popular in the works of Thomas Mann, though clearly Mann places higher emphasis on loving others, on working hard, and on not becoming self-indulgent, self-centered, and condescending.

Mann paints fascinating portrayals of artistry, of sexual abnormality, and of alienation, and I gladly look forward to reading more from him (The Magic Mountain, Budenbrooks).


There's one other story in the collection I read: "A Man and His Dog" from 1918. This is a beautifully written, novella-length snapshot of a perfect love affair between a quiet man and his energetic dog. It's probably autobiographical, it doesn't explore any profound themes, it has nothing to do with martyred artists, and it is entirely straightforward with no allegorical symbolism. It's also the happiest story in the book, with perfect, precise details about the dog Bashan's behaviors, appearance, etc. Any dog lover and any admirer of beautiful prose just for beauty's sake would certainly enjoy this story, even if I couldn't work it in to the rest of this analysis.

04 November, 2008

Music Review: Humans, Nature, and Human Nature by the Loomis Fargo Band

My buddy Pilly is one of the most outgoing, hardworking creative talents I know. In conversations with him, I have always noticed his constant concern with imagination and creation; he always has a well thought-out idea for a film or a song or a comic book--and not just ideas, either. Since I met him in the ninth grade, I've seen notebook doodles grow into vast, sprawling collages of epic ink artwork; I've seen live musical performances in cozy homes with guitars, keyboards, chimes, and triangles. He's always writing, always devouring culture and exploding out new creations, always using his artistic inertia to propel his cynical humor and catchy, memorable ideas. I wish I had his enthusiasm, and I'm very satisfied to see that his latest effort has, so to speak, made it big.

Humans, Nature, and Human Nature is a quiet yet melodic album that falls somewhere on the spectrum between alt-country and folk rock, at times evoking Andrew Bird and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The lyrics are dryly ironic, looking backwards on lost loves that were never that beloved, looking outward on a world transforming at a different pace than the viewer, until the world, the viewer, and the viewer's ideas of himself are all strangers.

In "You Used To Be A Tree" transcendence is subjected to apathy; breezy stars explode in the opening seconds as a whispering voice croons, "You used to be so green." The you is an expired lover perhaps, or even an abandoned childhood--a sprawling, vibrant, mysterious foundation on which the childlike speaker climbs, begs, touches, and explores. It could be sexual adventure, or it could just be adventure itself. What's important is that it's long past, faded into a pile of dead leaves, and that the separation is so advanced that the speaker observes the loss no longer with mourning or anger but with yielding detachment.

There's a lot of resistance to the cyclical nature of life in Human Nature, an ability to see progress amongst changes that come and go through ups, downs, and repetitions. Summers and lovers flee, taking with them their sunny thoughts and dispositions. The past becomes a psychedelic trip, an oasis of foreign memories, as in the musically-tripping "I Miss You," where the perceived loss of games like hide and seek--itself a strange play on war, refuge, escape--is an emphatic reminder that the good days are gone. When the thoughts, places, people, and events you cling to, the ones that made you you, slip away, what becomes of you, lost in an unfamiliar wastescape, trying to find something to belong to, with which to connect?

Sometimes defeatist, sometimes courageous, always just slightly bordering on bleak, the lyrics never slip into the emotive realm of self-pity or nostalgic sentimentalism. A cynical humor pervades, a wit that is accepting of its metaphysical angst, willing to walk around in it and try it for all its worth. "I spend my nights like the day / Dreaming my whole life away," is a key line in "I Sleep 'Til Noon." The music, too, is usually chipper, with trilling pianos and soft, strumming guitars, upbeat church organs and spacy feedback, accented by singer Michael Boswell's daydreaming Virginia twang.

If there's one criticism it's that Humans, Nature, and Human Nature sticks to the game of playing it safe that many debut albums adhere to; it's all perhaps too polished, professional, and clean, and I personally would love to hear some crazy experimentals, some epic lyrical quests into darker realms, some occasional violent leaps out of genre, in addition to the tried and true. I know its there waiting to explode out, and I'd like a taste of it in the next record.

Humans, Nature, and Human Nature by The Loomis Fargo Gang is available for purchase in an edition beautifully illustrated by Michael Pilapil, emphasizing the mathematical constant that guides the seemingly divine, random beauty of sunflowers: "Each seed settles into a location that turns out to have a specific constant angle of rotation relative to the previous seed." Summer turns to winter, children grow up, and flowers age and die. The momentum is unstoppable and the progress is predictably fatalistic, but in that progress is all the beauty of the world.

Whether that's fuel for wonderment or sarcasm is a question the Loomis Fargo Band lets the listener decide.

Humans, Nature, and Human Nature
The Loomis Fargo Gang
(Michael Bosler, Tyler Nash, Michael Pilapil)
15 Apr 2008