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Friday, October 23, 2009


C: i had a party last night (weird because nine women showed up and no men--what do you make of that?!)

R: You have somehow managed to break the lucky charm holding the universe together--expect a complete reversal of fortune any second and for the rest of your life.

C: and two of the women are from Lithuania. most of the others were Japanese. all in the 20's the Japanese love it here and appreciate the flexibility of our society. they are all artists and can make work here and find acceptance much more easily. japan, though its young people seem to be bursting with creative, still seems to be a much more conservative and stifling (aesthetically,socially and economically) place. the two Lithuanian women on the other hand do not like it here much. they think Americans on the whole lack depth.

R: What complex, sophisticated country of depth of talent and ability in every area imagineable bested them and their Red allies in the cold war?

C: They have contempt for our freedom because they think it results in laziness

R: Yes. But that often leads to comtemplation about what one really wants to do in life--and a consequent edge for the people who WANT to do what they are doing. This is just one way of interpreting that "laziness".

C: and lack of training and people doing whatever they want--badly.

R: Right. Going to the moon... badly. Unravelling the mystery of how life works... badly. Need I go on? Except maybe to suggest that their entire view of America may be no more than watching a couple of MTV episodes of Jackass. Meanwhile, seeming to completely ignore the reality surrounding them in the city of New York.

C: i tried to explain that perspective that flexibility in education, in choosing jobs, etc. was a strength and that while it might produce some artists/people who are neither here nor there, on the whole it produces a much richer and greater variety of people and ideas. coming from a place where they lived under communism as children, i thought they would appreciate America even more, but no i think they appreciate only culture defined by a narrow imposition of rigor and structure, and like-minded thinking.

R: That is what they grew up with.

C: they are somewhat racist as well. probably these ideas are related.

R: They are also likely to be some of the elite from their country.

C: they believe for example that the Chinese and Latin American immigrants are now destroying the American economy and that America will collapse in 20-30 years because of them!

R: Have them see THE GANGS OF NEW YORK and ask them again what they imagine the timeline to be.

I find that notion to be particularly ridiculous,

We do have one big problem on the near horizon, in my view, that could cause a meltdown of the sort they imagine. But not a meltdown caused by the "vermin" they think are overrunning the country. Its the religious fanatics here, and, to borrow a phrase recently read, the religious fanatics in our midst who: appreciate only culture defined by a narrow imposition of rigor and structure, and like-minded thinking...

C: especially given how low our unemployment rate is compared to the rest of the world. the recent increase in unemployment is mostly due to layoffs of low-end white collar workers. it's certainly not Americans resentful of losing low-end manual labor/service jobs to immigrants.

R: And there is every reason to think that those new people will work and work and improve the lot of their children to the point where some of them become rich and famous.

C: these two Lithuanian artists produce art that has technical merit and a clear intellectual/philosophical framework, revealing awareness of the artist's place in the history of her art form. however, their art is bitter, desolate,not without humor, but i do not think it raises the consciousness of the viewer,

R: They come from a tiny country that no doubt saw itself as elite and far outclassing the inept, but much larget Soviet people who ruled them for 70 years.

C: except perhaps in some political sense. my japanese friends on the other hand make dances that are so full of heart and sensitivity and playfulness.

for all that i do like the Lithuanians. they are refreshingly blunt and quite bright, if somewhat brainwashed. i enjoy being exposed to their very different perspective--in small doses.

R: Fortunately New York has lots of alternatives.

C: are eastern europeans often like them in your experience?

R: Yes. DP, in particular, with the race thing. On the other hand she greatly appreciates my quite large thinking range.

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