The worst quality of the aristocracy is their disdain for good, honest labor. The converse may also be true: The worst quality of the proletariat is its near-religious reverence for drudgery. I’ve been a worker bee and I’ve been a petty bourgeois intellectual “worker” and let me tell you, the latter is much, much better.
by Nicholas Pell in Music
“Any man left on the Rio Grande / Is the king of the world / As far as I know”
almost a cliche to draw attention to the contrast between Steely Dan’s slick, smooth musical arrangement and the darkness of their lyrics. Still, they have fewer songs quite as dark as “King of the World,” a first-person narrative about a man living through man’s final days. As our Dear Leader begins to contemplate action against Syria AKA tip toe toward the tulips of World War 3, what better song is there to pick back up in my ongoing series about the Dan?
by Nicholas Pell in Masculinity
Rituals shape our lives and give them meaning and purpose. This is what I learned many aeons ago when I thought it prudent to yell Hebrew words loudly enough to frighten the neighbors. Less important than making metaphysical phone calls to archangels is the practice of structuring your life with meaning. The aforementioned ritual should both quiet and focus the mind, clear out the cobwebs and get you ready for a task laying ahead of you.
by Nicholas Pell in Personal
If one requires definitive proof of the slow and steady cultural decline of our age, look no further than the state of youth. Raised on a steady diet of television, bland pop music and delusions of grandeur, the contemporary adolescent believes himself to be at the center of a grand narrative drama, his own self contained Dawson’s Creek, with the ability to invent and reinvent himself after the fashion of Bowie — as if anyone else were paying attention. Entirely lacking in class or refinement, they dress like caricatures of VICE “Do’s and Don’t's,” act like reality show “stars” in public and plan to retire off future millions from their unwritten screenplay.
I blame the concept of “adolescence,” the artificial liminal space between childhood and adulthood invented by the Capitol Records marketing department in 1948 to sell Sinatra singles. This liminal space now apparently stretches well into a person’s 50s, if the Boomers are to be believed.