Although woe betide anyone who cuts off the St. Crispin’s Day speech:
I’m covering it tonight for the day job, so blogging on Thursday will probably be pretty slow since I won’t have time to write posts. But can I register a brief note of regret that no State of the Union will ever be this badass? (Minus the dorky-sounding “I’m going to get the guns” line, of course.)
On behalf of nerds everywhere, I feel kind of outraged about this court ruling permitting prisons to ban Dungeons & Dragons paraphernalia and books:
Prison officials said they banned the game at the recommendation of the prison’s specialist on gangs, who said it could lead to gang behavior and fantasies about escape.
Dungeons & Dragons could “foster an inmate’s obsession with escaping from the real-life correctional environment, fostering hostility, violence and escape behavior,” prison officials said in court. That could make it more difficult to rehabilitate prisoners and could endanger public safety, they said.
The court, which is based in Chicago, acknowledged that there was no evidence of marauding gangs spurred to their acts of destruction by swinging imaginary mauls, but it ruled nonetheless that the prison’s decision was “rationally related” to legitimate goals of prison administration.
I know most of the commentary on this case has focused on the fact that a) it’s dopey to assume that gaming causes pathological behavior, b) it’s particularly dopey to assume D&D-playing leads to the formation of prison gangs. But I actually think the free speech issues are disturbing. Perhaps it’s just me, but I tend to think that unless a prisoner is writing threats or coordinating crimes through his writing, he should be allowed to keep doing it, and to keep his writing after completing it if he wants.
Writing is distraction, it’s therapy, it’s a way to develop skills that, who knows, might actually serve someone upon their release from prison. I can see some circumstances under which it might make sense to monitor that writing, or to direct it into a formal program like InsideOUT Writers. And under some circumstances, it might make sense to act on somebody’s writing. Seung-Hui Cho may have been a lot better off if something had really taken place after his fellow Virginia Tech students and professors found his writing disturbing. But preventing him from writing wouldn’t have stopped him from killing somebody. And taking away a murderer’s D&D manual isn’t going to prevent the killing that landed him in jail in the first place. But it may have denied him something that was rehabilitative.
blackink12′s post over at PostBourgie about D’Angelo’s dissolution and creative decline really struck me yesterday. This, in particular stood out to me:
“I feel like there’s a book with a bookmark in it,” says (former manager Dominique) Trenier. “Two albums? That can’t be it for this guy. He’s got so much music in him.”
But does he really?
I alluded to this in my mixtape last Friday, but it’s been very difficult for me to watch Courtney Love and Amy Winehouse fall apart. Both Celebrity Skin and Back to Black came out at times when it felt like I needed precisely that record, the blast of independence and disdain, the decision to manage grief by dressing it up and embracing it. I trust both of these manifestly unreliable women because at one point, they gave me something I needed, before I could even articulate that I needed it. While I don’t particularly feel like it’s Me Against the World, or the Machine, or Whatever, and I definitely don’t feel like holidng an elaborate funeral for my own heart (though, what style), I remain wary of the possibility that I may need a bulwark against those sentiments again.
And so I want Amy Winehouse and Courtney Love to be there for me, to anticipate that next moment of great musical need. What a fool I am. blackink12 is wise when he says “D’Angelo has already exceeded my wildest expectations, and I didn’t realize it until it was over. I have everything I ever needed. And I hope D’Angelo can say the same.” Amy and Courtney will get better, or not, independent of their talent and my desire for its expression. And while, as Courtney put it, “I want to be the girl with the most cake,” I’ll try to be content with what I have.
It’s just amazing to me how pretty Britney Spears was when she was really young. I don’t know that she’s truly beautiful, she was never remote and stunning enough for that. And a huge amount of attention focused on her body and her clothing, but she just had an incredibly lovely, youthful face. The change from something like “Lucky”
Feel free to make your kids’ movie. But please stay away from my hometown. When you go to Boston, you do things like remake astonishing movies that don’t make remaking, and enable Leonardo DiCaprio’s terrible, terrible attempts at a Boston accent and augment it with ghosts.