Pickle Trail Soundtrack

local natives

1. Bowery – Local Natives

8 diagrams

2. Unpredictable – Wu Tang Clan

From the totally underrated 8th Diagrams. RZA’s fetishizing of Ennio Morricone style film scores polarized both fans and the rest of the Wu, but I love it all the same.

bill callahan

3. The Wheel – Bill Callahan

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4. Grounded – Pavement

vic chesnutt

5. Independence Day – Vic Chesnutt

Reminder of the tragic beauty of living.

the whole love

6. Open Mind – Wilco

From last year’s The Whole Love, my favorite Wilco album since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

rhianna

7. Stay – Rhianna

(particularly this excellent performance from last fall on SNL) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-dW7z0QBNg

phosphorescent muchacho

8. Muchacho’s Tune – Phosphorescent

ethiopiques

9. Asmarina (My Asmara) – Mulatu Astake

Mystic, exotic beauty. Jim Jarmusch’s inappropriate scoring of Broken Flowers almost ruined Mulatu for me. Sorry Bill Murray.

xtc

10. That Is The Way – XTC

Masters of the art-punk genre. One or two radio songs and they would have been as big as Talking Heads

Piper groped

“Orange Is The New Black” is Netflix’s fifth, and best attempt at original programming, (“House of Cards,” and “Arrested Development” were reboots). The show exercises a restraint that Jenji Kohan’s “Weeds” often did not, flirting with kitsch without veering headlong down its awkward path. OITNB’s story lines are emotionally steeped, sympathetic and sentimental in the best way.

Naturally, many will perceive the show as intended for a female audience, but what makes the show so engrossing to me as a white male is just that individual connection. Here we are, immersed in a world unlike what we know, or have even seen portrayed, of prison life. The thing most prison movies and TV shows have in common is the construction of exchange that replaces the infrastructure of the outside world. In the male prison this construction is the commerce of ego and status. Dominant sexual relationships, religious demagoguery, brute supremacy and tribal affiliations according to race or gang membership. Hostility toward the other forms the marketplace. All this violence establishes man as animal, clinging to hyper-masculinity as a form of survival. But for the women of Litchfield, it’s compassion, loyalty, love—their utter humanness, rather than toughness that allows them to survive.

The inmates arrange themselves into cliques but the overlap seems far more substantial. There are fights and there is intimidation but we see little serious physical damage. The ultimate punishment is a form of shunning. While the institution itself has the power to isolate difficult prisoners, the prisoners themselves have a way of isolating as a form of governance. Piper is denied food after insulting the chef. The denial of nutrition is only part of the punishment; without the ability to break bread with the others, she has been denied a powerful social ritual and therefore, diminished to solitude and rejection.

As in “Weeds,” all the central characters are women and men are relegated to foolish or sinister caricatures. While I found that somewhat useless and annoying on “Weeds,” (one guy teaches his pubescent nephew to masturbate using a banana peal) it functions in this far more sincere world as hyperbole, reminding us of the very absence of macho-mentality that we are used to among prisoners. Much of this comes courtesy of Piper’s bourgeois-journalist beau Larry (Jason Biggs), who cashes in on his struggles with an inmate fiance; Officer Caputo (Nick Sandow) who is interested primarily with climbing the institutional ladder; and the magnificently sleazy “Pornstache” Mendez (played superbly by Pablo Shreiber). The distillation of males to only their weakest qualities, though exaggerated, provides a nice foil, the prison serving as an institutional microcosm of females literally imprisoned in a male-controlled world.

Rather than read the differences between XX and XY lockups as some deterministic commentary of female/male nature on the whole, I think it much more fitting to consider that characteristics like compassion and camaraderie are not limited to females. Despite the advent of great change, we continue to live in a world dominated by aggressive white males, the most influential of whom are intent on defending a medieval state of oligarchy, warfare and oppression. Whether or not those are distinctively male phenomena, they form our history and it’s engrained. A more female world won’t change that, only a more diverse one can do that.

The Playlist

moutain goats

The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton – The Mountain Goats

Fall of the Star High School Running Back – The Mountain Goats

Fault Lines – The Mountain Goats

Pink and Blue – The Mountain Goats

Kanye2

Send It Up – Kanye West

Another Satellite – XTC

Love Sick – Bob Dylan

1Train – A$AP Rocky, f. Kendrick Lamar, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Joey Bada$$, Big K.R.I.T. (production – Hit-Boy)

Miasma Sky – Baths

Prairie Fire That Wanders About – Sufjan Stevens

Film

orgone

WR: Mysteries of the Orgone (Dusan Makevjev 1971)

Mystic River (Clint Eastwood 2003)

Television

hungry chapman

Orange Is The New Black episodes 1-2.

Literature

Novels In Progress:

shipping news page 1

The Shipping News (E. Annie Proulx 1993)

Chronic City (Jonathan Lethem 2009) –audiobook

Short Stories:

“Ad Astra” (William Faulkner)

“Barn Burning” (William Faulkner)

“The Show” Ben Gwin

80’s Dylan

1. “I Believe In You” – Slow Train Coming (1979)

http://vimeo.com/61070918 Album version

http://vimeo.com/64128786 Live performance, Dylan’s only one ever on SNL (you’ll see why)

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The first time I heard “I Believe In You,” I was leaving town; it was only a weekend trip yet there was a distinct feeling that I was abandoning something. Maybe it was the petty troubles of my life at the time. Maybe it was the feeling that has always haunted me that whatever I was doing was the wrong thing and as long as I was moving, I was moving closer to what was right, closer to home. Whatever was going on in my head, Dylan’s weakened voice and pleading lament struck on such a powerful level that I misheard the hook. What I heard him repeat, time and time again was “I’m leaving you.”

This banner of faith is not so much a song about Dylan’s unyielding devotion to a savior as it is about Dylan’s own faithful, the disciples of the counter-culture who stoned their messiah in their own feeling of abandonment. By the time “Slow Train Coming” hit the shelves in 1979, Dylan’s career had already begun a slow decline. Reviews for Dylan’s tour in 1977 along with 1978’s “Street Legal” had been disappointing. Music itself was changing, now full of anger, dissonance and an utter rejection of the blues inspiration. It’s easy to see how Dylan must have felt left behind.

Whether Dylan’s transformation from rock star to Christian crusader was an act of genuine faith or publicity stunt is not for the critic to decide; but no entertainer can truthfully claim to be indifferent to the reaction he gets from his fans. Dylan may well have always hated the fame and 24-hour spotlight off the stage and yet for all his ardent deflection of the many labels he’s been given, he’s always loved his fans and craved their approval at least enough to justify a “never-ending tour.”

I think of a gospel song as beginning with and repeating “You,” (note the capital ‘Y’). This song begins with “They” and “They” means everybody. It means the angry fans saying they came to see a rock show, not a sermon; it means the kids who will say Bob Dylan is a relic of his parents generation and the critics that say we’ll never see another “Blood On The Tracks;” and the intellectuals who say Bob Dylan has thrust a fatal blow into the guts of the 60s idealism that empowered, anointed and worshiped him, so what comes next? The assassination of John Lennon?

The Dylan theme of motion and change is featured in the choruses. The singer will continue to believe even when the dawn is nearing and night is disappearing. He’ll believe when winter turns to summer and black turns to white. But he will never change his heart. He acknowledges that faith has been necessary to get through difficulty (night, winter, black) but even though he’s overcome these hardships, it won’t change his resolve. By summoning a classic gospel theme, Dylan seeks to separate himself from Savior status by passing the impossible responsibility to a higher power. Uninspired, he cannot inspire others; jaded, he cannot spread the seeds of optimism and the power of the human spirit.

To understand “I Believe In You,” as a simple, maudlin song of worship and acceptance of Jesus is short-sighted and unduly dismissive. The song is, in fact, a rejection and utter hand-washing of the leadership of an entire generation. It will introduce a new world of introspection and a new point of view to Dylan’s writing that will allow him to examine life through the myopic lens of human eyes rather than through the omniscience of a prophet.

This is a song, not of a sheep reborn, but of a beaten and frustrated shell, once an icon to millions but now only a joke.

Where will he go from there?

ImageThere can be no sight without sound, no beauty without brutality, no love without hate, no pleasure without pain. Such dichotomies comprise the framework of Michael Haneke’s, The Piano Teacher (2001), the story of Erika Kohut (Isabelle Huppert), a middle-aged pianist and instructor at an elite Viennese music conservatory who specializes in Schubert and Schumann.

The opening scene is a confrontation between Erika and her mother after Erika comes home a few hours late. Their argument escalates, even becoming physical and when the mother ransacks Erika’s bag we expect to find drugs, condom wrappers, firearms. Turns out, she was only hiding a dress she bought. An absent father, we’re told, has been in a psychiatric hospital for most of Erika’s life. Erika seems like a victim, but as we learn, her damage takes the form sociopathy.

During her lessons, she is particularly harsh to the students, gazing trance-like out the window as they play, then swooping over their shoulder to bark criticisms. (“Bach writes in shouts and whispers, you are merely playing it loud and soft!”) She is particularly brutal to a virtuosic girl who seems to remind Erika of herself. She later sabotages the girl, hiding glass in her jacket pockets, causing her to injure her hand before an important performance. Erika watches dirty movies in the private viewing booths of porn shops while sniffing the discarded tissues; she peeps in on lovers at a drive-in movie; she engages in genital self-mutilation. When a sycophant student named Walter professes his love for her, she acknowledges his advances but resists any physical consummation, insisting first on presenting him with a written sadomasochistic wish list.

Erika will always be out of step with other people. Though presenting a hyper-controlled persona, her imagination is filled with thoughts of self-harm. She is most in her element observing the world. She is a voyeur, but even as a teacher, her interest in her students is all about distance. She is happier brutalizing them than helping them grow. The film has virtually no score except for the Schubert and Schumann she plays and teaches. The music is used exclusively in diegesis, not only during the lessons and performances, but also in Erika’s head. A sonata plays as she watches other people having sex, serving as a buffer separating experience from consumption. The music is the way she disengages and is able to construct an approximation of pleasure and normalcy.

Through Walter, Erika recognizes an opportunity to really experience her deepest fantasies, but what she fails to realize is that unlike voyeurism, she must consider the needs of a partner. Every time Walter makes an advance, she bristles, barking orders as if they are at the piano. When she reveals her desire to be beaten and humiliated, Walter rejects her in disgust, it is only then that her fabricated personality breaks down and real desire transforms her to a pleading schoolgirl. Humiliated, she runs away. Walter chooses to use the narrative of their relationship as part of the fetishistic narrative she herself wrote. “You can’t just do this to people,” Walter said earlier after feeling she was leading him on, “You hurt me.” Remembering this, Walter is now playing along—now it’s his turn to hurt her.

He shows up late at night, locks Erika’s mother in the bedroom and beats and rapes her. Left bloodied, debauched and alone this was not how Erika pictured it.

The obsessive pursuit of sexual control is a zero-sum game. The courtship between Erika and Walter is not one of discovery and bliss, but one of two people circling each other like wolves from rival packs. At different times, both characters utter “I love you,” but in each case, the words only punctuate a position of exposure and vulnerability. As Erika says, savoring Walter’s desperation, “There’s more to life than love.”

Erika is a smart woman and it’s impossible to think this relationship would ever work out. She is incapable of love as a healthy person would understand it. For her, it is a cycle of suffering. What she wants most is to be the master of her own pain. It isn’t other people she wants to control, it’s her own life. Her foray with Walter is just another example. She actively introduces a condition of heartbreak and degradation just as she introduces a blade to her skin. It’s the ultimate pleasure.

ImageThe summer is filled with buzzing—weed-whackers, motorized toys, motorcycles in the distance…and insects. Most of the insects are nothing more than an annoyance; these are the house flys, the beetles bumping endlessly against the screen, the cicadas in the trees. Then you have the more sinister insects, the ones that bite and sting and burrow in your skin and menace the world. These insects produce a different, more ominous buzz. A low pitched, creeping sort of vibration that drones on like industrial machinery.

 I woke from a power nap one afternoon to such a sound and jumped to attention. Though usually a slow-riser, I was immediately alert. Natural selection kicked in and flight was immediately engaged. I skittered into the next room and peered around the corner. Circling the living room was a massive hornet. His lean, striped abdomen bobbed gently, like a boxer’s power hand cocked, waiting for the moment to land the hay maker. This was the conquistador of hornets. He had ventured into the new world of my living room in search of food and nest building material—hornet gold. He was not to be trusted and I knew right away he was no Quetzalcoatl but a yellow and black demon. After several attempts to kill the fiend, I finally dealt a death blow when he became trapped against a sunny window.

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Hernan Cortez, himself. He won’t be conquering anyone now.

I should have known there were more barbarian predators lurking nearby. When I discovered the nest my reaction was hardly one of shock. It was Saturday, errand day, and I was in the mode of checking things off the list. This would be one more short term goal achieved, I thought, as I shook the can of hornet spray. The unsuspecting hornets were hard at work constructing their fortress where, no doubt, they were raising an army intent on destroying the human race. I said a prayer. I raised my can and pressed the button.

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The horror.

Their skinny bodies dropped from the nest like ash from the sky during a wildfire. Convinced they were helpless, I knocked the nest to ground and watched the last few evil bugs writhe slowly as their dismal lives faded away. The world was once again safe for democracy.

Just as I was about to go inside, a hornet returned; he must have been out getting a pack of smokes or something. He flew around confused, circling the spot where his home used to be. Where was the nest? Where was his family? He looked to the ground, and with horror, spotted them all scattered and stiff on the concrete, drenched in poison.Image He thought of all the mistakes he’d made, the selfishness and sin of his younger years. Why did those innocents have to be the ones to die? Why had he been spared? Why had the God of all Hornets forsaken him?

He looked at me. I looked back at him, imagined the hatred in his eyes. I watched him swear to avenge this senseless genocide. I felt my fingers loosen from the can. I let it drop to the ground and ran inside.

What had I done? I’d made a martyr of the colony. But I had to do it! It was them or me! I had to defend my home; it was survival of the fittest and damn it, I’M the fittest! But still. I’d created a hornet holocaust.

Now every day when I go outside, I have to do it with eyes in the back of my head. I know he’s there, in the shadows of the gutter, or inside some hollow log nearby, just waiting, waiting for the right time to attack. Or maybe he’s after every human he can find. Hundreds of good men, women and children are feeling the wrath of my actions while peacefully sunbathing or mowing the lawn. Like the hornet himself, my suffering is not physical, but psychological—the pain of guilt.

I will live the rest of my summer in a deep paranoia, never more than an arm’s length from my precious hornet spray. He haunts my dreams as if a Mel Gibson character.

There is no hope for me. Save yourselves.

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The early 1970s are often defined as a period of searching for a return to form. As the country limped along, ravaged by the disillusionment of unfulfilled promise, so did Bob Dylan. The narrative that leads up to 1975’s masterpiece Blood On The Tracks is generally perceived as one of more valleys than peaks, but the optimist in us wants to believe it was a generally upward trend. The time that begins with Blood and ends with Desire and the conclusion of the Rolling Thunder Revue was a period of success without the overwhelming rock star world that accompanied Dylan’s mid-sixties fame, but that could only last for so long.

 Dylan enjoyed a relative freedom from the demands of the public in the 1970s, both creatively and personally. The wildfire of the sixties had died down considerably after a few reclusive years and he was able to make albums with minimal touring. Yes, his marriage ended, yes there was an incident with a fanatical stalker but Dylan’s life was essentially peaceful.

Image Dylan’s next step couldn’t have been more jarring. The so called “entertainer,” now took the stage in a leather jacket, wearing eye-liner and some sort of hair product. Dylan was playing stadiums; this was the era of the Japanese tour where concert promoters dictated his set list. In a period of a year, Dylan had gone from gypsy band leader to the world of larger than life fame and demand.

ImageStreet Legal was his response to being thrust back into the spotlight; in a way it was his punk album. The angry chords of “New Pony” are an attempt to obliterate the music that preceded it including his own. Again exhausted and spiritually empty, as he was in the late 60s, he turned to Christianity. The Born Again Period was a way to find not only spiritual peace but also a way to continue the rejection of his own past, trading his classic material for Evangelical banter on stage and alienating his over-demanding fans as a result. This was a way for Dylan to recapture some of the freedom he’d enjoyed just a few years before. Before long, he’d softened on the evangelism but this brief foray to the other side stirred the spiritual, mystical part of Dylan which had always been there and resulted in some of his most incredible songs.

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 The period spanning from 1979’s Slow Train Coming to 1989’s Oh Mercy saw Dylan’s writing take on a unique spiritualism that is the product of utter isolation. Dylan did not make a record in the 1980s that charted inside the top 20. It seemed the world had forgotten him and perhaps this was exactly what he needed. The best songs of this period have a dark strangeness and a fascination with death and an attempt to look at the state of the world at large from eyes that have seen things evolve and break down. Dylan’s lyrics during this period are a return to his earlier Rimbaud and Baudelaire inspired imagism. Wonderful parallels are drawn between observation and the observer himself. Is it the world that has been loved, betrayed, worn down and aged beyond recognition or is it the singer? The eighties were the eighties and especially to twenty-first century ears the production—synthesizers, drum machines and odd layering—seems terribly out of step with the exemplar Dylan sounds. There are puzzling songs, and some that are plain awful. None of the albums are listenable all the way through, and some of the best material exists not on the official studio albums, but on The Bootleg Sessions. Still, all this strangeness and inaccessibility serve to keep the demands of the masses at bay. Dylan had enough of being loved. He had given his fans plenty. The best of the records are mature ruminations of the lonely life and without concession or the desire to please.

 In the coming weeks, I will profile, one at a time, my favorite cuts of this under-appreciated period of Dylan’s career as I assemble the ultimate Eighties Dylan mix.

Stay tuned.

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Lebron James and his headband against fellow hair loss victim Manu Ginobili

The NBA Finals have ended following a seven-game seesaw that saw the Miami Heat come out on top and Lebron James add a few support beams to his legacy. In the dramatic final two games we saw the full-range of the game’s most iconic figure. He struggled, he pouted, he pressed. He was uncharacteristically bad in the first half of game six but after losing a head band, he regained his dominant form hitting a clutch three down the stretch en route to an overtime victory. In defiance of the more superstitious observers who speculated he may ditch the accessory forever, the headband was back for game 7. Lebron played his best game of the series, leading Miami to its second straight title, and collected another MVP trophy, headband and all. I guess every king needs his crown if only to hide a receding hairline.

I’m so glad its finally over. The NBA season seems ridiculously long, and I only started watching a month ago. I can’t blame anyone but myself for wasting so much time watching these silly series featuring the Bulls, Clippers, Nets, Pacers and Grizzlies (where do they play again? Knoxville?) as if one of these inferiors might actually shock the world and find a way to ultimately win a whole SERIES against Miami. Upsets like that never happen. There were plenty of good games, sure, but in retrospect, the thing to do would have been to set a timer and only turn the TV on for the last five minutes of each game. Jesus, if I see that Chris Paul/Cliff Paul twin commercial one more time I’m going to throw a hamburger at a baby.

What is a “good game” in basketball anyway? It could be back and forth for the first forty minutes with crisp passing, solid defense and flawless execution on both sides, but when one team pulls ahead and maintains their lead in the closing minutes, they usually get credit for having dominated and the casual viewer feels cheated. On the other hand, there are sloppy games that have huge, bipolar swings just because one or the other team goes catatonic and keeps turning the ball over and jacking up stupid shots. Suddenly, one guy starts hitting threes and all of a sudden the game is tied with twenty seconds left and it’s all about momentum and when and whether or not to intentionally foul. These, of course, are the most fun to watch, practically BECAUSE they are poorly played in the technical sense.

Good lord, I got to the point where I was planning my life around these damn games. I actually rescheduled an appointment Tuesday night at the mechanic’s. My car wouldn’t lock. I risked being robbed blind just because I wanted to see if Danny Green would come back and hit twenty 3s in game 6 and make Lebron cry or do that thing where he chews his jersey.

So finally the time of year has come when sports take a vacation as long as you aren’t super into July baseball, the WNBA, World Cup qualifiers, and oh…the rest of the Stanley Cup, (if you happen to be a Canadiaphile). How wonderful it will be to have my evenings free. I’ll finally have a chance to knock the dust off the novel I started in September and watch that Netflix disc that’s been sitting on top of the DVD player since the days when people still used Netflix to watch DVDs, or maybe I’ll pay the bills, run the vacuum, clip my toenails.

Have a good summer sports world. I’ll see you September 9.badass Philly Eagle

Hunger

The unnamed protagonist wanders the streets of Christiana (present day Oslo), psychotic with starvation. He is constantly aware of money, but only insofar as a meal ticket. He is a writer of philosophical articles, which when healthy he churns out in all-night manias, and then submits them to magazines for a pittance. But that is only when he has eaten and is strong enough to work. Many days he is too weak to get out of bed.

 

He is capable of absolute benevolence, literally selling the coat off his back to help an old beggar. He is also tremendously impatient with strangers, flying, mid-conversation into delusional rage. He meets a girl, they part, he takes a job on a ship and leaves Christiana forever.

 

That’s the whole novel.

 

Who needs a story? Knut Hamsun distilled the human condition to its utmost simplicity. Our hero desires only two things: his dignity as he defines it and just enough food to survive. Early on, he applies for a job (at a grocery store, no less), but failing to follow up, the position is given to someone else. He only returns to the store weeks later, in desperation and on the verge of death. He could never work a job, betraying his pristine spirit for the sake of physical comfort. To carry a surplus would be unspeakable, anticipating a future that no one has a right to expect. Any plans for tomorrow risk the hubris of entitlement and a numbing of one’s constitution.

 

Hamsun drew on personal experience for the material that comprises Hunger. What could be more personal than starvation? He later reeled against the great novels of the nineteenth century for their failure to focus on true condition of living—the need, not to overcome social obstacles or to beat the odds, but simply to survive. That is the condition of every living thing and it is easy to forget that mankind is no different. Hamsun might argue that Bleak House and Middlemarch are not about characters but about the worship of the human race. You will find no social commentary in Hunger, no changing world, no intricate letters from one character to another where the line between exposition and scene is blurred. Another thing you won’t find is the voice of God, hovering over the novel’s world, playfully pulling His character’s strings. All you get is the story of one man and his daily attempts to prolong death, told by himself in a world unchanging but for the tiny containers of sustenance that seem always to slam shut.

 

As a writer, you can never be too concise. The same is true of a human being. Respecting Hamsun, I won’t go on a tangent of social criticism, but I will indulge in a final statement. The world we live in appears always to be changing. New technologies, new wars, new disasters, laws, attitudes. These are nothing more than our creations. There is still the Earth and long after we’re gone, it will still be here. It’s at least worth considering this when we work so hard to hide ourselves from its constant reminders of its own power.

 

Bob Gibson
Tonight, feeling in the spirit of spring and at a loss for something to watch over dinner I decided to revisit the Ken Burns’s Baseball. I evaluated my mood and chose my favorite “inning,” the one covering the 1960s.In a world of upheaval, the game finds itself evolving quickly, transforming in a few short years from the black-and-white clips of game 7 of the World Series in Pittsburgh, to a game of color and closeups that resembles what we see on television today. The old urban ballparks are demolished and replaced by concrete stadiums with expansive parking lots. The Player’s Union is born as players, in a struggle for emancipation from the Reserve Clause mirror the efforts of the Civil Rights movement in the quest for freedom.

As the war in Vietnam escalates and violence breaks out in cities across the country, football rises in popularity. In 1967 the first Super Bowl delivers short spurts of simulated warfare to living rooms across the country. It is viewed by more people than any game of that year’s World Series. Burns presents us with and era in which refuge from everyday turmoil cannot be found even in a pastoral, summer game. The National Pastime seems threatened and its traditionalists wonder whether it is possible for Americans to escape from the explosive, fast-paced world to the serenity of ballpark.

These traditionalists—represented here by Baseball’s usual talking heads of Doris Kearns-Goodwin, George Will, Roger Angell, Bob Costas. Gerald Early, Studs Terkel, et al—are even more magnificent in extolling the beauty and virtue of the game in the context of 60s then they are in the series’ other installments. We are told of the absence of time in baseball, how the other team can never kill the clock and has no option but to keep giving the other guys a chance, and even if you’re dying, you know you can live forever as long as you keep hitting. We hear an African American writer describe his emotional response to the ritual of the Star Spangled Banner before a game and how baseball was the only thing that made him feel connected to his country. Later, he describes the empowered feeling that drove him to march and to fight for civil rights. His rationale was that they had to prove that they would do whatever it took to achieve justice.

There is a part that describes the drama of inaction during a game. The excitement of baseball is rooted in the mind of the viewer; it happens in the endless seconds between pitches where a player digs in the dirt with his cleat, adjusts his cap, waggles the bat. While these things are happening, endless possibilities run through your mind as you watch. You play out every possible scenario before it happens so that when something finally does actually happen, it’s like a dream fulfilled. Sometimes, during these moments a hush can fall over the entire ballpark for just a few moments and you know that everyone there is going through this deeply intellectual process. It is this sequence that draws the viewer to the game in a way that nothing else can. The results can be explosive.

This is how I understand the sixties. Endless anticipation of huge things to come, revolution and the personification of tremendous sacrifices and powerful wills exacted on a collective target. People always say there was something in the air, the vibrations of the time—those vibrations are the same as the anticipation you find in any baseball game coupled with the payoff or the devastation everyone knew would come. It was a time of people proving they’d do anything to get what they wanted.

That baseball is still alive and well only proves that there is a place for ideas to be born in America. It is proof that we still believe big things can happen if we can only imagine them.