… maybe the age of instant communication that killed off the rock stars is all one big misunderstanding. What the techies missed was that the person Mick Jagger was just a contributor to the invented character of Mick Jagger, rock star, who represented a collective investment of x amount of imaginative capital and hard cash by record companies, art directors, and fans. Mick Jagger, the person, could hardly have created Mick Jagger, the rock star, alone in his bedroom using Instagram and Pro Tools, let alone programmed the contingent and chaotic human and creative interactions with Keef and the late, great junkie producer Jimmy Miller that went into the recording of Exile on Main St. and Let It Bleed.

Disdaining the wasteful, elitist space where bands hankered after record-company expense accounts that would pay for hookers and villas in the South of France, Silicon Valley presented itself as the tribune of average-Joe air guitarists who never got their shot at the American Dream. It was easy to stoke resentment against the perks enjoyed by the pros while spreading the easy gospel of democratic cultural production. Every boy and girl could be Virginia Woolf and Keith Richards and David Foster Wallace depending on what day of the week it was, thanks to fun new digital software that ushered in a freshly branded universe of frictionless self-gratification in which all movies and books and music would be free, because they should be free, because they were made to be free, because paying for stuff is an unconscionable rip-off in a world where stuff was meant to be free, and who else does art belong to if not to the people, right?

We’d settled in, and neither of us had spoken for a while. Sun dappled the grass, the air was scented with lilac, and the ball hit our gloves with reassuring thumps. I looked at Huck then, aglow in the late-afternoon light, and I felt an upwelling of sadness, so sudden and overwhelming my eyes blurred with tears. I saw with unforgiving clarity that the moment would pass; it was already passing, even as I contemplated it. Life slides by from the present to the past so fast it sometimes seems we barely get a glimpse, barely get to register anything before we’re gone. Yet death is coming for all of us. Even me. Even Huck.

And then, just as quickly, a sense of joy and profound relief. I hadn’t missed it. However ephemeral the moment was, I was there, in it, fully present for it. The breeze was cool on my skin, I had nowhere else to be, and Huck was winding up.

David Grist spent a year offline, and this is the lovely ending of his piece  … And, in a very real way, it’s spiritual climax, if such can be said about something as quiet as playing ball with his son. Which is how all the best things happen.

We’re the pierced and tattooed, shorts-wearing, skunk-smoking, OxyContin-popping, neurotic dickheads who’ve presided over the commoditisation of the counterculture; we’re the ones who took the avant-garde and turned it into a successful rearguard action by the flying columns of capitalism’s blitzkrieg; we’re the twats who sat there saying that there was no distinction between high and popular culture, and that adverts should be considered as an art form; we’re the idiots who scrumped the golden apples from the Tree of Jobs until our bellies swelled and we jetted slurry from our dickhead arseholes – slurry we claimed was “cultural criticism”.


… all I can do is sit there and reflect on the great world-girdling mass of mindless attitudinising that passes for “hip” in the third millennium since the death of the great sandal-wearing hippie …

Will Self takes the blame for his generation in “The Talentless Hipster Has Taken Over,” New Statesman 

…what is most tragic about this legislation is that it sends a clear message that our elected representatives think that women are incapable of making an informed and thoughtful decision without their help.

It assumes that women don’t begin their decision-making process until the moment they walk into the clinic. I have yet to meet a woman for whom this is true; most women begin that process the moment they suspect that they are pregnant. Not only is this law insulting to women, but it also imposes a real burden on women seeking constitutionally protected health care.

So much for the Constitution, right, ladies?