Funkadelia for the huis clos blues

by Yule Heibel on April 15, 2003

I am so happy as I sit here and listen to Shuggie Otis for the 2nd or 3rd time in a row. I don’t quite know why his music makes me feel so good, but it does. It brings back to me all the best aspects of the 70s (if you can imagine that!), of being really young, of getting high in the park, of being out and about in great weather — all of which of course is reinforced by day-to-day living here. It’s been simply fabulous: gorgeous weather, nature bursting at the seams with every imaginable kind of green growing thing, a totally groovy kind of world. And that was winter. Now it’s sp-rrring! I love being here.

On the other hand, I’ve started writing this blog. Beats me what started me on it. I suppose it’s a way to vent all the fury I feel over the vandalizing things being done to nature, being done in politics, being done in society. I wouldn’t mind writing a blog about how happy I am, but I’m sidetracked because there are so many things that stupid people are getting away with. I’m so sick and tired of stupid people ruling the earth. They’re not even evil, they’re just stupid. Well, banality of evil, as Hannah Arendt already pointed out, apropos of Eichmann and the Nazis. They were evil. But stupid, too, stupid in the sense of banal. Today’s stupid people, as ever, live in an architecture of systems (epistemological, political-ideological, economic, technological, theological) that tell them where the walls are, and where the windows, exits, and entrances are. Barrier or orifice, those are the parameters. One or zero. Yes or no. For or against. No ambiguity, no differentiation. Purity, no mongrels.

I’ll see where and how far I’ll go with this blog, what the heck they’re suppposed to be. I read randomly in other people’s blogs sometimes, and have to admit that I don’t necessarily always get it. The style, I mean. I suspect their authors are much younger than I am, and that the generational divide is causing me eyestrain. When I want style, I pull a disc from my relatively recently acquired DVD collection of The Avengers with Emma Peel and John Steed. (I have their autographed pictures, which I sent away for in early 1966 when I was a little girl newly arrived in Canada. They now sit in MY Emma’s room.) My sense of style is irrevocably rooted to a sense of modern, nearly sci-fi clothing, particularly very short skirts, and a later ideal, inspired by teenaged immortality, of lots and lots of free sex — none of which I currently necessarily still associate with in the first person. Today, my clothing is mostly functional, my sex …well, never you mind. As for pop cult: I think that, co-opted, it’s impoverishing us sensually, bricking us into systems that shut down our development as individuals with a body — as embodied individuals. I haven’t decided whether blogs are a part of pop culture or a part of something else, but I suspect that they’re not something else. Perhaps I’m just clueless because I spend too little time in front of a computer screen and too much time outside in the fresh air. Which is another thing I like about old pop cult funkadelia master, Shuggie Otis. As system dwellers get a collective hard-on because armies have “penetrated deeply into Iraq” (a news quote from earlier this month), Shuggie’s music captures the inimitable sense of being outside, being groovy in a park, with the birds and the bees still having lots and lots and lots of free sex.

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