Saturday, June 25, 2011


The celebrity, the spectacular representation of a living human being, embodies this banality by embodying the image of a possible role. Being a star means specializing in the seemingly lived; the star is the object of identification with the shallow seeming life that has to compensate for the fragmented productive specializations which are actually lived. Celebrities exist to act out various styles of living and viewing society unfettered, free to express themselves globally. They embody the inaccessible result of social labor by dramatizing its by-products magically projected above it as its goal: power and vacations, decision and consumption, which are the beginning and end of an undiscussed process.
Society of the Spectacle 60

The gym was warm from the San Francisco heat. Summer solistice had just passed and the weather was finally turning. Neungsiam was doing padwork in the ring while my camera snapped pictures. The 36 year old Thai man will be fighting next month in Ponoma California. I was at his place to help him spar, and to possibly interview him.

"Hey, I like your writing a lot," David said to me. I turned toward him. He looked vaguely familiar, later I would recognize his portrait on a fight poster for a couple of years ago. "I totally live through you reading your stuff while I'm at my job."

"There's nothing quite like mediated living," I said in reply.

He looked at me quizzically and a friend nearby smiled.

This is one of the disheartening effects of writing and being public about my trips to Thailand via mymuaythai. People read the highlights of my "adventures" and don't realize that I live an everyday life that is quite normal. Put on stage my exploits are read as a life lived unfettered by social norms, a life of permanent vacation, the complete opposite of socially necessitated labor time/work. Just like happy hours and weekends my advertisements of a life fully lived ends up being escapism. Free time is the time away from work in which we are supposed to regain ourselves and replenish. Labour is a magical commodity in that it can be replenished unlike other items such as coal, meat, or toilet paper. There is a limited supply of the latter, (although I hope that toilet paper doesn't run out anytime soon) because the earth has limited resources. Yet in our free time we reinforce spectacular society. In the above case I am inadvertently reinforcing this idealistic notion of a life truly lived yet as long as there is capital there can only be choices made by and for economics.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Hair cut

The blue sky had just a few clouds. The slight chilled summer breeze blew all the white whisps away. I rode my bike to 40th and Telegraph. The chain on my bike cranked along eeking out a harsh squeak. The chain was rusted and old. My bike was dented and scraped but still retained a blue sky color.

I locked my bike to a bike stand and walked inside the barbershop. Outside a striped pole twirled denoting the nature of the business. Four barber chairs were set up on the north wall. One of them was occupied. An early thirties african american man cut the hair of another's with a clipper.

I took off my bag and set it down on a row of chairs for waiting clients on the south wall.

"You need a hair cut," said a barber. His occuppation was denoted by his black smock. He motioned me to take a seat. "What do you want," he asked.

"Cut down the sides to about one and then a little off the top. I have this weird patch of hair on the top of my head from getting stitches last month and I want it to look better. I don't care what you do to it," I told him.

When the hair on the side of my hair is trimmed short you can see the lightning bolt scars from my facial reconstruction. I liked to be able to see them, they are reminders. The lines recall my fight and the surgery afterwards. Are lives are composed of scars, layers upon layers of hardened flesh. Peeling back the topmost slab of skin reveals another and another.

The barber began to cut my hair. The clipper buzzed. Attached to the western wall was a flat screen plasma television. It was showing "Die Hard 4." Bruce Willis was once again trying to save america from certain doom.

"Yo Aaron, you seen that movie yet," the other barber said.

"Nah, I'm supposed to see it with my boy later tonight," Aaron said as he cut my hair.

The barber and I saw in silence except for the ever present noise of the clippers. I thought of chatting with him but my tongue was thick.

"Look good," Aaron asked me. I looked at my reflection. The lightning bolts were there so was the new pink scar that ran down my forehead and into my hairline parting my hair like a cowlick. I blinked at my reflection and nodded.

"How much," I asked.

"Twenty dollars," he said pointing at a sign on the wall.

I gave him a bill and a few dollars as a tip. I ran my fingers through my short hair. I felt the ridge that runs just behind my hairline. I rubbed the ridge and wondered if it would ever disappear.

The sky was still blue. The clouds were still sparse. I unlocked my bicycle. The chain still squeaked slightly. I rode home, my hair cleaner and my scars a little more visible for a while.