Tourist With a Typewriter

Oh, Uncle Adrian, I’m in the reservation of my mind.

Month: September, 2012

The Once and Future Fan

I was a 16-year-old high school student when I first discovered a local Charlottesville band called The Dave Matthews Band. I quickly became one of the many original fans, going to see them every Tuesday night at a local club. By the time they made it big, I had moved on. Fifteen years later the band returned to town, and I talked to some new fans to try and find out where my passion had gone. Published in C-VILLE on 9/18/2006.

Flyer from the now defunct Charlottesville nightclub Trax, back when the Dave Matthews Band used to play there every Tuesday night.

I didn’t want to like the Dave Matthews Band. In fact I tried hard not to. It was late 1991, I was 16 and a friend of mine told me about a friend of hers, Stefan, who went to Tandem and was in this band and we should seriously go see them. Right. Like I was going to go see a high school band. I already had a favorite local band, Indecision, and they were good, at least good enough to shuffle your feet to while holding a beer and looking around to see if anyone was laughing at you. But then someone else told me that I really had to go see this band, and so I did, early in 1992, at Trax, and that was the end of my interest in any other local music. It was the beginning of my love affair with the Dave Matthews Band, a love affair that would last for three intense and crazy years before it almost, but not quite, faded away. It seems now that there are no traces left of the old Dave Matthews Band, and yet, DMB is everywhere.

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The Rodney Dangerfield of the Writing World

Journalism is not given much respect. Journalists themselves, particularly in my generation, didn’t take their jobs very seriously. I take it very seriously. This is a craft. This is an art form. I’m writing stories, just like fiction writers, only I use real names. … Nonfiction writers are second-class citizens, the Ellis Island of literature. We just can’t quite get in. And yes, it pisses me off. – Gay Talese, interview in The Paris Review

Winning a Losing Campaign

Ghosts of elections past: Dennis Kucinich visiting Charlottesville in 2008.

Dennis Kucinich is a kook, yes, but he’s a kook on a mission, rocketing out of the small conference room where he’s been waiting, head cocked to one side with a look of urgency on his face and a sense of nervous purpose in his stride, through the door and down the hall, where he hits the podium and turns to the crowd with a big grin. Some 500 people are here to listen to a presidential candidate who smart money says has no chance of being nominated. And as he grins, as his smile spreads beneath beady black eyes, he doesn’t seem to be even remotely concerned. Read the rest of the story.

Huguely Trial (Slight Return)

An inability to mourn the sentencing, by judge, of a lacrosse player in Charlottesville.

Waiting for Huguely, August 30, 2012

In Norway last Friday, Anders Breivik was sentenced to 22 years in prison for killing 77 people and wounding 242. One week later I sat in court and watched as George Huguely’s jury-recommended sentence of 26 years for the murder of one woman was reduced to 23. American prison sentences start big and then dwindle as the years go by. With time served and good behavior, Huguely could be out in 20 years. Norwegian law does the opposite, starting small and adding time if the person continues to be a danger to society.

Breveik is unlikely to ever get out alive, but still, the fact that his original penance was less than Huguely’s only reinforces my belief that trying to quantify the consequences of our actions is nonsensical. Outside of the courtroom, there’s no such thing as moral mathematics. Read the rest of this entry »

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