David Foster Wallace and Sentimentality

What passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human […] is probably to be unavoidably sentimental and naïve and goo-prone and generally pathetic.”

I’ve been reading a lot of David Foster Wallace’s works lately and came across an interview (which of course I can’t find right now) where he mentions he’s afraid of sentimentality. I recall the interviewer trying to get him to be more specific about what he meant and the question still kind of hanging in the air. He talks about how in postmodern society—an ironic society—being overtly sweet or sentimental is thought of as cheesy and something to be scoffed at; that the sentimentality has to be veiled in a sort of cynical gauze.

I remember hearing this and wondering why. I immediately thought of my favorite “sentimental” works: Anna Karenina, Brothers Karamazov, East of Eden, Journey to the End of the Night, all of which are pre-postmodern, yet are still classics and don’t shy away from a bit of cheese.

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Dr. Jordan Peterson and Atheism

Jordan Peterson has started a series of lectures on Psychology and the Bible. There is a moment (link below) that I’m trying to grasp so bare with me as I sort of rack my brain and try to decipher what exactly it is he’s getting at.


Crime and Punishment is the best investigation that I know of of what happens when you take the notion that there’s nothing divine about the individual seriously. Now most of the people I know who are deeply atheistic—and I understand why they’re deeply atheistic—haven’t contended with people like Dostoevsky—not as far as I can tell. Because I don’t see logical flaws in Crime and Punishment; I think he got the psychology exactly right.”

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Is There Life on Mars?

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. I suppose I got caught up in other projects and works and didn’t feel much up for analysis. I do apologize! As per request of r/musictheory, I give you David Bowie’s:

Life on Mars

There were numerous questions about this piece on the music theory subreddit some time ago. “Just what is David doing here?” many wondered. It’s so dreamy! It’s so alien! Yet, so beautiful! Are there any other songs like it?

To which the answer is yes, yes there are. Well, sort of–-at least harmonically. Bowie admitted that he took what was the sheet music to Comme D’habitude, a French song that would later be turned into that Sinatra song, put some lyrics on top of it, lost out to some hack songwriter named Paul Anka, and wrote Life on Mars almost out of spite. I use that phrase lightly, though. I do believe it was less out of spite and more out of “Well, shit, I guess I might as well do something with it and see what I can come up with. Sounds like a good time!”

Here, Bowie explains it a bit better:

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Eva’s Cam

Eva’s Cam

In a summer Seattle house, early in the afternoon, Eva decides to get up. Her wild brown hair is a sleepy storm on her pillow and her body is sick with a mild hangover. Her night was finished with a bottle of wine and a youtube rant – this time about gender advantages/disadvantages. Her video would hit a few hundred views, her upcoming webcam stream would hit a few thousand views.

She shuffled into the kitchen, waved hi to her roommate and fellow camgirl, Ali, then made herself a pot of coffee, a pan of scrambled eggs and poured herself a cup of water. These and the shower would cure her hangover. She’d be able to work, then. Her glow would come back, her cheeks would lift, her eyes would shine.

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The Road Runner

In the thick of Desert Hills – a redneck, American small town north of Phoenix – I was house sitting for my parents. The dogs were fine other than their usual dog problems of elbow sores and anxiety. I fed them and let them out, then I napped and did it all again.

I had seen The Road Runner restaurant and saloon many times throughout my youth.

It sat on the side of the freeway, in New River – one of the deepest cuts of Phoenix ruralism, second only to Black Canyon City. Something piqued my interest, now that I’m old enough, to finally go and enjoy this cultural monument.

Groggy, I drove through the winding horse-lands of Desert Hills, Continue reading “The Road Runner”

A Gentle Nudge on Creativity and Craft

I thought I’d share some advice on making things that’s helped me over the years.

I find that, when I sit down with the intention of making a work, it’s helpful if I have a small idea in my mind that I’d like to try out. You know, a newly discovered tool that I haven’t yet put to use. Whether it be a small tool (i.e. I’d like to try using a bit of repetition in my lyrics) or a big tool (I’d like to write music that can be played at airports), I think having these in my mind helps me create what I want – or, at least, anything at all. Let me give you some examples about tools I recently discovered, and tools I have my eyes set on.

https://soundcloud.com/codysean/the-great-hollow?in=codysean/sets/my-music Continue reading “A Gentle Nudge on Creativity and Craft”

The Turners

Outside of a Wendy’s parking lot, a man collects cans in a trash bag. His daughter is in a shopping cart playing with a doll.

“Daddy…It’s hot.”

The city of Phoenix hit a high of 117 degrees that afternoon and the people felt it. The heat followed them into their cars and into their psyche where it frazzled, fried and left them lethargic, limping over the crosswalks and crooked asphalt.

“I know, sweetie. Please, put some more sunscreen on.” Continue reading “The Turners”