Aug. 2, 2017: Just in Case
I'm in Chicago at the moment; I flew Spirit for the first time to get here. Everything about the airline—from the online check-in onwards—reflects the low cost of the ticket, which is slightly frustrating at times but also kind of nice, even egalitarian. For example, as with any airline, each passenger is assigned a boarding zone; I was in Zone 1, which was cool because usually you have to pay to be in Zone 1 (I didn't pay, just checked-in early I suppose), and which ostensibly meant I would be among the first to board. When it came time to board, though—following a bit of confusion where they had two flights, leaving around the same time, one to Chicago and one to Ft. Lauderdale, listed as departing from the same gate—the person at the front desk announced that all boarding groups (1 through 4) were welcome to line up, indiscriminately, and begin boarding. Part of me was dismayed not to be able to exercise my premier spot, but more of me was pleased with Spirit's leveling of an otherwise hierarchical situation (even if, as I suspect, the leveling was borne more of disorganization than principle).
Anyways, one other thing that stuck out—something that was unprofessional but in a human, distinguishing way—was that, during the flight, we encountered some heavy turbulence, and the flight attendant came on the intercom to say that they were turning on the "fasten seatbelt" light "just in case." She left it there: "just in case." I feel like airline workers never say things like that; even the barest suggestion of what could happen while this metal tube is rattling around miles in the sky is forbidden. Which is to say, I could've used more legroom, and charging $40 for a carry-on is absurd, but overall... I liked Spirit.
On another note, I listened to the somewhat recent Konrad Sprenger album, Stack Music, this morning and enjoyed it. Its conception of the "stack" made me think of the book I'm currently reading, Italo Calvino's Mr. Palomar , and I'd like to—at least internally—tease out the diagrammatic, thematic "stack" that organizes Calvino's novel, concerned as it is with methods and contexts of perception and meaning, with that of Sprenger's music, which in my view has some similar concerns; and to extend it, as Sprenger consciously does, to Benjamin Bratton's "stack." How did Calvino and early minimalist music predict the internet's organization, as well as how it mediates perception of its—or our—world?
The Sprenger album also has some aural allusions to Henry Flynt, John Fahey, and more broadly, American hillbilly (vis a vis railroad) music. The train is of course vital subject matter in German music—Kraftwerk, et al.—as well, but Sprenger seems to care more about America, which makes me think, with a bit of a jump, of not just hillbillies but cowboys and manifest destiny, i.e. subjects that have long captured the post-war German imagination. The Germans are obsessed with the cowboy and the American west, some people have postulated, in part to shift their genocidal guilt over to a outside symbol guilty of similar crimes. The first half of Sprenger's album—which brings up these ideas—is more interesting to me in both form and content.
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