Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How To Escape the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad
See the Goodreads page here.
See the Shelfari page 
Okay, everyone, I highly apologize for my neglect-those darling midterms, you see. But not to worry, I have survived the emotional breakdowns! Horay!
    We shall get into the thick of things with a single word: time. Time is, according to physicists, one of  the universe's however so many dimensions. But for everyone who's not a physicist (such as moi), it's something we curse at, laugh at...generally must deal with until it brings us to eternal sleep. Now, let's further analyze said time of laughing and cursing-
     The statement that time brings us through different stages of life is indisputably correct. There is childhood, tweenage years, teens, early adulthood, mid-adulthood (home of the ever-so-wonderful, mid-life crisis!), late adulthood, and death. In my opinion, most people tend to consistently think of themselves as early-adults, for this stage is when their bodies are most able, lives most exciting, and abilities most promising. Anticipation is always better than the actual thing, is it not? And although most people identify themselves with early adulthood, the actuality of this identification will vary. Some people are effortlessly optimistic in their twenties only to become Debbie Downers by the time 50 rolls along. Drug dealers might become catechists. Hookers might become anxious mothers, just like Sasha Blake of Jennifer Egan's A Visit From the Goon Squad. A risque figure on the streets of Naples during her late teens, the children Sasha bears in mid-adulthood hate it when she forces them to maintain bedtimes. Other figures do not experience such a change, figures such as Bennie Salazar, a record producer who always stays true to his sense of excellent music. For him, most pop music of the 2000's (boobilicious Katy Perry and Ke$ha come to mind) is nothing more than shit. In fact, when corporate businessmen want him to sell said shit to American listeners, he decides to give them a taste of shit pie in protest.
      But there is also a choice of becoming a Bennie or a Sasha. This choice all has to do with the fact that no matter how old we are, elements of a former self will always be available for use. We see this in Scotty Hausmann, whose years as a divorced custodian living in Manhattan have worn down the astonishing physique he possessed in high school into a flabby, AARP beneficiary. His magnetism on stage, however, is left untouched, as represented by his ability to entertain a crowd of thousands whilst verging on sixty. This quality of magnetism could only present itself, though, after he had been guided through a maze of self-discouragement made only by age; moments before his show, the rock star admits that the goon squad-what a teenage Scotty called "time"- has gotten him. But on a spring day in approximately 2023, Scotty Hausmann kicks that goon squad in the face and becomes a rock and roll legend.
       A reassuring fact is that you have control over the aforementioned choice. Sasha, wanting to leave the Neapolitan hookerdom behind her, chose to let time give her a new life. Bennie, believing that the opinion he forged in adolescence must hold true, embraces his past life and uses it as a building block for whatever amount of  future lay ahead of him. And through all stages of life, elements of their former selves were for hire.
      So now, the true question is how you will treat the goon squad.


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