Hey, poot, think of all the shite you're sposed to keep in your noggin these days, if you wanna be as cool as the next cat. All that Culture. High and low. Cheap and dear. You know, 'dear' -- as in 'costs too much.' Pretentious and plain. Edgy and cheesy. Arcane, popular. Difficult, easy. Get out your compass. Better yet, your GPS, if you need some navigation.
You wanna be cool, here's what you do, you start makin lists. Go online and begin clickin away. If you get hung up, the Free Market Gang'll help you out. For a price. Downtown, uptown. Culture for sale. Sublime, silly. They got anything you want. Everything you need to fill your Big Culture Bag. Just keep payin to stay connected.
Your line of work, you see the Culture hawkers everywhere, jostlin for a good corner just like the Senegalese handbag vendors on Eighth Avenue. A whistle and a yo. Just like the Rastas sellin rugs out of their vans under the Holland Tunnel Turnpike spur. Hey, outta-work white man, get your outta-shape arse over here. Culture for sale.
These hawkers got it all, they got everything from comics to Coltrane, from Lady Murasaki to Murakami, Haruki, Ryu, and Takashi. From Fra Lippo Lippi -- what an effin handle! -- to Jack Kirby, from Crumb (which Crumb?) to Lily Allen, from Zadie Smith to Nora Roberts, from Korngold to Danger Mouse, from Betty Boop to South Park. From Milton to Motian. Hey, darlin, what's that you're chewin on -- Haute Cuisine or Soul Food? Atomic wings, baby. Lookie here: we got tees to please, no-brand brew, the sneaker of the day, posters of Che. From Eisenstein to Ed Wood. You got the dime, we got the goods. Light your joss stick and keep clickin away.
It's like workin in a bookstore -- you learn a little about a lot, until one day you wake up thinkin you know everything. What a hoot. Every bookstore's got a Mistra Know-it-all lurkin between the stacks until some Young Turk comes along and fires his arse. Then you find him in the men's room at Old Town gaggin and heavin, starin pop-eyed at all that knowledge gettin sucked down the drain as he grips the flushing handle for dear life.
You been there, poot? I know I have. Before you start your lists, remember what Quist said: "No matter how much Culture you imbibe, you still gonna stay who you are. A stamp-collector who listens to Beethoven is still a stamp-collector."