Pamuk, when asked about the allegations of “insulting Turkishness” brought against him, quoted Adorno: “It is part of morality not to be at home in one’s home”. It is necessary to critique the culture in which you are the most comfortable–it’s a fairly basic lesson in reflexivity, but one that can make you an absolute bore at parties. Striking a balance between the voracious intellectual appetite for incisive commentary and telling good stories over beer can be tough, and I’ve seen a lot of people fail miserably at it.
And, sometimes, it feels pretty damn amazing to let go and love home. I don’t quite have the gall to count myself as one of Said’s ‘exiles’, able to look at home with detachment, especially as my ‘exile’ has been self-imposed and has only served to make me appreciate Texas all the more. Now I have a more certain metric to measure this love-of-place.
All the intellectualizing aside, it was amazing to be with my adopted ‘family’ again, eating funnel cakes, drinking beer, and listening to a bunch of bands in the big yellow Texas sunshine. I borrowed a big cadillac from an old lady and had to clean out the guns and prescription pills before driving it around. Out of all the bands I saw (New Pornographers, Okkervil River, White Denim, Explosions in the Sky, Of Montreal, Final Fantasy, The Sword, Sick of it All, Madball, Neurosis, Angry Samoans, Battalion of Saints, Witchcraft, Girl Talk, Battles, Mates of State, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, Against Me, Riverboat Gamblers, Youth Brigade, Murder City Devils, Poison Idea, The Saints, Diplo, MC Chris, Clap! Clap!, Ocote Soul Sound) the two bands from Texas were the best, and I stood to watch them with my fellow Austinites–scruffy, black-clad, tattooed compatriots, holding cans of Tecate in beer koozies–and I found myself wondering, for the millionth time, if that was enough.
Nope. Not yet. But it’s still home.