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When you read something true it feels like the writer’s world may be ending. And that this is fine. Aaron Huey wrote this morning about how being a journalist you often walk “into a situation that is like a localized version of the end of the world.” He talks about earthquakes and tsunamis and firestorms. About being transfixed by “the beauty of this temporary apocalypse, where no one can be bothered with rules anymore. Inside these places we drive the wrong way on the highways. We walk through people’s homes in water up to our waists.” The point isn’t the terror but seeing the rules burn up in the fire. In the video the kid is just left with debris. His youth is juxtaposed with someone for whom the world has already ended. In the meantime he can practice frontside bonelesses and handplants in an abandoned farmhouse. When this video came out I was roughly the same age as the kid. I had the same Nike hightops and my skateboard had gorilla ribs too. The terrain was familiar; the world was Georgia. An abandoned farmhouse wasn’t out of the ordinary. There was evidence of worlds that had ended all behind all of our neighborhoods. Some of them were half-buried cars or farmsteads now hidden in kudzu. These places had no rules or names. Most people don’t seem that good at finding them once they grow up. When we moved down to Patagonia sometimes I thought about the phrase “moving to the end of the world.” Once I camped a dozen miles in the Chilean backcountry. The place was an abandoned sheep ranch no longer on any map. REM never evolved how I hoped they would. There was something about being able to make up whatever lyrics you wanted. This album, Document, ended that. In my daughter’s stories there’s one character who always has a birthday, and in the birthday she’s always turning one. I like the part @1:55 where there’s some kind of high lonesome wail. When you hear music that’s true it sounds like the musicians are discovering a new world.

Nonlinear Narrative


About The Author

David Miller

David Miller is Senior Editor of Matador (winner of 2010 and 2011 Lowell Thomas awards for travel journalism) and Director of Curricula at MatadorU. Follow him @dahveed_miller.

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