Through no fault of my own–excepting of course the fault, and its obvious connection to yours truly–I’ve taken yet another sabbatical to read 50s pulp and listen to Mozart and haven’t been in touch for a while accordingly. The best you’ll get from me is a stout apology but I’d promptly appreciate a step forward so we can get back to things more pressing (ingrown toenails, Malcolm McDowell, 1945, for instance).
Anyway, it’s summer now, officially, and hence there can’t really be room for complaint. I hate earth, I think, or maybe the entire Milky Way, but beyond that I’m aces.
Lately I’ve been thinking about formal education, as it relates to literature, and becoming necessarily irate in response. Dig: TOLSTOY IS GOD, so sayeth the teachers in every university literature program the world over. Tolstoy is also dated, hardly entertaining to the modern palate, and filled with empty, antiquated truths that were literature a science it’d be an abomination to uphold in any field of research. So why this fucking insistence? Why this idea that one must look so tirelessly into the past and heed its merit, without lending the same weight and substantiality to such contemporary scribblers as Thomas Harris, or Jim Thompson?
I dunno. All I know is that the best you can do is take something like this deep within yourself and respond to it honestly. My response will be to burn down certain ancient bastards and acknowledge their worthlessness to me, however all the while lending severe weight to any and EVERY book that gives me anything, or takes it away (the blood, the pain, etc.).
This can easily be attributed to any of the arts, so don’t mind the fact that your narrator at the moment is an egregious halfwit with nothing valid to say about our world. Change it up a bit and say Bach, say Van Gogh, say anybody that you can easily hear a teacher praising with the expected eye roll from the classroom surrounding. Why this eye roll? Well, because we’d rather be looking at Jackson Pollock, or listening to John Maus, or reading Jim Thompson, or watching Jonathan Demme instead of Bergman, or Welles, or fucking-christ-it-never-ends. But that’s precisely my point.
If you follow the words of the old masters and take their advice as to who you need to read, listen to, watch, or witness in museums, then you stand no fucking chance of being a true original, and in this day and age when art is as sparsely strewn throughout our world as decent politicos, we simply need that originality.
I think of world issues in much the same way. Often we look at the horrors overseas and the temptation–much like the temptation to simply listen to the teacher, and be mollified–is to either quickly rant to our friends about it and move forward, or rationalize it back down to nothing and forget about it, when in my opinion the much more realistic and important approach is to take it into yourself, digest it, and allow it to carry over into your personality. It seems a stretch to jump from art to world politics, but what we’re discussing is really neither. We’re discussing originality, and a world that isn’t full of dial tones; a world that isn’t made up of advertisements and Top 40s vacuous trash for the amelioration of the species.
We deserve better. We deserve to learn to live to accept the fact of a Uganda or an Iraq without being so quickly calmed and treated by our masters. We deserve to be able to freely say FUCK TOLSTOY in a classroom without worrying the the ramifications will be our careers. We deserve real life, and if we’re led to only a handful of writers, or solutions to problems, or filmmakers, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum, there is no possibility of real life. There is only their life, the life which charges us ATM fees and feeds us incessant drivel to calm and coax us into safe and uninteresting worlds without abrasion.
I relish the abrasion, relish the nights I can’t sleep for being so torn up over the status of American Film or the sickening horror show that is the American Grand Politik or America itself, and in the morning when the world wants me to settle into existence and accept that on a lack of sleep I cannot possibly function on par with their ideal of what works I relish the laughter that bubbles up inside me until I can control it no more.
Perhaps it’s too much, perhaps the captain’s lost his mind and you’ve just been given a portrait of the lunatic as a young depressive, I can’t be sure. But that’s your dose for the week, I hope it went down smooth.
And because you’ve been so gracious, here’s a smattering of lunacy for your viewing/listening pleasure:
adoptahighway recently remixed a track off of Chants’ new release called ‘Night After’ that ought to make your summer come together just a bit harder.
If you haven’t seen Lorn’s new video for Ghosst (s) you’re missing precisely that which it conveys and upon finishing you’ll realize that’s a problem.