Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Carl and Simon have been discussing this line of Mark’s:

“What Pop lacks now is the capacity for nihilation, for producing new potentials through the negation of what already exists.”

Creation-through-destruction is a particularly white western myth -- Futurism, Picasso, and punk -- that I haven’t found in other traditions (not saying it ain’t there; I just haven’t seen it): jazz critics called Coltrane’s stuff anti-jazz, but the vibe I get from his playing isn’t anything as small-potatoes as a negation of past art. If he’s protesting anything, it’s the condition of life itself.

Sure, there’s an emotional zing of saying, or howling, the art of the past sucks, but as anything more than metaphor -- if taken as a call to action -- it’s fascism. And I don’t just say it because the original white western theorist of destroying the past was a literal fascist (as I’ve written about before).

Item: the Taliban destroying 1,500-year-old statues of the Buddha.

Item: the Khmer Rouge killing anyone who wears glasses.

So, I take it back, the art of the past isn’t small potatoes. I simply pity anybody who finds it oppressive on principle, and if they take concrete steps to literalize their negation of the past, then I hate their guts. In other words, as metaphor, it’s lame; as political program, it’s despicable.

I’m much more interested in a protest against the conditions of life itself.

The kid & I had a lovely evening at the playground, climbing on the kid-climbing constructions, swinging on the swing, kicking around a soccer ball, all during the magic hour of dusk; and the whole time I’m thinking, why cannot this last forever, why must this moment pass?

Why must our desires exceed our capacity?

Why must our minds imagine boundless pasts and futures, and yet be bound within mortal limits?

There’s a bitter trick being played, when we all think we’re so special when we’re not.

The voice of wisdom whispers: Accept your lot; without loss, gain would not be so sweet; without despair, joy would have no meaning; without death, there would be no new life, and what is sweeter than new life?

I’m no lover of wisdom tonight. I want the joys without the despairs and the gain without the loss and the life without the death. I feel fated to want these things; I don’t feel unique in wanting these things; I feel most people want these things; we understand the need for death except when it comes to our own and to those we love, and this impossible contradiction is the cheat of life itself.

An art that seeks to negate THAT -- now that would be interesting to me. As someone I once knew used to say to me, Shake your fist at the gods! No matter how deeply however many people love their music, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney and Aretha Franklin and Joe Strummer and Charlie Parker and Elvis and Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain and Louis Armstrong Himself are not gods.
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