Went to the Akron Art Museum for a reading by given by some poets. Their work was multi-faceted and evocative, and made me at some point think about some of my long-held beliefs about my place in the world. One of the poets, for instance, talked about how the piece of art made him feel, an attitude that in my younger days would have caused me to smirk and cringe and think ‘how self-indulgent!’ I’m sure a snort would have shown up as well.
Now, though, I believe that that sort of approach is actually probably more humble than talking about the work of art. It’s absolutely more honest, as the way we react, hear, or otherwise absorb the text or artifact in question. It’s arrogant to think that we can change it, somehow, magically, by talking about it – we can only act upon, treat it for what it’s worth, fuck with it in all the proper ways.
Language brings the heat.
I tried to rhyme but failed.
I need to grade, but a report on NPR this morning was surprisingly neutral toward the well-accepted meme (accepted by all the right people, of course) that the release of GTA5 will trigger the apocalypse. In particular, the story featured a discussion of female anti-heroes (a la Tony Soprano and Walter White), and made me think about punishment in pop culture, and if perhaps we’re not ready for female anti-heroes.
If we’re not, then why not?
More to chew on later…
I often feel the need (because how-dare-I-claim-this-knowledge) to disavow any experience that in my mind feels primal. I get all the arguments about residual vestiges of connections that I can’t possibly know (as a Westerner completely divorced in many ways from any sense of dread or awe or visceral need) what those who came before me knew. I agree that these experiences are not mine, and thus I cannot possibly feel them too. I smirk knowingly at the idea that anyone’s experience is one that I can share, and I maintain my academic distance and try, as Trent Reznor sez, to be up above it.
I’m also reluctant to claim that any recorded experience can somehow be a connection to the primal (the Ancient, Gaia, whatever). By definition the translation of sound waves into an electronic format that are then placed on a technological medium cannot be primal, my rhetorician self says. My politically astute self says, holy cow, yet more Western exploitation and appropriation of someone else’s emotions (see rock kin roll, circa 1954 to now), and I find another level on which I feel vaguely embarrassed for feeling that I have some ability to tap into something deeper than my current experience.
And then I listen to something celtic, or punk rock, or honest non-mainstream hip hop, or trance, or bluegrass, or chants, Gregorian or otherwise, and I can’t help it, but something seemingly at my core shudders and moves and wants to run through the woods or climb through the deserts or float through the rapids or pound someone in a mosh pit or weep at a loss or howl at the moon, and I know that others share this, others who I will be joining in some amazing place very soon. I feel the grief buried in a text (or two), and I cannot help but believe that that grief is not a cultural construct, not something that some clever person who sees out of our false consciousness prison is able to identify and categorize and label and thus render impotent. I emphathize with someone who has experienced the same thrills that I have, or different ones that are close, and I know the joy that comes from busting the key wave at the top of Double Z or pulling hard on that sketchy hold and smelling the rock so close and understanding at a core level that the I could have, easily could have, missed that move, but that I didn’t.
Or I listen to this: