Friday, June 17, 2005

from "America"

by Allen Ginsberg

I'm addressing you.
Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I'm obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It's always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie
producers are serious. Everybody's serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.


by W.H. Auden

Doom is dark and deeper than any sea-dingle.
Upon what man it fall
On spring, day-wishing flowers appearing,
Avalanche sliding, white snow from rock-face,
That he should leave his house,
No cloud-soft hand can hold him, restraint by women;
But ever that man goes
Through place-keepers, through forest trees,
A stranger to strangers over undried sea,
Houses for fishes suffocating water,
Or lonely on fell as chat,
By pot-holed becks
A bird stone-haunting, an unquiet bird.

There head falls forward, fatigued at evening,
And dreams of home,
Waving from window, spread of welcome,
Kissing of wife under single sheet;
But waking sees
Bird-flocks nameless to him, through doorway voices
Of new men making another love.

Save him from hostile capture,
From sudden tiger's spring at corner;
Protect his house,
His anxious house where days are counted
From thunderbolt protect,
From gradual ruin spreading like a stain;
Converting number from vague to certain,
Bring joy, bring day of his returning,
Lucky with day approaching, with leaning dawn.

(August 1930)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Jesus Was Way Cool

Jesus was way cool.
Everybody liked Jesus.
Everybody wanted to hang out with him.
Anything he wanted to do, he did.
He turned water into wine.
And if he wanted to,
He could have turned weed into marijuana,
Or sugar into cocaine,
Or vitamin pills into amphetamines.

He walked on the water and swam on the land.
He would tell these stories,
And people would listen.
He was really cool.

If you were blind or lame,
You just went to Jesus,
And he would put his hands on you,
And you would be healed.
That's so cool.

He could have played guitar better than Hendrix,
He could have told the future,
He could have baked the most delicious cake in the world.
He could have scored more goals than Wayne Gretzky.
He could have danced better than Barishnakov.
Jesus could have been funnier than any comedian you could think of.
Jesus was way cool.

He told people to east his body and drink his blood.
Thats way cool.
Jesus was so cool.

But then some people got jealous of how cool Jesus was.
So they killed him.
But then he rosed from the dead.
He rose from the dead, danced around, and went up to heaven.
I mean, that's so cool.
Jesus was way cool.

No wonder there are so many Christians.

- King Missile "Jesus Was Way Cool"

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

travel safe.

A foor and light-hearted I take to the open road!
Healthy, free, the world before me!
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose!
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I am good fortune.
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing.
Strong and content, I travel the open road.

-Walt Whitman


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

War and Pacifism, by Einstein and Freud

Albert Einstien (1929): My pacifism is an instinctive feeling that possesses me because the murder of men is disgusting. My attitude is not derived from any intellectual theory but is based on my deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and hatred. I might go on to rationalize this reaction, but that would really be "a posteriori" thinking. I am an absolute pacifist. One of the main objects of my life is to oppose, at every turning, the ancient European tradition of warfare. That tradition still retains its power, but even so I am not discouraged. I believe in taking a holy oath never to participate in any act of violence.

Sigmund Freud (in a letter to Einstein, 1933): Because every man has a right over his own life and war destroys lives that were full of promise; it forces the individual to shame his manhood, obliging him to murder fellow men, against his will; it ravages material amenities, the fruits of human toil, and much besides. Moreover, wars, as now conducted, afford no scope for acts of heroism according to the old ideals and, given the high perfection of modern arms, war today would mean the sheer extermination of one of the combatants, if not of both. This is so true, so obvious, that we can but wonder why the conduct of war is not banned by general consent.

I pass on to another point, the basis, as it strikes me, of our common hatred of war. It is this: We cannot do otherwise than hate it. Pacifists we are, since our organic nature wills us thus to be. Hence it comes easy to us to find arguments that justify our standpoint.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Gould meets Gould

text by Glenn Gould (b. 1932 - d. 1982, concert pianist, Canadian)

Glenn Gould: Is there something particular you would like to talk about?

Glenn Gould: What about native rights in Alaska?

Glenn Gould: Well, I must confess I had a rather more conventional line of attack, so to speak, in mind, Mr. Gould. As I'm sure you're aware, the virtually obligatory question in regards to your career is the controversy you created by giving up live concert performances at the age of 32 and choosing to communicate only through the media. I feel we must at least touch on it.

G.G.: As far as I'm concerned it involves moral rather than musical considerations, in which case, be my guest.

G.G.: Now, you've been quoted as saying that your involvement with recording, with media in general indeed, represents the future...

G.G.: That's correct.

G.G.: ... and that conversely the concert hall, the recital hall, the operahouse, what-have-you, represent the past, an aspect of your own past perhaps as well as in more general terms music's past.

G.G.: That's true.

G.G.: I hope you forgive me for saying that these ideas are only partly justified. Also I feel that you, Mr. Gould, have foregone the privilege that is rightfully yours of communicating with an audience.

G.G.: From a power-base?

G.G.: From a setting in which the naked fact of your humanity is unedited and unadorned.

G.G.: Couldn't I at least be allowed to display the tuxedo fallacy perhaps?

G.G.: Please Mr. Gould, I don't feel that we should allow this conversation to degenerate. I tried to pose the question in all candor and...

G.G.: Then I'll try and answer likewise. To me, the ideal audience to artist relationship is a one to zero relationship. That's where the moral objection comes in.

G.G.: Run that by me again?

G.G.: First, I'm not happy with words like "public" and "artist." I'm not happy with the hierarchical implications of that kind of terminology. The artist should be granted anonymity. He should be permitted to operate in secret, as it were, unconcerned with or, better still, unaware of the presumed demand of the marketplace, which demands, given sufficient indifference on the part of a sufficient number of artists, would simply disappear. Given that disappearence, the artist will then abandon his false sense of public responsibility, and his audience or public will relinquish its role of servile dependency.

G.G.: And never the twain shall meet.

G.G.: No, they'll make contact but on a much more meaningful level.

G.G.: Well, Mr. Gould, I'm well aware that this sort of idealistic role-swapping has a certain rhetorical flourish. The creative audience concept that you've devoted a lot of interview space to elsewhere, has a kind of McCluen-esque (?) fascination, but yet you conveniently forget that the artist, however hermetic his lifestyle, is still in effect an autocratic figure; he's still, however benevolently, a social dictator, and his public, however generously enfrachised by electronic options, is still on the receiving end of the experience; and all your neo-midevil anonymity requests on behalf of the artist as zero, all your vertical pan-culturalism (?) on behalf of his public isn't going to change that.

G.G.: May I speak now?

G.G.: Of course. I didn't mean to get carried away there, but I do feel strongly about...

G.G.: About the artist as Superman?

G.G.: That's not quite fair, Mr. Gould.

G.G.: Or about the interlocutor as controller of the conversation perhaps?

G.G.: No need to be rude.

G.G.: (pause) What about this: if we imagine that the artist....