Thursday, May 22, 2003

"He's a tormented soul, because he doesn't want to turn into a monster; yet he enjoys the feeling of power.." --Stan Lee on The Hulk (substitute: The American Empire)

In a film i saw, [the Spanish surrealist playwright] Arrabal called Bobby Fischer a mystic. Yes. As there are insights which change nothing, so also does the world have impotent divinities.

If a sculptor of marble gets diverted into making mud-pies, that's not tragic. If the world runs out of marble and he goes around busting up old statues for their material, that's just being practical. But if the world still has marble and he believes (whether told or self-deluded) that marble must be made in the mind and can only be had by wishing for it, that's tragic.

    "The Last Artists"

They learned every coercion,
  forgot how to ask.

(4 17 83)

'Where men are lacking, strive to be a man.' --sayings of Rabbi Hillel, quoted in: Kaufmann, Religion in 4 Dimensions

Art would be so much less a mystery if we all were artists and never kept what wasn't fully inspired. Then we wouldn't have to bust our definitions trying to include everything that anybody ever kept...trying to put into words the nonverbal part because all we understand is words...

The avantgarde is a necessary position because today art must provide what used to be taken for granted, a common cultural context... --i wrote to [my publisher]. But the absence of culture is our common context, and so the struggle is not against dead traditions but against indiscriminate eclecticism. Most of those who appear to be "traditional" artists* have borrowed a few signs from the impressionists, some from the Dutch Masters (not much! not enough!), and the rest from the corpse-corpus of Academic painting as it has lingered in textbooks alone. What is their attitude? That subject matter and a certain "finish" make a legitimate picture. Well? By their refusal to take chances, they are killing art with Boredom. (Wanting to paint just like Rembrandt or Vermeer is a slavish ambition, but at least it's ambitious--like all those who climb Mt Everest after the first one...)

'46. "Weakness of the Will": that is a metaphor that can prove misleading. For there is no will, and consequently neither a strong nor a weak will. The multitude and disgregation of impulses and the lack of any systematic order among them result in a "weak will"; their coordination under a single predominant impulse results in a "strong will": in the first case it is the oscillation and the lack of gravity; in the latter, the precision and the clarity of the direction.'
*this goes double for NeoFormalists. What an epidemic of epigonorrhea!

We got in an old book on "Fighting Venereal Diseases". Glued inside the front cover is a letter dated 1920 from the Treasury Dept, US Public Health Service instructing that "This book is to be placed in all Dallas barber shops...You may not be aware of the fact that during the year 1919, over fifteen hundred Dallas citizens visited specialists on venereal diseases and were found to be infected with either gonorrhea or syphilis. Thirty-four of these fifteen hundred died."

The first new Chicken joke of the 21c: "comrade #1: Comrade, why did the free-range chicken cross the road?

comrade # 2: Because she enjoyed exercising her rights as a free citizen of the range!" (from

No comments: