Thursday, January 21, 2010

"For me, the nearest contemporary equivalent of the chivalric knight of the 11th and 12th centuries is the trendy hipster"

    "The Wilder Shores of Love" (part 1)

Drinking some coffee from Sumatra, it occurred to me that the pleasure of this taste actually resides more in the back of the palate than in other portions more commonly associated with delectation. With whiskey, moreover, particularly those single malts from Islay, even the nearer parts of the sinuses partake. I think for all the senses, one form of sophistication (besides discrimination & identifying) must be that of the subaltern (or centrifugal?): raising the marginal to prominence. Dissonant music & color schemes, bitter flavors (kimchee) you learn to relish, but also in reading far more than just the story-message. As when you look through a telescope and point your eyes to the rim of the eyepiece, so that the more light-sensitive portions of your retina can espy a faint star ("averted vision"). From Symbolism on, the meaning of much poetry has been shuffled onto associations and aftertastes, until finally it may have little or no discoverable narrative at all.

This was brought home to me in a different way when i heard that the movie Cruising (which i have not seen), received with some hostility and thereafter placed among its creators' lesser efforts, had upon its recent first-DVD-release occasioned a certain degree of reëvaluation, "Maybe it wasn't so bad," or even something more like tempered praise. Have our tastes as moviegoers changed enough to accept what earlier moviegoers found utterly unpalatable? When not only huge fandoms exist for giallo and "torture porn" like the Saw series, but also Ed Wood and "Joe Coffin" (not to mention Folk Art), nothing in the past seems off-limits. I coined the word armorakiative (resembling horseradish-sauce in the way it divides people into those who love it and those who hate it) for a number of aesthetically-challenging works that may be found in quite a few media & genres, the highly-amplified saxophone cacophony of Borbetomagus being a good example. There was a double live album of theirs i used to play all 4 sides of, straight through; and there must have been a few other people in that early heyday of Industrial Music who did the same. Did we find it beautiful in a new way, or something else altogether, alloyed of pain & pleasure both?

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