Monday, November 28, 2016


I think that what bugs me
most  -  in today's world  -
anyway, is the way people
have been co-opted and have
let themselves be taken over
by everything else directed
at them. Everything is glib
and happy  -  or presented
that way. In 1967, in the
years I'm talking of here,
through my lens of the
Studio School and the
rest -  my Daniel Boone
moment setting out
through a strange city  -
there was, by contrast, a
dark blanket thrown over
everything. You 'knew,'
for instance, that cartoons
existed, but they were for
kids. Farmer Brown really
could hide behind skinny
trees, and cats really could
come out of faucets, but
that was kept away, aside;
everyone knew it was
a kid's thing, and left
it. Now, by contrast, and
only as example, you
have idiot adults swarming
a midtown Manhattan where
every ad-board, light-panel,
and even store-by-name are
'Cartoon.' A quality of pure
infantilism has crept in, and
been pressed on, whereby the
serious, dour world of adult
and adult concerns, and
philosophical motivations
and psychological presentations
have all been usurped. Billion-
dollar movie industries have
in the face of all the world's
problems, been erected which
peddle and continue this
dreck  -  and the wisest
and most cool among us,
supposedly, stay involved
and speak for it. People
worship their retarded
entertainment people.
Endlessly. What a dumb,
sick world. There is no
longer anything
introspective. Not even
in Art  -  which is where
I set out to be. It soon
enough lost its fervor
of mission for me as
I began realizing how
it too had been nearly
corrupted. Introspective
aspects of work and
design were beginning
to fall away to flippancy
and the ironic detachment
of comic distance. 'Look
at this all, how silly it is!'
That had become the
catchphrase. Like the
Monkees too.
Andy Warhol used to say,
as a form of dumb amazement
at the 'wonderful' world we
are presented with, that
a movie star could drink
the very same Coke that you
do, and that the Queen of
England couldn't get a
better hot dog at Yankee
Stadium than anyone else.
I suppose he meant that some
great equality of everything
had finally descended on the
consumerist paradise this
land had become (off of which,
of curse, he made millions
repeating it endlessly). His
notion of 'Democracy' sucked.
To him it somehow meant an
agreeable access to accessible
consumer goods for everyone.
Oh, just great  -  the problem
never was the access, it was
more, first off, the means of
access. I could NOT afford
the same Rolls Royce or
caviar that this 'Queen' could.
(Only Warhol would use
'Queen' so unself-consciously).
It was not just about the
'access.' I too can watch
Chinese TV, but I wouldn't
understand a word. The
disparity of both wealth
distribution, and purchasing
power, and the conscious
awareness of that, makes
the difference. The rabble
in the street are just the
'rubble.' The rich remain
the rich. Like that current
dumb-ass statue of Ralph
Kramden  -  in the previous
chapter, at Port Authority
Bus Terminal  -  it makes
the 'assumption' by those
that be (in power, or ruling)
that their selective input
into your life, all as
approved, will reflect
reality, and not be offensive.
For instance, I could not put
up a statue of, say, Verlaine,
or Rimbaud, or even Walter
Scott. They pre-date
everything, here, and no
one makes the connection,
but they 'represent', as well.
something 'other.' How many
actually know or care about
who Ralph Kramden is/was,
or Jackie Gleason, is beyond
me, but that never matters.
Idiots attract.  Here's the deal :
'the universal modifications
in the fabric of daily life each
transform novelty items into
constant and utilitarian objects
that we then have no choice
about. They alter our temporal
dimension in radical ways,
bringing us ever closer to
the usurpation of consciousness
by our incremental transformation
into automata.' Kind of means,
they got you by the balls.
That's what I objected to. All
that 'same' consumption of goods
and all that 'same' thinking and
habits of use : no distinction
between you and me. Transiency,
redundancy, an entire mass
unconscious being messed
with. That's pretty evil. I
stayed clear.  Today's morons,
gathered around that statue,
gaze at it, unfocused, not even
sure what they're looking at
IF they even see it. The tourists
from Dubuque, they go 'Aw!',
and smile, and take photos
gathered around it  - arms on
it like some best friend.
Boyfriends and girlfriends
kiss at it for their photos.
It's (literally) mind-numbing
and a really bad display, as
well, of all the rest of the
Times Square gibberish
just to the east. This was
once America, a place of
standards and values, with
a traditional reverence (or
at least I had it) towards
all those writers and artists
and strugglers who came
through here : darkness, with
an intensity. I hold my  hands
out to William Carlos Williams,
not Ralph Kramden; sorry.
Down to Chinatown, and 
it's sort of the same thing, 
maybe a little in reverse. 
Even weirder. They tore 
down, in the late 60's
and early 70's, a large 
swath of things in order, 
near to Canal St., and
the Bowery, to erect what's
called Confucius Plaza. 
It's very strange, especially 
because, first, no one
seemed to care, and
everyone just let
themselves get plowed 
over and pushed around,
by the usual 'interest' 
groups and Chinese 
Benevolent Societies
in bed with the usual 
city authorities, to then
re-make and thematically 
alter their own central
Chinatown crossroads.
But what was even weirder
than that was the 'retro'
aspect of all this. Confucius
was in dis-favor  -  not just 
in China, but everywhere. 
His old, very traditional, 
filled with protocol and 
ancestor-worship approach
to things by then had
been relegated to the 
junkheap. It was as if,
perhaps, a monument 
to Cuneiform chiseling 
were to be erected at 
the site of some Johannes
Gutenberg printing plant 
headquarters. It was
that different  - from the
cultural and consumer 
ethos of the present, from
the now (then). There was
a large, very oversize statue,
a center plaza post, flags,
granite, inscriptions. and
seats. Whoever they thought
would be attending to this,
they never showed up  -  that
plaza now is a dead-man's
traffic island with little sense
of place or purpose. 
People have been 
somehow 'equalized' by 
all their everyday habits  
all those phones and
messages and tweets 
and posts and computers 
and games. Everything's 
been lost when some 
current fake-media 
wanna-be (I only use as 
an example, and am, in
fact, not really even
sure what that is) gets
presented as the  'same'
thing for me as for you.
As if we all must be 'in'
 on the know, and each in
the same, glib/stupid way.
Same for you, same for me
Just like the Queen's 
hot dog. (Huh?)...

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