Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Hocking Me a Chinik
"Autumn Rhythm" by Jackson Pollock (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, George A Hearn Fund, l957)
Some people with artistic aspirations get things ass
backwards. They believe the racquet makes the player or the bottle makes the
wine. Their as if attitude towards existence can lead to the existential crisis
in which one wakes up one day as if they were drowning, unable to stay afloat and feeling as if their whole life were a sham, their self-conception like that
of Humpty Dumpty, in short feeling as if they inhabited a false self. Norman
Mailer famously stabbed his second wife Adele Morales and there are writers who
think that maybe if they stabbed their wives they will magically attain
fame—forgetting of course that Mailer had earned plaudits for his work in spite
of the stabbing, just like the appreciation of the work of V.S. Naipaul came in
spite of the brutal and sadistic treatment of his mistress that was documented
in Patrick French’s biography ("Misogyny, mistresses sadism: why Noble prize winning author VS Naipaul is at the center of the most vicious literary war of the decade," Daily Mail, 1/30/09. Those who might choose to be recluses should be
reminded that Salinger moved up to Cornish, New Hampshire, eschewing the New
York literary world after he was famous—and not before he'd published
anything. Yes Jackson Pollock crashed his car into a tree, yes Mark Rothko
committed suicide, but the self-destruction came in the wake of careers in
which they were enormously productive. Just getting drunk all the time does not lead to creativity. Post hoc does not necessarily mean propter hoc.
One thing does not necessarily come from the other, even though it may be
marginally associated with it and that's not to discountenance the subliminally important role the Orphic impulse whereby destruction leads to creation (Joseph
Schumpeter coined the term “creative destruction” to talk about capitalist
innovation) may play in creativity. So before you stab your wife, or run off to
hide in a cave or drop some acid, you might be best advised to write your great
novels or paint your magnum oeuvre. Then leave it for posterity to decide
whether or not you're were having an out of body experience.
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.