Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Greening of America Redux

Individualism is becoming an increasingly rarified commodity. There are many eccentric people with equally eccentric desires and attitudes, but they're all finding a home for their restive spirits in millenarian ideologies which offer hope. And what is the hope? That they will be magically transformed by joining a group. Remember Charles Reich’s The Greening of Americathe bestseller that was serialized in The New Yorker back in 1970? Remember Timothy Leary’s “turn on, tune in and drop out?” One of the most aspirational of all aspirational human desires is that for the “angry fix” Alan Ginsberg sang about in “Howl,” “angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night…” Are the throngs rallying to the cause seeking freedom for all or some kind of crowd sourced acid trip holding out the promise of happy trails forever? Will some dewy-eyed yet potentially power mad feminist become the Harvey Weinstein of tomorrow?  It’s one thing to be a dweeb, a geek, a weirdo and to enjoy all the grandiosity and self-flagellation that goes along with such posturing and another to rally the masses—today through your social media account—creating the equivalent of revolutionary cells. Are there shades of the Weimar era beer hall putsch in these proto-fascistic movements which turn liberation ideologies into mantras whose leaders themselves begin to issue fatwas. Today’s “chicken in every pot” seems to be that that polymorphous perversity leads to happiness. Is there some truth to the fact that no matter what the inclination, no matter what orifice is the finish line for the trajectory of human desire (what are the gender politics of olfactory fucking?), that everyone eventually ends up in a room with another person, biological organism or even plant who finds it easier to hate in the other what they fear and despise in themselves?

N.B.: read Francis Levy's short story, "Pet Buddha"in Vol. 1 Brooklyn. 

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