Saturday, May 27, 2006

X-Men III or The Devil and Daniel Johnston: Who'd Win?

I'm finding out that this here cookie, digesting inside of me, ain't shitting me gently. I can't even start to tell you the details...and God knows I've tried! The kicker is that I've only been able to identify with very few people in my life. I 've learned the importance of empathy, only because I know that it's something that matters to others--It has not done anything for me in ages. My personal one-way street, I thought.

When you find a source for something that comes so rare in your life, you want to horde it. Well, maybe you are a better person than I, but damn it if I don't feel like that every time I feel like things are getting better, the rug gets yanked out from under my feet. So, I never curse the source, but that which leads me there in the first place.

Being a creative mind, I usually am subject to the pages of my sources. Believe it or not, these sources rarely give me joy. They mostly annoy me, because of the constant barging in. When a source or muse that inspires me as well as comforts, I get real worried when it's jeopardized.

My notion of God is an example. Now, I'm not a child. I am aware of the realities of existence, but concepts are as real as anything else. Ever felt love before? Well, I really get conflicted when this source starts to fade from my life, due to my tendencies to search and destroy everything I believe in. Why do I do this? Well, it's complicated. I have to clean house of fallacies constantly, because they are destructive to my well being. With God, I have found a paradox. This is what some would consider a fallacy, but I have felt God. So, when my natural tendencies kick in, busting down doors and killing off my many little Santas, I try real hard to hold on to this one thing in my life--God. I know that when they are close, I start to blame those that led me to the source of this muse--the way I perceive eternity. It seems that it is easier to offer that red herring to my mind police, hoping that they'll take the tour guides instead of my precious source.

Sometimes, in my life, I've willingly shared these things in spite of my wariness. When it has helped another, it sprung another source of joy for me. Still, I could never fully relate, but I liked that I helped someone realize happiness. The closer I came to actually feeling like I could share something besides a concept and such, I tried sharing myself, my most coveted item. Sometimes this worked, but only in small doses. Mostly, I was met with weird stares or total confusion. So, the few times I've lent someone the entire back catalog of my life/my "self", I got real worried that I'd made a huge mistake. I pretty much end every real personal posting on this blog with me saying to myself, "Don't do it, you fool!"

Now you know why I've been doing this with more frequency. I'm trying to kill myself, but not suicide. I've wanted to deconstruct myself outside of my subjective mind and lay it out for others to evaluate. I'm trying to lose myself in order to find out the answer to the ultimate question: Who am I? Writing is how I choose to do that. A story might seem to you as a real event, fiction, or whatever, but secretly I'm coding my psychosis, neurosis, and genius in its adaptation. My humor is a perfect example of this.

A friend frequently asks me, "Why you so damn funneh?" Well, maybe I'm not. I actually have found that it just comes out that way and then people laugh. I found out that it was something worth examining and repeating. What is it? It is my defense mechanism. I try to bend the ugliness of the world into a shape that I can cope with. This is my humor. Why am I funneh so often? Because, I have to be. I have to be!

What does any of this have to do with the title of this post? Let me tell you about my day.

First of all, lets get one thing clear: The only poster in my room is of Mohammed Ali, with the Adidas slogan, "Impossible is nothing." I have a couple of paintings and various works of my own hanging up. I don't hang pictures, but I should. What I do not have are action figures, comic books, and posters that any respectable manchild would want. So, why would I possibly want to go see X-Men III?

Well, Famke Jansen comes to mind, along with Halle Berry and Rebecca Romaine Lettuce. Anna Pannequin is hot in my book as well. I've always enjoyed the rough aesthetic of Wolverine--I'm fond of my double knee rip stop khaki work pants, crew-neck T's, and anything with Levi's or Dickies on the tag. Go-to-hell boots are a must, too ( I recommend Rocky steel-toed work boots). Yes, I wear other things, but that is for the sake of other people or circumstances. So why didn't I see this movie?

Well, it all started with a trip to a sandwich joint--a real one. This guy from Jersey makes the best sandwiches for under seven bucks that I've ever had. Saturday is also the day that I get my "Brando" on. No bucket of chicken is safe with me. So whilst I waited for my Philly cheese steak to get made, I perused the local theater listings in the ubiquitous urban indie rag. In there I find the review to The Devil and Daniel Johnston, and filed this information under "must see".

A little segue here: When my sandwich arrived, I noticed that there was a framed review of this place from a local paper just above me. I noticed that I was eating the same sandwich featured in the photo. I was later hit on the head by that framed photo--crashing down on me to get some payback, I suppose. Who knew that sandwiches had souls? I think I'm gonna sue.

After getting done with lunch, my brother and me made for the big multi-plex. When upon arriving there, we noticed that it was way too packed and decided to cheese it. I had to fulfill my one CD a week requirement this weekend, so a trip to a music store was in order (I know, I'm old fashioned). I purchased a particular CD that has a certain song that is supposed to wield supernatural powers over girls' panties. This is quite a step forward (backward?) for a guy that owns every Black Sabbath album that Ozzy was on, as well as most of Mott the Hoople's glam masterworks. Come on, I'm a dude, yeah? Wait...not that kind of dude, sorry.

After this homework assignment was completed, I conversed with my bro, "Hey bro, you look like you need to be inspired."

My bro: "Okay."

See, this is the power that I have over him. So, I set course for the Bohemian district, where Tag body spray doesn't work--well, at least not the effect I was hoping for, anyway. It is there where one finds the putrid scent of run down theaters, preserved and operated by caring, ironic-hipster homosexuals. Well, through my steely gaze, anyone that accessorizes themselves in such a way is probably gay or incapable of self defense. I kid, honestly, I do. I just can't wait until they start giving plaid, or paisely shirts, and Doc Marten boots the ironic seal of approval. I would have a goldmine to sell on Ebay.

So, when will a Franz Ferdinand or Strokes version of the paisely underground come, anyway? Kids, there's another genre to exploit after all! Record companies, start your bidding wars. Of course, those were the bands that ripped off The Raspberries, The Modern Lovers, and Big Star, which in turn ripped off The Beatles, who ripped off Elvis, who ripped off black people. See what you really are, hipsters? Oppressors! Sorry, I just wanted to have some fun there.

Why am I bringing down the hipster scene? Well, because they are the sort that exploit people like Daniel Johnston. And I was there to see a movie about his tortured life. Ironic, huh? Damn!

So, everybody knows that the fountain of hip resides in Austin. I'm not making fun of it, but the only tortured artist soul that they haven't claimed, yet, is Syd Barrett, and we don't even know if he really exists anymore. Anyways, we all know that they've preserved Roky Erickson in Lucite, by now. So why not try to put another creative savant on a stick and wave them around for everyone to see the so-called "vanguard of all that is hip" in action. It is their little quirk, and it has been slowly but surely fading away, from the skimming effects of big corporations and over saturation (they've heard of Athens Georgia and Seattle, haven't they?). I sound like I hate this scene. No, I don't. I hate its evil, suburbanite spawn that ruins it for everyone else and finds shelter inside my favorite second-hand record stores, looking for something kitschy/quirky to obsess over. Well, I think I did drift a bit again, sorry. At least they aren't into patchouli oil and incense. I've offended you, haven't I? Come back to Grunty, I promise that I still love you.

Well, I won't say much about the movie, so you will get the whole experience when/if you decide to see it. Daniel Johnston is touted as a creative genius. See, you thought that I had forgotten my original premise, but you mis-underestimated me, didn't you? *Ba-dum-dum, kish!* Well, I basically watched a movie about a mentally ill man, who has a real reedy voice, sing some pretty songs. I guess there's something to them, honest and heartfelt, but no irony. This is why I think that he was accepted by these hipsters: he offered them simple and honest emotions of a troubled soul. He had no reason to fake or be pretentious. What hipster would really love Mountain Dew enough to think that his song would be used by the Pepsi Corporation as a new ad campaign--without it being ironic? Or, be over the moon about finally being on MTV? This guy really wanted to be a star like John Lennon, sincerely. He pined for an unobtainable woman, without any animosity, or stalking. He loved God and hated the Devil, and he meant it.

I started to see how the muses in his life worked, much like mine. While I'm nowhere near crazy, I do feel empathy for him, and I'm sure he is one of the few who would make me feel satisfied if he tried empathizing in return. Because, I feel that he knows a little something about the damn knocking that comes into your head at 3 am and tells you to write a song, a paragraph, a character's profile, or a plot summary. He knew that God was a source for him, and his mind police came after it. He saw this as the Devil, and had a love hate relationship with those that led him to his primary source: his parents and his church. Again, you can't hate a source like this once you've tasted it's joy, not this type. Remember what I said earlier, you begin to despise those who led you there. Why? Because, you sometimes wonder if you would have been better off without even knowing its pleasure in the first place, because the pain of losing it is so intense, no matter how esoteric or intangible it may be.

I know that getting "burned" by human muses is hard to get over (his so-called girlfriend in college), but that does not compare to the insanity of losing your cannon of core concepts. Daniel obsessed over Satan, and this became just as big a muse as God to him--the classic battle between good and evil. I find that for me, a relatively mentally sound individual, that I cling onto this battle for romantic purposes. It is appealing in a rather quaint way, but I find that it simplifies the gray area of life, and I really thrive in that world, so, much that it scares me. I'll tell people that I am on a side, so as to help them along in their feeble attempts to categorize me. But, I am only on my side, it turns out. Daniel was too, but he was incapable of making this manageable. So, the results are this: if you can't manage your creativity you either rot away in obscurity, or get handled. Daniel has been lucky to have had various souls who have played caretaker to him along the way, and they tried to provide the rest of the world some context in which they could appreciate his genius. We have to accomplish this fully cognizant of the nature of the real beast: greed and failure. I think that's what's so endearing about a guy like this: innocence.

Is a guy like that being extolled or just exploited? Is a guy like me just jealous? Well, I can handle being exploited if it pays well enough. I thought that maybe I should start by singing horribly, playing my guitar left handed, and frequent hipster joints with an irony-free visage. Would I be the next contestant on "Who's America's Next Big Cracked Genius"? I think that it is a weird message to tell people that savants are all magical geniuses; because, I'm sure that being one is not very fun at all. I'm glad that I'm able to make sense of the pain in my life, and understand how my muses work. I don't think Daniel does. He's a slave to his muses.

Later on, after the movie, my battleship-dwarfing brother wanted fooooood! I relented. I was not doing it up Brando style again, that's for sure. I've come too far to go back to that one dreaded number on the scale again--you know, the one that says "Wakey wakey, fat ass!" So, it's to the beloved Panda Express. I go for a one entree dinner and my black hole de comida brother ordered a three entree with two egg rolls, but this is the funny part: We both came back to our tables with Mountain Dew. You probably didn't get that, so read again from the top. Anyway, after I was done I opened up my fortune cookie, and I felt that the fortune (posted at the top) was an appropriate one for the day.

I don't care if this was all rather unfocused and long. Sometimes what you experience in a day meanders, much like this post. But, if you stop and listen closely, those meanderings hide nuggets and pearls: muses. Sometimes I resent life--hate it. But, just because it may be difficult doesn't mean I have to despair. Daniel seems to enjoy his wild ride--I saw an extreme example in him of this principle at work. So, I think that I'll try to let it flow, not hold back, and share a bit more sincerely, without resenting or distrust. I might, just might, get somewhere with all of this. And as for that one-way street, I'm building another lane.


Mayden's Voyage said...

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
- Annie Dillard

I saw that quote this weekend, seemed proper to send it to you. And like me, some days I meanander, and some days I have a flying garbage truck to drive (LOL), and some days I feed an ex-co worker named Lance who loves to ride his bike :) Not exactly, but you know what I mean.

You said, "I try to bend the ugliness of the world into a shape that I can cope with." you think that sometimes there are things we, as humans, can never really cope with? Somethings we just survive? I don't know.
You're either passionately fueled, or fueled anycase, I am stunned by all that pours out of you. YOu are like a mad rushing waterfall...and I feel like a tiny tea cup trying to take in all that you express. I'm being honest here--and I want to respond to you, but I hardly know where to begin! :)
And perhaps it isn't important "what" I want to say to you...rather it's more important for me to say that I heard you--and on some level, I understand.
-Cora :)

Logophile said...

Grunty, I do love you, I love Mountain Dew and hipsters in paisley shirts.
Meander on, baby, the road less travelled is always a good way to go.

Chief Scientist said...

My papa always said "a true gentleman dresses impeccably, can quote Cole Porter songs by heart and is always in love with a beautiful woman." Which is pretty much what you said condensed by a guy who's been around a lot longer than us. And he still has perfect hair and is a true Renaissance man, so I think you are on the right track.

On the God thing, if you are a student of history or math ( or both ) you know the concept of infinity was created specifically to account for the possibility that there might not be a God. You need infinite possibilities to end up where we are without a plan. So 9 out of 10 scientists agree with you there too.

Chris said...

My papa alway said, liquor in front, poker in the rear.

God is infinite and I'll take my sandwiches with Rebecca Romain Lettuce any day.

The Grunt said...

I just want to state, for the record, that I'm not hating on Austin. I think that would be a cool place for a guy like me to live. The only thing, though, if I moved there, I would claim it for Gruntonia!

I'll try to respond individually the best that I can on this one.

Cora~I loved the Annie Dillard Quote. Thanks for sharing it. I don't know that I even know how to respond to myself, sometimes. I get on these intense creative/expressive planes that mystify me. After I come down, I sit back and have to read what I just wrote over and over, and honestly it is just a rush. Although, I have been known to fail miserabley. However, if you don't put yourself out there, then you never really gain anything.

Logo~Will do. I love you back in a way that your husband doesn't need to crush my skull in for. Mountain Dew Code Red!!! I'm drinking one now, baby!

Cash~ Thanks for mentoring me. Your dad sounds wise and also a hoot to boot. Cole Porter, huh? I'll get busy on that one. I've already mastered the "panties flying off" song, but my voice sounds too much like Warren Zevon's to make it work for younger girls. Leave it to me to turn a emo-ish tune into a gruff whiskey-soaked sea shanty.

Chris~Your dad was wise too. Dirty, but wise!

Scott said...

Excellent post. Love following the meanderings of a man on a journey. The movie sounds interesting, might have to check that out soon.


vera said...

i think Black Sabbath has magical powers over some girls' panties... just depends on the girl. be wary of those affected by justin timberlake. im just looking out for your best interest grunty... timberlake is bad news.

Outdoorsy Girl said...

I enjoyed meandering along with you.

Good luck with converting your one way street into a two-laner. I am working on a project of this sort in my own life right now. Damn, it's hard!

Humor is my defense mechanism, too. Love the way you put it into words... "I try to bend the ugliness of the world into a shape that I can cope with"... Couldn't have worded it better. Genius!

I'm really interested in checking out this movie now.

Anyhoo...keep on enjoying the wild ride of life. We're all here to meander along with you.

Gentleman-hobbs said...

Trying to be good and deep is a bit of a curse. I'm like that. But then at least you are trying to add to the world which is more than can be said for so many others. I have faced a lot of shit and corruption myself but feel I am now starting to come out the other end stronger. Blogging shows the depth out there and the optimist in me says there are more good people than bad.

Melliferous Pants said...

Please forgive me for skimming, but I'm about to rush off to see X-Men III. Really I am.

And I don't know about Tag body spray, but Death Cab for Cutie once worked on me.

Chief Scientist said...

When I become Emperor Of The World, emo haircuts will be the first thing to go. Emo music second, but emo haircuts first. So enjoy them while you can.