Posts Tagged ‘art’

greetings-from-detroit

The following is a speech that I gave at the New York Forum in February 2017

OUTLAW FRATERNITY

I might as well blab about outlaw fraternity. I know a thing or two about outlaw fraternity from running with the white boys in Detroit. Pre-crack epidemic thru post-crack epidemic. I ran in stride with Ferretti was who was an art school drop-out born into a long-line of Italian masons. I mean calloused bricklayers. I mean whiskey-drinkin’, chain smokin’ and knuckle-bustin’ bricklayers.

Every day, for 15 years, a dime-a-dance Alamo. One morning, at 3 a.m., Ferretti was leaving the Lafayette Coney Island downtown. A fleeing niggro pushed him out the door. A pursuing niggro pushed him onto the sidewalk and politely said, “Scuse me, pleeez, while I shoots this mu-tha-fuckuh!”

Bang. Bang. Bang. This was TNB with proper mammy-trained style. This was Detroit, full of folksy surprises, as we knew it. It added a comic tonic to being a Post-Industrial, Post-Modern and post-hope artist.

Not at all a White Separatist, Ferretti nevertheless had fine homing instincts. Which is to say that he arrived firstest with the mostest bullshit and got hired as resident manager and handy man at an old paint factory, across from Tiger Stadium, being converted into artists’ lofts. It became Ferretti’s fiefdom. It became his own friggin’ intentional community. It also became, like NASCAR and hockey, implicitly white. Of course there was a rollicking diversity of butch and femme lesbians, tersely academic and hysterically emoting homos, amateur chefs and bohos who more or less ate from a can. And, because this was Detroit, there were resident mechanics, really ham-fisted mechanics, turned fine-artists of sorts.

Meanwhile I lived downtown in a new high-rise showpiece thick with arrivista Blacks. A luxury fortress with gym, pool, video monitors and guards in the lobby. My apartment was a rent-reduced bone to the poor. I was the token white boy in the set-aside scheme. Coleman “Soulman” Young was Detroit’s mayor from 1974-94 and hecoleman-young politicked on the racial spoils platform. The majority of my New Money neighbors were quite conservative in their I-Gots-Mine stance. Well-nested, well-behaved and well-oiled into a daily pageant of Black grandeur with Louis the Hatter and wigged-out fashions. They were their own society. The palace where I counter-slummed was across the street from the dusty courthouse where Francis Yockey once labored as a legal intern. I might as well have walked in Spengler’s in footsteps outta dumb luck.

For employment I tended bar until 4 a.m. in Mexican Town. The owner left before midnight after making a show of latin bravado and barking like a bowel-legged Chihuahua. His wife had him on a leash. A matriarchal diva, with bullet-point tits and genuine Spaniards in her blood-line, she paid me to do her daughter’s homework. It was quicker, really more efficient, than tutoring the touchy virgin. I closed the joint alone like helpless crime-bait on a dark corner. I dialed the phone and caught a cab driven by professional dirt-bags who had, when they weren’t being robbed, a symbiotic relationship with drug-runners, street-walkers, blind-pig operators and you-name-it.

Later, I taught high school in the same spooky barrio between a derelict Cadillac plant and the infamous Michigan Central Station that you see in every pathetic documentary about “The Ruins of Detroit”. The neighborhood was my own personal theater of operations, quite apart from the art scene. I slipped into what Evola might call esoteric-aryan style.

Not exactly a coward, I’m sub-beta-scared until I have an edge. I speak Spanish and that was what I needed to roll through SW Detroit. I could play dumb while José and his turf-rats talked about me; I could speak their lingo and enter their nest as a quasi-simpatico guest. Unlike my artist bros with their blue-collar and hard-nosed ethic, their dumbfuck glamour inherited from soldierly dads, their simple goy honesty unto death, I got fancy with the lip. It was a worser infraction than living upscale. It was worser signaling than my bathroom with clean linens and pristine toilet seat that showed a weakness for fluffy-ass suburban girls. Pink ’n preppy and blind to raging nihilism in Detroit.

Bilingualism is trippy. On the streets, Spanish was a wind instrument to craft double-talking waft. More airy flute than steel hammer. I must say that finessing of crisis was regarded by my hard-core artist bros as feminine and fey. Still, like leaving Detroit, I recommend it. Furthermore Spanish was a means to put Taqiya, the Islamic Art of conning a foe, into the mouth of an honest-to-goodness Midwestern rube. I recommend that too.

So yo hablo Spanish. So I’ve gotten mileage out of it. So I still had to know, while prowling around Detroit like a CIA agent on a recruitment drive in Iraq, which roads were safe. I attended the precincts that I knew. When not working, I leisurely patrolled, really trolled, the Latin-Black-Kentuckian cut of SW Detroit at night in my scratchy Chrysler K-Car. A white bro from the artists’ fraternity and myself, disguised as beefy undercover cops in a crappy American-made heap, spent many hours on the go, drinking beer and whispering like sailors on midnight watch. Sharing fears, yes, like sailors in a floating foxhole.

Of course, we talked racial politics. But in the dead of night, glancing at thoroughly depressed homes and exploring thoroughly depressed avenues, we also whispered about thoroughly depressing shit: sexual politics, family politics and deep-dark personal woes. The nice thing about Detroit is that it’s conducive to a funereal intimacy between men. As long as you keep your hands to yourself, nobody is going to call you “a fag” for emoting in the haunt of a vast urban graveyard.

This particular bro, a resident at Ferretti’s art asylum, was a character with a backstory. The good thing is that he was an high-IQ German from a line of city burghers and more articulate than most. The bad thing is that his dad had two families. Simultaneously. It was a huge scandal, an irresistible 666 and Mark of the Beast on the White Nuclear Family, when the local media discovered that a County Judge had a wife and kids in Toledo and a wife and kids in Detroit. As if it were the French Foreign Legion, my bro ran away to join the Air Force. Both his dad’s nerve, and his own ability to excel as a slacker in the US Armed Forces, taught him chutzpah. But the ol’ man destroyed my pal’s ability to trust, even within the family circle, like a properly soft-hearted goyim with a cherry-vanilla blush. So, cruising through the shithole of Detroit, we yapped about male duty, male honor and, most of all, male form in the muck. He made serial resolutions, gut-clenched, which he serially trashed. A tragic guy He combined Nietzschean Willpower with the GI Bill to put himself through law-school, then got disbarred for forging a judge’s signature like a demoralized fob. He died at 45 years old in Cambodia, where he was was allegedly starting a ex-pat newsletter. Some say that he died in a brothel for sex-tourists. Others say that he faked or forged his death.

The point: you can share a tenor of intimacy with a sincere woman who’s just too fucked-over to sustain a bond. Even with herself! And the same thing can happen withmichigan-central-station worldly but ruined men. Here’s a truth: not every white in the slums of Detroit is a Negrophile or a missionary for Racial-Cultural harmony. Many are ruined souls who feel at home, internally and externally realized, in the devastation. They crystalize into sub-tribes. I learned to connect the dots and go from one enclave to the other for beer, dope or Thanksgiving dinner. As for Ferretti today? He’s a scrub artist and a has-been on the outside. On the inside, he’s a guarded Iman who rules a sub-strata of Detroit. He gives audience, if they’re lucky, to film crews, rock stars, hipster investors and, of course, entrée level artists, lunch-bucket talents, raw newbies who’re in a rush to be World Famous parvenus in the sinkhole of Detroit. If Detroit is the post-democratic future of the West, Ferretti is atop it now as a kingpin.

I must say that my fraternity of artists in Detroit, my racial kin who feared workaday suburban life more than atavistic killer Blacks, wasn’t too rational. Hendrik Van Loon, in his “Story of Mankind”, states that men who could read and write before the 12th Century were considered sissies. So it was with my tight fraternity of artist types in Detroit. This was fine with me, as long as every night was a initiation into the blue-collar mystic, which meant getting pig-drunk and smoking pot until words dissipated in the mist. But the lazy rhythms changed when cocaine was added to the mix along with Black drug-dealers with their momma’s boy machismo. Fatherless cons who were accustomed to diddling behind bars. They brought a “sexy” jailhouse bravado. “Suck mah fuckin’ dick. I make you mah punk.”

The fly hit the buttermilk. My dear white brothers forfeited their goyish charm, their poetic idiocy, their spirited blend of Mozart and Al Capone. Even Ferretti went native.

Drinking and toking until dawn wasn’t the same. With the introduction of gangstah hype a soft white sway on a raft afloat at the far-reaches of consciousness was wrecked. The shared lilt was sunk. I felt lost. So after getting pummeled in a brawl downtown, I did what I must. I said goodbye to the artist fold and joined a karate club. Previously, one karate club had been too hard and the other had been too soft and no karate club suited my poet’s touch. But after two black-eyes and seventeen stitches between them, I had enough prevaricating. I was done with likes and dislikes. I joined the nearest dojo I could find: a chintzy Tae Kwon Do club run by Iraqi brothers who were big-chiefs in Dearborn.

Maybe it was a storefront dump to launder money. I didn’t get along with my so-called Masters. I more or less bought a black-belt and hardly learned to fight. But I befriended some senior white guys who’d alternately bulled and finessed their way through hard-hard lives. Gravel garglers with tender smiles. Lovely elders who just assumed, by the look of my beat-up face, that I born to carry the flag. To carry the high urban-cowboy standard while riding the range, mythologically speaking, for the White Male brand.

It’s the kind faces of proven men, surviving fuck-ups who’d lathed themselves into pillars of male support, that’ve kept me going. Unsatisfied with my fighting skills, I left Tae Kwon Do and joined a street-fighters club run by an Army Airborne vet and his dirty-white mavericks. I loved it. I hated it. I entered, every day, pissing my pants and left like a newly minted stud. When my Chrysler K Car finally broke down outside an oil refinery, I traded junker and title to a nearby gas station for two Hershey Bars and a pack of gum. That was Ferretti’s take on post-Apocalypse barter in Detroit. In a last act of fraternal duty, he retrieved me in his Ford truck. It reeked of his girlfriend’s guard dogs. Made feral by the rocks and bottles thrown by crackhead neighbors and their aping kids. It was Ferretti’s job to give the urban junkyard dogs an annual bath. He was more than a good guy. “All in all”, as Hamlet said about his dad, “he was a man.”

Carless in Detroit, I looked for a new school of male grooming. Maybe, alpha-male grooming within very modest parameters. I could’ve just read Castiglione’s “Book of the Courtier”. But I don’t know anything until I get bruised and bounced. Even then, it takes time to spark the brain fat.

I found an Aikido Club on the Woodward Avenue bus-line. Past the Stone Burlesk, which I entered at 16 while skipping school. Lying about joining the army to a ticket-taker who didn’t care. The bus-line took me past the the derelicstone-burleskt mansions of industrialists and lumber barons, where crack was traded in adjacent open-air markets, and where antique dealers removed artifacts with crow-bars. The aikido club, located on the campus of Wayne State University, was also within walking distance to my luxury high-rise and that was a plus when I was bored with abstracting cat’s cradles from books. Purely theoretic knits. High status but low value thinkology in a city where passions ruled. In any case, I knew Wayne State and the seedy Cass Corridor from frequenting the bars with drop-outs and grads, and from going to art shows that featured heartfelt miasmas, in paint, that framed the picture of Detroit 

I’d heard mumbles about the outlaw aikido club here and there. An inside secret like a shift in the dope market or a job under-the-table. The club was tucked into a monumental old building built by twice-dead philanthropist crackers. Implicitly racist industrialists and contemporaries of Lindbergh, Ford and Coughlin. It was yesterday’s shrine: a mono-racial, inbred child of Versailles and the Parthenon with dominant WASP traits of measured utility. A civic temple for scholars. A stone masterpiece and a stone relic of the evil-racist days when Detroit was called “The Paris of the Midwest”. Not a recruiting lure for asian techies or African-American Studies chumps. Like a castle in a horror movie or a cliché manor in Detroit, the building was stately, neglected and crumbling.

When I arrived upstairs, gazing into the vast gymnasium with yesteryear’s high ceilings and low lighting, I dilated in a vacuum. Eyes and soul. The gym was a shipwrecked Atlantis of torn netting falling from the ceiling, stale wrestling mats pieced together on the floor, and pockets of endless shadows. Sunset light, purple and gold, beamed through filthy windows to color the hour. The last glint in the the bulwark of the ancients!

A timeless ambiance. As for animation, I saw measure, balance and precision. I saw, maybe the essence of aikido, order in circular motion and hard-drops to the mat. Clean pins. Arm-locks and wrist-locks with precisely applied, as opposed to wildly twisted, pain. I thought, who are these muted white left-overs? Who are these parallel and satellite white remainders doing a whispering art down the street from my crazy anarchist bros, painters and sculptors for whom personal expression increasingly meant aping ghetto bluster and, yes, lack of impulse control.

I studied the aikidoka. Their “work” was very impressive as far hidden societies go. Quietly synchronized and just what I needed for the turn of my eros, thumos and logos. But aikido seemed too much like the dance of the angels with its choreographed steps aikidoand flowing white gis. I loved it but it gave me hives. I left impressed in a typically worthless way, but returned second time to reconnoiter at night. I returned a third time to peep through a crack in the doors. Maybe I’ll join and maybe I won’t, I thunked as I drifted away. On the corner stairway, travelled by night school normies going to statistics or accounting class, I had a hiccup. Followed by a sob on the order of an upchuck after an epic drunk. I heaved, heaved and heaved. Purged, purged and purged. My soul was churning, doing dirty laundry, ridding me of toxins and bitter salts. By the pant and tears you’d have thought someone died. Someone did in a sense.

As my convulsions waned, my low-down nature and high creative spirit merged. I accepted, whether I liked it or not, my true need: artsty-fartsy handling with enough joint wrenching pain to penetrate my brain. Plus, there was the promise of learning about essential Jap culture with its Samurai imprint and austere but beautiful zen efficiency. For added plus, aikido held the promise of learning about a race-generated order that the dirty-rotten Nazis saw as compatible with Prussian self-command and social-command, and that true Roman Catholics still see as compatible with the germ of the Ghibelline Middle Ages. For a final plus, aikido promised whatever could be gained from conforming to a standard noble ideal in a hyper-individualist dystopia. So, yes, I cried.

Such is the cyclical history of my life. Told in terms of Spring and Fall of brotherhoods. Shakespeare says that, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” So, enough! I’ll end by saying that I’m right where I’m supposed to be at this moment: in the heart of this fraternity. An insider’s group of outsiders. In outlaw artists’ terms, we’re creative rogues with a half-tame, a half-wild and an altogether proven élan. In outlaw aikidoka’s terms, we’re a uniform corps, a small but stately officers’ corps, with a traditional sense of measure, balance and precision. It’s not bad.

Freely united as white men, we’ve got the fluid genius of unorthodox and orthodox captains in the field. The shared field of science, finance, tech, politics, animation, art and pointed fun. Here is the breadth of talent to keep our enemies off balance as we dictate the rhythm of battle, using informal and formal skills to, in Motor City poesy, drive, drive, drive the Art of War.

This piece originally appeared in Counter-Currents Publishing

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Fire Crown copy

Gordie Howitzer

LIFE IN THE HOCKEY IMPERIUM:
ST. JOSEPH, GORDIE HOWE AND THE BARBER’S PART

THE REAL IDEAL 

I had true modest heroes, well suited for a good life. Catholicism provided the fabric and measure. My elders were cut from the very cloth of St. Joseph. He was a family man and carpenter.  A Workaday Joe.  And, most of all, a servant to a higher authority that he didn’t question.

Such background saints mind their rank. They’re God’s jobbers from start to finish. In the family fold were such worthy Joes as Stan Jarzoski: a former US Army scout who landed on Omaha Beach and stalked behind Nazi lines until V-E Day. A strapping 6 footer, quiet as a prayer, he worked in the field of death even as he pushed a lawnmower. Then for every true light there was a stray shadow. Like my Uncle Art who was a closet homosexual, a self-taught painter of lurid scenes, and a butcher in my dad’s shop who only arrived drunk when sobriety was needed most during the holiday stampedes.

There you go: hero and drunkard balanced to turn the eternally unfinished wheel of parish life. But it’s too quaint. What about about the haloed giants, taller than church steeples, visible from afar? Gordie Howe was such a landmark Joe. He was a monumental model of Christian piety who, when the puck dropped, became a hunter-killer-thriller with tufts of otherworldly grace.

All the locals loved Gordie. He was the real ideal.

THE PAGAN-CATHOLIC HOCKEY CALENDAR  

In sportswriter’s terms, Howe had a dominant presence on the ice. In boy cosmologist’s terms, Howe had much, much more. He had numinous presence, a legendary presence, a muscular-mystical presence in the flatlands of SE Michigan where the sewage from the steel-mils seeped into the swamps of Lake Erie.

Howe’s fame was the same on the Canadian side of the shipping channel where my sober uncle owned a tug-boat company. Tugs are the St. Joe’s, the brawny and dutiful seconds, of the Great Lakes fleet. Furthermore, gulls are angels if you’re privy to the backwater animism and nature worship written into Roman Catholic legalese. Strange but true! As far as life goes, I had to start somewhere. I started in the cradle of Pagan-Catholic-Borderline stuff.

Tugs and gulls were hyper-real. So were whispers in the wind and specters on the water. So was my loneliness. Incubating as a baby-faced Joe in a crystal blaze of winter, I had a hunch. Uh-oh. I had a badly heated, angry adolescent hunch that my dear childhood heroes were letting their wives, priests and politicians do all the talking. Of course, that’s what real men-of-action do! But still. What about the reflective child, not the usual narcissist, who sees his face in mirrors of ice? It has a cold-cold attraction. And while every hoary Joe knows that cabin fever is bad, only a few very disturbed Joes know that cure in the open air, sparkling with light at the nadir of winter, can be worse.

Call it what you want. Psychological disturbance. Psychic disturbance. Maybe a fairy tale blend of both. But even as a minor rube with my balls shrinking in the cold, I had a big hairy hunch that my folks needed a hyper-voice to speak to the world and speak for themselves. It happened one day! Yes, it happened one ordinary day in the ordinary life of an ordinary Joe walking a fresh carpet of snow. I suddenly had a hunch, quite disturbing for a Child of Jesus, that my folks needed a borderline Wagner to chart the rolling mists, crackling ice-flows and razor-backed currents of the Detroit River in January. The site-specific haunt! The metallic Rhine Jr! The steel grey soul-scape for Gordie Howe’s hammer arms, Red Wing jersey and flashing skates.

It was too much. It was an aesthetically sound but morally iffy glimpse into the Sacred Heart of Time. The magnification of Creation’s core pulse, wherein avatars are beat into shape, was a-okay for a religious kid. But the exaggeration of my own creative impulse was as problematic as egomania in the Renaissance. Let me put this in proper Catholic terms. Every Pope with a scepter knows that heresy is a truth taken too far. And every altar boy at a pisser knows that if you shake it more than twice you’re playing with it. What I’m saying is that it was fine, within customary limits, to see Gordie Howe as seasonal hockey god. But it was very, very touchy to see him as was seasonal hockey god who was dormant in summer when there was an abundance of florid glee and birds ‘n bees in the bushy air. A cyclical Wotan! Yes, I saw Mr. Howe as a cyclical Wotan, with local accents, who appeared in the dead of winter when all was lost.

Very, very touchy. A synthesis of real poetic genius to retard the instant I put it in words! No wonder, in drunk’s terms, I didn’t know whether to shit or puke. Now, as a learned hick, I can defend my awful silence with Rilke’s line, “For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror”. But as a kid I was dumbstruck by the timely synchronicity. I just didn’t have the lyrical spit for Howe’s redressed avatar’s fit into the Church-Hockey-Astropagan calendar. Staring into the heavy northern heavens, I only had the vision. It meant something.

TROPHY  EUGENICS AND THE BALD TRUTH

Yes, I had true modest heroes. Easily overlooked between the ends of NYC and LA. From the heights of a Shyster’s jet: an underwhelming land for an underwhelming people! A pale settlement for goyim! A static pool of yeoman nobodies with purely economic fluctuations between good debt and bad debt.

My country within a country. My cold and hearty people. Furthermore, my overlooked species of inbred White Country Folks with no more hyprid-vigor than a lean hillbilly iron worker crossed with a stout Irish-Catholic wench. That’s God’s Plan for agile defensemen and power forwards. Every rutting Joe knows. So does every dear girl in estrus. Only the town barber knows, as a comber of truths, that it’s also the non-Nazi secret of Trophy Eugenics in the Hockey Imperium.

Howe Holycard IIThe Hockey Imperium, for those on the inside, is a Medieval State of Mind that religiously rules from lower Michigan to upper Ontario. A subconscious Holy Roman Empire with shrines, banners, spires and festive tournaments. My mono-culture! Maybe evolved. Maybe devolved. Maybe timeless. Most certainly a custom-made Pucktopia of spirited sport in glove: city, state and regional jousts with trophy of virgins, if you’re lucky, in the bleachers. Like anything else in life, it’s all hooey until the moment of truth. My brother is testimony to that. He played goalie on a championship team that asserted authority, like deputized knights, all along the frontier. He renewed the dynasty. He upheld the realm and family standard. He verified the lore like a saintly enough Joe on a mission that was much, much larger than himself. True to his calling, he nailed it!

Too much Medieval chew on my bib? Too much gah-gah from the cradle of Dark Age élan? Just take the high moral arc on the Rainbow Express between NY and LA. Just look down on my homeland as a hotbed of neo-Klan and trigger-happy militia. A dysgenic fucktopia of pogromatic hicks! Papists, bible-thumpers and cross-bred racists! Then you can trash, even White Trash, my boy-to-man travelogue.

THE CRITICAL CRISIS 

 Now for the critical crisis. Not the usual crucible in the so called “Multi-Cult”. That’s marquee code for race mix-up. Preached by pulpiteers who’re born to rule: inbred intelligencia, sticky IQ fetishists and embedded reformers at a price.

God bless ‘em. The righteous fuckers have, at least, an ongoing class. A hip allegiance to their own rich stock. Furthermore, I’m not privy to Grand Design outside the Hockey Imperium built upon the remnants, lakes and ponds, of the Ice Age. I’m geo-teleptically limited. So I can’t be 100% sure that there’s no treasure at the end of Rainbow America’s overarching, messianic and tutti-fruity arc. I luv-luv-luv anyone who really believes that lore. But I have enough problems with my own Pagan-Catholic proof. Which, as my brother knows, is nailed in the living.

Trust me, I tried be the strong silent type. But at the first blush of crisis I saw fairy dust in the powdered snow and gold lamé gowns in the scavenging carp. Wagner was in the leaden grey clouds but something else was in the skirts of snow. A fluffy-fickle soulfulness! A girly-girly joy in the bosom of Winter’s Hag. All of Mother Nature colder than a witch’s tit yet, no heresy intended, “redeemed” by majestic-angelic kisses in flurries. Uh oh. This was a mated peek into the Sacred Heart of Time. Which is to say I was showered with a motherlode of bridal laundry, streaming white veils with silver stitches, at Zero Hour when all was lost. Thanks but no thanks for the glimpse into the cosmic wheel! There’s been a mistake! For one thing, I wasn’t ready for the executive poet’s vocation to see the Nature of Woman as more than pussy and, within that nascent study, to see any stout homegirl as more than an incubator of agile defensemen and power-forwards. I lacked this. I lacked that. I had no maturity, even, to fuck-up! And so I froze, painfully dumbfounded, in a swirl of laced sugars that you’d have to be a Mozart, a buck sissy, a real Olympian amongst all kinds of flakey flakes to master.

This wasn’t normal. It was miraculous at best and cruel at worst. I’d been given a very big job without blue-prints. With only a model failure, Uncle Art, to provide range in the werks that mocked my intestines. Mea-culpa. I’m so sorry. I’ve never recovered from the Pagan-Catholic-Poet’s epiphany. If only my critical crisis had rushed me to the threshold of Social Justice work. I coulda-woulda-shoulda been a slick New Age Joe bringing the Human Family to my hometown! And I’ll be the first to admit that there’s much to be said for going wide in the well-rounded world instead of going deep-deep-deep into your own cold interior.

No such luck. Instead, I was fated to receive the miracle heft of Virgin Mary flurries and war-cloud Valkyries that buried Uncle Art. No wonder he didn’t know, given a glimpse of super-beauty, whether to shit or go blind. Sure he was a homo. So what? You’d have to be a spiritually spent shrink, a techno-humanist-clinician connecting dots on a godless chart, to say that his critical crisis was “penis” as such. Please!

Uncle Art was called to be an artist. In curator’s terms, he was called to be a painter of local color. In cosmologist’s terms, he was called to be a wizard with a provincial palate. More than a craftsman and less than a saint, he was given to be a psychic medium. A wand smith. A wand smith with a tuft of wet XXX hairs at the far extreme of his brush with an eternally recurring canvas of pure virgin potential. That was the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega, of his sorry life.

It was too much.

SQUARING THE WHEEL 

Uncle Art heard the call deep inside the crotch of fate. He tilted like a half-hearted sport with a sorry thrust and guess what? He made his non-splash in the common pool and/or bum toilet. Put plainly, he died as both a failed Joe Normal and a failed artist.

Howe Family III copy

No guts, no glory. No raw heroic effort, no epic-operatic tragedy. That’s the cold-cold law of Pagan Nature that’s worked into Roman Catholic mythos. Furthermore, to release Uncle Art from the afterlife of burning slander, very few men manage to “Square the Wheel” of parish life. Very few men succeed as Regular Joes and Stellar Joes at once. Like Gordie Howe. He was a shy Canadian farmboy who, moved by destiny, got his start at Olympia Stadium in Detroit. He became a hockey god. He realized his towering 360 degree genius for pretty goals, borderline cheats and ugly brawling.

And Howe let his wife, an astute reader of small print in hockey contracts, do all the talking. Everyone loved Gordie. Everyone, in the milky white bosom of the Hockey Imperium, loved the Howe family. They nailed the evergreen dynamic.

                                                                              THE BARBER’S PART

I’ve tried to convey the spirit of my grooming along the shore where the smoke stacks padded the clouds. And where the local color faded under the dead-weight of winter. If you don’t get my hyper-drift? If you think that I’m mythologizing too much about cold-grey horizons downwind from Detroit? Then talk to a starving deer, a young buck, at the edge of an ice-pond at sunset. He’s knows the legendary chill of winter in the sticks. He’s a living symbol of the haunt.

The town barber, for his part, remains a shapeshifting constant. In backwater poesy, he’s a super-animated anchor whose job is to be as deep or shallow as the guy in his chair. In fair language, he’s a two-bit shrink who diagnoses heads within the limits of the hippocratic oath and frontier codes. In all cases, he’s tempered by seasoned knowledge. He knows that, like timeless masterpieces, one can hardly say what makes his fishy mono-culture whole. There a single congenital spiral in the lakes, rivers, swamps, and air. You’re born into it. Customer A says a soulful prayer to primordial shore gods after shooting a deer for venison steaks and trophy antlers. Customer B blushes with venal pride, exquisitely mean, after shooting a rogue squirrel with a .22 rifle, through a steel reinforced milk chute, who dared crawl down the rusty chain to raid his wife’s bird-feeder hanging from a lilac bush outside her kitchen window. And so it goes.

Inside the tinted door of Gino’s Barbershop, not at all transparent in the Liberal Democratic way, there’s a deeply seated commerce in individual styles within the local fold. Sharing a mirror, Gino puts every man’s prize pagan cowlick in place with a final dab, after all, of Christian Morality. And that’s that. See ya soon!

Gino has solved himself and more. He’s squared the Wheel of Parish Life in his own modest style. He’s a model man even as he ruptures the template and yaps like a diplomat’s mistress. Who cares? Go for it! Show us how! He’s been groomed through the generations since his great-grandpappy drew first-blood on a pink ear. Gino has aced the proofs! He has a barber’s license, an ex-Marine’s license, and a full-blooded Italian’s license to magnify touchy feelings like Paganini or Caruso gone North. Not bad work if you can get it! And the barber get’s it right.

Boy oh boy. Man oh man. As far as my life goes, from start to finish, I can’t say more. I just hope, with all the sincerity that a rambling Joe can muster, that I’ve nailed it.

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This piece first appeared in Counter Currents Publishing 

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This commentary is a response to The Paintings of Julius Evola on the Aristocrats of the Soul blog.

evola_composizione_dada

Julius Evola “Composizione Dada” 1920

 THE CINNABAR’S ART

Evola intended to create jolts as a Dadaist. In support of his method he referenced  Lao Tzu whose riddles created circles in logic through which inifinity was glimpsed.  

But  Lao Tzu’s infinity was governed by the Tao.  Evola’s paintings, like Dadaism itself, leave me hanging. There is no support.  There is no evidence of a guiding Tao or omphalos or eternal spool from which temporary threads of variable color and texture flow.    

Evola’s  paintings accomplish a disorientation that lacks the toxic sweetness or foul wit of advanced decadence.  His color harmonies are  thoughtful.  They are evenly tempered while the geometries are radically agitated. One gets a sense of a man with a healthy, as opposed to a sick, imagination. If the paintings are mildly decadent, it’s  because they lack the clear organizing principle of Tao. Furthermore, there is no sense of natural and supernatural hierarchy in life’s paint!  Which isn’t to say that Evola’s paintings lack professional command of color, shape, volume, depth and moment. It’s just that they are, like the man, unfinished. 

The paintings were done at an interregnum in Evola’s life. The hyper-plasticity fits.  So do the razor lines that float or tilt or rise inside the frames. One gets a sense of a former artillery officer who really is, “… conjoined with the upsetting of all logic, ethic and aesthetic categories, in the most paradoxical and baffling ways.”  Meanwhile, Evola is yet to resolve the rupture in perception that is Dada’s battle cry.  That irresolution, if one is being very hard on oneself, is the decadence. All in all,  the paintings don’t lack beauty and/or depth; they lack a willful personal order placed upon a timeless Supernatural Order.  A combination which ultimately suits Evola’s Roman metaphysics more than the sublime sweetness of Tao.  

Personally,  Evola’s doctrine of “The Absolute Man” has been a difficult study.  I’m a little  disappointed that Evola’s paintings don’t help me see it.  They lack a dominant symbol of the singular and the many.  But it seems that the metaphysics of unity, whether in stationary meditation as a priest or in dynamic action as a warrior, were a post-painting study. The paintings, I’ll repeat, show a very healthy imagination at work during an interregnum. Their vitality is irreproachable but their mature message isn’t expressed on the canvas as a painter. It’s expressed on the page as a writer.  Evola steps into a different square.

Perhaps, like the multi-lingual Guénon who selected between languages for the one that  best described the concept at hand, Evola chose writing over painting as the form best suited to his meaning.  In this, he was the mercurial yet binding cinnabar.

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Fine-Feathered Framed

“Fine Feathered” by Lysa Provencio 

 FASCIST LINE & RAINBOW CURVE

I love this.  The haughtiness.  The clearly defined  borders.   The sight-line that’s as tense and straight as a sniper’s nerve.   

Icy.  Icy.  Icy.   I love the frosty austerity. 

I get a sense of Artemis, The Goddess of the Hunt, who was also protectress of  young animals. A paradoxical figure.  Loading the maternal aspect of her divinity, there is a plumpness within the figures. The woman.  The bird.  The cloud.   There is a swollen,  almost pregnant, softness.

Behind it all is an Egyptian ether.   Infinity and afterlife.  The narrative is traced against it and will pass into it.

The subject’s extended hand turns inward.  Which shows the artist’s sharp conceptualizing power turned against herself.  The coldness works against any kind of liberal or humanist sentiment that Artemis, twin sister of Apollo, was incapable of entertaining.  There’s a divine female grace and strict Apollonian detachment.  Futhermore, the pointed needle signifies a steely self-refinement that’s very yang. It’s yang like fascism is yang.  Not at all concerned with the quantity of blood.  Rather, concerned with the quality of blood that’s sacrificed for its own regeneration.

On the frontier of the battle between female fullness and austere male line, is the scribble in the upper left-hand corner.  A hairy contest between circle and right-angle.   It’s emphasised in black but hushed in scale like a very serious muse.  It’s a key referent where one begins to read the painting from left to right. I see it as a turbulent intercoursing  between motifs that are untangled and solved without compromise in the larger picture.  1)The clear line and 90 degree angle which is an Egyptian, Greco-Roman and fascist motif. 2)The  swollen figures, plush with tender feelings, which is a Rainbow Democracy  motif. Furthering the rainbow mentality, the thought cloud above the blue-bird is a blank. Reason is replaced by a mesmerizing swirl of feeling. Finally, teardrops rain upon the blue-bird with its wing in a noose tied to the arm of power.  

Which brings me to the kind of open-ended question that gives a painting an extended life through right-wing and left-wing revolutions.  Does the leashed bird represent the truth that all of  life is hierarchical, just as the fascists and their antecedents viewed it? Or does the leashed bird represent  the pathos of human oppression as the American Rainbow Democrats and their contemporaries view it?  Only one thing is certain: the painting has a beautiful tension. It presents a modest, and very ladylike,  synthesis of radical opposites.   

There’s a never ending war in this sublimely gentle piece between hyper-control and hyper-emotionality.  It is, I think, an accidental masterpiece.  Created with no ambition to speak to history or the gods. Yet, it does.  Softly. 

 

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And now for a word on my creative process.  As published in the Head and the Hand.

Tracks w:Black Frame

 Art.  Fever.  Heart. 

It’s  the difference between night and day.  I spend my last waking hours reading exquisite writers.  Céline if I’m in the mood for raw and racing prose.  Pablo Neruda if I’m in the mood for aged and oceanic poetry.  Camille Paglia if I’m in the mood to split the difference. She’s a deep thinker whose sentences read  like acid-guitar licks.

In the morning, I kick-start my brain with junk.  I read spam.  I read celebrity gossip while ogling pictures of starlets in see-through gowns and micro-bikinis.  I read crime reports designed to put me into a state of apolexy:  white collar scams, crimes of passion and murders by bored kids.  Then, when my mind is catapulted into the chaos, I  fight to regain the lost chord.  It’s a fight to reconnect with the vibe that I carried, like a lullaby, through my sleep.  Nothing else makes me feel at risk of losing the  writer’s vocation in the jaws of media over-kill.

Coffee.  Nicotine gum.  These are my concessions, like steroids, to the need to compete at speed with the Big Boys. Of course, they exacerbate the over-stimulated, over-accelerated,  over-the-top rush that I get while coursing through the inter-net.  But having worked as a helmsman in the Carribean and priding myself as a cosmic navigator, I do a little yogic breathing to keep me right on course.  All of which reminds me of a passage in Michael Herr’s “Dispatches” in which an US Army LURP took a mix of pills to make himself “right” before long-distance patrols in hostile territory.   Amphetamines to give him down-range vision and lethal tension.  Sedatives to give him lateral vision  and a soft float through the thickets.  My co-option of the method could  be an author’s conceit.  I don’t care.   It’s my bullshit and I’m sworn to it. 

That’s my method.   In the darkness of night, I read authors who suit my character but arc above me in talent, stature and mojo.  They take me  into dreamland. In the light of day, I read chrome plated, tinsel covered, rat-tat-tat glitz that foils my imagination.  Tweeked to the point of insanity, I fight to find my center.  An inkwell in the eye of the hurricane. Or, the heart of my fevered art.

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 The article, “MANNING DOWN, The Mote in the Manosphere’s Eye” inspired me to write this entry.

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RANK DESIRE: APING ALPHAS IN DETROIT

I worked in the belly-of-the-beast for years.  A Detroit bar frequented by professional basketball and hockey players, Chaldean liquor store owners and slick street-fighters. On Sunday nights, the strippers arrived from Canada.   Cocaine, booze and pussy is a volatile mix.  There were excellent brawls.  Often, tribal affairs.  The White townies who followed the strippers in from Windsor had an especially  difficult time with the  shifty Middle Easterners.

The bouncers were an interesting study.  Most were excellent parodies of alphas.  The crew-chief was blond, brutally handsome, and pumped with steroids.  One night he made a show of throwing a skinny Albanian out the door.  Two minutes later, the punk returned with a pistol.

One shot in the air outside the bar to summon the gods of whiskey courage.  Then a second shot into the inside ceiling of the bar, to assert overall authority.  A pudgy bouncer, an aging hillbilly from Kentucky, knocked a waitress down and shielded her body.  Then there was a case of mistaken identity.  The Albanian recognized only the tuxedo shirt and cummerbund,  and put a gun-barrel into the flattened bouncer’s ear.

“You’re a dead man,” he said before a fellow greaser tugged him away. They fled into the night, past beat-cops who were still ogling girls on the corner.

The point?  The aging hillbilly, admittedly of an older generation, wasn’t so much an “alpha male” as a “natural man”.  He grew up without a dad.  He had four brothers, one of whom “liked weenies.”  He took custody of two plump daughters when his marriage disintegrated.  In spite of his protective nature, he wasn’t what Moderns would call a sensitive guy because of his coarse dislike for Blacks, Middle-Easterners, Mexicans and untested Whites outside his inner-circle. Yet within his inner-circle, he was very well-rounded.  Fatherly.  Brotherly.  Friendly.  This character stamp made him very old-school, which he also expressed in his dislike of weight-lifiting, steroids and martial-arts mania. Further safe-guarding hillbilly tradition, he was a great story-teller of gonzo adventures in dark alleys and enemy bars.  Of course, I loved his self-effacing charm while looking past him at  the preening bouncers who oversaw the beautifully shallow girls that dominate nightlife.   Believe me, I have nothing against a gorgeous woman with more style than brains.  It takes clear intuition. It’s her art.

I had second-tier status as a bartender.  I desperately wanted to run with the big-boys.  Once, on a field-trip with the heavyweights to “The Windsor Ballet”, the 6’5” bar owner bought me a lap-dance from the ugliest girl in the Canadian strip-joint.  Not long afterwards, disgusted with my rank, I tried throwing a cocaine primed whiteguy  out of the downtown Detroit bar all by myself.  The  cops who took me to the hospital, and had seen a lot of maw, were shocked into silence.  I’d routinely slipped them drinks.  And now I was their beat-up passenger, taking a funereal trip to Detroit Receiving  Hospital while mumbling sporting nonsense.

The old bouncer “got it.”  He soon came to my  aid as a beat-down beta.  He loved, if nothing else, my  ability to take punishment.  He recommended vitamin E for my scar. He gave me street-fighting lessons while confessing to his own acute fears in a scrap.  He was a marvellous guy.  Not so much an “alpha male” as a “natural man.”  I got courage from being near him and that leads to the point of this story:  there is ego-strength and there is love-strength. I got ego-strength from aping the alpha-bouncers and it gave me two black eyes, seventeen stitches and a night in Detroit Receiving next to bad niggahs, real alpha losers, handcuffed to gurnies.  I got love-strength from the old hillbilly and it’s given me something else.  In trucker’s terms, it’s given me an even  displacement that’s good for the long-haul.

Love-strength is is a graduation from ego-strength.  Speaking of which,  I recently  had a 40th class reunion.  It was lovely to see a small cadre of natural-men, balding Midwestern football and hockey captains, with their fat wives.  They’d transferred their glory to their sons.  But they still had understated power and, by definition, male glamour.

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grimshaw-mc5-card
-please hit the title for a link to the news that was the catalyst for this entry-

R.I.P. Michael Davis of the MC5

……………………….

The pale girl down the street was an MC5 groupie.  One grey day along the Detroit River, she began to tell stories.  She was instructed to pull off Sonic’s boots…

Groupies love fame.  They’re seduced by the specter of immortality.  And then the rock ‘n roll heroes slowly go to the grave. One by one the body degenerates and expires.  Maybe the radiant energy itself is immortal and transfers to the next Overnight Sensation.  Which is another way of saying that Fate is omnipresent and, in her personal favors, wildly fickle.

I remember the initial surge of the  MC5.  It can’t be understood without the suppressive weight of the Vietnam War and the draft.  Because I wasn’t quite 17 years old, I  got a fake ID to get into the Grande Ballroom.  The show was darkly fantastic with dangerous undertones. I loved how everything was sculpted from the local ore.  The show.  The music.  The mystique.

I’ve never seen anything better than the intro, with JC Crawford revving up the crowd to a revolutionary pitch before The 5 breaks into Ramblin’ Rose.  Wayne Kramer’s falsetto in front of the crashing-driving rhythm section was a mind-bender.  He sang  like a man with the devil squeezing his nuts.

But I never completely bought-in.  I  have a theory about the thin line that separates otherwise lumped and lumpen Whites. My dad owned a meat-market and I did as much backbreaking work as any assembly-line hack. But I had a personal investment in the business and no blind hatred for “The Man” in all of his racist, materialist and war-mongering manifestations.  Consequently my funk, anger and suicidal ecstacies were tempered by more than rank bourgeois manners.  I had a humble family estate to preserve.  I had a standard of beauty to preserve, too, although one really has to be low-born to consider a meat-market beautiful with its patterned displays,  fine-cuts and coiffed grannies in aprons.

In Detroit terms, that family business was like a Cadillac or an SS 396 Chevelle.  It was more than a means to eat, as a slick car was more than a means to travel.  Factory rats didn’t have such a wholly integrated life. Their sons knew.  Kids who were looking to supercede their dads and find work to love often started rock bands.  But that remains tricky to this very day, because there is often a contest to be the most raw and uncompromising talent.  I don’t think that  The 5 suffered from this affectation.  They weren’t acting wild. They were wild.  It’s their tragic glory.

The MC 5 groupie, by the way, was a nomadic child without a civic reputation to safeguard. Her parents were late migrating Southerners and, judging by her truant brothers, hucksters. One landed in Marquette Prison. My mother warned me against siring a love-child that would meld our families. The  groupie was an opaque kind of greaser-femme: awkward grace and black leather jacket.   She had the translucent complexion of X-rated royalty.  Small-breasted. Long-legged   Hawk-nosed.  She ended-up a stripper at Starvin’ Marvin’s down the street from my dad’s store.

The go-go bar was on Fort Street.  That’s the highway that leads from the Lake Erie swamplands, the duck hunters’ paradise, into the  core of Industrial Detroit.  It’s lined with working-class Whites of diverse shades.  How to explain?  I used to drink with a Detroit cop who joined the Flat Rock Police when he was laid-off.  He favored the ghetto over the sticks.  In fact, he absolutely hated working in the sticks. It was because, “When there was a domestic dispute, you ended having to fight Billy Bob and his brother Billy Joe, then their three drunk cousins too.”

There’s a tapering from rural to industrial bleakness as one travels north on Fort Street towards Detroit. The MC 5 used to practice  at the drummer’s house in the non-bucolic suburb of Lincoln Park. It’s true-blue-collar.  It’s a  hapless reservoir of laboring Whites.  It is, unlike Detroit and Ann Arbor, a cultural wasteland if hockey isn’t your #1 Thing.  So, local  kids with an artistic calling grew-up at an aching remove. Like the desolate hillbilly who only has the radio to connect him to Nashville.  This incubation remains good for the soul to this very day.  A bucking artist develops inner-torque.  Then one day he gets a guitar, a driver’s license and  a rusty ol’ Chevy.  The Great Avenging of his loneliness begins.

I never cared for The 5’s dissonances and White Panther buttons.  But I understood their collective fight as dirty Whiteboys competing in an alien world of IQ fetish, money-sharks and highly educated Machiavellians.  I  understood John Sinclair protecting the MC5  from others.  I understood John Sinclair protecting the MC5 from themselves, too.  They had a collective raw genius.  In which, as these things go, was the seed of their destruction.

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The  story “Never Thrown a Punch” inspired me to write about my meta-experience in the boxing demimonde.

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Boxing and Related Haunts

by

JJ Przybylski

You see what you want to see, sure.  But you also see what you’re fated to see.  All of which begs the question: why does one pug experience boxing as a Holy Innocent and another pug experience boxing as a bedevilled voyuer?

“Never Thrown A Punch” brings to mind my own story.  Unsatisfied with turf fights in Rustville, I had one under-the-lights fight in Hollywood, Florida.  The headliners were two golden-gloves champs.  The winner was a brutally handsome whitekid who soon went on to murder his girlfriend, escape from jail, and be recaptured on an airfield in the bush while the getaway plane was warming-up.

His dad was a golden-gloves champ too.  He’d masterminded the escape.  I remember being with them in the locker room, watching the dad cutting the tape on his son’s hands after the victory.  The pride.  The intimacy.  The raw beauty.

Later on, I saw the winner with his raven-haired girlfriend at the concession stand. Backlit by greasy lights and raked by shadows, they nursed a Pepsi-Cola.  They seemed too delicate with each other.  They seemed to be foretasting disaster instead of god-like victory.  What could be so  deeply spoiled, so internally malignant, that it couldn’t be cured by a conquest that pointed upwards to the US Olympic Trials?  Personally, I hated boxing but it was something that I had to do.  Fate dictated it, just as fate dictated that I  make a study of the reticent lovers whose story would unfold in the back-pages of the local papers.  They had an afterglow whose tarnish I  couldn’t put into words. Thus my quick eye preceded my sluggish talent.

Boxing packs a punch. I’ve had my bell rung inside the ring and I’ve had my bell rung outside the ring.  They’re phenomenon of different orders: physical and metaphysical. One disorients physically.  One orients metaphysically.  I wasn’t born to box even though my dad was an amateur with 60 fights. Rather, I was born to force myself into the boxing demimonde in order to behold stunning things  that taunted my art of explanation.  Again, this is how vocation precedes sluggish talent. It’s also how resonant moments that remain fresh-unto-death predicate many passing  bouts with oneself while slogging through life as a writer, a man-of-faith or anything else. Learning this truth was my real education.  It had little to do with learning hooks and upper-cuts.  It had little to do with testing  courage and taking my proper place amongst good sports.  It had quite a lot to do, however, with resisting the fraternal pull of hustlers of every color, stripe and counterfeit.

I had an “appointment” to be on the undercard that night in Florida. I’m 100% certain that I’d  trained for it since being handled by a priest, whereas I’d only trained  5 months with a punchdrunk Army vet for my debut in the ring. No sporting poet has written about the “touch” conferred by pedophiles in God’s perverted corner.  They restain your soul a darker shade of Fallen. They put a counter-spin on your spirit, too, that gives forbidden knowledge its own twist and aura. A writer of Nietzsche’s revolting vigor or Villon’s criminal mirth would be thankful for the jolt. That’s why I’ve always thought that it would be sissy-pink to go to a shrink.  Real men don’t do it.  And neither do their sons who have ambitions to be unreal writers who animate their material with inklings of heaven and hell.

In any case, I  had a multi-level appointment to be on the undercard that night in Hollywood, Florida.  I had  sparred with the Black champ at the Fort Lauderdale YMCA, on his off-days when he wasn’t training  at the legendary 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach.  I met the White champ, as I’ve mentioned,  in the locker room in the Hollywood arena. All in all, I had the inside track on a titanic battle between many worldly things.  A battle betwen the races, a battle between country-boy and city-kid, a battle between studs of the same weightclass, rank and fame pedaling circuit. And I had an inside-the-inside track on what I’d like to call a prescient spiritual vein. But it was probably just a low-grade psychic receptivity,  bequeathed by the diddling priest, to  auras that only appeared to be silver-gold halos.  Father-son love.  White knight and raven-haired damsel love.  Legendary lineal love.

Love of expert destruction, too.  Think  of the the higher-animal magnetism of  the renegade USN Seal who can almost, but not quite, match his personal code to the governing law. He passes before your eyes like a mere trouble-shooting mechanic on his way to a blast-furnace in Rustville.  You see what you want to see.  You see what you’re fated to see.  And, expounding upon the latter, you see what you can see by “virtue” of a  haunting familiarity. So I saw tragedy from the very start, in the germ of an otherwise winning character, before it festered and popped. The fatal clusterfuck became a time-released tale in the local papers. The crime-of-passion.  The jail-break. The recapture.  The tailoring to a just end.

To write the entire episode off as the foibles of low-lifes, the foul ecstacies of White Trash,  would be to miss the smart cut of father/son, the strained public poise of the lady in question, and the Shakespearean hint of the dynasty question gone mad. There is also the Shakespearean arc, lifted from The Fall of Man  and the Birth of Christ, of order ruptured and order restored. All of which I’ve come to realize after the event as a terribly sluggish writer.  A meatball talent and, in my dreams, the pride of Rustville.

I learned, through boxing, one  thing:  I have a third-eye with a “telling” speck of dirt in it.  This optic separates me from the Holy Innocent.  For better.  For worse.

I won my match, by the way, against a greaser from New York.  But that’s a menial story.

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Dear Paintress L-

Posted: September 23, 2011 in Letters
Tags: , ,

Dear Ms. L-

Just one thing.  Okay, just one thing amongst many things…

JS Bach came from Northern Germany and so was Lutheran.  They occupied the old Catholic churches and so retained something of the Catholic haunt.  My understanding is that Luther’s rejection of Papal authority set the stage for the modern hyper-individualist farce of “doin’ your own thing.”

With each man interpreting the Bible directly for himself, pious Protestantism led to crass individualism.  It was only a matter of time.

This is just a sketch.  I’ve tried, in quick strokes, to capture the  character and outline of something.  The Face of History!

Have  fun at PAFA today.

JJ

ps

I saw “The Mill and the Cross” yesterday.  A film by Lech Majewski.  It’s  a creative and historical investigation into the making of Pieter Bruegal’s painting,  “The Way to Cavalry.”

I’ve been told that William Burroughs kept a reproduction of Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights” above his desk. I’ve been tempted to copy Burroughs‘ example. But I could just as craftily paste my walls with any Breugal’s masterpiece.  All his paintings have similar folkish flavors,  soiled purity and metaphysical throw-weight.

In any case, “The Mill and the Cross” was a meta-artfilm.  An artfilm about making art.  On that level it was excellent.  One gets a sense of the artist at ground-zero.   Which was, in Pieter Bruegal’s time and place, the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands.   The viewer is led to see the calloused Spaniards as a metaphor for the Romans.  The Romans in turn, are directed to be a metaphor for “oppressors” through all time. So it’s a fine liberal piece of work, with  Judas as a touch-stone for treason amongst the natives.  He sells-out for money.

If there is any reference to the Pharisees, I didn’t get it.   There is some rhetorical dialogue, sure to flatter an artist’s ear, about rebelling against the old ways and standards. But it’s said in the abstract and is directed at the Spaniards/Romans who represent Imperial Macho Government.  More pat liberalism.  When I make my movie about The Way to Cavalry, I’ll include the inter-tribal rift amongst Hebrews under Roman rule.  And I’ll do it in a way that doesn’t point my finger at Jews as Christ-killers. Rather, I’ll do it in a way that boomerangs schism, indictment and crucifixion  back at my own pastey race of gentiles. This is easy to outline.  I’ll  match Euro-Americans doing business with Big Brother and the Corporate State against Euro-American’s who’re communing underground.  I’ll match the doctrinaire, larded and “learned” against the instinctive. Finally,  I’ll match the city-mice against the country-mice.  This gives me lots of internal woe  to antagonize, and it thrills me.

Majewski knows Art. He is as fine a poet as he is a technician. For instance, through dialogue he explains why the personage of Jesus Christ is omitted from the center of Bruegel’s  painting.  As God he is The Great Unspoken.  The eternal vortex from which all form and content flow as temporal phenomena destined for death. Furthermore, as if explaining the latent beginnings of abstract-art, Majewski shows how symbols embedded in Bruegal’s paintscape have Jesus as the Prime Referent. The symbols are sign-posts.  Intermediaries.  Translators.  They are relays between the supernatural and natural, the ideal and the vulgar, the heavenly and earthly realms.  Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”  But in Bruegal’s painting, a windmill that turns on the spirit of the wind, and grinds life’s harvest in its gears, could never be just a windmill.  It is a sacred symbol in service to the field, really the Jesus Field, where God and Man share Being.  So one can see an extended compatibility, underneath the surface, between Bruegal’s old fashioned narrative art for the illiterate, and today’s abstract art for an intellectual/spiritual elite.  Provided, of course, that the arch-forms are aligned gracefully.  Divinely.  With a legible cosmic granduer.

I must say one more thing about Majewski’s rich tutoring.  He shows how Bruegal’s painting is roundly mapped as a spider’s web with the “muted” Savior as the point-of-rest in his, and All of Creation’s, web.  This web-business is as much an insider’s wink to modern existentialism as the general symbolism is a wink to modern art. All in all, the resonant poetry of the film and painting are very good.  The cross.  The wheel. The windmill on the mountaintop. The tree-of-life and the tree-of-death. The City of Light and the  City of Darkness in the floodplain.  They are all structured into Bruegal’s paintscape without the strain of an amatuer petitioning for his genius.  I’m talking about a master’s mode.  Relaxed.  Sure.  Supple even if acrimonious against the crucifiers and the sheepish rabble.

I learned as much as I needed to learn.  Which means I learned a lot.

J.J.