Once upon a time while in a Liberal Arts School, I heard a phrase which continues to haunt me. For every compromise you make, you make 2. Originally, it was in relation to making student film. And with how those sort of things went, it was much an insight as it was a curse. The passage from thought to actuality is never a mere straight line. Every decision is a hard fought destination on a line you would gladly given anything to reach.
As I have said here before, humanity in general is taken with the idea of silent perfect communication. It is appealing to us to imagine blue bolt understanding, effortless translation of heart to mind. Much of this is because of how it usually goes between people and their audiences. It is resembles a frantic game of charades rather than some elegant dance. The limitation is how much you are willing to surrender to get that vital piece of communication to lodge into the consciousness of another.
It is this constant state of compromise which why would be artists eventually collapse into states of disgust or doubt. Both of these bolster this love of telepathic messages of ego. Creative types often wish to obscure that initial degree of awkwardness which is required for real understanding. There is a need to be understood which shapes personal value.
Validation is a bareness which may not preclude dignity but certainly implies past embarrassments. If you don’t know the stakes of failure, how can you imagine the fall? Have you ever momentarily imagined how it would feel to fall backwards down a long flight of stairs? Many would think this would imply some impulse to self harm. But to others it may simply be a spur towards caution or awareness of the world. To validate the world with another is to share it: to share yourself is to be exposed, open.
Those compromises I encountered in school were not these noble effortless kinds but desperate last minute ones. If it was ever going to get finished, it had to be done like this. These acts of accomplishments were flawed but glorious just the same. Finishing something is a truly great reward regardless the distance it travels. That is better than effortless telepathy.
Often when I want to write about some pop culture/art object that I enjoy, I find it difficult to separate the experience from the thing. While I think it is a fool’s errand to try, I find myself trying to do it again. The deepness of the connection to certain items is hard to ignore. We all want for our favorite things to also be culturally vital
The truth of the matter is a vast majority of things are actually only significant to a subset of people. The first impulse when confronted with the “totem” of another “tribe” seems to be one of dismissal if not recognition. Personally harboring so many interests, I have to set some aside to pick them up later. The advantage in being obsessive on one particular thing, like Star Wars for example , is that a majority of your ever-shrinking leisure time is consumed by that one thing, the only thing that really speaks to you. I want to say that I envy that person’s dedication but I’ll be honest. Without variety, I don’t think I could be excited in anything. Contrast invigorates me.
The personal affirmation element found in pop culture/art objects is severely underestimated. Most people are drawn to items which overtly express their personal values. The confusion between an actor and a role or author and a character are good examples of this association. It seems to be that no matter how much we are told that media does not drive behavior, we look to the book and record collections of famous and infamous people to be indicators of identity. Personality is ephemeral yet objects are not is a hard thing to parse. To be truthful this common confusion is discomforting to me. I think while our choices in entertainment or art do say things about us, we are the final arbiters. We are more that what we own and less than what we dream.
Though it is only in our actions that we exist in this world, the way that our imagination threads through our daily lives is striking. Often it is the one thing which keeps alive if not always safe or successful. There is a resonance in our choices, the ways we wile our time and the characters we chose to fixate upon does indicate something. I am just not sure that a majority of people are very good at valuation.
Facts 360 B.C. -A.D.2012 is a personal time marker for me. It is a reminder of when things really started to change in the world. Perhaps only when I noticed it but thankfully I do not have to believe in that difference. It felt that way so hence it is truth.
Truth , be it upper case or lower, is considered a transitive property these days. I would be remiss to say that I have been known to make this mistake, to believe the light of my ego is the only illumination. Through the dim powers of recollection, I connect this idea of transitive reality to R.D. Laing‘s The Politics of Experience. Forgive me if my recollection is blurred. I read this in high school so I make no claim of authority. Besides in a bit about the rubber-ization of reality, too much research is besides the point. Laing’s postulation of how the interior world of the schizophrenic as having an internal consistency is probably my first contact with surrealism.
The idea of dreams being the computer code of the brain makes this claim very hard to substantiate. I have memories of watching a bewildering documentary of Dali that was created by the man himself throws this idea of initial contact into question. And further more does it matter?
In the 21st century, Psychology is deemed psychic pest control, a means to root out buried evils, only inches away from fortune telling, which oddly has a better rep. To my thinking, the greatest value of this science is proof of the interior thought, the buried image. Instead of careful regard, this psycho-geography is feared and ridiculed. Somehow if we do not look in its direction, we will be protected.
Ignoring something has a limited usefulness. When thinking of surrealism, or its ancestor dadaism, focus is not the first thing that comes to mind. It is about the panic of the traffic jam or detention in a foreign country, where none of the words sound like your language yet decide your fate. Movement through this interior space is about understanding the shape of the imagination. Without understanding, facts and imagination become one and the same, an expression of control, a road to ruin.
The urban legend goes that when The Lumiere Brothers showed their 50 second film, The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station, to a French audience in 1895, there was a deep reaction.The image of a train coming directly at them was so startling that people screamed and went to the back of the room.Though it has been discounted,this story points out the relationship between moving image and audience. A majority of people want to give into the image, to suspend disbelief.
If we are so desirous to give ourselves to the communal dream that is film, how come we hold so tightly to logic? Arguably the great architect of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock referred to this adherence to linear development as the “icebox effect”. It’s the moment when the audience, now at home, goes to fridge and realizes that what they saw has simply crumbled away under scrutiny.
While Hitchcock was devising the perfect McGuffin, there was alternate tact which stemmed from the works of the surrealists. By adopting elliptical structures which refuse to believe in resolution, film could directly intimate shared atmosphere which accesses emotions directly, unburdened by the straitjacket of logic.
Horror is a genre best served by this removal of logic. Restraint is the true backbone of terror: the weight of dread is not in the amount of viscera. In Jason Zinoman’s book,Shock Value, it is mentioned that Dan O’Bannon and John Carpenter believed that showing too much diluted the power you could find in the enigmatic. When the face becomes too clear and the menace too defined, the fear turns into something less powerful. The number of 50s nuclear horror failed by their third act reveal of a poorly devised rubber monster seems to bear this out.
My favorite horror films always have this psychological edge to them which allow for the images and elements to take root in my subconscious long after the film has ended. When I say psychological I am not talking about the gory procedurals which are “scary” because they could happen. I want something based within the minds of the characters within the movie. Movies like Suspiria,, Phantasm, and Let’s Scare Jessica to Death could just as easily be the nightmares of their lead characters.To me, these fictive worlds circle around the sphere of our collective dreams.
I have a contradictory relationship with the pop culture/media list. While I love them in a way, I rarely find the numbering to be accurate. Maybe it has nothing to do the veracity of a given list but the idea of there being a hierarchy. Often the list consists of obvious choices at the top and preferential jockeying at the bottom.
Does anyone bat an eye when they see Night of The Living Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Halloween atop a horror list? The filtering of any given list can shake it up. This never quite works for me though. If I make a list called Best of 70s horror, I’d still have trouble assigning numbers. This leads me to consider any list I make to be in no particular order. I am trying to plot a fleeting sensation. I may think the aforementioned three to be classics but that doesn’t mean I want to list them. (More on this in part two)
The trajectory I like to chart is not one I have already traveled. I want new kicks! I understand the idea of giving credit to the classics but when I read lists I am looking for something I missed, a constellation not yet charted. An easy list is just affirmation of what we all “know”.
It is a common assumption of this knowledge which causes all the problems. While I enjoy horror films from all decades, I am hesitant to call myself a fan. Fan is, after all, short for fanatic. This does not denote that you are particular instead the implication is the opposite. I am predisposed to horror so movies in this genre generally mod up.
Genre bias does not make two fans equivalent. It is a necessity of the marketer to consolidate fans into a type. From music to actors to product placement, this typing drives decisions. Often the false equivalency limits a list’s contents to all the usual outposts along the edge of the imagination.
I got a New Year’s wish. And I know I can fulfill it. One of the reason for creating TSFI was an unchecked desire to write about music. I was posting reviews on Amazon near compulsively. While it was fun to get feedback and the baby rush of forum posting, something was lacking. So that lead to blogging and shortly thereafter my problem. The form of the expression started to dictate how I would do this. More correctly, my perception of it started to mess with me.
As a firm believer in I would never write something that I would not read, I started to look at how I “read” the web. I am a nibbler, I am a saver, and I am a surfer. So this told me how I had to create a blog. The rest I learned after I got going. I don’t want to spend a day making a post. Simply there is not enough time. The first sites I followed were very opposed to this and all the better for it. There was thought, density and, importantly, length. And all for free. I was estatic! Imagine my disappointment when I realized I could not do it that way!
Sometimes when the site would go dormant, I’d think you just gotta post something. These post are always done in the spirit of the show must go on, keep the party going. After a few of these types of post, certain corner cutting tricks became evident. The world makes it impossible to be all soul all the time 24/7. Not to say I’ve ever supported something I did not love just it’s never been in the way I would present it if time was no object. Time? That shit’s priceless.
Which brings me back to my wish. Writing about music. I am not saying that I have not written about music in the past, online and otherwise. I mean something like Lester Bangs or Greil Marcis or Ira Robbins. The Trouser Press Record Guide, like The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, has been guide to me. I’ve spent a majority of my life living in areas where I am the torchbearer of the weird and off-beat. Hair always a little too long, no odd facial hair, no tats or piercings, and this unruly mind. So I don’t know no icons beyond the obscurest kind for me. To be honest, I have yet to figure out who I am writing for. The best I can up with is my audience is mixed. I am going to pretend you know somethings and not others. I could be wrong.
So for the next few days, I am going to try this experiment. I am going to do a four part list of my favorite music of the year. This will be in three parts. My favorite five new “albums”, my favorite five “old” albums, and a third part which will be much less list-y and way rambly. Could be done as early as 31st of December or as late as 3rd of January. Anyone who saw my twitter posts about songs of 2011 this is what that turned into. Should be fun to see where this goes….
This is the street of the mundane
Halloween has always been good to TSFI. The posts that get the most hits here are ones attached to my 31 day solo blog-athon that occurs each October. So with that mind, I realized it was mid-september and I’m just not interested in doing one this year. I don’t see how it is going to fit into my busy schedule.
Currently I am taking some design classes so I can learn more about the nuts and bolts of code. In short, it is time consuming. I started this site as a vent for my compulsively critical tendencies and a way to give compulsive need to write. These things came against the form itselF AND became something else.
It was never intended to become a wildcat Youtube booster. The “Tube” is a great added content generator. Twitter is quickly becoming my prime content maker because it is much more tied to my POV than a digital dumpster dive. Time has always been a driver about how I blog.
I have always been in awe of the devotion that certain bloggers have to their site content. I should put up a list of blogs but I’ve been lazy about it. I have tried to go “post-blog-roll” since my list of stops is so broad that this would be a project itself. Hopefully, my classes will compress the amount of time I spend doing this but increase the amount of my own writings. Pity, I feel that this prosaic angle is oppposed to the surfing experience of many.
The lingering question I have about blogging is one of audience. My range of interests makes it hard to figure out who these invisibles who surf through TSFI. My comment board is bare and I suggest that if you have something constructive or insightful to post. I will respond as I have time. I will not be be doing the 31 day thing. I’ll try to do something substantial on the blog in the next few months. School has priority, though part of me is here in the fugue