February 2008

The Frosting Window/Mirror of Literature

By

Kim Rush

 

     Winston Churchill: “Beer is the closest proof that there is a god.”

           

     Woman: “Sir, you are drunk!”

           

     Winston Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly—and in the morning I will be sober.”

 

Be Drunk

 

Always be drunk.
That's it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time's horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
Get drunk and stay that way.
On what?
On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans
or rolls
or sings,
everything that speaks,
ask what time it is;
and the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock
will answer you:
"Time to get drunk!
Don't be martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk!
Stay drunk!
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!"
                                                                Charles Baudelaire
 

     Imagine, in our world clapped in the chained strictures of extreme Political Correctness and fabricated Proper Behavior, this daring poetic metaphorical demand and Churchill’s comments being blasted by the 24/7 talking opinion TV newscasters.  They would interview each other and tell us what to think?  Baudelaire would be labeled an “unreliable source.”  Churchill would be damned by their insistence of his removal.  His character, however, suggests that he probably would be appalled by the stupidity of extreme political correctness, (This is not to challenge the value of respect and importance of ethnic entities, but to challenge the extreme, plastic, religious, and social absolute of the superficialness of—at first, a joke, but now an absolute totem of the twisted evolution of social behavior.) the spinelessness of our leaders, and would, as a known thinking writer and leader, challenge this social dogma and defend the human spirit, freedom of thought, and one’s ability to formulate a coherent, ironic response to such social control—and—dare I write it, object to the administrative, all controlling, fascism in the United States?

 

     Yori Lottman posits: “Art is the language of life.”  What is now our language of life?  Our spirit has been damned by political correctness blended in religious/political dogma.  People labeled as the non-normal have been turned to pariahs, drugged into automatons of “all must be the same.”  How many past authors whose personality, physicality, or different reality perception have produced what we now recognize as great literature?  How many would be, today, on a Doctor prescribed mood altering drug, a psycho-normalcy drug cocktail, or on the computerized sexual predator list, (I should say here that this specific behavior is unacceptable and will not be excused,—then Poe should never be read;--he could not live within one block of a school where his work would be taught, but I won’t, because it would disrupt the flow of the essay.)?  How many of these great writers would be in prison—for we “free” United Statesians have the highest per capita prison population on earth—for they would have fallen victim to the “war on drugs” and may have illegally imagined talking rabbits or something more than available to the enforced “normal” mind?  So our writers will become clean “citizens” without drugs, politically correct, religiously right; strictured within a belief of a hodgepodge of mythology?  How dare a future writer go beyond the brown suited Maoistic demanded normalcy and write what might be considered drunk in life’s literature?

 

     But they would be better—cured of their drug use, their abnormal minds, and fit into the good capitalistic world and pay electric, phone, gas, and rent bills to be normal, productive tax paying consumers of the modern normalcy, but have no imagination, no true “virtue,” (the ancient Greek definition of delving into the core of the human experience) nor escape the Platonic dark cave and produce no literature?  But, if so, what is lost?

 

     Literature is the window/mirror into the universal value of the human experience.  The control of corporate, religious, political, low educational normalcy is a massive power, smashing the

non-normal—the prophetic—vision that literature has presented to expand the view of humanity. 

 

     But “Political Correctness” has not suppressed the drive to create before, for the Great Russian writers wrote masterful works under the absolute Communist politically correct control?  They imagined the irony of irony and wrote above the intellect of their censors and produced literature.  Then, why can’t the future writers in the West do the same—rise above the controlled norm?

 

     The problem appears in the paradox of reaching the Universal.  This paradox requires the author to go so deeply personal as a basis for the language art construct—rather than just emotional regurgitation--that his/her personal experience becomes humanly universal. If an author can only see through the dark lenses of unacknowledged social control, forced or drugged into normalcy, so superficialized to be unable to delve into the depths of the psyche, how can literature be written?  It can not.  Literature has the possibility of vanishing in the next hundred years if our culture continues on its absolute, administrative, politically correct controlled devolution. 


     The beauty of “art as the language of life” will dull into the mere spectacle as hyperbole of the norm.  For the spectacle is what is offered along with the mind numbing political correctness, the religious “right,” the drugged to normalcy, the loss of imagination: and the window/marrow of human reality will frost into the normalcy of consumerism; “keep up with the Jones”: the absolute blindness of the black cave of ignorant normalcy. Does no art then equal no real life?

#

 

     Oh, did you see that kitty litter—the deodorized kind, is on sale at Wallmart?  Read, defend, think, and write away the blandness of promoted normalcy.  Be drunk in the free, open spirit of literature. Write On!  Or, shall we devolve into H. G. Wells’ Elori in our time machine?—sheep for consumption?