November 6, 2011

Strange gratitude


You said to me that I saved the institutions anniversary. (Of course only a joke.) But I don’t want to save the institution. I don’t want to save anything.

I think the institution is a factory for producing mediocrity and for maintaining the status quo (sometimes a little bit more adventurous, sometimes a little less, but never a compelling shift, never a hopeful curiosity, openness or break.)

I want to burn it to the ground but I’m too polite. And there would be no point since new institutions would quickly arise, the same or worse. And my burning to the ground skills aren’t up to the task.

I want things to change but the changes I desire are too much for reality. And the small shifts that do occur feel in not exactly the wrong (or right) direction.

Why must everything be pumped up with false energy and enthusiasm? Where is the vulnerability? If we are insecure, why must we front? Why can’t we walk on stage and perform in ways that show our insecurity? That are fragile? That show we are damaged, curious, unsure and therefore human? Why can’t our politicians do the same? (Because they would never win.)

Is it only because we are always auditioning, for everything: for love, work, friendship, value, meaning, time, hope? I no longer know how to sort the fantasies that matter from the ones that don’t.

What others find entertaining does not entertain me, but, then again, what does? If I feel that someone is trying to sell me something, especially themselves, I completely shut down.

And yet here they were trying to sell myself back to me at a reduced, yet more expensive, price. A commercialized, scrambled, overproduced version of myself I could barely recognize.

How to be if the world does not understand my aims, even when they try, and if equally I do not understand theirs? (And is their anything accurate in this sensation I had while watching, and later thinking about, what had occurred. Rarely am I accused of excessive gratitude.)

M. writes: “More problematic to me was to see them bursting from a kind of overconfidence that seemed to hide their own lack of self-assurance. While it gave an interesting look to the more political bits of your work, it also seemed to hinder the parts that are more revealing, full of self-doubt and honesty.”

But it’s easy to criticize. This, what I write here, is barely rational, not critique, an emotional language, a sad insanity, intensity.

Such insanity compels me to send this out into the world, fires me up to confess that watching that show, even once, made me feel completely suicidal, completely bereft. (But I’m always suicidal, so what is this sudden surge in intensity? Might there be something positive in it?)

I don’t even know how to live in the days following the premier, a night that feels like the complete betrayal of everything I have been trying to do for the past twenty-two years, of everything I desire, of everything I believe in. And I really don’t say this against the people who made it, since, in many ways, I believe they genuinely did the best they could. I say this only against myself, for agreeing to it, for saying yes in the first place. For saying yes to a scenario I knew from the start would have this precise result.

I fear my ‘yes’ came mainly for cheap reasons: to promote my name, expand my brand. I have no high horse to get up on. And yet I’m on this galloping horse nonetheless. Henri Michaux writes: “It is when you gallop that your parasites are most alive.”

And if, actually, against my better judgment, I do eventually post this, it will be little more than another passive-aggressive act in a lifetime of the same. I apologize and, as always, feel sad. Sadness, confusion and conflicted feelings.

From this position what constructive politics could possibly emerge?


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