CONFESSIONS OF AN IMMATERIALIST (more SMATTERING)

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I recently had the opportunity to post the following comment in response to a pointless article by the HR Puffinstuff of pseudo-Lefties (what’s her name again? The Australian? Caitlin something…?);  I wrote:

“Trump this, Trump that. It’s like shaking your fist at the figurehead/ hood ornament on the 18-wheel death barge that ran over your granny. Surely you know that the clown you’re hating on is a figurehead who does the bidding of the same Plutocrats who told BHO, and The Clintons, what to declare, and when, and why, and how, while various injuriously felonious global US GOV moves were made? Trump will come and go, but it’s Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Monsanto (et al) who “want War with Iran” (or want you to want it), and those fauxhuman monsters will be with us, calling the shots, when the next puppet/ rodeo clown/ scapegoat/ Orwellian-hour-of-hate figure (I guess things are officially postmodern when “Emmanuel Goldstein” is POTUS; but that was BHO’s function, for “half the country”, too, wasn’t it?) comes and goes, too. Why are you cursing the clown when you could put the circus out of business?”

And a little more of the same. Some (the Normz) call this “trolling”. I call it propaganda-jamming. Every little bit helps, you know, because propaganda needs to present a nearly-flawlessly uniform surface before it can become irresistible and, of course, with every little “anti-trolling” stricture they roll out, and as every comment thread in the vanishingly multi-lateral Internet disappears to make way for the return of Old School Unilateral Presentation of Unmolested Propaganda, this Irresistibility shall come to pass. Books, movies, vids, pamphlets, gifs, pop songs, comic books, adverts, editorials, soc med, school, church, shampoo bottle instructions: LOCKSTEP.

Coming soon. 

I left that comment on a site… a content farm… I normally wouldn’t touch with a virtual 3-meter pole. But Caitlin (I remember now) Johnstone drops her pseudo-Lefty screeds there and I wanted to counter the latest with a speck of nuanced dissent. Commenters were cheering CJ for the bravery, I guess, of lobbing apples at the head of the village idiot (Trump),  who was put there (in the stocks) for just such a harmless communal activity (it’s half of the national pastime). Snooze. Wake me up when Caitlin writes inflammatorily scathing shit about Monsanto.

Anyway, after discovering that the content-farm,  Medium,  is running a paywall con (one has to pay actual money for full commenting privileges: in other words,  one has to pay Medium in order to provide free content, for Medium,  more substantive than the filler they’re selling: ha!) I deleted my “account” and got to thinking about the corrosive effects that Murrkan Materialism is having on just about every aspect of existence.

Murrkan Materialism (embodied in a hornet’s nest of disingenuous commands and assertions ranging from “Just Do It”  and “Have It Your Way” and “Trix are for Kids”  to “We Bring Good Things to Life,” “Don’t be Evil,” “Think Different,” “Because You’re Worth It,” “You’re in Good Hands,”  “Finger Lickin’ Good” and “Tastes Great, Less Filling,” et al) is sickening this World. Because, obviously, what is Materialism but Nihilism freighted with the accumulated sludge of complementary relics?

Sure, Materialism seems great when you’re incredibly young, naive, shiny and smooth as the brand new tat & clutter you are conditioned to long to acquire. It’s only when the wrinkles set in, after all of your judgments have been keyed to the merciless standard of flawless surfaces,  that you develop a growing sense that anywhere other than the City Dump is embarrassed to be seen with you. At this point in the story of your self-consciousness… your maturity, I mean… if you’re a Materialist, you can’t help but see yourself as a filthy, broken, hideously unfashionable eight-year-old Nokia flip phone,  green with the grout of compacted sweat and dandruff. That inner groan (or howl) of self-loathing is the Nihilism, within Materialism, unmasked. Materialists cannot help seeing themselves as Material. And humans are only passably “flawless” Material for a very brief interval… like every other Consumer Product supporting the inverted sinkhole of the Materialist Pyramid. Which is why Materialists are also alcoholics/ drug addicts along with their cash addiction. Does the DSM-5 have an entry for cash addiction…?

So here’s why I feel so grand, energized, potent, curious, playful, snarky and at-all-times-on-the-verge-of-busting-out-in-song at the age of going-on-61: I am not, nor have I ever been, a Materialist.

I’ve never once wanted the latest i-phone. I never once coveted Material status. Sure, like anyone, I like a few curios and/or  tools well enough: my cameras are useful. My PCs are useful. I like my Beatle boots. I’m vain enough to make sure I’m presentable (optically and olfactorily) as soon as possible, after I wake up, every morning, because as much as I want to look good for strangers on the U-Bahn, it’s my Wife I want to keep fucking me. I like my little library as a collection of handsome objects, too, but what I love in the books is the Intellectual Aether and Ectoplasm these volumes store as magic repositories of Genius. These books contain 15 billion cubic-liters of crackling Life-mist. More valuable than some stupid and polluting Lexus.

I’m finishing up writing two sets of songs for a Live Show… two sets separate from the 12 songs comprising the studio “album” I finished at the end of 2019… and the obscene pleasure I experienced, yesterday, putting the finishing touches on a really well-written song, was dizzying. That song, brought into existence by a deliberate and focused effort, is not made of precious metals or fine leather or dazzling gems. You can’t even touch it! It is as incorruptible as a Patek Philippe (Daughter and I, last week, during a long walk, decided that anyone who spends much more than 100 Euros for a fucking watch needs to see a shrink) can never be, and orders of magnitude more useful, and confers practical status in a realm (Art) I take seriously. As long as my Mind works I am not vulnerable to the sucking horror of Materialism’s coiled inner-Abyss. I will not Die, therefore, before I am dead.

I am a proud and healthy IMMATERIALIST.

It’s not much of a movement, to be honest, and only in that sense (its paltry numbers)  can it be said to be Exclusive. Materialism gets all the crowds. (I only ever cared about that part of it, by the way, owing to the high concentration of Pretty Girls/ Gorgeous Women partying mindlessly in those ugly Materialist crowds, but that’s another essay).

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WIFE, WHO IS BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH TO BE A MINDLESSLY-PARTYING MATERIALIST, BUT WHO HAS CHOSEN NOT TO BE: This Is Why I Wash the Dishes without Complaint. That weird studio-lights hot-spot,  on her chin, in this fresh-out-the-camera pic, from yesterday, is why I can’t use this as the promo pic, for a show, that  we shot it to be. As Honorable IMMATERIALISTS, we NEVER use Photoshop deceptively.

 

Will the Stupid (who, overwhelmingly, cleave to Materialism) get all this? Duh.

If you have Stupid friends (and who doesn’t? Everyone has, at least, a few stupid friends, especially if they’re stupid), it’s no use trying to impress them with how  smart you are as an Immaterialist: they’re only impressed by people on Television. And you can only get on Television (in any way that counts) by being famous. And you aren’t going to be famous.

Why not? Why aren’t  you going be famous?

Because you’re an outcast.

How do I know you’re an outcast?

Because you’re reading this.

If you’re still reading this, you’re either an Immaterialist or someone sexually aroused by the fantasy of hate-fucking an Immaterialist to death. Well, I’ve been with a few women like that and I have to confess: the Sex wasn’t bad…

…but they are all (except two, specifically)  ruined Materialist Objects now. Every brand new car/ phone/ purse/ kitchen island/ face-hiding-visor-of-designer-sunglasses they purchase…  serves only to shame them. If they’d been lovers of Music and Lit, all those years, they’d be exquisitely serene today.

Whereas… my Gawd… so many Immaterialist curios I come across, every day, re-vitalize me. So many snatches of music, lines in sketches, witty shades of metaphorical lapis, well-grown sentences…!

I was re-reading passages from Zachary Leader’s biography of Kaffir-flogging Kingsley Amis this morning….

 

SIDEBAR

A word about Amis: he’s not very fashionable, is he? It’s not just the general problem that the last time anyone saw him, he was Old and White and Het: he was a famously and mildly-bigoted lover of bilious put-downs and dirty jokes,  smuggling 18th century  notions of Chivalry which had rotted to bitterness when his dick dropped off. The Literary equiv. of J. Mengele to today’s huggy, weepy-eyed addicts of fairytale and euphemism and we happen to live in a world in which there’s far more academic anti-Ted Hughes, anti-Kingsley Amis and anti-Philip Larkin material out there than there is academic stuff condemning  Bush Pere et Fils, Ronald Reagan, Dick Cheney or Margaret Thatcher combined.  Though in Donald Trump perhaps we’ve found a cartoon politician whose popularity is very nearly as low as Amis’. But here’s the thing about Kingsley Amis: he could write, and sometimes (eg “The Old Devils”) he proved it.  If You can write as well as KA could I’m happy to read you, whether or not I’d like to hang out with You or Amis’ corpse.

(resume essay)

But this is what I read this morning and it gave me a nice jolt and I’ll tell you why afterwards:

 “Bateson’s  ambitions for  English  study  marked him  as an  outsider not  only  in  the  Oxford English Faculty  but  in core Leavisite  and  New Critical  circles.  He was too much  the  critic  for the  scholars,   too  analytic for  the  ‘appreciators’  (as  ‘engaged’  as  any  of the  Leavisites  who sniped at Cecil in Scrutiny), and  too much  the  scholar for the  ‘Scrutineers’. His pupils, though, found   him  both   learned  and  approachable,  qualities  also  attributed  to  Amis  as  a  tutor. According    to   Alvarez,  Bateson  would    listen    to   weekly    tutorial   essays    ‘with   great concentration,  puffing his  pipe  and  making little  squeaking noises  when provoked, then  he told  you the  vital  facts you had  missed,  the  sources,  the  references, the  textual variants – he had  them all at his fingertips. And he would argue … he paid  you  the  compliment of arguing with  you  seriously.’  That  Amis  seems  to  have   shared   Bateson’s  interest  in  the  role  of historical and  social  factors in literary production, or was  willing to feign  such  an interest for the purposes of the thesis,  may seem surprising, given his later  professed  indifference, quoted in Chapter 2, to context, as well  as his stress  on the  primacy of clear  and  forceful judgement. But  Bateson was humanly acceptable, as  well  as  clever  and  learned – and  from  an  Oxford perspective modern. Though in  the  wider world Bateson was  thought of as  challenging key aspects  of the Leavisite  or New Critical  approach, in Oxford he was thought of as challenging establishment figures such  as Cecil and  Nichol  Smith. Bateson himself saw  his approach from an  Oxford  perspective, as allied  with  new  trends. When  in 1951  he launched the  periodical Essays in  Criticism,  printing  an  attack   on  Keats’s  ‘self-indulgence’  by  Amis  in  its  second number,  his  declared  aim   was   ‘to  provide  Oxford   with   a  journal that  might perform a complementary function in that  university to the  one  performed so brilliantly by Scrutiny in Cambridge’.”

This is not  careerist and obscurantist double-talk such as can be found in the dumpsters behind Hackademic cloisters of today, where sheer word-count is the only goal and fear of offending identitarian sensibilities is the only ordering Aesthetic and lazy Tenure beckons. It curls my toes, this humble passage, above. Why does it thrill my Immaterialist Soul, so? Why does it make me want to go down on my Wife right now (I would if Daughter weren’t home from school)? Why is that passage better than a brand new Smart Toilet ™  or a brand new Smart Tiara™  or a brand new Smart Coffin™?

(Hold on to your hats, I’m gearing up to do the unthinkable and praise, unironically, some DWMs…)

Because the fuckers (old and white and het as they were) cared so fanatically much for such a “pointless” Immaterialist practise. They Loved Lit-qua-Lit with little or no Material advantage returned on the effort. (Not to mention what spasms of O-joy I’d writhe on the floor with if ever I caught a coterie of Intellectuals of Color treating texts with such analytical, rather than polemic, rigor).  I know the comforts of that warm obsession and I wallow in its sweet emollient as it greases the long, slick slide of my last days…

Murrkan Materialism is removing that very good stuff from this world.

 

4 Comments

    1. MC!

      I always forget to believe in my own maxim that any absurdity you can joke about (or one-word mega-bizarre band that name you can possibly concoct) already exists, in earnest, somewhere on the Internet. Maybe we need to replace the adjective “hypothetical” with a more modern term: “internetic”.,,?

      Like

  1. this advanced toilet apparatus first came to my attention a few months ago – netflix shows standup comedy routines – this particular speaker was a male comedian of color (of chinese extraction, but raised in taiwan or singapore or malaysia etc – not that there’s anything wrong with that) pointing out to an american audience that america really isn’t number one in everything – this kind of fancy toilet is usual in japanese hotels, he asserted – it could be true – the last time i was in a japanese hotel i was eight, and i slept on the floor – not that there’s anything wrong with that either

    i looked him up: Ronnie Chieng “The Chinese comic — who was born in Malaysia, raised in New Hampshire and Singapore, and attended college in Australia”

    the probability that missus charley and i will continue living in our current home will go up if there is a change of regime as a result of the november elections – bernie or bloomberg or god-help-us-biden or really anyone allegedly from the democratic wing of the ruling party – it’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future, and you never know when something surprising might happen

    so if we stay in this house maybe we will get a smart toilet

    everyone needs someone or something to love, something to do, and something to look forward to

    Like

    1. MC:

      I’m looking forward to the creation of a new class of high-tech, quasi-therapeutic profession: SMART-APPLIANCE PSYCHIATRY. Give it… 15 years? Demand will be high and the pay (in bitcash, obviously) will be good.

      Meanwhile: you know the world-famous basketball player who died, recently, in a helicopter fail, with his daughter (poor kid)? Well, upon his retirement, apparently, when interviewed he related his passion for creating “storytelling” content for kids. Not what you’d expect of a filthy-rich retired athlete… but it’s the “storytelling” itself that one must concede, with a shudder, is TWAAF (totally weird as all fuck). Have a look at this vid, supposedly written by Mr. Bryant, Mr. Charlie, and see what you make of it…

      Like

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