Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The lodestar

I was walking through Soho yesterday and thinking of my time lived here in New York.  I looked down towards where they are rebuilding the World Trade Center area.  I remembered back to when I first moved to NYC, how I would use the WTC as a lodestar.  Once they came down I was disoriented in certain places downtown.  It was time adrift, the area had ripples of adjustment on every level. Eventually that all changed. Where the buildings were became an even stronger point of bearing than before, when they stood.  The surrounding area, the lights, the psychic attention that was paid to the place gave me a much stronger sense of place than the buildings themselves had.  The buildings were merely visual, the way that I used them, as a makeshift ground-based compass system.  They functioned as a sun-dial without need of the sun.  They say... that time is money, they were partially right.

People here are very protective and defensive of time, of the past, of their version of it.  All you have to do is make an observation about the neighborhood you live in, casually and in conversation, and it will provoke a re-telling of neighborhood history from an eyewitness perspective by somebody whose very credibility is derived from the number of years lived here, and their reminisces of various establishments and the years of their demise.  It's like talking to Jews about people who have passed away: they take much pride in knowing exact dates, locations and circumstances.   The original religious lineage seekers. 

To question a New Yorker's memory of events and the proceedings of their neighborhood is to bring into question their heritage, their genealogy, their very bloodline. It's like openly questioning whether a rapper grew up in a ghetto with a troubled family life or not.  It's like questioning Henry Rolllins's indubitable integrity.  It simply isn't done.  

One last thought on Hernia Rollins..  Am I  the only one that gets the feeling that much of his behavior and attitude is only compensatory?  He knows he can't get people to believe in him, at the level that he once believed they did, so he runs various causes up the credibility flagpole. Unsurprisingly there are no more black flags flying from that mast, that serves as the invisible and untouchable space to which we are not allowed access or criticism, his credible past....  With these various causes I'm sure he has some internal alignment with (gay rights, women's causes), and some relative principal to uphold. But it all just smacks of him trying to prove something to himself as much as it is is him trying to desperately sell something about himself.  Beyond the retired Mickey Rourke growth hormone vibe he's otherwise indistinguishable from Tom Green, just on opposite sides of complete and total humorlessness.

What is wrong with me... Henry Rollins is turning words into speech.  It is ART.  Nobody else is doing anything like it.  Spoken word is dense with implications. You try it if you think it's so easy....

God-damn it...  this written word stuff is hard... Moses must have felt like an idiot when he was chiseling out that first commandment... "no other gods before me"... It doesn't say you can't have other gods, just none before the big one that led them out of Egypt.  He was riding a wave of popularity at the time. Why don't people make more of this?  It's actually okay to have other gods.  It's part of the freakin' 10 commandos... It's the lead track on God's Greatest Hits...

#2 is absurd and self-defeating.  He is demanding to be idolized but requiring that we know nothing about the process. He's a bit Kim Jong Il here.

3 is creepy and there are laws against those type commandment makers now, for good reason. Jealous gods are unpredictable gods. Also, he waffles on whether it's 3 or 4 generations of pestilence and hatred. Show some balls, god-damn, let's settle on 5.  Locusts, mother-fuckers, I said LOCUSTS.... !!!!

Again, he makes illogical arguments with the next part.  He will love to a thousand subsequent generations of those who love him and follow his commandments.  That makes no mathematical sense and is impractical. You get the feeling the wine was gripping his reason about this time. Maybe he didn't plan on being god for nearly as long as he has been, because his sense of punishment and reward is all fucked up.  And besides we are not 1000 generations down the line and no family has had it so well with love from god. None.   This "commandment" was a lie.  At the very least it was exaggeration.  He was drinking, so it's understandable. 

He's like a rapper after that: "Know my name, you betta' recognize childrenz, recognize... 4-love, one-love, up-above, peace-outies..."

More drunkenness coming, but a slowed down sullen version, after the wave of energy had passed: Remember the sabbath, and mommy and daddy. Family is what matters most. That, and Sunday.

NO murder, adultery, stealing and lying. 7,8,9, possibly 10, but nobody's really counting.  Now those were all quite sensible and one gets the feeling he was holding those in his pocket. The ones he had rehearsed and was gonna drop if the crowd was drifting off.  Bullet point commandments and placed at a very sensible spot on the list.  He must have known he was going to drink before the show.

Now this last one... we are instructed to not covet the neighbor's finery:  his donkey, his house, his slaves. Not even his ox, with its fine bovine self.  That actually makes it around 15 or 16 commandments now, by the way.  He crammed several into this last one.

All good advice, beware keeping up with the joneses, etc.  

But he snuck in a little drunken reactionary morality at the last second, hoping we wouldn't notice... we are told not to covet our neighbor's wife.   Tricky one.  What if we just moved to a different neighborhood first?  Then, by definition, he wouldn't be our neighbor any more.  As long as we still respected his donkeys and male slaves, and the other stuff, right?  Maybe gave some flirty eye-time to his oxen, but nothing serious, just an honest admiring peek.  

What an asshole.  He acts like stealing somebody's wife is wrong. Has he no sense of genuine love?  Or sex? Has he not read Flaubert?  That's just the way it works out sometime.  

And THAT is supposed to be a sin...?

And YES, slavery was not only accepted by god, it was instituted into his most respected compilation album, a distillation of his almighty great wisdom.  Suck on that christians.

Those were some really fucked up times. It's a good thing that most of those people are dead now.  I'm sure glad Hemorrhoid Rollins wasn't around back then.  He would not have gotten along with god, or Moses, at all. Imagine his rage when he found out that they were doing their own version of spoken word, up on the mountain, and using stone tablets in their act, burning bushes.... what gimmickry....