Nie sollst du mich befragen,
noch Wissens Sorge tragen,
woher ich kam der Fahrt,
noch wie mein Nam und Art! Every art, every philosophy, may be considered a remedy and aid in the service of either growing or declining life: it always presupposes suffering and sufferers. But there are two kinds of sufferers: first, those who suffer from the overfullness of life and want a Dionysian art as well as a tragic insight and outlook on life -- and then those who suffer from the impoverishment of life and demand of art and philosophy, calm, stillness, smooth seas, or, on the other hand, frenzy, convulsion, and anesthesia. Revenge against life itself -- the most voluptuous kind of frenzy for those so impoverished! . . . Wagner responds to this dual need of the latter no less than Schopenhauer: they negate life, they slander it.
The Chartres glass is dyed in its mass
by the volatile spirit of metals
Everything this week smells like incense and burnt meat. Awesome! I turn the radio from NPR to Z100, new sounds with a pulse -- Shakira for example. And I gear up for a summer of weekends reading spy novels on the beach. Farewell you music of (demographic endocrine) decline, which Hesse describes as:
"heard in the corruption of the schools, periodicals and universities, in melancholia and insanity among those artists and critics who could still be taken seriously; it raged as untrammeled and amateurish overproduction in all the arts . . . some of the best tacitly acknowledged and stoically endured the bitter truth. Some attempted to deny its existence, and thanks to the shoddy thinking of some of the literary prophets of cultural doom, found a good many weak points in their thesis. Moreover, those who took exception to the forementioned prophets could be sure of a hearing and influence among the bourgeoisie. For the allegation that the culture he had only yesterday been proud to possess was no longer alive, that the education and art he revered could no longer be regarded as genuine education and genuine art, seemed to the bourgeois as brazen and intolerable as the sudden inflations of currency."
Jetzt komme, Feuer!
Begierig sind wir,
Zu schauen den TagHe that is richest in the fullness of life, the Dionysian god and man, can afford not only the sight of the terrible and the questionable, but even the terrible deed and any luxury of destruction, decomposition, and negation: in his case, what is evil, senseless, and ugly seems, as it were, permissible, as it seems permissible in nature, because of an excess of procreating, restoring powers which can yet turn every desert into luxurious farm land. Conversely, those who suffer most and are poorest in life would need mildness, peacefulness, and goodness most -- what is today called humaneness -- in thought as well as in deed, and, if possible, a god who would be truly a god for the sick
Swann's Way: Never get off the boat.
Absolutely goddamn right.
Unless you were goin' all the way.
Who could be more incapable of understanding Wagner than, for example, the young Kaiser? And yet the last of the Hohenzollerns loved few things better than to dress up like a swan knight -- pure white military tunic, winged helmet -- and drive into Hamburg on a motorized swan boat, latter-day Lohengrin with a gimpy hand. And compared to the Wittelsbachs his wagnerdulia was relatively sedate! A tidal wave of kitsch rivaled only by Star Wars merchandising a century later, the romance of a long time ago if not as yet a galaxy far away proved irresistable. The medieval was marketed. The pagan was packaged as the "age of national wars" loomed and indeed helped "such an art as Wagner's" to commercial success if not immortality.
"In case of political upheavals . . . I regard the Glass Bead Game as a lost cause. It will deteriorate rapidly, however many individuals cling to it, and it will never be restored. The atmosphere which will follow a new era of wars will not condone it. It will vanish just as surely as did certain highly cultivated customs in musical history, such as the choruses of professional singers of the period around 1600, or the Sunday concerts of figurate music in churches around 1700. In those days men's ears heard sounds whose angelic purity cannot be conjured up again by any amount of science or magic. In the same way the Glass Bead Game will not be forgotten, but it will be irrecoverable."
Kitsch exerts a narcotic, nigh vampiric power. The Jonathan Schwartz show -- the "great American songbook" -- makes me fight to stay awake under the warm chloroformed pillow of those interminable show tunes and torch songs, even Sinatra. When I was 17, it was indeed a damned very good year, but in those days I was trying very hard to understand these deadly soporific clouds of sentiment, old people standards on the AM radio driving through the high country, chilling the air. Turn up the thermostats as the dead songs rise, the suffocating Douglas Sirk atmosphere like in the Ballard book where the air precipitated out as crystal and the people of England gave up. The imitation, i.e. antagonist of life. To hell with it and all the worship of abstractions and others among the dead!
Winken: Funny. You like samurai swords, I like baseball.
Blinken: When I had neither I turned to the theoretical aspects of "solar-phallic religions" to pass the time. But now it's baseball season again.
Nod: Some sublimate is more corrosive than others.How repulsive pleasure is now, that crude, musty, brown pleasure as it is understood by those who like pleasure, our "educated" people, our rich people, and our rulers! How sarcastically we listen now to the big county-fair boom-boom with which the "educated" person and city dweller today permits art, books, and music to rape him and provide "spiritual pleasures" -- with the aid of spirituous liquors! How the theatrical scream of passion now hurts our ears, how strange to our taste the whole romantic uproar and tumult of the senses have become, which the educated rabble loves, and all its aspirations after the elevated, inflated, and exaggerated. No, if we who have recovered still need art, it is another kind of art
Wann geht der nächste Schwan?
THANKS LORD SUMMERISLE FOR LETTING US FILM ON YOUR ISLAND.
Italicized text courtesy Friedrich Nietzsche, born, hugged a horse and died 1844-1900.
Danube snapshots from The Ister
. See this movie!