Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bartók, Auden, and the Question of Freedom

Woke up to another sunny morning and listened to a recording of Bartók's Divertimenti. Turns out is much more upbeat than most of his stuff, though no less complex. Can still hear his influence on those great mid-70s Crimson albums like Larks' Tongues, in fact maybe even more so, more pronounced, for whatever reason. Read a few of Auden's shorter poems from a collection of his over breakfast. Great stuff. Those people who accuse him of coldness, detachment, lacking emotion, or being too systematic, didactic with his poetry know nothing. Sure, he wrote his share of middling, banal poems, they all did. But when he's on, which is more often than not, he's able to bring image, observation and word choice together as good as anyone, any of the so-called greats. Is Auden considered one of the so-called greats? Who makes up such a list anyhow? I hope it's at least people who actually read poetry, few and far between as they may be, sadly. But what do I care? Their loss, those people. Maybe they have secret elections, held by the academic elite, deciding who to consider great, who to focus on, heap praise, canonize, and who to trash, throwaway, forget about, lost in the annals of what could have been a great, new, inventive literature, if only given more notice, paid more attention to. Or maybe it's just one guy in a room, pulling levers, judging the rest of us, telling us what to think and read, do and say, in secretive, controlling Orwellian fashion? "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" That's ridiculous of course, but probably closer to the truth than any of us would be comfortable admitting. I don't think it can be denied at this point that that's where it's all heading. And I'm no conspiracy nut. Tho I know those who are, and withhold my judgment. Nothing more infantile, detrimental, and altogether pointless than one person's judgment over another, really. Who's to say what one person says, does, believes is any less absurd than yourself, than the next? All you're doing, really, when judging another is exposing your own prejudices, limitations as a free-thinking person. Freedom promotes idiocy. That might just be a half-assed generalization but there are enough examples out there to back it up. Maybe if would be truer to say idiocy is one of the end results of freedom. Now that's even more general. The opposite of freedom is oppression, and there's nothing more idiotic than that. But there's a difference between something that is and something that creates those conditions. Like say, North Korea is a dictatorship, while the Bush administration, they have, effectively, created for themselves a dictatorship, by ignoring, writing off, silencing, eliminating all opposing thought, opinion, any dissenting points of view, and, instead, preach to the faithful ideological base, even if it is the minority. This wasn't meant to get political. Honest. So what was my intention when I sat down to write this? Does one need an intention when sitting down to write, especially something as open-ended as a blog? Doesn't matter. Why does one do anything? That's what that line of questioning leads to. The most pointless question of all.

So to wrap this thing up, let's grab a quote from Auden. Remember him from earlier, one of the so-called greats? His eulogy to Freud might be even better than the more famous one he wrote for Yeats. At least as good. In it he wrote, "To be free is often to be lonely." Might explain why so many people are afraid of it, freedom, what it means to be free, what are its ramifications, the responsiblities that come with it. And why so many others just don't understand it. Like a lot of other things, it's just easier to leave left alone, forgotten, disregarded. Passed over. On to the next thing. Whatever that might be. Wherever it may lead.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Welcome random internet wander. This is my blog. I started it because it seemed like the thing to do. All the cool kids are doing it, so what are you waiting for? Don't you want to be cool. Everyone wants to be cool. And anyone who doesn't, sure isn't. But remember, now, being cool involves not caring what others think or do. Very important. It requires a certain amount of distance, detachment. Keep that in mind at all times.

So that's it for today's bit of useless pejorative wisdom. Thank you and happy surfing. Shine on.