Monday, May 27, 2013

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy

Something came up at both shows I went to, this weekend. At Coliseum, Ryan went on a short rant about how he wasn't a preacher, and that all the devil imagery was just a symbol of rebellion, but that what was real was the bond between people at the show. At Baroness, John  expressed how he felt the show was a celebration, that heavy music dwelled too much on dark angsty stuff, so he just wanted this show to be about good friends and family- and I felt the same way about both shows.
See, I really am fairly angry as a person. I don't say that with any kind of tough guy pride.  I've been a tough guy- getting into fights, constantly struggling with the world. I'd rather not be a tough guy. I'd rather be a happy goofball. I'd rather fit the image of a nerdy old misfit than fit the truth- I'm a retired thug. But, the truth is that the anger came first, with me. Yes, I had some trauma in childhood, but the anger was there, first. I suspect that both Ryan and John have something in common with me- See, I've seen where it gets you. I have more dead friends than most old men. I have a collection of scars- one on the leg, five on the gut, two on the back, three on the face. I've broken a dozen bones. None of that makes me a better person- it just makes me tired. So, with John the trauma is a public story, but with Ryan, it's private, but I bet it matches. I'm willing to bet that both of these men suffered enough that now the last thing they want to bring to the table is suffering. A dude was talking with John, and they took a picture showing they had matching arm scars. I bet that happens a lot. My son has that same scar. John, I'm sure is gracious enough that he's willing to share his scars, but it's not for the sake of wearing his scars like a badge- it's to state the shared experience. He is telling the audience that they are not alone.
The reason why I bet Ryan's story matches is that this is one of the major points of Art- that it's a way of elevating people. This is the part that makes the blues, that makes the metal, the punk, even the hip hop so easy to misunderstand- you share your pain not to celebrate pain- but to alleviate the pain of others. You write a song like "Love Under Will" because people have their loved ones die- not because you think love and death belong together.  You put flowers growing out of a skull, not just to be witchy, but to try to demonstrate that something good can come out of suffering.
Not to get too far side-tracked on a tangent but this is also what I meant about deriving meaning from occult practices- one of the points of religion, especially of the Pagan/Satanic varieties, is this same notion of demonstrating that the natural order can draw beauty out of suffering. You don't have to be a believer in order to use the symbols.
Too many people get side-tracked by the symbol, though. With Baroness, the point isn't that they had a bus accident- the point is that they make beauty, despite even the physical destruction of that wreckage. With Coliseum, the point isn't that we're all gonna die- the point is that we're living before we die. With me, the point isn't that I regret being a thug, it's that I regret any second not spent towards making lives better- mine, yours, any ones. That's the thing that I think was being aimed for, in all instances- we're all in this to try to make life a little better.
William Morris famously stated to have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. I like that thought, and cannot improve it, but I think the obvious subtext is that this is the point of our lives- to find something better.

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