May 23, 2013
The American Scream: Going Hoarse Without Speaking
Posted on Jul 24, 2011
Fuck the human voice. Let us have the robotism of the servant to the Corporate Master sing, and sing. He/she/it is found wherever—which is everywhere—the marketplace demands. Being bored on a Saturday night, without my woman to trouble, I place a loudspeaker on the bookshelves and blast music. I play the usual drivel: Radiohead, and the Clash, and Fela, and (insert typical bourgeois-bohemian music choice here). It is all of course meaningless. Every one of them has looked to be sold. Every one of them has been placed in the nightmare continuum of the marketplace, dulled for the buying. Culture, we are told. All I hear is screaming and banging and desperation and noise. I shut the music down.
Yet: Listen for a moment in the American night, in a city like New York: beyond the poisonous splooge of the marketeers, the death droning of the teevees, the bone-drained mindless minders of consensus, beyond the tin-hearted half-wit hallucinations of the fiending men and women seeking riches in the towers. Listen: You can still hear the bay, the ships, the horns in the summer fog. The languages, the many and undistilled. The mass of the new immigrants, always coming, always willing to share, open to the possibility of a different future. A friend tells me the future is Jews and Asians joining to make babies. I’m all for it. Let us miscegenate whenever and wherever possible. Let all the races commingle. I still hear the possibility of hope in this town, which is everything this town wants to put to a stop. Let us have the human voice, the human fear—let us praise man as man, woman as woman. Not the creature of the mass noise, but the individual. Not the creature whose love is money but the human, fully formed, whose love is fellowship. Not the worshiper of idols, neither of gods or things, but the men and women who need not idols nor seek the tin drum and the grin voice. I am an idealist, as you’ve guessed, and I suppose that’s reason enough to have stopped reading at sentence one. I believe in the goodness and generosity of the human race. I want to think our current darkness, lit ever more with the chirpy gewgaw light from the tyrant machine, is only the stumbling of the blind man who will see again, and hear again.
Christopher Ketcham, a freelance journalist in New York City, writes for Harper’s, Vanity Fair, GQ and many other magazines. Find more of his work at www.christopherketcham.com or contact him at email@example.com.
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