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Arts and Culture

The Egg and I

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Posted on Nov 18, 2011

By Mr. Fish

(Page 2)

Five days later, on the night before Halloween, he and I, along with my big brother, Jeff, a guy named Philhower and a guy named Danny, crept out of the woods on the other side of the street in front of Deloris’ house, the pockets of our jackets and hooded sweatshirts loaded with eggs, our claustrophobic blood pounding in our ears, our nervous systems overrun with something like electric spiders. I don’t remember much following the order to FIRE! except that the one and only egg I threw missed its target completely and sailed over the roof. Then I remember, almost immediately, somebody yelling RUN! amid the mayhem of yolks exploding against shingles and shutters, at which point we ran, not for the woods, but as a sloppy disparate mob set zigzagging down the street like morons trying to outrun eyesight.

The thing about art, and I include folklore to be part of that discipline, is that it will always deepen the historical record that defines our moral and immoral certitude by insisting that the human heart, with all its contradictions and inarticulate universality, be present at the existential committee convened for the comprehension of life itself. Straight journalism, for example, or the rote memorization of theocratic balderdash or the cataloging of scientific data are certainly insufficient compilers of all that comprises the complicated identity of the whole species. Consider how unremarkable and ineffectual the 1950s and ’60s would’ve been had the only commentary available to us been that of Walter Cronkite, Bishop Sheen and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Or try processing the great Dante-esque calamity that was the Second World War without such books as “The Naked and the Dead,” “Catch-22” and “Slaughterhouse-Five.” Additionally, no one would even know that there was ever a labor movement in this country that was vibrant and effective in teaching people how to organize and to gain both civil and workers rights had there never been Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck or Thomas Hart Benton.

“I worry because I don’t see any significant artwork being produced nowadays to help deepen our understanding of recent historical events beyond whatever sound bites we’re given by the 24-hour news cycle,” I said, standing behind a commie-red podium in front of a crowd at Revolution Books in lower Manhattan after a presentation of my cartoons. This was on the night before the night before the NYPD was covertly scheduled to dismantle the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park and to wage the only sort of war that the U.S. power structure seems willing to fight anymore, both domestically and internationally. That is the sort launched against the defenseless and, preferably, the sleeping, the heroism of the cops and soldiers involved typically being determined by how squarely they’re able to shoot their target in the back.

“There’s no poetry in the retelling or re-examination of what we’ve been through over the last decade because there is no artistry in the way the memory has been rendered,” I said, locking eyes with a kid in the front row who had just gotten into town from Duluth to join the fledgling OWS resistance movement as a photographer. “What source material will our children have access to when it comes to making sense of 9/11, for example? Who are they going to quote, the great Wolf Blitzer? ‘In My Time’ by Dick Cheney? It’s fucking ridiculous and we’re running out of time! Nothing will be remembered if we don’t feel like retelling the story!”

“Are you going to let him burn alone or are you going to stand up like men?” asked Officer Von Schmidt, gesturing toward a rather sullen-looking Richie while strutting back and forth in front of us in his jackboots and breeches, the brim of his policeman’s cap hiding his eyes. We had been picked up by a pair of squad cars just a few blocks away from Deloris’ house and returned, with egg on our shoes, to her front yard for positive identification. Nobody said a word. “You gonna act like a bunch of girls and let your buddy hang?!” Again, silence. “You call these assholes your friends?” he asked Richie, chuckling. “These aren’t your friends! They don’t care about you!” This from a full-grown adult who would in an hour’s time respond to a 14-year-old’s tearful retelling of how a mother of three children invited him to see how many of his fingers he could fit inside her at one time by saying, “Aw, come on! Don’t be a baby about it! Count yourself lucky—you’re a man! So how many fingers was it?”

“Yes, sir, I did it,” said Philhower, looking at the ground, while another officer approached to read him his rights.

“How about you?” said Von Schmidt, moving down the line and going nose to nose with Danny, who was beginning to hyperventilate.

“Yeah,” exhaled Danny, “I did it.”

Von Schmidt took another step to the left. “And how about you?”

I nodded and stared at my shoes.

“You?” said Von Schmidt, stopping in front of my big brother.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Jeff, shrugging his shoulders slightly and shaking his head in bewilderment.

“All right, get lost!” ordered Von Schmidt.

Watching Jeff casually round the corner with his hands in his pockets, not a care in the world, we all learned, perhaps too late, how the truth is sometimes way too important to be limited by the facts.


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By heterochromatic, November 21, 2011 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

Watching Jeff casually round the corner with his hands in his pockets, not a care in
the world, we all learned, perhaps too late, how the truth is sometimes way too
important to be limited by the facts.—


but maybe they ought to get included a little more in your work, now that you’re
all grown up and everything.


good story, though.

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By mrfreeze, November 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

oddsox - I get it! Thanks…

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By oddsox, November 21, 2011 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

mrfreeze:
*sigh*  yeah, sure.. more public art, some of it is really good.  But a few bridges and dams would be good as well with the 1/4 trillion of the stimulus devoted to infrastructure… (sorry, I’m drifting again…)

I’m no Eminem fan (as per my 1st post this thread), but your “white-boy, Eminem conducts his “black gospel chorus,”” comment is off the mark. 
He isn’t directing them.
He’s either interrupting their rehearsal (empty theater), or perhaps arriving late to a private performance for an audience of one? 
What are you imagining here???

Anyway, I didn’t care for the Chrysler ad for my own reasons, and commented as such when it was first reported on here at TruthDig.  I see you commented, too.
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/this_is_what_we_do_why_i_hated_chryslers_20110209/

By the way, IMHO, Fish can write but he’s no superstar at it.
He should focus on the cartooning, the craft at which he has world-class potential.

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By blogdog, November 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

RE: “There’s no poetry in the retelling or re-examination of what we’ve been through over the last
decade because there is no artistry in the way the memory has been rendered…What source material will
our children have access to when it comes to making sense of 9/11, for example?

_______________

agreed, material very few artists engage; nevertheless, there are a few; e.g.

THE FALL ‘01 - http://vimeo.com/21358374 - 45 min.

and,  as for the wholesale suffering and suicidal insanity surrounding
THE GLOBAL WAR OF TERROR

LAMENTATIO - http://vimeo.com/22317904 - 85 min.

though not necessarily for ‘our’ children - with most Americans today these works will not resonate -
the works are not rendered in contemporary pop-culture-language or aesthetic, virtually the only
language most Americans know, which is OK - these works are not really for our time - they’re for those
who’ll look back, decades, centuries, millennia from now - looking for artistic insight into our epoch,
much as we look to Homer for insight into the Trojan Wars - mainly why Homer is set for the solo
vocalist in the finale to LAMENTATIO…

THE EIGHTH BOOK OF HOMER’S ODYSSEYS
The Odysseys of Homer, vol. 1.  1857
Chapman, George, trans. (1559?–1634)

Of human frailty, that to see a man
Could so revive from death, yet no way can
Defend from death, his own quick powers it made
Feel there death’s horrors, and he felt life fade
In tears his feeling brain swet; for, in things  
That move past utterance, tears ope all their springs.
Nor are there in the powers that all life bears
More true interpreters of all than tears.

the essential couplet:
      Defend from death, his own quick powers it made
      Feel there death’s horrors, and he felt life fade

... delivered in an aria prepared and follow by a choir singing the alpha-numeric assignations to the
isotopes in depleted uranium - accompanied by a corporeal and visual montage of horrorific war
detritus -  LAMENTATIO (finale) - http://vimeo.com/24344858 - 12 min.

DU poisoning is now recognized as the essential cause of Gulf War Syndrome, and general genetic
damage in populations across all modern theaters of war, joining a panoply of toxic aftermath ...
e.g.  http://www.salem-news.com/articles/october042011/war-tourism-tk.php

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By mrfreeze, November 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

oddsox - No, you don’t get my meaning at all. I love public art. I’m merely pointing out that Fish’s criticism of our lack of relevant public art is personified in the Chrysler ad. Really, the anti-union fuckers who run the auto-giants throw public art into their propaganda????? Can’t you see that for what it is?

I didn’t even get to the end of where white-boy, Eminem conducts his “black gospel chorus,” just more propaganda…

My problem is that there isn’t ENOUGH public art.

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By tony_opmoc, November 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I know Mr.Fish.

When you posted the thing about Mrs. Fish.

I and half the world just wanted to know She was O.K.

I didn’t have a clue who you were, but you had got to
my soul and I just wanted to know you were both O.K.

Thank You Sir.

Tony

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By tony_opmoc, November 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WhilstI Really Love some of you Americans, I am not
an American and neither is my wife.

Sure I recognise that us English people HAVE BEEN
REALLY HORRIBLE IN OUR HISTORY LIKE RUNNING AN EMPIRE
AND STUFF…

aND MAYBE tHE qUEEN IS sTILL tRYING tO dO iT

But My Wife and I are just like You

We Come From Lancashire in England

We don’t want to take anything from anyone in any
Country

We just want you to come down our local pub, so we
can dance with you on a Sunday Aftermoon

We couldn’t give a fuck about the colour of your
skin, nor whatever you believe in

We even allow black and white People from the USA and
The Rest of The World in

To Dance With Us

Now Get Off Your Arse - Even and Especially If You
are in a Wheel Chair

And Feel it and Dance

Even If It is Just Within Your Soul

It Doesn’t Matter if You Are Blind or Deaf

Providing You Can See and Ask People To Get Up And
Dance With You.

No Excuses Allowed

You Just Have To Feel

We are hosting The Olympics In about 7 Months…

And so I tell Everyone

We Have Simply Got To Show The Truth That London IS
The Friendliest Most Welcoming City in The World.

You Going To Argue With Me?

Tony

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By oddsox, November 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

mrfreeze: Ok, I get your meaning.  You don’t like public art like the Spirit of Detroit or Walter Speck’s UAW mural being co-opted for commercial use. 
I’d guess you don’t like Bud ads showing the St. Louis Gateway Arch either. 

But you also wrote: “American industry (and Americans themselves) hate unions..”

I have a close friend who works HR for a small company and he DOES hate unions. 
Calls ‘em leeches & we could go on and on, but let’s not.
In the American auto industry, labor and management have always had a stormy marriage, but they’ve got by pretty well until the gas prices started spiking in the early ‘70s.

I’m a former Teamster myself—in my view, all workers should have the right to bargain, but public sector unions are a different animal from private sector unions & there should be distinctions made. 

As the recent Ohio election shows, “Americans themselves” don’t hate unions.

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By mrfreeze, November 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

oddsox - My point had more to do with Mr. Fish’s comment about the “purpose” of art. Today it’s all about the sales, about the marketing, about crafting a “vision/narrative” that taps into some sort of nostalgia (in this case all the hard working “”“”“"union”“”“"members) that has no meaning any longer.

Selling cars using an image of union workers at at time when American industry (and Americans themselves) hate unions….....shame, shame, shame, shame…....even if they made great cars today, the “art-become-propaganda” is still disgusting.

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By oddsox, November 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Freeze:
“Chrysler uses the image (Spirit of Detroit sculpture) in the most profoundly disgusting way to sell their crappy cars.”

To me, it’s the crappy car that’s disgusting.
Completely ordinary and a great example of why Detroit wheels have lost their shine.

There’s nothing new, exciting or quality about a Chrysler 200. 
Even the “Imported from Detroit” slogan isn’t original (was considered for the Mustang’s unveiling in ‘64) and every time I see or hear Eminem I get the mental image of his close encounter with Bruno at the MTV awards show a few years back.

If you’re old enough to remember when Detroit made the best cars in the world, check out the billboards from Detroit featuring cars made in the 50s and 60s.
http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f19/woodward-dream-cruise-chevy-billboards-81859

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By mrfreeze, November 20, 2011 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

What a great thing Mr. Fish writes:

“I worry because I don’t see any significant artwork being produced nowadays to help deepen our understanding of recent historical events beyond whatever sound bites we’re given by the 24-hour news cycle,”

Well, I’ve thought about this idea for a while now; this idea that “art” in modern-day American is more marketing/advertising and propaganda than anything else. To this day, one of the most heinous and disturbing “art productions” ever foisted on the American public is that fucking disgusting Chrysler commercial broadcast last year during the Super Bowl (another ridiculous American fetish). Here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKL254Y_jtc

What’s so utterly disturbing is the “art” depicted at around 30 second shows a painting that (apparently) symbolizes “hard work and industry” a concept that has been overwhelming been REJECTED by the elites (and most regular Americans themselves)........AND YET…Chrysler uses the image in the most profoundly disgusting way to sell their crappy cars. Whilst politicians are bemoaning the “socialist takeover” of the auto industry, Chrysler uses labor-“art” to sell it’s cars??????

Yes, indeed, art is telling a story…“buy, buy, buy, buy, buy, buy, buy…..

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By tony_opmoc, November 20, 2011 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

O.K., I get it now. Sorry for being so slow.

Tony

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By tony_opmoc, November 20, 2011 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

If you had said courgette instead of zucchini, I
might have had a clue what your cartoon is trying to
say.

Meanwhile can you please not piss off the powers who
think they are in control. I find it rather
embarrassing to for example link your cartoon to
Craig Murray’s website only to find that it has
completely evaporated as if it never existed, and I
can only find it again by accident on places like
Gilad Atzmon’s webshack.

What a waste of an egg.

Tony

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By kerryrose, November 20, 2011 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

If this story is true… I’m not sure that burning Thurber qualifies as an act of courageous creativity.  Taking a courageous, moral and creative stance would be to say F-you to Thurber’s face, or to tell his wife out and out maybe in a huge penis costume.

Turning socks inside out is just passive aggressive (and cowardly)—- not creative.

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By rumblingspire, November 20, 2011 at 12:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the story of today has been told.  the authors serene faces stare from Easter Island at you.

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By Carl Quinlan, November 19, 2011 at 9:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That Thurber story was discredited by several sources. It seems Capote (who had a tenuous grip on the truth when telling stories about his youth) had a grudge against Thurber, and so spread this malicious falsehood. Read some recent biographies of Thurber. They don’t sugar coat his final years (he was not a nice man, but a deeply troubled individual, an alcoholic, blind because of the negligence of his family’s doctors, with a growing brain tumor and a stack of rejections from the unfunny late 1950s New Yorker) but he was never dressed by Capote.

Capote was famous for spreading false gossip against those who he felt had failed to appreciate his “genius” (such as inventing the non-fiction novel, another spurious claim) and it is sad his gossip persists to this day.

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By rumblingspire, November 18, 2011 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“when everyones a sinner
its fire engine time”

I would fall asleep beside Mrs. Robinson, her two fingers feeling my radial pulse.  Once I woke up to her face telling me to go to sleep.
she left it on the table one day for me to see; an ancient huge book on mesmerism.  i read a section;  a tip for the novice to not smoke and thus demonstrate control in himself.  there was some instruction in there about the mesmerizer learning to breathe like the subject in order to learn and gain control.
fantastically she demonstrated it once while i was standing exposed, telling her i had grown.  i asked her to hypnotize me now.  she simply said “when i count to 3 you will fall asleep, 1, 2, 3” and to my utter amazement my head dropped like a rock.  I Think i was out for just a split second.

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