Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Satire

Juvenal was a roman satirist from long long ago. He wrote that "It's hard not to write satire." meaning that the era he lived in was so totally out of sync with what his conscience demanded that literally nothing fit or made sense in any logical frame. He could only make sense of it as a cosmic joke of man. "If we could only see ourselves..." he must've thought and so he tried to create a mirror.
"There is no sabbath," complained Thoreau who wasn't devout but did see an alarming rate of activity without any filter of restraint in 1840. The seams of America had burst and within 20 years, before he died, coast to coast changes would totally remap the continent, urged on by a mass mentality or hysteria.


And maybe that's the issue: continents are formed by one explosive event, jarring collision of continents, eruptions, comet impact that come from no guiding hand, with no design, but incur long lasting consequences. So why wouldn't societies be the same? Gold, an innately precious metal leads to the extermination of Indians in the South and the West and the importation of Chinese from the East. Two planes crash into the twin towers and what follows can not be controlled. Iraq is invaded. Marines go blind. Dictators are beheaded. Wall Street is Occupied. With no more land to claim, the corporations colonized the government and now call the shots. Was there design? No, and there never is, but the role of the media is to puppet contented folk and sooth the audience at the Coliseum. And maybe that's what bothers my Brothers in Satire and I...we are insulted by the parade of plastic flags that fly over a falsely claimed land by drunk drivers who mumble the Star Spangled Banner where Karankawas once cracked sea shells. The humility is as vapid as the sea fog. At least let me see the truth. Can we at least not live in pompous costumes and fake tans with magazines celebrating drunk driving duck face mugshots? Please??

William Hazlitt wrote, "Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be."  

As I lay on my side in the van shitting my own swimming shorts ("Farting and following through," as Irvine Welsh once described) until I had to get a kid's yellow abandoned sand castle bucket and shit into that, crouched with belly fat bunched against wasted thighs and shrunken testicles hanging in tender agonies of filthy breezes, I had to laugh because this was not how my beach vacation ought to be.


I don't find many things funny anymore. I'm not amused except by some of my own totally outrageous stunts. I started out in 2008 trying to stage events and be a prop in my own comedy. The pregnant robot man had shown me that you could narcissistically record your own thoughts, publish them, and create an audience and personality as you saw fit and I saw a media I could manipulate with only my fingers. And I'm camera shy but I could pretend to be a character and never censor anything. And I could control all the shots and pictures and events.The Robot man's heart hasn't been into the daily blogging for a while because to be properly creative in such an unprofitable field means you can't have certain obligations and responsibilities (it's hard to toggle between practicality and creativity). I would drop the blog like a skinny tie if I had a job or a girlfriend but fate has seen fit to deny me those burdens, so I press on to greater heights of insanity. 

It takes a certain set of totally uncontrollable circumstances to maintain a real creative output. The opportunity is not always there and the audience is fickle and the material is finite and the skill is fleeting but for what time I had I've striven to be creative, to always top myself, to program the world as I wanted, to sand down the rough edges of my mind and blow the dust in your face. But the comedy caught up to me and I became an actor in my own drama with no director. So I tried to reinvent the character and create the programming but events and emotions betrayed my weak disposition. Performance art is not dangerous because you get in trouble, it's dangerous because you find it easier to just stay in one character. The Oggy character who made his deathbed video has a hard time going to sleep to let the Other Oggy (who is trying to get a job at a piano dealership) out of the box long enough to salvage his tattered resume. When the police wake me up at three in the morning I have to freeze when they ask their stupid "What are you doing?" question because I don't know if Good Oggy or Bad Oggy will answer. (I'm actually writing a children's story (for psychotic kids) called "I Don't Hear Voice In My Head But Flying Monkeys Live Under My Bed It's a true Jekyll and Hyde perversion and I wonder sometimes if the only thing that will save or unite the two Oggys is my evaporation. Is it all lies or is it partial lies? And rightly remember that this is for amusement only because a true satirist has no expectation that his satire will change anything. All I care about is if my material is good in the end. Is it entertaining to me and does it capture some moment of human frivolity? What other goal can I have? Not to describe my pedestrian life to you? Who would care? It's only in irony and satire that I have purpose but it's a lonely cathedral to live in. I want to be worthy of Juvenal and John Kennedy Toole, real devotees of satire and comedy, people who gave their lives to it and I hope this goal is not ignored by anyone who watches with alarm my decline into insanity and self-degradation. The blog was supposed to be an entertaining character study and not merely a skin deep commercial venture, it was something that could stand up to the great works of satire and I think it's doing good under the desperate circumstances that I'm creating it in. I console myself that Juvenal wrote comedy with tears for humanity in his eyes, and Toole killed himself from depression although his humor was without depth. I don't know what is coming but it doesn't matter because I can't stop it and neither can you. If even a fraction of what I've read about the climate and corporate rule is true then we are poised to become fossils and Juvenal and Toole and Bleacher will be relics to the digital fortress of time, memorialized in languished dreams of Titans in distant galaxies, laughing at our folly and applauding our songs of mirth.
So, if it's hard not to write satire, then write satire.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.