Saturday, January 19, 2013

Throwing Violent J A Bone

I'm about a quarter of the way through the fascinating Jon Ronson collection "Lost At Sea" but the work couldn't have started on a better note, as laughing at the ICP "Miracles" video over and over again on repeat until my face hurt and tears streamed down my cheeks was one of the highlight meme moments of early 2010 for me. I still have very fond memories of it. You know, long neck giraffes, magnets, "effing ____ how do THEY work?!" endlessly. In fact, I began following Violent J on Twitter after that because the inevitable ham-handed quotes would cause me to burst into laughter. Needless to say, if you have not seen "Miracles" by ICP, proceed forthwith to YouTube - it is a mandatory internet experience.

I had a wonderful revelation halfway through the first piece after feeling at least a slight impulse to defend Violent J and Shaggy from the merciless sarcastic pounding and after the poignant moment where Ron asks why he hates science so much if he and his son enjoyed an important experience as he explained fog to his son (fog is on the Miracles list and Ronson thought it be a rather low threshold for miracles, having grown up around it in Britain).

It's really a recurring epiphany of mine that surfaces now and then and in this context it's just: How limiting it is to view the world through only one of either filter of wonder and childlike innocence on the one hand versus knowledge and scientific understanding on the other. The ability to view through either filter at will is something I take for granted but I realize now and then that a lot of times people tend to only have one mode or the other, feeling they must choose between them in the way people choose a political party and then act out that role and live out the talking points. Both is better! I like salty fried foods but I also like sweet desserts like PIE. I like both! Both is better than only one or only the other!

Still, to play court-appointed literary attorney for Violent J and Shaggy, at this time I'll offer a poem from the ultimate hipster and one of my favorite American poets, Walt Whitman, to balance out the field a bit in that first essay. Note how even the meter and flow transition from more structured and complex to less structured and more free-form when the transition between the two ways of looking at the world occurs :

When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer  

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer; 
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me; 
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them; When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, 
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick; 
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself, 
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time, 
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars. 

-Walt Whitman from "Leaves of Grass" (First published in “Drum-Taps,” 1865)

Oh, but, just for fun, a Juggalo-Mom response to the SNL parody video mentioned in the Ronson piece:

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