Sat May 11, 2013, 02:01 PM
dogknob (2,008 posts)
When life gives you a chocolate severed ear, MAKE LEMONADE! (book review)
Van Gogh's Ear & The Dark Side of Des Moines
by D X Stone
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...Gaping through long ages gone
At that final vision, stark and fair
Of the lovely lady with the sad dark lonely eyes
And the truly killer hair
In the year 2013, during the period known to future historians as The Neo-Narcissist Age, self-confidence was commoditized and stashed away in strange lands with secretive banking laws, leaving the common folk with little to do besides fret into the mirror or, when pestered by the lingering creative urges they were unable to work off at the gym, edit the screenplays for the epic films about their respective lives, re-casting the principals for the bzillionth time. The Neo-Narcissist Age was a time of constant revision and reinvention.
The Neo-Narcissist Age was such a messy, does-this-iPhone-make-my-booty-look-fat period that even the most feared and despised woman in ancient (or modern) history decided to get a perm. So begins The Dark Side of Des Moines, the second of two recently-published volumes of poetry by author-artist-musician-humorist D X Stone.
Although both collections are being published simultaneously, the companion volume, Van Gogh's Ear, can be regarded as the first; like the first card in any tarot deck, it opens with a joyous promise:
There is a universe within your inner ear
And in THAT universe, another inner ear
And in THAT inner ear, ANOTHER universe
And in THAT universe, a tiny little purse
Made from a sow's ear's innards, and inside of
A universe, a toothbrush AND a smart new hat!
Anyone can find their groove if they are willing to thoroughly and honestly search for it. Easy.
There is, however, one small catch: you have to pretend like you are not searching. There's an army of folks out there who gave up the search when someone called them a dork or worse sometime during high-school. Their views of searchers there are less polite synonyms for the resented enemy in their training videos along with the weapons and tactics they employ, are evolved, effective, ruthless and legendary. The generals in this army issue a loud, shiny, easy-to-understand-in-all-languages, constantly repeated variation on the same orders. Anyone observed looking for their groove is to be reported to the authorities and, should they persist in their self-serving aggressions, subdued.
...He tied it up between his thighs
To hide it well from prying eyes
And walked a little strange but otherwise
Appeared like all the other guys
The boy with the prehensile tail
He oughta be tossed right in jail
Or driven out on a rail...
The forces of anti-intellect have garrisoned the strongholds of television, film, music, and publishing for at least the last 35 years, but the large scale battle for your mind is currently in progress on the Internet; the business of music is thus far the most high-profile recipient of the Purple Heart. More and more artists in every medium are discovering that they can produce their work and get it out to a large audience without the involvement of someone with an MBA who squeezes into their skinny jeans every morning after Pilates class and gets right down to the business of telling you that you suck.
People with no understanding of art are very worried about the Internet; anyone can now produce work with professional tools and distribute that work themselves (Adobe is going to try to put a stop to that, but they will fail hang onto that CS6, y'all!).
The easy access of the Internet is a sword that cuts both ways, however. If anyone can produce and distribute their art, what better way to silence the art you can't own control of than to make sure that everybody produces and distributes everything that pops into their heads, the stuff they couldn't work off at the gym, all the time?
...Let's get redundant
Let's do it mo' and then mo'
Let's do it hundits
Of times in a row
Let's get redundant
Let's get redundant...
If the mainstream media can't control everything you see, read and hear, then they are going to make damn sure that finding what you are looking for is a tedious, redundant and hopefully futile task... and they are going to make sure you see as many of their discouraging messages as possible before you finally give up and watch Mad Men.
Those of us who dare to continue our search might succumb, when confronted with the honest, often hilarious tales of obstacles and adversity lurking within Van Gogh's Ear and The Dark Side of Des Moines, to the temptation to dismiss them with one of the too-easy buzzwords we learned from some gorgeous person who owes buckets of money on their student loan and now plays artistic whack-a-mole full time for The Man from a sad desk in a sad cubicle in a sad building: quack, quack, quack. Those familiar, weary adjectives are the half-hearted quacks of the intimidated and confused and it's easier to believe them than it is to look closer and see that you have a powerful and inspirational ally in Ms. Stone. She has rhymes and she isn't required to confine them to hip-hop. She wants to find what she is looking for and she wants you to find it, too... then go find your own dang groove.
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