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Entertainment!

Entertainment! is the debut album by English post-punk band Gang of Four, released in September 1979.

Grotesque They Say

need a good shake?
Tracklist
1. Pay Your Rates
2. English Scheme
3. New Face in Hell
4. C ‘n’ C-S Mithering
5. The Container Drivers
6. Impression of J Temperance
7. In the Park
8. WMC-Blob 59
9. Gramme Friday
10. The NWRA
The Fall – Grotesque (After the Gramme) (album review) | Sputnikmusic.

The Bi-Play List


Sapete la Musica è una di quelle a cui non dovete dire nulla che ha già rollato una manciata buona d’erba e creato l’atmosfera. La musica è un amore sempre leale, di quelli sinceri e schietti. Bara mai e sa sempre cosa vi ci vuole
Siete in fase Petra Von Kant e sul punto di sbroccare? Desert Sessions, Volume 1. A voi la scelta dello strumento da suonare
Siete dell’umore ‘ti ricordi quella volta che mi hai bucato l’orecchio con la sigaretta mentre mi baciavi’? Speak Love, Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass
Vi sentite che ‘quasi quasi glie la do, ma anche no’? He was a big freak, Betty Davis
Vi sentite dell’umore di Miles quando ha saputo che Betty lo ha tradito con Jimi? Bank Robbery, John Lee Hooker & Miles Davis
Siete bipolari? Vi beccate questa

AC/DC – Baby Please Don’t Go
George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue
The Slits – Ping Pong Affair
Miles Davis & John Coltrane – Kind of blue
Betty Davis – Anti Love Song

On Counterculture. The Hall of the Singing Caryatids by Victor Pelevin


Anni che piovono investimenti da tutte le latitudini, fiumi di denaro a secchiate, a cascate, a sprecare, e l’Inghilterra si ritrova oggi con l’acqua alla gola. Certi giorni di temporale a boccheggiare.
‘Mothers are on the brink. Cost of living is forcing 1 in 5 to skip meals to feed their children’
More than 70 per cent of families are financially ‘on the edge’, according to research published today.
Struggling families are on the brink of poverty and could face ruin if hit by further price increases or falls in their income, the study by parenting website Netmums found.
via 70 per cent of British families on the brink of poverty, research claims | Metro.co.uk.
Il 70% delle famiglie inglesi è a rischio povertà e una madre su cinque rinuncia a un pasto al giorno per dare da mangiare ai propri figli. Cameron aumenta le tasse e accorcia il braccino. Non è un caso il film The Iron Lady, uscito nei cinema a gennaio. Il messaggio mi pare chiaro, ladies and gentlemen, torniamo alle maniere dure di sempre. Right Now.
L’Europa piange, l’America annaspa, il Medio Oriente muore, l’Asia si trascina. Siamo in guerra. Ed è una guerra d’avanguardia, che non ha precedenti e si distingue per violenza e impatto nella sfera sociale; le trincee sono nei mercati finanziari, i soldati in banca, i dissidenti in rete; il denaro è virtuale, le bombe chimiche, le stragi silenziose. Moriamo di depressione, di cancro, di tumori, di anoressia, di bulimia, di overdose. Di stress. La propaganda Anti-Crisi si diffonde per radio, televisione, internet, a suon di pop e marionette. Tutto è spettacolo, tutto è d’oro, tutto è magia e possibilità. Yes, you can. Why not?
Perchè le istituzioni, i media, sono corrotti? Perchè nascono dall’investimento di denaro, ed è il denaro che crea potere, dominio, primato, e corrompe il sistema. Come possono i giornalisti della rai lamentarsi delle censure se per lavorare come giornalisti della rai hanno dovuto investire milioni (in studi, in aggiornamenti, in viaggi, in raccomandazioni) pur di farsi assumere dal governo italiano. Un figlio può disobbedire al padre, essergli irriconoscente, voltargli le spalle? Con un mutuo da pagare e una vacanza alle canarie da disdire? Alcuni lo hanno fatto. Alcuni si sono ribellati al padre. E io trovo tutto quel lamentarsi, capricci e ripicche da bambini. C’è tanta gente che lavora sodo e fa informazione lontano i riflettori del grande palcoscenico statale. E lo fa’ molto spessp gratis, per passione e romanticismo. NO, io non credo alla libertà di parola. Credo ai fatti e i fatti dicono che il sistema è corrotto. Bando agli idealismi. Che si fa?
Chiunque di noi si dice disgustato dalle raccomandazioni, sebbene chiunque di noi sarebbe disposto a vendersi la pelle pur di avere un posto fisso. Ognuno di noi ogni giorno si prostituisce in cambio di denaro, affermazione, prestigio. A lavoro, nelle relazioni sociali. Chi per vanità, chi per gioco, chi per noia, chi per debolezza.
Io credo l’unica delle possibilità che abbiamo per arginare la crisi, è dire di NO. NO. NO. E NO. NO, cazzo. Noi non abbiamo bisogno di un’applicazione nel telefonino che ci dica come stare a dieta, noi abbiamo bisogno di cibo per sfamare i bambini che muoiono di fame, vengono abbandonati, sono vittima di violenze domestiche. Noi non abbiamo bisogno di macchine nuove, un nuovo guardaroba, l’ultimo taglia-acqua elettrico, noi abbiamo bisogno di medicine, se siamo malati, di un’adeguata istruzione, perchè siamo ignoranti, di investire nella ricerca, nella medicina. Io non voglio lanciare una provocazione e tirarmi indietro, o fare polemica per noia o cattivo gusto. Io ho il dovere di ribellarmi, e l’unica maniera che ho di ribellarmi è agire e parlarne.
Qualche mese fa mi proposero a lavoro di diventare shift leader e iniziare così una strepitosa e brillante carriera nel glorioso avvenire del caffè. Io ho detto di NO. Io sono una barista, e mi piaccio così. Essere shift leader vuol dire assumersi certe responsabilità non adeguatamente ricompensate economicamente, soprattutto, dovere sempre e a qualunque condizione dire di SI. Per contratto. E io non ho intenzione di dire di si a una compagnia che basa la propria ricchezza sullo sfruttamento della classe operaia e l’investimento di capitali in Arabia Saudita e Polonia. Che non paga la malattia fino a prima del sesto giorno di assenza da lavoro. Che non paga bank holidays e corsi di formazione al personale. Io soffro a sapere loro arricchirsi alle mie spalle e le spalle dei miei colleghi, in prevalenza dell’Est, provati dalla povertà e disposti a dire di Si a qualunque condizione. E perchè soffro? Perchè sono anni che lavoro al minimo della paga e al massimo dello sfruttamento, e non posso neanche permettermi un dentista o un terapeuta per curarmi la schiena. Perchè se mai dovessi ammalarmi di un accidenti, sarò fottuta. Non la prima, nè l’ultima. Ed è questo che mi rende impotente e fa’ soffrire. Non posso fare nulla per proteggere me, chi mi sta vicino e sta peggio di noi.
Certo, qualcuno griderà, lavoro! Ti serve un dentista? Ti serve un terapeuta? Hai un lavoro, lavora! Lavora di più. NO io non lavoro di più. Io non mi faccio spremere come un limone per soddisfare la tua sete di potere e denaro.
Il tempo è denaro, dicono. NO, il denaro è tempo. Il denaro stabilisce quante ore di lavoro un dipendente deve fare e quanto denaro quel dipendente deve pontenzialmente fruttare. Nel mio caso, 73 pounds all’ora. Contro i 6 e 10 di paga netta per ora.
Il denaro permette di acquistare il tempo, di scambiare del tempo per del tempo, che viene comprato indirettamente e subordinato a un vincolo, il rapporto compratore-venditore, quindi consumatore-stipendiato. Questo rapporto è sempre a svantaggio del consumatore-stipendiato. Quando un consumatore compra un prodotto, paga il tempo che è stato necessario a creare quel prodotto ma ad un prezzo più alto rispetto allo stipendio che gli viene dato e in proporzione al tempo che gli ci è voluto per crearlo.
Esempio: in una fabbrica un taglia-acqua elettrico viene costruito in 8 ore di lavoro, da 20 dipendenti stipendiati (compreso il settore commerciale e il lavoro incluso per fabbricare il materiale di produzione utilizzato). Lo stipendio di ogni singolo dipendente dovrebbe quindi corrispondere a 1/20 del prezzo del taglia-acqua elettrico, ossia 1000 pounds se il taglia-acqua elettrico vale 20000 pounds. Questo dovrebbe corrispondere ad uno stipendio di 22000 pounds al mese (22 giorni di lavoro). Per la maggior parte dei lavoratori lo stipendio consiste nel minimo di quella cifra. Nella stragrande maggioranza dei casi le proporzioni sono spaventosamente invertite e il lavoratore è l’unico a esserne penalizzato. I beneficiari del tempo rubato ai dipendenti stipendiati sono le ditte e i loro dirigenti, ma anche gli Stati, dal momento che gli imposti e le tasse prelevate sui lavoratori non vengono utilizzati per l’interesse generale ma vengono usati per arricchire le tasce dei ministeri e investire capitali nel privato.
Perchè continuo a lavorare in quel posto? Perchè sono codarda. Perchè so che se me ne vado non troverò un altro lavoro. Perchè so non c’è lavoro. Perchè non ho il coraggio di mollare tutto e vivere per strada. Sono una fifona. E in fondo mi piace, il confort di un posto caldo dove dormire e almeno un pasto al giorno di cui cibarmi. Sono una donna sofisticata.
Dei giorni andare a lavoro mi pare una violenza. Il coraggio non sta nell’andare a lavoro. Il coraggio starebbe semmai nel mollarlo. Più della metà di tutti i lavori che facciamo è assolutamente inutile e non porta a niente di edificante e attributivo all’intera società. Vendiamo beni altrui, costruiamo cianfrusaglie inutili, ci sprechiamo in cambio di carta straccia. Schifosissima e maledetta carta straccia puzzolente e sporca di sangue.
Sto leggendo un bel romanzo, in questi giorni. S’intitola The Hall of the Caryatids, dello scrittore russo Victor Pelevin, classe ’62, moscovita, ingegnere elettro-meccanico e scrittore spadaccino di cui lessi l’articolo che segue in questo magazine on-line Russia Beyond The Headlines: Russian News (disponibile anche in italiano)
In his recent works, Russian master of postmodern science fiction Victor Pelevin has shifted his satirical focus from the absurdities of the communist regime to the iniquitous consumerism of post-Soviet Russia.

In this surreal story, The Hall of Singing Caryatids, by the Russian master of postmodern science fiction, Victor Pelevin, young Lena is employed to stand naked for hours at a time and sing – when they are not indulging the excessive fantasies of oligarchs. She and her fellow “caryatids” are decorative pillars in an elite underground nightclub. The girls are injected with a classified serum, ‘Mantis-B,’ which enables them to stand totally still for up to two days. Lena’s encounters with a giant, telepathic praying mantis, while under the influence of the serum, radically alter her perspective on the outside world, revealing an alternative universe of wordless clarity.

In true postmodern style, Pelevin intersperses these drug-induced episodes with other voices. There are the pseudo-pretentious extracts from Counterculture magazine that Lena reads in the minibus back to Moscow. She also meets concept artists, girls dressed as mermaids, important clients in bathrobes, guards in suits, and the sinister, ironic-slogan-toting Uncle Pete.

Pelevin has been perplexing and delighting readers with his unique brand of polyphonic sci-fi comedy for more than two decades now. His first novel, Omon Ra, published in 1992, portrays a protagonist attempting to escape the Soviet nightmare by becoming a cosmonaut, only to find himself part of a farcical, mock-heroic moon landing during which he drives his lunar bike along a derelict underground tunnel.

While the political landscape may seem to have altered seismically around him, Pelevin has had no trouble shifting his satirical focus from the absurdities of the communist regime to the iniquitous consumerism of post-Soviet Russia. Pelevin’s most recent book, Pineapple Water for a Beautiful Lady, has just been short-listed for the Nose literary prize.

via Revealing drawbacks of post-Soviet consumerism | Russia Beyond The Headlines.

Il romanzo ricorda molto il bunga bunga affair ed è principalmente indirizzato a polemizzare la corruzione dell’oligarchia russa sotto il governo Putin.
Chi sono le cariatidi canterine? Dal greco, figure portanti. Un gruppo di giovani prostitute, addestrate, drogate, coinvolte da una società segreta in un affare politico.
C’è una parte del libro, molto bella, in cui Lena e le altre ragazze vengono convocate da Uncle Pete e portate in un luogo segreto. Intanto che aspettano, Lena trova una rivista, e Pevelin il pretesto per parlare di controcultura e fare polemica

‘She took the driver’s well thumbed copy of Eligible Bachelors of Russia magazine. Inside it was another slim, badly tattered magazine, titled Counterculture. It wasn’t clear if this was printed or simply a supplement. Counterculture was printed on poor quality newsprint and looked very dubious, even sordid, but Vera explained that that was deliberate.
“It’s counterculture,” she said, as if the word explained everything.
“And what’s that?” Lena asked.
“That’s when they use dirty words on cheap paper,” Vera explained. “So they can badmouth the glossies. It’s hot shit nowadays.”
Asya frowned.
“That’s not right,” she said, “it doesn’t have to be on cheap paper, sometimes the paper’s expensive. Counterculture’s..” She hesitates for a moment, as if she was trying to recall a phrase that she’d heard somewhere. “It’s the aesthetic of anti-bourgeois revolt, expropriated by the ruling elite, that’s what it is.”
“But how can you expropriate an aesthetic?” Vera asked.
“NO problem,” replied Asya. “Nowadays, everyone who’s got a competent PR manager is a rebel. Any dumb bitch on TV can say she’s on the run from the FSB…I don’t get you girls; I don’t see why we should have any complexes about the job. Because everyone’s a prostitute nowadays, even the air- for letting the radio waves pass through it.”
“You take such an emotional view of everything, seeing it all with your heart,” said Kima. “You won’t last long like that. And anyway, that’s not what counterculture is.”
“Then what is it?” asked Asya.
“It’s just a market niche,” Kima replied with a shrug, “And not just here, it’s the same all over the world. Think of it – ‘counter’-counterculture is any commodity someone’s hoping to sell big-time, so they put it on the checkout counter. Lena, why are you so quiet?”
“I am reading,” Lena replied. “I don’t understand why they use dotted lines for profanity, if they’re in revolt.”
“That’s to attract more readers.”
“Aha. And here they write:’brilliant intellectual, experimenting within the mainstream…’ Is that counterculture?”
“No,” said Asya. “That’s one cute guy on the make and another one doing his PR.”
Lena didn’t ask any more question, but she was still wondering what counterculture really was, and decided to read right through the supplement.
She half listened to the girls with one ear as she read the article: “The 100 Most Expensive Wh…s in Moscow (with Phone Numbers and Addresses)” – followed by the comments on it (one commentator wrote in to ask why was that Drozdovets, the host of the popular talk show “Hats Off!”, wasn’t in the list – was it because of a sudden moral transformation or a temporary decline in his ratings?). Then she frowned at a strange advertisement (“Weary of the hustle and bustle of the city? In just two minutes, you can be in a pine forest. Washing lines from the Free Space factory!”), leafed through an article about the singer Shnurkov (“Why, of all the warriors doing battle against the dictatorship of the manager, was this sophisticated Che Guevara, known to many well-to-do gentlemen for his scintillating songs at exclusive corporate events, the first to point out that he was no slouch when it came to picking up on the ringtone? Because he realized that these days it’s the only way to get his ringtone playing on your iPhone, dear manager!”), then Lena read an interview with Shnurkov himself (“The composer of ‘Ham ..r that C..t’ and ‘D..k in a Con..m’ reflects on the trends and metamorphoses of contemporary Russian cinema”), and then – probably because of the tiresome countercultural profanities – she started feeling depressed and lonely, so she closed the supplemt and dived into the quiet, glossy waters of Eligible Bachelors of Russia.
Immediately she came across a large article titled “The last Russian Macho.” It was devoted to the oligarch Botvinik, whom it called “Russia’s No. 1 Eligible Bachelor.”
Lena peered, gimlet-eyed, at the photo of a stocky, chubby individual with an unnatural, bright blush right across his cheeks – as if she were trying to drill a fishing hole in the glossy surface and hook the key to some kind of secret code out of it.
“Could you love someone like that?” Asya asked, glancing into the magazine.
“Why not?” replied Lena. “You can always find something good in anyone. And when someone has a few billion dollars, you can find an awful lot of something good. You just have to look for it.”
Text entirely taken from ‘The Hall of the Singing Caryatids’ by Victor Pelevin.
Translated from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield.

Skins and Punks by Gavin Watson

Pomeriggio, spulciando tra gli scaffali della biblioteca vicino casa, sezione fotografia, ho trovato questo, singolare retrospettiva del fotografo inglese Gavin Watson, ritratto new wave della giovane e ribelle classe operaia inglese

Gavin Watson grew up in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, photographing the people he knew and the gangs they hung out with. In his latest book Skins and Punks, Watson captures two of the country’s most iconic subcultures as they come to life in the dreary climate of 1980s Britain. As This is England director Shane Meadows comments in the foreword, ‘What makes Gavin’s photos so special is that when you look at them, there’s clearly trust from the subject towards the photographer so it feels like you’re in the photo rather than just observing’.

via Skins and Punks by Gavin Watson | Music | guardian.co.uk.

Rael Brian | Flickr – Photo Sharing
http://www.raelbrian.blogspot.com/

Linder Sterling Punk Collage


(Orgasm AddictBuzzcocks Album Cover)

Linder Sterling
Linder – Interview Magazine.

Blood and Guts in High School

Kathy Acker

Blood and Guts in High School” della scrittrice americana Kathy Acker (1947-1997) è considerato essere il libro più rappresentativo della letteratura punk(in inglese punklit o punk lit)genere letterario nato dalla sottocultura punk esplosa in Inghilterra,America e Australia nella seconda metà degli anni’70.
Il genere è maggiormente conosciuto negli ambienti punk e comprende una stringata lista di autori che hanno,in seguito,influenzato letteratura cyberpunktransgressive fiction,genere letterario confinato all’emarginazione per via delle tematiche anti-sociali in cui i protagonisti infrangono il rigore delle leggi deturpando violentemente ogni codice morale e taboo (basti pensare a”A Clockwork Orange” dello scrittore Anthony Burgess,libro del 1962 ambientato a Londra,riarrangiato per il cinema nel 1971 da Stanley Kubrick).
Più diffusa della letteratura punk è la poesia punk,cui poeti sono spesso musicisti;fra questi Patty Smith,Richard Hell(che ebbe grande influenza sui Sex Pistols),

John Cooper Clarke

John Cooper Clarke(d’ispirazione alle maggiori punk bands inglesi come i Joy Division,i Buzzcocks,Elvis Costello,Siouxsie and the Banshees,New Order,i Sex Pistols),Steven Wells(meglio conosciuto come feroce giornalista musicale che poeta punk) e Jim Carroll,poeta e scrittore,da cui autobiografiaThe Basketball Diaries,del 1978,è stato tratto un film onomino nel 1995,con Leonardo DiCaprio.
Kathy Acker,autrice di “Blood and Guts in High School”è forse tra le più note scrittrici bohemian della letteratura punk,fortemente influenzata dalla filosofia,William S. Burroughs(scrittore americano e propulsore della Beat Generation),David Antin(poeta americano),la Teoria Critica Francese (che fa principalmente perno sulle teorie economiche marxiste),la pornografia(cosa per cui la Acker si guadagnerà il titolo di sex positive feminist).I suoi romanzi raccontano di violenza,donne controverse in delicato rapporto con gli uomini,la società,l’amore,l’affermazione e indipendenza sessuale.
(Kathy Acker è anche autrice di un saggio sulla vita e la morte di Pier Paolo PasoliniMy death,my life,by Pier Paolo Paolini).
Blood and Guts in High School,che sto leggendo,è stato scritto nei primi anni del 1970(nel’78 un primo copyright),e pubblicato soltanto nel 1984.La storia racconta di una bambina americana di dieci anni,Janey Smith,che è stata cresciuta in Messico ma ancora giovane verrà spedita dal padre,con cui vive una relazione sessuale,nella città di New York (perchè questi sta frequentando una donna.La madre di Janey sarà morta qualche anno dopo la nascita della bambina).L’incesto tra il padre e la figlia viene raccontato dalla Acker con voluta ironia e mai con fare pietistico(immancabile,tra le righe,la denuncia all’immoralità blasfema del padre,simbolo della decadenza sociale). Janey è chiaramente una bambina in crisi che vede il padre ora come amico e amante,ora come un carnefice verso il quale prova una violenta gelosia immancabilmente scaturitale dal rapporto di questi con una donna,odiosa rivale che insinuerà in lei il tarlo dell’abbandono(tant’è il padre si libererà di lei facendola trasferire a New York appunto).
Il libro,o almeno nella versione che ho,la prima del 1978,è corredato di illustrazioni e ricco di poesie al suo interno,poesie scritte di pugno dalla stessa Janey in cui è evidente il disagio della bambina,il riflesso delle proprie paure,il bisogno di evasione,l’amore infantile che la lega al padre misto al senso di repulsione.
La trama della storia vuole intenzionalmente mettere in risalto l’ambiguità del sentimento americano votato al cattolicesimo e al patriottismo di contro all’abuso di questo sentimento di facciata che si macchia di ripugnanza nelle azioni più abiette e contro ogni morale.
Sotto una parte del libro in cui Janey,che ha già lasciato il Messico per New York,fa riferimento a “La Lettera Scarlatta”,classico della letteratura americana del 1850,dello scrittore Nathaniel Hawthorne,ambientato in Nuova Zelanda durante gli anni del Puritanesimo(diciassettesimo secolo);per chi non lo avesse ancora letto,La Lettera Scarlatta verte sui temi della legalità,il peccato,la colpa,e racconta la storia di Hester Prynne,macchiatasi di aduleterio,condannata ed emarginata dalla società per aver avuto un bambino di cui si rifiuterà rivelare il padre(la lettera scarlatta si riferisce a un marchio,una ‘A’,di fuoco al petto che varrà a indicarla come una peccatrice da cui stare lontani. Hester Prynne verrà accusata proprio dall’uomo,il reverendo della chiesa locale,che l’ha ingravidata e di cui non può rivelare il nome).Per molti versi e per questo rimarcato senso della colpa, Hester Prynne ricorda molto la Katjuša Maslova di Tolstoj nel romanzo Resurrezione(di cui parlerò presto),condannata di un crimine alla corte in cui presiede proprio colui che fu responsabile della sua rovina e miseria,sebbene-diversamente da Nathaniel Hawthorne-Tolstoj fa di questo romanzo storico e sentimentale motivo di espiazione e redenzione.
Di seguito un brano tratto dal romanzo;nella prima parte la Acker approfitta de La lettera scarlatta per sottolineare come tutto,a questo mondo,comprese le idee,sia compromesso da un’unica merce di scambio e valore-il denaro.Di significato la parte finale in cui Janey fa riferimento alla possibilità di amare un uomo che l’ama e di quanto questo-farci l’amore,averlo accanto-significhi per lei.La Acker pone la faccenda in termini strettamente sessuali,alludendo specialmente alla fisicità e carnalità di quest’uomo ipotetico che desidera(Janey ne desidera il cazzo,detta in soldoni).Il riferimento è puramente sessuale e certamente-volutamente provocatorio,mentre trovo proprio in questa carnalità,tanto schietta quanto sincera,quanto di più  romantico e puro è possibile pensare dell’amore.

Sessualità,ambiguità,provocazione,denuncia.

-We don’t have a clue what it is to be male or female, or if there are intermediate genders. Male and female might be fields which overlap into androgyny or different kinds of sexual desires. But because we live in a Western, patriarchal world, we have very little chance of exploring these gender possibilities-Kathy Acker

A book report
We all live in prison.Most of us don’t know we live in prison.
A throng of bearded men,in sad-colored garments,were assembled in front of a gaol.They were waiting for a woman named Hester Prynne to walk out of the gaol.
All of them even the hippies hated Hester Prynne because she was a freak and because she couldn’t be anything else and because she wouldn’t be quiet and hide her freakness like a bloody Kotex and because she was as wild and insane as they come.
Long ago,when Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter,he was living in a society that was more socially repressive and less materialist that ours.He wrote about a wild woman.This woman challenged the society by f****** a guy who wasn’t her husband and having his kid.The society punished her by sending her to gaol,making her wear a red ‘A’ for adultery right on her tits,and excommunicating her.
Nowadays most women f*** around ‘cause f****** doesn’t mean anything.All anybody cares about today is money.The woman who lives her life according to nomaterialistic ideals is the wild antisocial monster;the more openly she does so,the more everyone hates her.
Women today don’t get put in gaol for being bloody pieces of Kotex-only streetwalkers and junkies land up in gaol,gaol-and-law now being a business like any other business-they just starve to death and everyone hates them.Physical and mental murder help each other out.
The society in which I am living is totally fucked up.I don’t know what to do.I am just one person and I’m not very good at anything.I don’t want to live in hell my whole life.If I knew how this society got so fucked-up,if we all knew,maybe we’d have a way of destroying hell.I think that’s what Hawthorne thought.He set his story in the time of the fist Puritans: the first people who came to the northern North American shore and created the society Hawthorne lived in,the society that created the one we live in today.
Another reason Hawthorne set his story in the past (in lies) was ‘cause he couldn’t say directly all the wild things he wanted to say.He was living in a society to which ideas and writing still mattered.In ‘The Custom House’,the introduction to The Scarlet Letter,Hawthorne makes sure he tells us the story of The Scarlet Letter occurred long time ago and has nothing to do with anyone who’s now living. After all,Hawthorne had to protect himself so he could keep writing.Right now I can speak as directly as I want ‘cause no one gives a s*** about writing and ideas,all anyone cares about is money.Even if one person in Boise,Idaho,gave half-a-s***,the only book Mr Idaho can get his hands on is a book the publishers,or rather the advertisers(‘cause all businessmen are now advertisers) have decided will net half-a-million in movie and/or TV rights. A book that can be advertised.Define culture that way.
You see,things are much better nowadays than in those old dark repressed Puritan days:anybody can say anything today;progress does occur.
It’s possible to hate and despise and detest yourself ‘cause you’ve been in prison so long.It’s possible to get angrier and angrier.It’s possible to hate everything that isn’t wild and free. A girl is wild who likes sensual things: doesn’t want to give up things being alive: rolling in black fur on top of skin ice-cold water iron crinkly leaves seeing three brown branches against branches full of leaves against dark green leaves through this the misty grey wanders in garbage on the streets up to your knees and unshaven men lying under cocaine piled on top of cocaine colours colours everything happening! one thing after another thing!
…you keep on going,there are really no rules: it doens’t matter to you whether you live or die,but every now and then there’s a kind of territory and you might get stuck that’s OK too if you really don’t give a s***,but who doens’t give a s***! Loving everything and rolling in it like it’s all gooky s*** goddamnit make a living grow up no you don’t want to do that.
The Massachussetts seacoast in the middle of the seventeenth century looked the same as it does now:WILD. Trees and bushes an weeds and wind and water.Trees and bushes and wind and water are always moving every moment the whole world is a totally different world air rides over shivering water so those water areas shiver harder grow darker below the water hit the sharper rocks harder splash! foam appears. And disappears.
My father told me the day after he tried to rape me that security is the mos important thing in the world.I told him sex is the most important thing in the world and asked him why he didn’t f*** my mother. In Hawthorne’s and our materialistic society the acquisition of money is the main goal ‘cause money gives the power to make change stop,to make the universe die; so everything in the materialistic society is the opposite of what it really is.Good is bad. Crime is the only possible behavior.
Hetster Prynne,Hawthorne tells us ,had wanted to be a good girl. I remember I wanted to be a good girl for my father.Her loving husband sent her to the New World to prepare a way for him. Traveling in those days was dangerous –there were no roads- and her husband never showed up. Two years passed.Hester was being a good dead girl. Suddenly a little unsuspected ecstatic crazy-making overtaking wildness like a big King Viper spreading his hood,rising up and spreading overtaking everything, that’s what love’s like,snake-insane rose up in Hester she f*****. Pregnancy made her wildness or evil (that’s the religious word for wildness) public. The child was the sign of her nastiness and disintegration and general insanity.
Hawthorne gives us a description of motherhood in the fucked-up society: All the people around Hester hate her and despise her and think she’s total freak. The kid’s beyond human law and human consideration. How do you feel about yourself when every human being you hear and see and smell every day of your being thinks you’re worse than garbage? Your conception of who you are has always, at least partially, depended on how the people around you behaved towards you. You sense the people around you aren’t right: what you did, your need, you weren’t defying them to defy them, it was your need, was OK. You don’t know. How can you know anything? How can you know anything? You begin to go crazy.
Hester’s just stepping out of prison ,out of prison, but this is worse: huge staring eyes,whispers,her child laughed at, mocked, she’s a woman, this isn’t reality, the eyes turn around and around she can’t be who she is, when suddenly she sees her long-lost husband.
This husband is now called Roger Chillingworth.
The cops are screaming at Hester: ‘You hideous woman.’ ‘Look at the hideous woman.’ ‘Who did the hideous woman f***?’ ‘You’re such a nice hideous woman,we know you didn’t mean to do the tremendously horrible thing you did,just pretty please tell us who you f*****. We know what’ll make you feel better.’
Hester’s husband’s a scholar. A scholar is a top cop ‘cause he defines the roads by which people live so they won’t get in trouble and so society will survive. A scholar is a teacher. Teachers replace living dangerous creating whit dead ideas and teach these ideas as the history and meaning of the world. Teachers torture kids . Teachers teach you intricate ways of saying one thing and doing something else.
The top cops start laughing at and mocking Hester and telling the crowd to laugh at and mock Hester ‘cause she won’t tell them who her baby’s father is. Hester’s acting out of love.
This husband, being a teacher, is a zombie and a ghoul. He sees his wife being tortured by lots of people, he sees his wife in pain and agony, he sees his wife nursing a strange kid,and he doesn’t feel anything. He just wonders, intellectually wonders, who the kid’s father is.
A final scene focuses this swirling horror. The young handsome Reverend who everyone thinks is gentle, honest, and kind takes up the spreading mockery and hatred and vomiting and says to Hester: ‘You are the worst piece of trash-cunt whoever live, no one will ever ever love you, there will be no more love in your life because, mainly because, you won’t tell us who your bastard’s father is.’ Hester can’t reply ‘cause the guy who’s screming at her is the guy who fuc*** her. How can HE scream at her? All that she has left of the world : her memories disappear. Do you understand what reality is? She begins to go crazy…
Boppy doppy doopy wah yahyah mm. Is that what you think craziness is? Are you scared you’re going crazy? Do people who go crazy freak you? Look sweetheart.
I woke up in my attic that the winds swept through and all the world was grey and black. I saw pine trees covering the grey sky and sea, tall trees, boats, tall trees, boats.
I walked along the highway. I was looking for a place to sit down, for some grass I could walk in, for a wood I could explore. I walked for hours. All the land on both sides of the highway, cultivated and wild, was private. I had to keep walking on the highway. I thought that people today when they move move only on roads. They perceive only the roads, the map, the prison. I think it’s becoming harder to get off the road.
I live on a desert island. It’s a nice desert island. I like it here. This is what I do: I eat; I sleep; when it rains and gets cold,I hide under some rocks. I like it here. But I am getting bored… What can I do? I can repeat what I see. I can draw this old grey trunk and make it look different. People got cures for polio and syphilis by imagining. People have and can change the world. In the beginning, on the desert island, the world is totally beautiful. Today in my room in New York City the world is horrible and disgusting. What the hell happened?
I don’t want to be a slave, I don’t want to be a whore, I don’t want to be lonely and without love for the rest of my long life. I’ve got to find out how I got so fuc***-up.
Hester and her husband are sitting, after the torture, in her prison cell. Her husband has come inside to make her well again. He’s a doctor.
‘Fuc**** Is the most wonderful thing in the world’. Hester is crazy.
‘I want to fuc* you right now’,her husband replies.
‘Ugh.I wouldn’t fuc*you if you were the last man on earth. You make me sick to my stomach.’
A slight grimace crosses his face,but he manages to suppress it.
‘Remember when we used to fuc*? By the fireside in Amsterdam.’ Tears appear in his thin eyes. ‘You’d lay your head on my lap and we’d look into the fire.’
Hester’s thinking the most wonderful thing in the world is to fuc* a man you love. God she wishes she had it right now. Loving a man and being right next to him: naked against him there’s no need to talk: naked wet warm his face his skin naked wet warm his thick lips glazed eyes you’re on top of him naked wet warm never let you go the peace of the world never never never.
‘I’m the guilty one,’the husband says. ‘If I hadn’t sent you alone to America, you never would’ve done this horrible inhuman thing.’
‘Oh, I am the guilty one.’
‘I hate you now. I don’t even hate you. I just want nothing to do with you. You’re not to reveal that you have ever known me or had anything to do with me. Whatever love and affection occurred between us is now dead. We’re dead people.’
Fuc**** with love must be the gift of God. His eyes his nose his hot breath the shadow under his neck his thick arms the fat around his sides the bones sticking out of his thighs his coc*waving in that mess of hair I want him so much I am going crazy. I want his eyes I want his nose I want his hot breath reeking all over my body I want to stick my tongue in neck I want his arms around me I’ve forgotten what it’s like to want a man I roll my hands in his fat and bite it and rub my dying-to-come hips against the bones sticking out of his thighs so maybe I’ll come that way his coc*, if I could just touch his coc* just for a second, I don’t want to touch it more than that, a quick kiss, wet and slimy, don’t take me away from it, don’t take me away from it you creep meanie: this is my home.
‘Who’s your brat’s father?’
‘I love him. I am not going to tell you who he is.’
‘I am going to find out who he is. I am simply interested who he is. I am one of the most brilliant men in America and Europe and can learn anything. I’m going to find out who he is!’.
She shivers before this example of the divorcement of body and mind. She’s seeing terror and hatred and hypocrisy beginning to spread over the earth.
‘Don’t you tell anyone who I am.’
WHEN SOMEONE’S IN PAIN,HE CRIES OUT.
Taken from “Blood and Guts in High School” by Kathy Acker

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