Der Zuschauer

A Journal of Essays and Reportage on Drama, History, and Literature

Archive for April 2012

Gorkyland: Barking Dogs

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These doctors who become writers: Chekhov, Bulgakov, Gottfried Benn, and Celine, William Carlos Williams. And why do they love cats, dogs, women after all that? We know why they ask for that last glass of champagne. Are there female doctors who I have forgotten to mention. What does “bottoms up” mean after all? Was Rabelais a real doctor? What does Doctor of Philosophy mean in the 21st Century? Consider the string of titles: BAJ, MFA, PhD. What level of higher education did Steven Jobs have? Robert Burton was a doctor. Goethe and Schiller were not. Walter Benjamin and Nietzsche were. John Donne, the Dean of St. Pauls? Jonathan Swift was but lived in Dublin. Ovid, not Steve Miller, was the Doctor of Love. Plato and Aristotle were simply beyond Doctor of Philisophy. So to Kant and Hegel (who was) and Schopenhauer. Then there was Lord Russell and Corporal Wittgenstein, but really then, who was the Doctor of Love? Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix? Every great mind ends up a parboiled dog whimpering around a Hebrew National Hot Dog stand. The key is to avoid becoming a man-librarian. More later.

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd, PhD.
Copyright 2012. Der Zuschauer.

Written by herrdramaturg

April 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Intellectuals: Lesbian and Otherwise

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Written by herrdramaturg

April 24, 2012 at 11:15 am

Gorkyland: Mental Square

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And sometimes the burning hotel drives towards you, instead of you driving towards the inferno. People continue to be tossed from the shelter. People continue to think they will get back in, or, instead, stay at the Sally. Even the Albany Street wet-shelter, shit-hole has cut its alkie beds in half, a third, who knows? No money, these days, is available for active drunks, dope-fiends, unless you are Bill Clegg, literary agent in New York, author of Portrait of an Addict as A Young Man. “He had a thriving business as a literary agent, representing a growing list of writers. He had a supportive partner, trusting colleagues, and loving friends when he walked away from his work and embarked on a two-month crack binge. He had been released from rehab nine months earlier, and his relapse would cost him his home, his money, his career, and very nearly his life.” That bullshit is from the dust-jacket. Nine and two makes eleven, right? Wooie! Irvine Welsh writes: “A remarkable achievement. Bill Clegg’s story of a man–largely locked in hotel rooms, engaged in a desperate, heart-wrenching battle with himself–is destined to become a cult classic of writing on drug addiction.” All I can say is fuck Irvine Welsh for his cliches; he should have stuck his head in a nasty toilet and spared us the desperation, the destiny, the cult classic, and remarkable achievment. As for Bill Clegg, fuck his wanker asshole and his almost lost his home, his money, his career, and very nearly, his life. If a writer like Andrew O’Hagan is reduced to “instant classic,” “beauty and truth,” and “I suppose we live for the magic of these things,” then we are all lost in a miasma of dreck; cheap, whisper-thin, toilet paper; and bad-boy at Dartmouth masturbation. Sebestian Junger, went to war for 15 months, as a sort of male camp-follower. He at least “showed [us] the adrenaline-fueled confusion of being ambushed.” He knocked me to the floor, he took all my crack, and he took the last of the toilet paper. Junger, at least, “shows what it means to fight, serve, and face down mortal danger on a constant basis.” But really, why can’t any of these male pussies actually write well? Socrates went to war, Sophocles went to war. Grant and Sherman wrote well after the fact. I’ve been locked in hotel rooms; I’ve seen public men’s rooms in Central Square. I’ve lost my only pair of glasses down a fecal rat-hole. It wasn’t my cell-phone. Trusting colleagues, loving friends? Dylan Thomas put some egg into his whiskey. Malcolm Lowry ate the worm in the tequila bottle. When did being “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” become such a man-girl exercise in bad writing? Hemingway, Ford Maddox Ford, Dos Passos, and Faulkner could write. Most of the time they did write well. George Orwell wrote well about being down and out; the dishroom was greasy; the john stank. Josepth Roth wrote brillantly while lit up on schnapps or marc. He didn’t make himself out to be a hero for drinking hard. He wrote about men and women living in history. His last rehab episode was in the Hospital Necker, in Paris, where friends reported seeing him strapped to his bed with delirium tremens; he was denied alcohol by the hospital staff; no benzos in May of 1939. According to the poet and translator, Michael Hoffmann, that was a “contributory cause of his death.” “I have finished my last book. I don’t want a doctor, just a priest.”

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright 2012. Der Zuschauer.

Written by herrdramaturg

April 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm