Der Zuschauer

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

Posts Tagged ‘Aesthetics

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

Gorkyland: Taint

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Sometimes, we, the Gorkyland main-framers, decide to go out in search of a certain object, or, a certain aspect, of human potential and experience; we go out looking for human possibility. It is said that everyone has a taint, even though the OED does not seem to list this particular nuance of human anatomy. One either knows about it not, or, one does, often heavy with the olfactory gathering intelligences from the nose and the tongue, and rarely, the eye. You may not know you have a taint; you cannot not have a taint. What does a taint do? Is an examined life possible without a taint? Is a female taint any different from a male taint, or either different from a bisexual taint? Do cows have a taint? Do howler monkeys have a taint? Do women with those tick-tock tick-tock stalker boots have a taint? More importantly, have they ever done anything worthwhile with a taint while wearing those hideous, thunder-thigh announcers? Did Lassie have one? Did Eddie Haskell need one? Mrs. Cleaver definitely had a taint. Saint-Just? Robespierre?

Now when you go out looking for something you have to be able to stick your nose in something.

Wide-tongued swiving is one way to really get at taint; Pliny the Younger, mentions this in his Letters. Mina Loy mentions it in her Lesbian Baedeker.

Woof woof bark bark!

Schlampen ja ja da da da ja Fotz zwischen. You can Doktor Frankenstein taint.

God, Dear Reader, should taint be shaved? Should it be left hairy, hirsute, while everything else is shaved bald, temporarily?

Mark Twain doesn’t do taint; Charles Dickens doesn’t. Trotsky and Susan Sontag do. Courbet does, as all fans of the 1871 Paris Commune know. Zola. Flaubert, Victor Serge. Do babes who don’t shave their legs or thighs have more of a taint than baldies? Jewish taint? Jap taint? Austrian taint? Polish taint? Jaegermeister taint? Now we know that Wittgenstein had a thing about taint but we are not sure if it was a male taint or a twat taint. Bertrand Russell and G.E. Moore had a thing about a beaver taint. There has never been such a thing as a kosher taint, but you can pour single malt scotch on a taint and lap it up without disgrace. Red Vienna had a lot of taint, as did Moscow when George F. Kennan was there. You can find taint in the crotch of an old oak tree in Missouri. Alligators are afraid of taint. It is not possible that taint ain’t. African-Americans who think they are Black Irish do not have taint.

You can rock, bop, and jive taint; you can funkadelic taint; you can paint taint. You cannot SVU taint. You can only arrest SUV taint.

Most importantly, you can scratch taint, but only if it itches.

God Bless taint; God Damn taint. You can lower-case taint, you can swat-team taint, you can double-up and double-down taint.

Spread your legs for taint; open your pupils for taint; order taint on the rocks or straight up.

You can marry a taint; you can divorce a taint.

Taint definitely has a sexual content.

Catherine Millet never mentions her taint.

Dada jaja dada jaja.

Goodnight, and, good luck, taint.

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

Written by herrdramaturg

February 28, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Gorkyland: Death Comes to History

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Things keep happening; people keep getting tossed; women get caught blowing men in the cellar, off you go. Others are told to leave for what? Why? Who knows? People keep getting tossed. Then people die. One King of Naples, hispanic, a Yankee/Giants/Mets/Jets fan, has numerous wives, girlfriends, comes up from Jersey and does the Boston system and eventually, after one year or more, gets housing, and then dies within weeks of moving out and in. Dead two days when the police find him. We last spoke on Superbowl Sunday. I congratulated him on the Giants’ victory; he graciously accepted my congratulations. There is more to tell: grey hair, pony-tail, constant cane, white bathrobe. No hint of drugs or booze so far as I knew, but what do I know? Now? Then? Tomorrow? There have been some various controversies regarding the use of artwork amidst texts, and god, we writers just are happy to have some access to publication and money per line or word. We don’t decide these matters; Ekaterina Degot, decides this; Max Klinger decides this. We just do the writing, I just do the writing, such as it is. There are commissars as well; people, women most often, who decide about correct language, human kindness in a nutshell cliché. There are commissars who watch Law and Order: SUV, pop-eyed, uncritical, and yet, are all over your attitude and tone of voice. Prohibition is so very inside the heart of every American woman in the United States. What are we to do? What is to be done?
I find it hard to keep straight, I find it hard not to worry about being appalling, shocking, nasty. There are dogs in the ditch; there are butt-ugly skanks, skags, assholes in the square. There are people who are experts on Wodehouse and know nothing about Celine. There are excuses for Eliot and there is rabid hatred of Pound. There are hefty Norton Anthologies Of African-American Literature. Who actually reads Black History in February? Do you? There is a book published this past January, Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters, edited and translated by the English poet, Michael Hofmann, that I think is superb and useful for anyone who is hacking away in the trade: meaning writing at anything at all. I have read Roth in German and English. He is one of ours, if you and fate will allow me to assert this. But then, evidently, I am a dog; I am not a son of the soil, I am not a man of the factories and cow barns, a pork butcher to the world; I am only a writer, I am a white man and I get Faulkner’s expression, “a train car full of cannon balls” quicker than you do. I’ve seen men drink shoe-polish, and I’ve seen men drink sterno drained through cheese-cloth; I’ve seen men drink Listerene and I didn’t care whether they lived or died. There is hope and faith in The Brothers Karamazov that is above the underground, but then Dostoevsky was a gambler and where’s the recovery in that?

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

Written by herrdramaturg

February 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Gorkyland: Bitter Cold, Vicious Wind

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“It is snowing. The farm-workers are fucking the cows, perched on 3-legged milking stools, it seems. They are called ‘juniors’ and are driven away pitilessly.”
Samuel Beckett, Letters Vol. 2. p. 332

The shelter is warmer but essentially seedy, shabby, and depressing. Men swearing under their breath, beating to death an old pair of shoes. My room-mates would make a rabid weasel or a raunchy stoat proud. No pinteresque drinks cabinet allowed. No one reads books, except some of the vagina-people who lean over bibles, self-help titles, all of them dog-eared, under-lined, yellow like rancid cook books. This morning it was all about the bathrooms, men desperate to go while the opera singers shower, or, the odd negro does god knows what forever. So surly, stupid men pawing the floors in the hallway in agony. Why are women so distrait in the morning? Puffy, pie-slit eyes, with raspy throats; voices expectorating across the kitchen like malevolent cannon balls. Three holes, bingo. Then there is the zombie coffee doctor spin and dance routine: pour, taste, sugar, pour, stir, Cremora, stir–hack hack hack a roo splat splat spit–more sugar, more Cremora, finally done, then the St. Vitus dance to the table and the chair. Imagine being 60 years old and feeling extreme nostalgia for rock and roll. Imagine being 60 years on with an oxy gnaw on trying to focus long enough to actually read Keith Richard’s Autobiography? Then the two hours of paranoia/porn research on the Internet at the public library. “Where does all the money go, man?” Then there is the Jap-mad-scientist guy with the Abraham Lincoln beard who pours over issues of Nature or Mind or Science. Then the sad, creepy, shelter-faggot homos. Why can’t men walk up to a urinal and do their business without getting urine all over the floor? And when it’s bitter, bitter, vicious cold where does one go? To stay warm? To piss, read, shit? Where besides the subways, the public libraries? Where do the vagina-people go because they do seem scarce on the street? Where, where, who cares? Sad sacks, male and female, in baseball caps scratching tickets with a nickel or a fingernail, happy happy happy to go to AA for the coffee. And the company? In a winter coat and cargo pants festooned with nips of Old Thompson’s, or nappy-head Seagram’s Gin. Overweight, homeless, shelter moron dressed in athletic apparel from the National Polo Association? Where have you gone Ralph Lauren? Where have you gone Louis-Ferdinand Celine? The way the Spare Change Newspaper works is, you pay 25 cents a copy, and turn around and sell that for a buck. Do they pay writers? I wouldn’t know. I’m too much of an intellectual snob to know that. God, shallow, false pride. Would Jack London know? Or Stephen Crane? When I work do I work for character or beer money? Now in the Stone Building at the library. Very quiet. Still early. So–the bathrooms at Shaw’s were closed down, the bathroom at McDonald’s (Due to extreme vandalism this bathroom is closed), then at Starbucks the door was open and so stood t-rex a 6′ 5″ spook, braying, reeking, rasta-mutha-fucka asshole asshole. A truly terrifying nasty shit-hole dinosaur. And all of that before I could even get out of Central Square. My intention is to work here throughout the day. “Three things happened at once: the communists lost an election; Solidarity won; the communists acknowledged that Solidarity won.” That might sound like a syllogism. Must stay awake, must stay warm, must rustle up chow. What ever happened to checking out chicks at the beach. Am I still an intellectual?

“The spirit of [Godot], in so far as it has one, is that nothing is more grotesque than the tragic, and that must be put across right to the end, particularly at the end.”
Beckett, Letters Vol. 2. p 350.

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

Gorkyland: Vodka and the Proper Study of Mankind

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Well, I asked, Where was I actually to go?

And speaking of living in truth: while Wittgenstein was serving in World War I on the Russian front as a corporal in the Austro-Hungarian Army, he received a gift one day from a Russian soldier. They were both involved in a cease-fire, mass-grave ceremony, where soldiers from each side were buried beside one another in long slit trenches. The Russian, knowing some German, gave Wittgenstein a German edition of Tolstoy’s The Gospel in Brief, which he himself had taken from the tunic of a dead Austrian soldier. Wittgenstein read the book and kept Tolstoy’s Gospels in his own tunic throughout the rest of the war. He wrote in a letter, “If you are not acquainted with The Gospel in Brief then you cannot imagine what an effect it can have upon a person.” I have myself read Tolstoy’s little book and I can tell you one thing for certain; it was not thick enough to stop a bullet. Full battle mayhem began shortly after the cease-fire was over.

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright 2011. Der Zuschauer.

Written by herrdramaturg

December 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Gorkyland: Home for the Holidays

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I have not been living in a tent in Occupy Harvard.

I have been living in a shelter in the People’s Republic of Cambridge.

I do not care whether the Super Committee fails or the NBA saves a season.

My brother is dead; my mother is dead; my father is dead.

I just want to be home for the Holidays.

I am a socialist; I believe in promiscuity.

Why are women such nag-bitch-nag-viragoes about alcohol, reading, and a man’s free time? I can’t stand women. I’m a veteran of two-failed marriages, two failed foreign wars. My first wife was a chef and a passive-aggressive nightmare. Surely, it was all my fault. She was 9 years older than I was and we wed after knowing each other for 30 days. How much of a fool was I? My second marriage was a true heart-breaker, so I won’t write about it, except to say she was 20 years younger and I was an even greater fool.

Why are women such harpies about the grape and fermentation? My first wife would have made Socrates’ wife seem like a fairy-dust angel. It is true that women are always mad about that 3rd beer (that 3rd Gorky), and always wanting you to appear in coupled concert, with other binary partners, in pussy-whipt dominion. Add to the idea of amorous, monogamous chains, that of sexual satisfaction (Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas with diamonds), and you’ve got a ripe recipe for acrimony and dissolution.

As a writer, translator, and dramaturg, I find cold beer and red wine much more helpful and valuable in regard to my work than any broad can be, ever how interesting 38 DDs can be. My library, a few windows, a stack of moleskines, perhaps a trophy-bra hanging from a door-knob. Just now I’m reading in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and I’ve just started working through an anthology of 20th-Century German Poetry, edited by the poet, Michael Hoffman.

In August of 2009 my significant other moved out and left me flat. There is a reason and necessity for euphemism, just as there is for the semi-colon. Then I had a heart attack and was in the hospital for six weeks. At the time of the ICU period, the Megasaurian Butch-Pussy 1st wife remarked to all and sundry, “It would be better if he just died.” Probably so, but, I didn’t die.

Americans have a lurid, puritanical idea of alcohol and drinking, almost as schizophrenic as their attitude toward sex. And if your girlfriend worries you about that 3rd beer, you can rest assured she’s a fan of Charles Bukowski. Strict about monogamy and STDs, with an I-forget # over 30. Which is to say, “Why bother with women at all except as intellectual colleagues and orgy-partners?” No small talk at the play ground, no dry Sunday brunches, no PTA meetings. “Aus bleichen Masken shaut der Geist des Bosen.”

Which is to say, “It’s certainly all my fault.” In 1999, they told me in the hospital that drink would kill me in 6 months. In 2009, they told me I could end up homeless, which would be worse than death, that I’d be better off dead, and who can argue with that? Have you ever been to one of those big Friday Night AA meetings where all the men ride Harleys and the coffee-cup-assed chickettes wear cowboy boots and skin-tight blue-jeans? Yeehaw, Yeehaw-you’re right, I’d rather be dead.

Maxim Gorky, the 3rd.
Copyright 2011 Der Zuschauer.

More Pudenda Studies

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Written by herrdramaturg

October 11, 2011 at 11:51 am