Der Zuschauer

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

Posts Tagged ‘Justice

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: Time is, time was, but time shall be no more.

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“Last of all consider the frightful torment to those damned souls, tempters and tempted alike, of the company of the devils. These devils will afflict the damned in two ways, by their presence and by their reproaches. We can have no idea of how horrible these devils are. Saint Catherine of Siena once saw a devil and she has written that, rather than look again for one instant on such a frightful monster, she would prefer to walk until the end of her life along a track of red coals. These devils, who were once beautiful angels, have become as hideous and ugly as they were once beautiful. They mock and jeer at the lost souls whom they dragged down to ruin. It is they, the foul demons, who are made in hell the voices of conscience. Why did you sin? Why did lend an ear to the temptations of fiends? Why did you turn aside from your pious practices and good works? Why did you not shun the occasions of sin? Why did you not leave that evil companion? Why did you not listen to the counsels of you confessor? Why did you not, even after you had fallen the first or the second or the third or the fourth or the hundredth time, repent of your evil ways and turn to God who only waited for your repentance to absolve you of your sins? Now the time for repentance has gone by. Time is, time was, but time shall be no more! Time was to sin in secrecy, to indulge in that sloth and pride, to covet the unlawful, to yield to the promptings of your lower nature, to live like the beasts of the field, nay worse than the beasts of the field for they, at least, are brutes and have not reason to guide them: Time was but time shall be no more. God spoke to you by so many voices but you would not hear. You would not crush out that pride and anger in your heart, you would not restore those ill-gotten goods, you would not obey the precepts of your holy church nor attend to your religious duties, you would not abandon those wicked companions, you would not avoid those dangerous temptations. Such is the language of those fiendish tormentors, words of taunting and of reproach, of hatred and of disgust. Of disgust, yes! For even they, the very devils, when they sinned sinned by such a sin as alone was compatible with such angelical natures, a rebellion of the intellect; and they, even they, the foul devils must turn away, revolted and disgusted, from the contemplation of those unspeakable sins by which degraded man outrages and defiles the temple of the Holy Ghost, defiles and pollutes himself.”

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Written by herrdramaturg

December 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Gorkyland: …the torment of this infernal prison…

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“Consider finally that the torment of this infernal prison is increased by the company of the damned themselves. Evil company on earth is so noxious that even the plants, as if by instinct, withdraw from the company of whatsoever is deadly or hurtful to them. In hell all laws are overturned: there is no thought of family or country, of ties, of relationships. The damned howl and scream at one another, their torture and rage intensified by the presence of beings tortured and raging like themselves. All sense of humanity is forgotten. The yells of the suffering sinners fill the remotest corners of the vast abyss. The mouths of the damned are full of blasphemies against God and of hatred for their fellow sufferers and of curses against those souls which were their accomplices in sin. In olden times it was the custom to punish the parricide, the man who raised his murderous hand against his father, by casting him into the depths of the sea in a sack in which were placed a cock, a monkey and a serpent. The intention of those law givers who framed such a law, which seems cruel in our times, was to punish the criminal by the company of hateful and hurtful beasts. But what is the fury of those dumb beasts compared with the fury of execration which bursts from the parched lips and aching threats of the damned in hell when they behold in their companions in misery those who aided and abetted them in sin, those whose words sowed the first seeds of evil thinking and evil living in their minds, those whose immodest suggestions led them to sin, those whose eyes tempted and lured them from the path of virtue. They turn upon those accomplices and upbraid them and curse them. But they are helpless and hopeless: it is too late now for repentance.”

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Written by herrdramaturg

December 12, 2011 at 11:39 am

Gorkyland: Or, Living in Hobbes’ Ditch

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My name is Maxim Gorky, the 3rd; I was born in Moscow in 1953, the year of Stalin’s death. I am a distant cousin to distant cousins of the famed writer, Maxim Gorky, and a fifth generation Old Bolshevik. I am also related to the celebrated Russian wolfhound in Walt Disney’s The Lady and the Tramp, and like him I have lived a desperate life in various animal shelters and man shelters; and so have come to know, and can thus write about, the lower depths, the high and low, the down and out, shit hole and armpits of Central Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, aka., the People’s Republic of 02138. I entered Moscow University in the Fall of 1989 to study classical languages, fled the Soviet Union in 1992, took an MA at Harvard in Comparative Languages, and finally, after a second failed marriage and two daughters, staggered to the completion of a Doctor of Philosophy degree in English Studies in Moscow in 2003. Things had been edgy all along and were destined to get a lot worse. You see I have long been an underground man like my countryman Dostoevsky. I have endured crabs in London, washed filthy dishes in filthy water in Paris, gambled away fortunes in Baden-Baden; I have drunk myself into an asylum in Dublin, haunted typhus wards in Berlin, died in the snow in Warsaw, and come back from the dead, only to end up this past February in the stinking, nasty, Salvation Army in Central Square, and that is not the worst, that is only the beginning.
As a still committed Old Bolshevik, I can tell you all about life from the inside of American socialized medicine. I can tell you about the growing infinity of names for shit, schiesse, merde, (forget 17 names for a blackbird, forget 38 names for snow). I can discourse on the plethora of cheap vodkas available in unbreakable plastic bottles. I can tell you about hepatitis A, B, and C; HIV, Dengue fever, and the Ebola virus. I have slept under the same roof with weasels, stoats, badgers, dogs, pigs, felons, liars, hose-bags, scum-bags, shelter faggots, rump rangers, pimps, whores, shooters, hit men, stabbers, sterno-drinkers, and old Trotskyites, Mensheviks, Black Panthers, SSI Men, SSDI Men, accessories to murder, ministers, Mormons, Tiger Woods dudes, the ghosts of Martin Luther and Martin Luther King. I have drunk cool-aid with Jim Jones survivors and the acid was very good. I know how to party; I can grab the night by the junipers; I can tangueray and martini all night long. I can dodge plates thrown by bitches. “Ants crawl upon my drunkard’s arms.” I can toss piss, sperm, and the whole nine yards. I can do Hegel, yodel, and schmegel. But I can’t get a job; I used up all the money I had; I used up all the unemployment I had. The Dramatists Guild Fund won’t give me any more emergency money. I lost my apartment, my library, my clothes, my girlfriend, my cat, my dog, my Communist Party card. I lost the lush life and found the low life. All I’ve got left is the truth and I’m getting paid 5 cents a word for that. I tried selling my sperm, but they told me I was too old. Tall, yes, blue-eyed, even handsome, yes, and the advanced degrees; hell, you can make $900 a month smacking your mackerel twice a week; you can even mail it in, but not if you’re 58, look like one of Milton’s fallen angels, and your Johnson isn’t, after all, what it used to be. If I could get a grip I could get a job or a flat or subsidized housing after two years. I’ve done everything else. I tried to sell Dr. Johnson’s Lives of the Poets as my own but no one was buying. so now I’m trying the truth for 5 cents a word. Stick around, it could get interesting.

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

The Young Hegelian

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He was a tall, ageing Young Hegelian who held that 1968 wasn’t all that hot or exciting. His revolutionary socialism had devolved into a misty-eyed wish that all food and wine in public resturants should be free to the educated on Saturdays and Sundays. He believed in free love, cleavage, fellatio and cunnilingus, no tax on books or periodicals, and short plaid-pleated skirts. He disliked Nabokov because of the insufferable Lolita, thought Che Guevara was greasy and hairy. Adored Robert Burton’s Melancholy. He could recite the entire Urn Burial aloud. Loathed Chinatowns, loved Latvian women, despised the whole of South America, found himself uncomfortable in Berlin, delirious in Paris, raw and pub-crawling in London, rueful in London. Absolutely hated New York, adored Cambridge/Boston. He was a man after all. He had a palette of distinction for wine high and low. His knowledge of cheese was such that only Monty Python could make fun of it. He wore good conservative clothers in an eccentric manner. Please do not call me a Soixante-huitard. He painted his nails dark plumy red, wore women’s underpants, and walked with a cane. He did not read the Bible but had read the Blake. He thought women were stupid and men were worse. Of new spring mornings he liked a lobster roll for breakfast with cold, dry fino sherry. There was never a book of his poems remaindered; no play of his had ever been taken off for lack of ticket sales. Once he gave a lecture at Humboldt University. He could never remember her name, nor the name of the village, but the wine was plonk and he hadn’t paid for it. He flew Lufthansa but preferred trains. Born in the American South he lived his life in the Northeast Corrider. His editors and publishers worked out of Guam Island in the South Pacific. He had Zeus-Red beard from the age 19. He came to foreign languages late, read them, but barely spoke them. It seems he was Scots, but definitely born, adopted, hence abandoned, in Oklahoma City in 1953. He was a tall, ageing Young Hegelian, you could try and stick a fork in him but he wasn’t having any of that. He once read all of Euripides plays, aloud in single sittings over a 19 day period. He remarked afterwards, “You can all go fuck yourselves.” He was a man for all of that, and if this is a man, he was a man, an ageing Young Hegelian with an embonpoint. His freckles, once a spray across his nose and cheeks were less notable in later years.

Christian Grabbe

Dramaturgy: Definitions

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It is with remorse that we have received your recent concerned correspondence regarding definitions of the above as well as speculation and debate. I have addressed the issue with our entire dramaturgical staff world wide. We admit to a Coleridgian waywardness and promise to get back on the ground. I have pushed for articles, letters, definitions etc. We invite your contributions. This ongoing work will appear on our Dramaturgy: Definitions page.

Christian Dietrich Grabbe
Der Zuschauer

“…Coleridge wanted to write as an opinion-former, to create a philosophical intelligensia in a new way. His work was to be deliberately elitist: exclusive and intellectually demanding. He made no apology for this. He was not producing a set of Labourers’ pocket knifes for cutting bread and cheese, but a Case of Lancets for dissecting the anatomy of a national condition. His target was what he came to call the Heresy of expediency, of short-term aims, superficial thinking; it was also the intellectual partianship of…journalism itself.”

From Richard Holmes’ Coleridge, Darker Reflections: 1804-1834