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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

LEGACY


marcel duchamp

Paying attention to the news in this time is too ominously boring. I believe I see where it is headed, at least the direction. I don't want it to go there, but it will, already has in spirit. It's looking like the push is to go all the way now. It looks like one thing, while actually it's quite another. The ignorance level of the people in our government making laws we have to go by has become so obvious in this time. Equally horrid is that the most ignorant ones are the most popular. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. The ignorance behind the law is excused. The strategists use ignorance to disarm us, keeping us in the realm of the irrational where surprise attack is the game. It is very well paid master propagandists having a ball. We stay preoccupied with smokescreen, corporate news. I've been questioning my own intelligence paying attention to the likes of these people, attention given to ignorance. What do I want to do that for? That's not what's going on. I tell myself to let go of interest in stupid. It is not amusing. They're corny cartoons. I pay attention out of curiosity concerning the strategy behind their ignorance front and center. Every time we call Sarah Palin Caribou Barbie, she rises another notch in name recognition. Composer, Jean-Carlo Menotti told college president Ted Stern, "I don't care what they think of me as long as they remember my name." I see video clips of interviews with celebrities of a wide variety. The ones that pretend they're not playing the celebrity ego game, Bob Dylan, took the step beyond of playing the role by not playing, one-upping the other players.
 
marcel duchamp
 
Ted Stern told me what Menotti had said without passing any judgment on it even in tone of voice, though I knew  it struck him extraordinary or he wouldn't have said anything. Stern, himself, was a celebrity in his world, felt at home with other celebrities, and my feeling was he took what Menotti said to heart, something like, Confucius say. The celebrity's creed. When Stern told me, I was new in years on my spiritual path, aware of ego as ultimately self-defeating. In the world of people I live among in this time, I can't think of anyone who would say that of themselves. Surely somebody in the county is thinking it, I don't know who it would be, but maybe a teenage girl dancing with a Christina Aguilera video when mom and dad are not at home, longing to be on American Idol. To my ear, Menotti's proclamation of indifference to what others thought of him went radically against my school system education where popularity was number one. Unpopular, you were nowhere. In the Fifties you were square. Even if you couldn't be popular, being liked a little bit was at least something. Even though I don't have that motivation now, it remains underground within. Initially, his saying shocked my sensibility as a reckless thing to say, or as an Old Baptist might call it, a bold thing to say. Simultaneous with the minor shock wave that ran through my mind, I got it. He's an artist, he's busy. Like it or don't, he composes his music and lives his life. It's what he is about. Somebody doesn't like something he said at a cocktail party, oh well.  
 
marcel duchamp
 
The part of me that got it was interested to note Ted Stern tucking it into one of his memory drawers like where a cow keeps its cud to bring up for a good chew when he has the time. One of his maxims he lived by, by his telling, "Hesitate and you're lost." He lived it for so many years it was automatic. He never lost time to hesitation. He would take time to think something through, and when he saw it, he saw it. Jean-Carlo Menotti was an internationally known composer in his later years with legacy on his mind. Remember the artist's name, carry it into the next generation, remember his name five hundred years from now, the maestro Menotti of Italia. He wanted his name remembered, meaning his music, not his reputation. He knew reputation faded quickly with time and he was thinking of his music's place in the canon down through time. It told me Ted Stern was in the time of his life when awareness of his legacy comes into play. He lived long enough to see his influence fade, called himself a once-was. By his hundredth birthday, he saw his legacy and found it to his satisfaction, publicly affirmed. He would be remembered. He could not be flippant as an artist with his reputation. Ted Stern wanted everybody to like him, everybody. He could turn his bitterest enemies to devoted friends and keep them there. It was a talent. The good man part of Ted Stern was not fake. Often his heart influenced his mind and vice versa. He had a good connection between heart and mind. Like Menotti, he wanted his legacy to be the continuation of his name down through time, in Stern's case the man who walked Charleston through the transition from Old South to New South. His role in the history of Charleston is substantial, as well as in the state history. His legacy, like Menotti's, sez: this man's lifetime contributed in a beneficial way.
 
marcel duchamp
 
I like living in the rural working class where a legacy amounts to a tombstone. It could be called "rural romantic" living outside of society, though from the inside I don't see it like that. Underachiever I can identify with. I've worked hard and know the hopelessness of day after day labor all one's working life toward making ends meet. The romantic part would apply better to an empathy for more than half the people on earth, way more than half, living very sparingly, who don't have the irony or the luxury to imagine what it would be like to think about a legacy. This is where I chose to live out my days, where self-important behavior is frowned upon. I don't want to need to worry over a legacy other than he didn't hurt little kids. I don't like it when somebody hurts little kids in any kind of way. But who needs to be remembered for longer than the lifetime of the last person to remember you? What does it matter how long a man's obituary is? Same as what does it matter how long his wiener is? But it matters a great deal. According to Freud, the biggest deal. OK. It matters. I'm glad every day of my life, am satisfied and grateful not to be a star. Oh yeah, I remember him from when I was little. I think I heard somebody say they cremated him. Aint no grave that nobody knows nothin about. You ever heared about him havin a grave, Honey? No, I aint heared nothin about him in no ground. They said the thought of his body layin in the cold grave for thousands and thousands of years give him the shivers somethin terrible. He said he'd rather go up in a puff of smoke. That's what I heard he said. There won't be no grave for nothing to raise out of when the trumpet sounds. What's the poor soul gonna do? Reckon he'll be left behind? Far as I know. Wonder if he was saved? How would I know? I heard he was weird. Yeah, I heard that too.
marcel duchamp
 
 
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