St Mark’s Street High

high school was hell. i think i can’t identify with anyone who still has friends from high school. how could one have adapted to society that early? like this bloke michael said, at 27 he got more confident; like henry rollins said, in his late 20’s he started to like himself.

in self-loathing, one cannot be truly oneself. therefore high school, is a shadow of reality.

maybe i should’ve not moved around so much.

Friday night: walked down st marks this weekend in a crappy search for a karaoke bar to replace the boarded up village karaoke in our quest to ironically overturn irony. to no avail. me and song sat on opposite sides of the stoop of sing sing. blokes in flannel shirts and shoulder-length hair loudly occupied the sidewalks. needless to say, i hated everything. this asian dude bounced down next to song. song who looked tragically hiply tragic with kohl-rimmed eyes, chin in hand. he started wooing her; his fat friend sat behind rooting him on, unwilling to come near me who had knives for eyes. somehow song, even in her sadness, can look innocuous. the dude said, one step above Song, “Is it better on that step?” I suppose being a radical. Later as they kept talking in my earshot, debating on what he should’ve done to get Song, I asked “Can you stop talking?” Sir Dave and Cassidy rolled up.

Then, Grassroots Tavern: I almost passed out. ian has the remarkable ability to talk despite the odds. the odds being my snarling and song being bored out of her mind and mary awkwardly relieved from the non-happening of karoake. “real dave” rolled up drunk as shit and asked me if I had any adderall. I looked at him quizzically. “I mean, on you”. he clarified. “No” I said. I sipped Ian’s cranberry vodka with the vague hope to obliterate the current situation of aimless rebounding.

Back to high school: So it’s not just me:

In every high school there are students who are culturally and intellectually superior but socially aggrieved. These high school culturati have wit and sophisticated musical tastes but find that all prestige goes to jocks, cheerleaders and preps who possess the emotional depth of a cocker spaniel. The nerds continue to believe that the self-reflective life is the only life worth living (despite all evidence to the contrary) while the cool, good-looking, vapid people look down upon them with easy disdain on those rare occasions they are compelled to acknowledge their existence.Â

These sarcastic cultural types may grow up to be rich movie producers, but they will remember their adolescent opposites and become liberals.
They may grow up to be rich lawyers but will decorate their homes with interesting fabrics from the oppressed Peruvian peasantry to differentiate themselves from their jock opposites.
In adulthood, the former high school nerds will savor the sort of scandals that befall their formerly athletic and currently corporate adolescent enemies — the Duke lacrosse scandal, the Enron scandal, the various problems that have plagued the frat boy Bush. In the lifelong struggle for moral superiority, problems that bedevil your adolescent opposites send pleasure-inducing dopamine surging through your brain.

Similarly, in every high school there are jocks, cheerleaders and regular kids who vaguely sense that their natural enemies are the brooding poets who go off to become English majors. These prom kings and queens may leave their adolescent godhood and go off to work as underpaid sales reps despite their coldly gracious spouses and effortlessly slender kids, but they will still remember their adolescent opposites and become conservatives. They will experience surges of orgiastic triumphalism when Sean Hannity eviscerates the scuffed-shoed intellectuals who have as much personal courage as a French chipmunk in retreat.

Because these personal traits are so pervasive and constant, Republican administrations tend to be staffed by people who are well-balanced but dull, while Democratic administrations tend to be staffed by people who are interesting but neurotic. Because these rivalries are so permanent, nobody has ever voted for a presidential candidate they wouldn’t have had lunch with in high school.

The only real shift between school and adult politics is that the jocks realize they need conservative intellectuals, who are geeks who have decided their fellow intellectuals should never be allowed to run anything and have learned to speak slowly so the jocks will understand them. Meanwhile, the geeks have learned they need to find popular kids like F.D.R. to head their tickets because the American people will never send a former geek to the White House. (Bill Clinton was unique in that he was a member of every clique at once.)

The central message, though, is that we never escape our high school selves…

What Mr Tom Wrote

MrTom said…

– Alex’s description of your compulsive documenting: I don’t think it’s “almost” neurotic. I can remember visiting you in the relationship you ran away to and being taken through a carrier bag that contained every single item one could possibly have kept to document the stages of your getting together with him. Or: in response to some random bus-top re-telling of a miscellaneous misery of mine, “I don’t care what bad experiences I go through, because I know it’d would mean I’d have more material to make art about”.

I think the right way to capture the undeniably positive side of your ongoing art-making isn’t that it’s not all the way to neurotic – it’s something more complicated than that; something to do with the effectiveness of the filters you put it through afterwards, perhaps something to do with burgeoning artistry or wisdom, something I can’t figure out how to express quite right just now.