24 November, 2010
During my senior year of high school Ray Bradbury vistited my high school to speak. Even back then, I was amazed that he was still alive. By all accounts of the naked eye, that man should have been dead within days of leaving the city of La Canada-Flintridge (an unusual coupling between incredibly rich white settlers and incredibly rich Spanish settlements which were bought out by incredibly rich white people). Yet, despite my diagonosis, that son of a bitch keeps on keeping on. If life hasn't taken out that man by now, nothing will. He's got whatever it is that Casto has in his blood that keeps him going. Your grandchildren are going to be wondering about Ray Bradbury's demise years and years from now. None of you will live long enough to get a satisfactory answer to the Ray Bradbury Mortality Question.
Anyways-- stop me if I've recited this on paper before (and I know I've recited this in my mind innumerable times)-- but Ray Bradbury mentioned several important things in his speech that I still carry with me to this day (I realize that you can't stop me and that I'm probably going to repeat myself, to my detriment, regardless of your moans at the computer screen [I have very few anecdotes, please allow me the ones that I have]).
He said that you should never do research for a story. In my innexeperience, I have to disagree, but I agree with the spirit of his advice.
As a writer, you shoulder never let the little things get in your way. If you want to write about Mars or the future or gothic families or tattooed men or whatever, just fucking write it. Just do it. Go to your typewriter and fucking do it. There's no logic or system of rules that are keeping you from a great story, only your own will power. I guess this probably carries over to most mediums, and in that fashion, he's right. Worry about being right later, in the mean time, if you want to write, WRITE, GODDAMMIT!
He also said that you shouldn't watch any TV, which, became pretty funny exactly one year later when David Hyde Pierce came to our high school (St. Francis High School) and told us that we should watch more TV (which, of course, he would say). Again, his advice isn't something I agree with by the letter, but it is something I agree with in spirit. He's right. We should avoid TV (and, I imagine, Facebook and AIM and You Porn and everything else) and just create. We shouldn't let our minds be poisoned by the outside, we should just go ahead with whatever it is that we want to do. Paying too much attention on TV (or movies or memes or the internet or comics or grindhouse pictures) is asking for a hard fall. As writers, or creators in whatever medium we end up working in, we should seek to be original more than anything else, which is something that I can entirely agree with.
There's the whole post-modernist school of thought which wants to tell us that there isn't any such thing as a "new" thing. To a point, I agree. One can't write or draw or act without being aware or inspired by those who came before. From a basic, functional point of view, you can't perform your medium without the people who invented stage lighting and graphite mixtures (which we can thank Napoleon's army for-- a different discussion for a different time) and WWII movies and Will Eisner and whatever else. All of this is in our blood, we can't just wipe the slate clean and be tabula rasa about art, if we did that, we'd probably be making pictures with our own feces on the wall (and Lord knows that not all of your readers are Irish political prisoners).
Post-Modernism is, of course, a bunch of latent, liberal, quitter bullshit. The people who spawned post-modernism were the same people that invented cultural relativism, elected Jimmy Carter, protested the retirement age being moved up to 62, saw the legacy of the 1960's crushed under the weight of the Hell's Angels and reality, and people who buy multiple Jean-Luc Godard films on the Criterion Collection. In other words-- pussies.
As I said, there's a great point to be made about nothing being new and I've copied plenty of artists in my own stories (which always seem to be set in the past, with an intense amount of research involved). There is nothing new under the sun, though I don't know that that means anything. Sure, there isn't anything new, but man, as a species, knows less than diddly-shit about anything. As a society, as a culture, as whatever, we don't know anything. That's the human experience: Not knowing more than you know, having an awkward adolosence, and dying. That's about it. But, with that said, you can't say that there isn't anything new to be said about life. If that were true, I think we could all retire our species at this point.
Post-modernism and the school of copying and homaging and co-depending isn't the future of art. There's plenty to be said about the human condition. And, yeah, there's plenty of room for jerks like myself (who probably hasn't written an original thought worth a damn since he was born) and QT (who is lauded for his unoriginality) and Andy Warhol and a million other artists who no one has ever heard of (who I would include myself in, if you were reading my blog at this current juncture), but there's also room for the next generation of artists to make NEW things. I guess that is what Ray Bradbury was always talking about, always writing about. Even as an ancient, decrepit, old man, he's still closer to the truth than a shit-ton of academics and so-called creative geniuses.
The world needs creativity. It needs blind, violent vision that doesn't give a shit about what has come before. That's what is going to move art upwards and onwards in this century, it isn't going to be an improvement on the old, it's going to be a blossoming of the new.
If I knew what that meant, it would probably be a lot more poetic. If I wasn't so drunk currently, I might even convince myself that the previous paragraph meant anything).
So there's that.
As far as Comic Con goes and as far as the title of this entry goes, I fucking hate clappers. It's turgic sychpanty. It's horrid. All it does is inerfere with the flow of information and the flow of thought. It's just this massive, ugly pat on the back and nothing more. "Hey, I like Ferhenheit 451, please clap with me to prove that I'm not alone on this dark, cold sphere shooting through the universe!"
And, yeah, I've been to plenty a Comic Con, so I'm looking down on these people as a nerd, not as some snooty, hip outsider. I've been annoyed by this tendency in people since high school and if I could figure something like this out in high school, then I don't know anyone else's excuse is. I was a near retard in high school is what I'm getting at.
Every single one of those mother fuckers needs to sit one their goddamn hands and show a semblance of decorum. It's so obnoxious. The clapping at Comic Con is this weird mix between wanting to be acknowledged in public for your opinions ("The Martian Chronicles are good!" "I enjoy Joss Whedon's run on Buffy!" "Hey, Watchmen was a pretty well written book six years before I was born!" "Movies are good when they're projected onto a flat surface via some sort of light-based medium!") and this need to suck up to the people you love.
I'm as human as anyone else when it comes to celebrity (which is a debatable term when it comes to Comic Con, I realize) and I'm fairly nervous when I encounter people I know and like from TV, radio, or the written word (or what the fuck ever). I'm not so cool as to be bored by the concept of Ray Bradbury being at my high school or encountering Doc Hammer on the Comic Con floor. When I interviewed Adam Carolla, I was mildly flustered. It was a pretty cool, pretty surreal moment for me. Where I differ from the clapping fuckers is that I don't feel the need to suck up to these people. They aren't there to save my life, they aren't there to bring me up to a higher plain-- they're artist for the most part and they'd be doing this shit for free if they could or, like Kafka or Lovecraft or Dickenson, they'd be doing it mostly for themselves, regardless of the money or critical acknowledgment. Applause is a nice thing when you walk (or wheel) onto stage, but when you're talking, it's incredibly rude. It's uncouth. It's completely unaware of human interaction. It's a move that supplants your opinion over the person that is talking (the expert) and is more or less indicative of the entire Comic Con experierence. I love Comic Con, but, more or less, it's an entire miniature city of people who don't know how to interact with their fellow man, much less gods like Ray Bradbury.
Sorry if I ran a bit long, though, I'm not that sorry, all told, because I'm pretty sure that no one reads this blog, not even myself (copy-editing is a fool's game). Prove me wrong, though! Post comments! Recommend this blog to your friends (your rich friends who are hiring!). Let me know that I'm not just wasting bandwidth.