Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Antagonists of Creativity


When would-be chef Joe Randazzo applied for cooking jobs, he'd whip up blow-out demonstration meals for prospective employers. Beautiful spreads, every bite releasing torrents of soul and love.

The response, time and time again, was "Well, okay, great, you can cook delicious food. But anybody can do that...." and they'd continue with a miserably petty litany of irrelevant tasks one could train a monkey to perform. You know, the important stuff.

This is why nearly all food sucks; why so much of everything sucks: this is the attitude of gatekeepers. Quality is not only not an overriding goal, it's no goal at all. It's a dreamy scrap of irrelevant bullshit; something to nonchalantly grind beneath your heel like an expired cigarette. Such people utter quality terms with weary quotation marks. "Deliciousness". Yeah, you go make some "deliciousness", champ.

We're All Brilliant Jazz Players

When I was in my early 20s, I played with unbelievably cheesy wedding/bar mitzvah bands led by guys with cheap toupees and names like Hymie Lipschitz who couldn't wait for weekends to transform into show biz alter egos with impossibly waspy names ala "Hal Lane". They'd play - excruciatingly badly - Top-40 hits, horas, and tarantellas hunched between ice sculptures and chopped liver terrains. They were living the dream - the glamorous life of a musician - while I, an actual full-time musician, hid behind the speaker praying for the sweet release of death. The money, alas, was good.

The cheesiest bandleader of all was a guy named Joseph whose pot belly stretched his cumberbund to the snapping point. Joseph managed to play only half the chords of any tune - essentially a harmonica version, where everything's either blowing out or sucking in. Joseph performed on a student-model keyboard that fishtailed cheaply as he pounded it with his fat stupid fingers, and spent most of the gig screaming at his wife, Rhonda, the band's "female vocalist", her unexceptional tits polished and displayed like Harry and David grapefruit. I'd play runs at top NYC jazz clubs and sneak in a Saturday afternoon hit with these guys (the come-down to beat all come-downs), though if rent weren't due each month I'd have tipped over the buffet’s flambĂ© station and gleefully watched it all burn.

One time, on a break, Joseph was harshly criticizing a sax player who'd substituted with the band on the previous weekend. I observed that the fellow was a brilliant jazz player. "Dude,” Joseph shmuck-splained with bottomless eye-rolling contempt, “we're all brilliant jazz players."

Creativity's Easy

A few years ago, a profoundly uncreative person I know announced, haughtily, that creativity is easy. Anyone can fuck around creatively. That's the easy, fun stuff.


I feel inexpressibly deep loathing over these three traumatic memories. I can forgive atrocities, but these are something worse.

It's not just the dismissive hand-waving at everything that matters to me, or the immense lack of self awareness. It's that their smug contempt reveals their position as antagonists to all that is good and true. These are Devils.

The world doesn't suck due to the machinations of clear-eyed people efficiently marching the wrong way. The world sucks because oblivious slobs claw their way into positions of authority and reflexively shit all over the good stuff, people who do good stuff, and the very notion that stuff can be - much less should be - good. Once they've buried every iota of quality, they proceed to smugly work their magic, as if they'd just laid down a nice clean coat of primer.

1 comment:

PZ said...

Dunno why, but I'm upping my order for Harry and David grapefruit. Cheers, friend.

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