The Loud Noise

High art, when created with rigor, intensity, and imagination, is the loudest kind of cultural noise. Why I often differentiate high and low art is both complex and simple: because low art is often put into the world to back up destructive forces and interests, is the most major reason. Popular culture, for the duration of human history, is almost entirely in poor faith. Having grown up in the high maintenance puppet factory I did, I got to see first hand the sleazed-out lives meant to generate pop culture personalities and interests. The first puppet factory rule is this: no individuality, no individuals, just the simulacra of such. Individuals are, as I have discovered, the most likely culprits of creating and putting into circulation the loudest (highest) cultural noise. And high art at its best is a realm meant to service the individual, individualism, and individuals. When the loud noise happens, people begin to see through the empty spectacles churned out by both the puppet factories and the schools of quietude they teach at. Why this is occurring to me now is that a century has begun which will, quite blatantly by 2016, not be an empty spectacle, school of quietude century completely, and I feel a sense of excitement in the air that resounds loudly.

Why the school of quietude is so afraid of the loud noise is that the school of quietude teaches us this: obsolescence is the point of everything. SOQ is as completely nihilistic as it can possibly be. What makes the loud noise loud is that it is meant to be of permanent interest to the brighter, more cultivated portion of the human race. The nimrod quotient of the population— always huge— may remain interested in nothing but obsolescence, but it does not matter. Nimrod-ism, and the nimrod portion of the population, are only there to create and maintain a context for individuals, and the individualistic, to subsist in generally. Against accusations of classicism and elitism, there is no good defense for individuals; that may be true; but, as I have said before, enlightened elitism and enlightened classicism are the backbone of the human race’s potentiality for solid progress. If this all seems to be coming out in a gush, a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, it is not just because Neo-Romanticism and Aughts Philadelphia are cresting into a more solid cultural position, but because I, at 40, am finally witnessing what loud noise does when let loose in the world, for the individuals, against the nimrods and  the SOQ. I like it.

It is true that these are things I would write and publish, without necessarily wanting to say out loud. People, even solid people, get pissed about the insistence on high/low art boundary lines, about classifying a huge chunk of the human race as nimrods, and about most pop culture consisting of empty spectacles (and pseudo-individuals). However, it is a miracle what a little loud noise can do, when let off into the air enough times in a row. The inversion works within high art parameters too, which manifests waves of its own empty spectacles and schools of quietude, which are even more insidious then Adele and the others around now that no one’s heard of (include pop politicos like Edward Snowden, that is his name, right?), and which I have now spent twenty years fighting. The journey from Outlaw Playwrights in State College to Fayette Street in Conshohocken is a long one, and if I am still here and fighting for the loud noise, it is because the English Romantics gave me all kinds of templates for living the life I’ve led, and I read the right biographies and they stuck to my brains. Has this whole piece been merely a screed? Yeah, probably. But I want it to be known, for the record: by 2016, the tide in the US was turning, and the quietude seemed, at least to me, to be in abeyance. The sturm und drang was starting to be about serious work done by people with serious brains for serious reasons, and the bimbos were imploding all over themselves. We will see what happens next.