Not Stopping

Not Stopping

I was watching a video clip of Lemmy from Motorhead, and he uttered a very wise line: “The best way to keep going is not stopping.” I don’t know why, but I’ve got a problem with stopping on Wednesdays. I always get a headache for some reason.

I did make it to the Viscomi lecture though, and like a silly little fan-boy I had him autograph my copy of Blake and the Idea of the Book. We talked quite a bit, about book illustration and such, and his lecture subtly shifted my perspective on art in the late eighteenth century, and the importance of the clearly gestural style of engraving in Blake’s work. To have visible brush-strokes, rather than mechanical perfection was taken as a gesture of authority. In other words, prior to 1839, being able to discern the artists hand behind the work gave it a veracity that was inevitably displaced behind the growth of realism, and the photograph. That’s a powerful twist. I hadn’t thought about that part of it before.

There was a lot more I wanted to write today, but the headache definitely interfered. I never bought into the idea that surrendering your voice was a way to commemorate an inauspicious anniversary. I think that’s a cop-out. I’ve never understood the “moment of silence” thing at all. It seems to me that the way to celebrate people is to shout, dance, and be involved— not withdraw into a corner. The best way to keep going is not stopping.

4 thoughts on “Not Stopping”

  1. I think some of us were simply opting out of all the “hype,” Jeff.
    As I look around I see what Yossarian saw in Catch-22, “When I look up, I see people cashing in. I don’t see heaven or saints or angels. I see people cashing in on every decent moral impulse and every human tragedy.”
    I wonder why the television stations didn’t take out the ads today. I wonder why some politicians were tying this to the invasion of Iraq.

  2. There’s hype, and then there is history. I did watch a little bit of the History Channel today and found out that soon after the WTC disaster congress appropriated five million to buy and store debris, as historical artifacts.
    This was of great interest to me, because Matthew Brady invested his entire fortune into documenting the civil war and congress refused to buy it. He died poor and unnoticed, unable to recoup his investment in his particular historical project. It was a shock to him, because he felt sure that the government would be interested in preserving such a pivotal moment in our nation.
    On the other hand, the majority of the noise on the airwaves is as you say, geared towards hyping and justifying war. I understand the gesture of silence in protest of that, but silence never promotes much of anything except silence. I don’t see many good things coming out of silence.

  3. And some of us didn’t want to be M/Mme/Mlle de Trop. We wonder, in other words, whether our words have a place at the table.
    David and I said our words, the day before. One thing silence does, though, is leave space for words and other sounds that might be more important than anything we might ourselves contribute at that moment.

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