Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Final Airing

"No, no, no! Not her. I want That Girl!"

Pop images shattered my mind for keeps. Whatever literary, political, or aesthetic references I spit out, these "higher" notions are papered over images and sounds absorbed years before I read Chomsky or James Agee, heard of the Surrealists or the Beats. I suspect that in the end, when taking my final breaths (assuming I'm not killed instantly, experiencing "the total now" as Manson's Angels once put it), a commercial or cartoon from my childhood will float to the surface, blaze in my dying mind as if freshly filmed, then vanish into the dark alongside me.

What did pre-visual/audio age people see before they died? Their minds were probably less chaotic than ours, making their dying visions richer and more connected to how their lives were actually lived, than to scenarios authored by strangers. Then again, if they were on the business end of rape and pillaging, their final thoughts were doubtless choked with human cruelty, strangers occupying their minds after all. So televised images might not be such a bad way to exit.

I'll go weeks without tapping into deeply-held action, music, and comedy. Then the slightest suggestion will cause these images to explode, throwing me back in time, to a period's smell, touch, and taste. A mine field of commercial memories. These explosions are increasing, and I'm torn between embarrassment and acceptance, acknowledging that I'm a craggy fuck, less and less interested in the world around me, put off by its crude, cheap, derivative noise. Of course, that's nothing new. I bet that in 30 years, some aging person will look back fondly to "America's Next Top Model" and wonder where the intelligence went.

I can be as relativistic as any hedonist or pomo asswipe, but I'm convinced that this time around, creative expression truly is in bad shape, perhaps irredeemably so. Nothing feels new. Everything is a rerun or remake. This could be how it goes until the final cleansing fire, followed by rising oceans, massive hurricanes, and monthly tsunamis. Humans have had their say and are left to repeat themselves to extinction, or until syndication rights are revoked or bought by interests in Dubai.

What form of communication will our predecessors possess, once they've finished draining water from their tree nests? At least they won't be charged with piracy, unless Interpol's subaquatic division survives and enforces laws meant for humans. Imagine the fireworks at those hearings!

Many of my formative TV memories are sex-related, as I became conscious of my insatiable lust at an early age. As strange as it may seem, the "Mission: Impossible" theme titillated me, partly when Barbara Bain co-starred, but most especially when Lesley Warren came along. Lalo Schifrin's boss score heightened my tension, as did the show's liberal use of masks. You know how I feel about masks.

But for sheer masturbatory stimulation, few opening credits could compete with "The Avengers." Numerous erections were inspired by Diana Rigg, the hair in the face, the knowing grin sealing my fate time and again. Plus, another great musical score. When I'm coughing up blood and bile, my heart about to collapse, seeing Emma Peel practice her bad karate in that jumpsuit would make for a pleasant end. Along with my loved ones, of course.