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Rumor has it the Pushups have collapsed in a huff.
On a totally unrelated note, the Degenerate Press staff finally got around to checking out another strip joint, the recommended Pink Pony. A big joint with lots of attractive dancers, not too much silicone, fair service and personable folk but the layout leaves a bit to be desired - there's not a great place to sit where you can see more than one stage without cranking your head like some posessed child. Still in search of the perfect place! Suggestions welcome.
NOTES TOWARD AWAKENING THE SLEEPER;
a surreal exploration of the vampire archetype.
"The World is a Vampire....."
'Bullet With Butterfly Wings,' SMASHING PUMPKINS
PART ONE - A meditation on vampirism.
At the same moment Anne Rice's 'Vampire' novels took off, conservatism swept the Americas and Great Britain. Movie screens saw the revival of the un-living at the same time that liberal/progressive social reforms - a century in the making - were weakened and then bled to death , replaced by the idea of 'work-fare' and other thinly disguised versions of wage-slavery. Meanwhile, the hippest of the nihilists, such as Trent Reznor, championed sado-masochism, mental disorder, and blood worship AS culture. As if to display in concrete form the agony and mindlessness of contemporary America, body piercing, branding, ritual scarrification, and the old fashioned tattoo become popular modes of expression amongst GEN-X. Literal blood-drinking became accepted behaviour in some circles.... Why has the Undead One whose throat is dry from want of blood manifested here, now?
PART TWO - Archetypes.
According to the great analytical psychologist Carl Jung, we each carry within us an entire constellation of forces, forces which belong to none of us individually, but to all of us in common through the collective unconscious. It makes more sense sometimes to say that we belong to them, not the other way around. For example, we carry within us the archetype of Mother; and this universal Mother is not my mother (though 'real' mothers participate in her and find energy in Her manifestation). She is closer to the Mother in myth and religious thought - Gaia, Ceres, Isis, Our Lady - than to flesh-and-blood mothers who are always something more and less and other than the literally ideal "Mother." And the Vampire, present in most every culture, is another such archetype. The Vampire, the one who lives off the life of others, who can produce no life and who sustains his existence by stealing or seducing the life-force of others is assuredly manifesting His archetypal self at every level of our present cultural situation. My question is - Why? According to Jung and others, if a certain natural energy is suppressed, denied, and ignored, individually or as a people, that energy will return pathologically in the form of straightforward illness (physical, mental, and/or spiritual), or will embed itself in the institutions of a people. And we have ignored that part of ourselves which calls for the blood - symbolic and mystical blood - and the flesh of the Sacrificial Lamb or its other mythico-anagogical equivalents; we have, in America fostered the notion that each of us is sufficient unto himself, not in need of anyone outside himself, incapable of true evil. We have made it difficult to admit that we are lifeless and wounded and in dire need of the help of others -- and, in so doing, this shadow of ourselves has congealed into... cultural vampirism. Since Christmas is done with, I will now mention it to make my point. The pagans celebrated the Saturnalia at the time Christians decided to celebrate the Nativity. Why? Many, motivated by anti-Christian prejudice or ignorance, announce that it is merely an example of exploitation and expropriation of the pagan's holy-days which, in turn, were merely celebrations of this and that equinox, etc. I say this: The Christians chose the Saturnalia for the celebration of the Nativity for one reason - both Christians and pagans are saying the same thing but in two different ways. Both are recognising the dark depths of life in such fashion that the essential ambiguities of life and death, eternity and time, God and man, hope and despair, faith and doubt, satisfaction and need are given full hearing. Saturnalia culminated in the ritual sacrifice of the victim, crowned as Saturn or Kronos some 30 days earlier, on equinox - after this man had 30 days in which all of his commands were obeyed, every wish satisfied, every lust fulfilled. Christ-mass, in turn, was never a feast of the present magnitude until commercial interests sucked from it its marrow and replaced that with greed; but before that, every Christian recognised that the first people called to witness the birth of the God-man in a stable were shepherds, shepherds who kept watch over the sacrificial lambs; and then, 12 days later, the Zoroastrian astrologers, the Magi, arrived bearing the ingredients for embalming the corpse of a king. The Son of God was recognised as a Saturn-figure, symbolically equivalent, hence the Christians placed the Nativity where it is on the calendar. Moreover, the ancients chose the equinoxes not for mere materialist reasons - e.g. 'winter will be over soon and we can go out and play some more' - but because they resembled our own lives, the rhythm of our internal lives and the archetypal energies which rest there urging us to this or that activity. Our ancestors found something inspiring in the similarity and kinship of the microcosmic and the macrocosmic worlds. To most of us it's just so much dirt and fire up there, I suppose, but when our ancestors looked up at the night sky they saw... something of themselves commingled with eternity reflected back. Back to cultural vampirism: A people who can no longer create, but who 'borrow' from other, vital cultures - a people such as ours who exist by appropriation - I call vampiristic. We are so terrified by death and real risk that we have turned death into an industry -- Gangsta Rap and most music by N.I.N. are nice examples, but our weapons industry is another and the nukes awaiting liberation around the world are more. Meanwhile our scientists are literally searching for the genetic 'fountain of youth' and 'tree of life,' searching for 'more life' when most of us don't have a clue as to how to properly spend the 70-odd years we probably have. Capitalism, unfettered from social purpose and filled with loathing for justice, truth, mercy, reveals itself as the Undying One every time another advertising agency appropriates a work of art or piece of music to sell this year's model of whatever - the soul of the art is removed and replaced by the desire for money and power and sales at all costs. Meanwhile, Servants of Capital such as GM, throw thousands of workers into unemployment lines whilst making record profits; they have used the workers up and now are headed to where wages are still lower; they are defended by folks, thirsty themselves or demoralised and drained, who have nothing more to say than - "The bottom line is sovereign."
FINAL WORD What is the cure for vampirism?
We have to put a stake of living wood through the Vampire's heart; we have to sever its head, place a host in its mouth and stuff it with garlic. But what are the real world equivalencies of these mythic items? I don't know as yet. But I am looking. For certain, we all have to meet the Vampire within the ambit of our own souls first, as a prerequisite to facing Him in the form of cultural/socio-economic difficulties. We must - those who are creative - exorcise Him in our music, to recognise this weakness and neediness we've chosen to give strength to by suppression or by imagining that it is bad to be needy in the first place. It will be by recognition of one's own neediness, weakness that deliverance may come. And then, perhaps, the Vampire-archetype will take its proper place in the hierarchy of the soul, fed and strengthened by asking for what it once stole without hesitation. Perhaps it will learn to feed itself through union with creative forces, or it may be that it must learn to live on what is offered and to tolerate a short, strong leash. Perhaps the archetype is not a vampire at all - once it is recognised consciously and cared for. Maybe it is a call to serve the neediness one finds in others without recoiling in fear or worrying overmuch about personal gain? Prehaps the vampire is really a child in a cradle?
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