Hear on the I-Land of Misfit Noise
(Soundtrack: Bikini Kill–Pussy Whipped)
After declaring that he and his band have “taken over the world”, Mr. Nobody explains to a pair of disgruntled gendarmes: “I’m afraid I can’t understand a word you’re saying. I don’t speak fascist.”
He’s wrong in so many ways.
No one speaks fascist, but we can all understand it. Every act of comprehension is an imposition. And yet, speech is always a hopeful act. You vomit a protean blast of personality into the air, and then someone comes along, draws a circle around it, and calls it a word balloon. The spirit floats skyward. The letters are pressed into the pages of someone else’s book. I’m with Sleater-Kinney on this one: “The hardest part is things already said.” Forget taxes–death and misunderstanding, those are the real certainties in life. Still, we keep speaking. It’s an instinct. It doesn’t mean anything. But neither does anything else. Instinct is good enough for me. Anytime anyone expresses anything–even if it’s just the ol’ barbaric yawp–there is something instead of nothing. The only true nihilist in the history of literature is Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener, and even Bart doesn’t get there until gives up on “I prefer not to.” Mr. Nobody, on the other hand, never shuts up. He’s like Gruenwald’s Madcap that way. Dada is the antithesis of nihilism.
Doom Patrol #26 gives us Mr. Nobody surrounded by “all the toys, all the comics books, all the silly useless things that people lose or throw away”–a collection which includes his auditors, the newborn “Brotherhood of Dada”. When I read this I could not help thinking of the classic Rankin/Bass version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which features an extended sequence on the “island of misfit toys”. I love those guys! The whole “Painting that ate Paris” storyline is exactly the kind of mischief that Charlie-in-the-Box, the Polkadot Elephant, the Cowboy-on-the-Ostrich, the melancholic Ragdoll, and the rest of that bunch would have gotten up to if they hadn’t gotten so bogged down in their game of Waiting For Santa… I blame it all on King Moonracer (aka Aslan). Now that’s a fascist, man!
I could talk about this for hours! And I’m sure it will add up to something like that eventually–but now I’ve got some schoolwork to attend to! Much more B of D tomorrow!
Good afternoon friends!