Take “Me”–I’m not Yours; a note on auteurism and autism

(Soundtrack: The Raveonettes–Chain Gang Of Love)

Over at Trickle of Consciousness, Jason Kemble contends that:

In the end, art may be in and of itself a form of contamination. Art speaks to us not because it’s pure, but because of its contaminants.

I think this is dead on.

Meanwhile, at the TCJ thread that I started and then abandoned, Anton Hernandez has worked himself up into such a pro-creator control frenzy that he has no choice but to affirm that if Michelangelo hadn’t “sold out” to Papal grants and Christian mythology, he could have done something really cool. You know: something original. Something new. Right out of his own head.

Yes friends, we can only wonder what marvels might have emerged from Renaissance Italy, if work-for-hire had not held the art world of that time in its nefarious thrall–instead we are left with trashy “fanfic” efforts like the Sistine Chapel. What a pity.

Now look–it would be hard to find a bigger theorist of radical subjectivity than yours truly. I’m not saying it’s a good thing. Or a bad thing. It’s just the way things are, as far as I’m concerned. Any effort to build a sense of community out of anything other than the individual’s sense of selfhood is hopeless. You don’t erase “alienation”–you build upon it. That’s the amazing thing about humans (look out, I’m gonna quote Air Supply again!) we can “make love (and stories, and life, and “relationality”) out of nothin’ at all”.

You see, I’m of the opinion that autistic people (and even here, I’m only talking about the most extreme cases) are the only “healthy” members of the species. If our physical bodies are born to die, then our mental selves are born to become “contaminated” by other minds. The logical assumption is that those who remain oblivious to the otherness that surrounds them are actually doing better than the rest of us. For some reason, they aren’t decaying. Sure, they might not be able to feed themselves, but time doesn’t even exist for these specimens, and if they can merely snatch one breath, they’ve given their brains enough fuel to generate eternity.

This is a common idea amongst Romantics as diverse as Emerson and Freud–the “reality principle” as “fortunate Fall” into experience.

And that’s where art comes in–it’s actually at war with romantic individualism. And you can forget about WW2, this is the real “good war”.

Art (and language itself) is the miasma through which we alienated subjects stumble. “Pure air”? Once you’ve got the reality disease, it’s poison. And there’s enough of that rarefied stuff trapped under your dome anyway–fucking up your life. “Pure creation”? There’s no such thing. Every act of composition is an attempt to recompose something that decomposed before it was ever born–the link betwen one self and another. You don’t put the “me” into a work of art–you’re stuck with that; you put the “not me” in there; and it’s the creation that matters (the creation is matter!!), not the “creator”, or creators (this would be yer “anti-matter”). The folks at Ninth Art assumed that I was just playing cynical games with them by adhering to this line of reasoning. I assure you I’m not. I’m never cynical about anything. And I’m not the one saying that “greed” is at the root of all evil.

Good Afternoon Friends!


  1. Actually, Anton Hernandez never said what you’re accusing him of saying…on that thread at least. But so it goes.–rob

  2. Come on Rob,

    In order for his argument to hold up, Anton HAS to maintain that Michelangelo coulda done better on his own.


  3. Did y’all miss the part where he said “I agree with the general tone of your post,” and the poster whose general tone he was agreeing with had argued that Michelangelo et al had worked under WFH conditions? (Leaving aside the fact that comparing Renaissance patronage relationships to modern WFH contracts is patently absurd.)–rob

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s