Quick and Dirty thoughts

Quick and Dirty thoughts

Liberty Leading the People. Eugene Delacroix. 1830. The Louvre, Paris

Well, no dirty thoughts, really. Not since I put away the garden and yard stuff, washed my hands, and type now with clean fingers.

Anyway, was thinking again about Ani DiFranco and how she’s grown, matured, evolved. A mother now, she’s no longer the punkish rebel girl, the fighting fusion artist for grrrrl power. At least not overtly. At least not in the same way she brought to the fore in the early 90s. And she’s caught some flak from some fans because of that. Because she evolved over time. Because she wears a dress and puts on lipstick now and then. Funny thing about freedom, and independence, and non-conformity. You can’t stand still. If you do, nine times out of ten, you no longer can claim freedom, independence or non-conformity. Especially if you remain in a certain place to please your fans. By definition, that’s not freedom. That’s letting others control you. Even stifle you.

Odd that we humans want our heroes to stay the same. Odd that we want heroes at all, really. But most odd is the idea that rebellion entails a set of procedures, uniforms and talking patterns. Most odd that fans of rebels don’t see that a uniform, any uniform, even if it’s a counter-cultural one, is . . . well . . . as Gertrude Sherwood Anderson Hemingway Warhol once said . . . A uniform is a uniform is a uniform.

Back in my university days, long, long ago, I remember an initial fascination with a group of self-proclaimed rebels without a pause. In the art department. They looked different. Talked in a different way. Dressed in ways out of tune with the masses. Funny thing was, it didn’t take long before I realized that their rebellion involved a certain conformity and pressure to maintain that rebellion. They wore uniforms. Not the same as the masses, but uniforms nonetheless. I don’t think they noticed that fact.

The above also led me to ponder the difference between writers and rock stars. In a way, the writer is blessed with far less scrutiny regarding such things. Far less scrutiny regarding his or her revolutionary bonafides. This is mostly a matter of the difference in public exposure, and is rather obvious. We don’t see them. We see entertainment stars all too often. And, with writers, I think they get the benefit of time. Critics don’t have them on their radar 24/7, so their evolutions and maturations can happen under the radar, mostly.

Ani? She hasn’t had a moment’s rest, most likely.

Of course, I always wanted to be both a rock star and a world famous author. My revolutionary bonafides would have been the stuff of centuries of legend and instant twitter updates.

Anonymity has its advantages.


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