Some days…

Photo by Dora Martin, 1934.

Some days it all just gets away from me. I try to value and appreciate the words and worlds of those around me but they ring so hollow and haunted that I just seem to end up clutching my own similarly fictional, if ever so slightly better-informed, reality to my chest as a treasured possession and my only precious friend.

I found myself sitting and waiting in my car for traffic lights to change today, contemplating Modigliani, Monteverdi and Machiavelli. I was wondering how (and why) it is that people attach themselves to the things they do, dissociate themselves from the things they find tasteless. The artist is peculiar but fascinating, the composer – transcendental, and the author is one I have never read but as a matter of principle informed less by whatever literary or psychological insight they possess than it is shaped by the dark arts and pragmatic brutality that their strategic assertions have invoked or validated in others.

What I enjoy or value in art, music and literature is due to a direct experience in the positive and – more often than not – an inferred ethical corruption will lead me to avoid some artefacts and ideas. Ayn Rand, for interest, as the disingenuous pinup for sociopathic narcissists everywhere is an author I refuse to read on principle and regardless that I might gain insight into a vast swathe of human error and cold selfishness. Do I dislike a thing and an idea because it invokes moral disgust or because the people I associate with the associated ideologies invoke just such a similar feeling of distrust and dishonesty?

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