Sunday, October 18, 2009

Heedlessly Following Passions

The best fans of an art are those that are inspired to action. For these fans who we call amateurs (if not nerds, geeks, or groupies), art is not just pretty or fascinating, but stirring. And this is life at its best according to Michael Chabon – a Berkeley father of four. No one ever disdains the passion of the amateur athlete, the amateur writer, the amateur musician (we adore it to the point of destroying it). Such amateurs are the best critics, the only critics that matter. The cold professional or lazy blowhard doesn’t count when it comes to real life. Real fans are like John Updike writing Ted William’s swing into poetry, a video store clerk making movies like Quentin Tarantino, or like cultural critic Slavoj Zizek – a former post-Marxist politician who I’ve heard characterized as an excited drunk friend who doesn’t understand personal boundaries.

Michael Chabon says he had so many kids so that he could finally have his own fan club for comic books and 1980’s British Sci-fi TV shows. He and his wife are the stars of their amateur family and his kids are the fans – amateur critics who play along because they still believe their show is the best. There are lots of ways of pointing out the unreasonableness of this way of thinking, but summarily dismissing that negative work for a second, I think Mr. Chabon is a fan of the real, the surreal, the hyperreal, whatever, and feeling moved: Being creative rather than reactive is a much better way to live (better absolutely Deleuze says).

It was raining on Friday when Michael Chabon came to town. Matthew Coate wrote that he “thinks comfort is not comfort except in contradistinction to a chilly autumn rain.” And this is how I felt while I listened to Michael Chabon on the local radio show and as I listened him talk to Terry Gross in Philadelphia, but I couldn’t help myself, I’m a fan, an amateur writer even, and Michael Chabon wishes he could have been David Foster Wallace’s friend, he misses his kids when he is gone and his wife loves him best. I know its lame and I have no connection with Michael Chabon, I’m just a fan and he made me get out of my floral print chair and ride a crowded wet bus through the lancing rain like a bleary-eyed man after his first cup of coffee. I rode through the rain like cold water streaming down my face to see Michael Chabon and join his fan club.

pictures are mostly from except the one of him and his wife and the one of the book which are by Will Harper (?) and organizingthesoup respectively.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

love the glasses lol :)

1:56 PM  
Blogger Marilyn said...

we love the song! harlan said he thinks it's "some pretty good handmade music." it made him smile. :) one part made me think of johnny cash. but mostly it made me think of darren n matthew. :)

9:19 AM  

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