by tobi vail
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Jigsaw #2: "There's No Ideas in TIME Magazine"
"There's no ideas in TIME magazine..."
About a year ago, I had this idea to do a fanzine. It's been sort of hard...a lot has happened....experiences in bands and in relationships with people and in the work force and in the music scene and in school..and it's becoming more and more clear how limited we are by our world...of capitalism and mass culture and "you're the boy and I'm the girl" mentality...and we accept those limitations and live within them without being aware of the possibilities...and it's becoming more and more clear how fucked up the whole rocknroll thing is and the whole 'alternative' rocknroll thing really is (but it doesn't have to be that way) and it seems like our whole ways of expression--in fanzines or bands or conversations whatever--are totally affected by myth and the corruption of our society...it dominates everything...there is so much illusion and automation and role filling and so little actual real content anywhere...people don't ask questions they don't deal with reality they don't talk about ideas...I've found myself at war with the world and with words and maybe even with the whole idea of expressing myself even--but it makes me feel better so I do it anyways...but I thought if I'm going to do another jigsaw it has to be from the heart...so here it goes....
WORDS. Words are a huge force in the world. They limit our minds and ways of expression and experience. We use the same words in the same patterns over and over again until we are deprived of the true meaning and individual nature of the actual situations or thoughts we are trying to express. WORDS IMPRISON OUR SOULS. Words terrify me. So much can be misunderstood or read into or misstated. There is so much room in a word...how can you even know what I mean. (sometimes that's not important, like when I write a song...I mean what you get out of my songs is just as real, just as valid as what I think they're about. That's the beauty of writing a song. It's bigger than both of us. But maybe fanzines should be different, but maybe what I'm talking about is bigger than that.)
THE WORLD IS A BIG PLACE. We live in the world. The world is about products and exploiting people. Certain things are encouraged that are conducive to that kind of an atmosphere. Other things are discouraged. The world fills our minds with illusions and cliches and images and myths and heroes and villains and rights and wrongs and do's and don'ts. We live within those boundaries. We see ourselves and create our identities in this specific context. We have certain tastes and opinions and morals. We have our own ways of dealing with conflict. We have our own tennis shoes. We look at the clock and see if it is time for the new Star Trek to be on. We make choices. We have morals. We are free. Are we free? We have anxiety, therefore we must be free. To a certain degree. Because everything is totally affected and totally corrupted. Totally.
Everybody lives in their own worlds. WE MAKE OUR WORLDS SO SMALL AND THEN SPEND OUR TIME FREAKING OUT BECAUSE WE CAN'T RELATE. (is this my attempt at breaking out of this cycle?) There are certain expectations of us and certain roles we choose to fill. There are certain things we see and certain things we don't and a million reasons why. Sometimes we choose not to see...oblivion.
WE LIVE IN WALLS. Working for my mom made me realize some things. I was doing inventory for awhile. I spent my time day after day hour after hour week after week counting trophy parts. My mind was always counting, constantly counting. I couldn't really think because I had to count. But after a couple days I started to have these really intense experiences where all these ideas and images would rush through my mind at once. It was sort of like being in a dream state...but not exactly...it seemed like a totally different state of consciousness...and I realized that by filling my mind with numbers I was breaking through this major wall in my head and for the first time I was able to experience my thoughts without words. It was pretty cool. Kinda scary because it was so intense and it happened everyday for the rest of the job. Maybe that's what meditation is all about. But I was so amazed that it was so easy to completely change the whole structure of my thoughts...but that doesn't usually happen...but it could..and we aren't even really aware that these other mind-spaces even exist...something true.
And then there's the whole way people talk to each other at work, the way they relate..small talk..'that's what they say'...it's enough to drive you totally berserk. The other day at work, the ladies were talking and she said "WHY BABIES SURE ARE GETTING BIGGER THESE DAYS. I REMEMBER WHEN MY KIDS WERE THAT AGE, THEY WERE A LOT SMALLER THAN YOURS. THEY SURE DIDN'T GROW AS FAST BACK THEN AS THEY DO NOW." and the other lady seemed to agree?!? this didn't make sense to me. I mean, are babies really bigger now than they were ten, twenty years ago? maybe...I guess. But it doesn't seem like it. But I realized that wasn't the point. They could be talking about anything. The reality of the situation was not as important as the actual ritual of two women at work talking about something in a particular way.
Later on these guys came over to my apartment and started talking about guitars. I got really annoyed first of all because they were saying I had a Mudhoney guitar and then because they were bothering me...so I decided to try an experiment. I started talking about food in the exact same way that they were talking about guitars--things like, "don't you hate tuna fish sandwiches?! man they totally suck. there's always too much mayonnaise or onions. I like hard boiled eggy's, man they're so fucking cool because you can just boil the egg and like it totally changes the whole concept. It's so intense." And sure enough, they started talking about food in the exact same way...not noticing that I'm making absolutely no sense. After a few minutes it got totally ridiculous and I couldn't stop laughing and they were all like "I don't understand your joke".
My point is that there are certain ways people relate to each other where what they are actually saying isn't as important as the role they are filling or the lull in the conversation they are fighting...they could have been talking about anything..guns, horseshoes, politics, tragedy, women, money, ecology, cars. RECORDS. sometimes I think that's all record reviews and most fanzines are about.
AND I RECOGNIZE THE NEED TO RELATE AND IDENTIFY WITH EACH OTHER AND I EVEN RECOGNIZE THE VALUE OF TRADITION BUT I THINK IT'S REALLY DANGEROUS TO LIVE AND BREATH CLICHES. People say the same things in the same ways over and over and over and over and over and over and again. The meaning gets lost. We are bombarded with so much information. so many images...it's scary. And what's happening with these new tv shows like COPS and CURRENT AFFAIR I mean it's just ridiculous and it's totally affecting the mainstream tv news shows...and the whole idea of the drug war...we are being brainwashed into a police state....mind control? Well we can't think twice if we don't think at all. And everybody's a cowboy. Maybe people do need something to believe in like myths and heroes but we need to use our minds. THERE'S NO IDEAS IN TIME MAGAZINE. that's what dylan said to the time magazine guy in don't look back. there's still no ideas in time magazine...there's no ideas anywhere. I want to be able to talk with my own words in my own way...to express real sentiment. But it's so hard to even have a conversation...a real conversation that actually deals with conflict. Everything seems so manufactured, so oppressive. My mind, my thoughts, my aspirations are not my own.
NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD PEOPLE TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR PLANET. now maybe it's because I'm trying to learn how to type or maybe it's the new 1990's mtv political blurbs about the depletion of the ozone layer/recycling etc...whatever the reason I am being haunted by a flashing neon reader board inside my head: now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their planet...It doesn't actually register that often but it's always there, running on unrecognized and unspoken. It leaves me feeling guilty, with a vague idea that I should be doing something more than making my world even smaller by consuming myself with rock music. We make our worlds so small! we have our own bands and people and views...everybody's so cool, so set, so confident. They know what's what and who's cool and what's up and they know how to spell it out with just the right amount of total indifference and self pity. They don't want to talk about ideas. they could care less. Besides, they like being fucked up, it's part of the whole thing. what about world peace. what about punk rock. what about having a cool scene.
We live in the world. we live in a consumer culture. We are part of the reagan youth me generation let's get someone to put our record out so we can be the next big thing counter culture. And I think it totally sucks and I feel so out of place and lost in this world. Maybe we are in an in between stage. maybe that's why it seems so exciting to read MRR and listen to hardcore again. I don't know. punk rock. love rock. girl rock. these are the things that are happening. I believe in it...but it's fucked up. Jigsaw.
JIGSAW IS NOT A CONSUMER PRODUCT. It is not a product at all. It is more of a process. A method. I'm starting to see that process is the key. read on. feel free to respond to anything that I've written or submit something you think is appropriate. Especially if you are a woman and/or want to write about that whole aspect of things. see ya. tobi
intro to jigsaw #2
written sometime in winter 89-90
i wrote about it here,