Down To Clown: Dadaism Meets Occupy Wall Street

'Dada Manisfestation' by Jay Schwartz“Every word that is spoken and sung here (the Cabaret Voltaire) represents at least this one thing: that this humiliating age has not succeeded in winning our respect.”
– Hugo Ball
 
“Apparently nothing will ever teach these people that the other 99 percent of the population exist.”
– George Orwell

 

It’s just another day on planet Earth. The warmongers are rattling their sabers. The power-mongers are scheming. Political pundits, regardless of their place in the political void, are preaching to their own choirs, and pseudo-intellectuals everywhere are mentally masturbating over whether or not the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement has faded away, even as its 2-year anniversary approaches.

Meanwhile, the rich (1%) are getting richer, the poor (99%) are getting poorer … and the ‘dadas’ are still creatively angst-ridden, at least this one is. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of existential angst, please note that I ‘might’ be facing deportation at sometime in the near future. Despite what my lawyer says, I reserve the right to be paranoid.

After all, having traded ‘standard of living’ for ‘quality of life’ about 18 years ago, I remain an American living in Greece, or so my pedigree and permanent resident papers claim, despite my personal non-conformity to either countries’ national norms.

Speaking of norms, I can’t help but draw a parallel between OWS and Dadaism, especially in regard to both movements’ anti-establishment stance on ‘the system’. In the faces of both personal and societal upheaval, both movements delight in rejecting the logic and reason of a fallacious zeitgeist that slavishly adheres to a system of personal slavery that’s been irrevocably broken for quite some time.

Of course, some people just don’t get it, claiming that it is human nature to bring order to what is perceived as chaos. Regardless of the fact that chaos may very well have its own brand of symmetry, hair-loss becomes rampant for some when presented with a square peg and a round hole.

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Dada Bing Dada Boom: The Art Of Human Ineptness

Dada Payload by Jay Schwartz“What we call dada is foolery, foolery extracted from the emptiness in which all the higher problems are wrapped, a gladiator’s gesture, a game played with the shabby remnants… A public execution of false morality.”
– Hugo Ball
 
“Dada aimed to destroy the reasonable deceptions of man and recover the natural and unreasonable order.”
– Hans Jean Arp

 

The other day I found a large dead cockroach laying upside down in the middle of the sidewalk in front of the post office. It was a variety of which I had rarely seen in the years I’ve lived here in Salonica, but very close to the type of palmetto bugs that are the norm in Miami, where I was born. I had no idea how it had gotten there, but I nonetheless had the distinct feeling it must have fallen from the sky. It certainly hadn’t mailed itself to Greece.

The sight of it took me off guard and I pondered its possible existential meaning for a few moments before I continued down the street towards a distant bus-stop. While riding the bus, I thought about the life of a cockroach … and its end, whether by poisoning, being cannibalized by other bugs, or falling victim to a crushing flip-flop. I confess trying to find some Zen-like answer for its sudden appearance in my life at that particular moment. In truth, I never found an answer, and in fact I still have no idea why I even feel compelled to write about it in this post.

It was just one of those insignificant transient moments in life that shake you to your very core. In the words of ‘Billy’ Shakespeare, however, it was really just ‘much ado about nothing’. Yet, even today, it’s still hard to just let go of the significance of that ‘unprocessed’ moment … because it remains an insult to both my ego the super-ego. (Note: the id conscientiously objected to comment.)

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In Dada We Trust

'Dada Scrap Talk' by Jay Schwartz“You’ll never know why you exist, but you’ll always allow yourselves to be easily persuaded to take life seriously.”
– Tristan Tzara
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”
– Winston Churchill

 

Warning: the following post contains dubious comments on DADA, globalism and organized religion. As such, those who are lactose intolerant should refrain from drinking milk while reading this text.

It strikes me odd that evolution has not sought fit to endow us humans with some form of hook on which to hang the countless labels that are hung on us as soon as we are born. As we draw our first breath in this world, the paperwork is already being processed, branding us with all manners of societal tags such as nationality, religion, sex and sometimes even class. Our freedom to choose our affiliations or even our belief systems are stripped from us way before we even have a clue … even in societies that supposedly espouse personal liberty and freedom.

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Dadaisn’tism: Copious Habeas (and other assorted frothy nothings)

Dada - Jasyaspora by Jay Schwartz“I know that you have come here today to hear explanations. Well, don’t expect to hear any explanations about Dada. You explain to me why you exist. You haven’t the faintest idea.”
 – Tristan Tzara
“I like to sleep. There is no set time of day for sleep. You sleep when you’re tired, that’s all there is to it.”
Thelonious Monk

 

It’s not easy tipping the planet back on it’s axis. Somewhere along the way, our way of life fell into a form of ‘gimbal lock‘. With reference to the Apollo 11 Moon mission, I could explain what this condition means, but doing so would detract from its poetic ‘bombasity’. And, after all, what would be the point of enjoying poetic license if I couldn’t take liberties with the ‘unliberated’? Which brings me to the point of this post …

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Don Dada (When Words Fail)

Hoch-Cut_With_the_Kitchen_KnifeEclecticism is the word. Like a jazz musician who creates his own style out of the styles around him, I play by ear.
Ralph Ellison
Thought is made in the mouth.
– Tristan Tzara

I think the time has come to rewrite the dictionary. It’s not the words so much I have a problem with, as much as it’s the way we use or misuse them – some words as dictated by our standard dictionaries and so-called reference material, other words as dictated by the mainstream media (MSM). In both cases, we have established a penchant to parrot ad nauseam that which we hear or have been taught, very rarely taking liberty or poetic license with the same words, as I often do on this blog, more often than not in a wholly and ‘pseudolly suitable un-surreptitious’ manner.

Take for example the words ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’. There are succinct published definitions to be certain, even in 10 words or less. Nevertheless, the ultimate application of their definitions is best defined by the actions of government officials, intelligence gathering agencies, the military, law enforcement personnel, and an entire legal profession of dark suited pontificators. Of course, Big Business interests figure into this conspiracy of terms, as well, but let’s not get paranoid!

So, it seems to me that no one really know what democracy means anymore. Countless definitions exist, but in reality the term has come to mean different things to different people. Perhaps it no longer matters, since the concept has very little ‘personally redeeming value’. In most cases, what you can count on, but can’t look up in your ‘Funk & Wagnalls’, is that both ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ are defined at the street level … when they are lost.

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