June 1, 2009

I guess its a matter of sensation

Stefan Bruggemann, Dream

* Old, though recently published in Vanity Fair, interview of Will Oldham. excerpt:

Q: So you never identified yourself as a pirate?

WO: I remember around this time getting a letter from a friend, and he had determined in this letter who he was. And I think that stalemated me for a little bit. I believed that you had to become who you are rather than just being who you are. It was about thinking that there’s an escape, that at any moment I could see a path that looked attractive and I had the option to walk down it. It’s thinking, “Well, being a pirate looks like a cool thing to do. So if I believe in that enough and do things that I associate with being a pirate, I will become that thing.”

Q: But isn’t that true? If it looks like a pirate and acts like a pirate, doesn’t that mean it’s a pirate?

WO:Not really. Because it’s just an idea of who you are rather than who you are. It’s like when you’re talking to someone and they say, “I’ve always wanted to learn French.” They never wanted to learn French. They never ever for a fucking second wanted to learn French. They wanted to be somebody who spoke French, but they don’t actually want to learn that skill. They just liked the idea of being that person. By saying that I want to be a pirate, simply by the act of saying it, all of the work is done for you. A pirate is something.

Q: How does somebody go from reading about pirates and daydreaming about pirates to thinking, “This is something I can actually become?”
WO: If it gets to that level, that is something I would call insanity.

Q:You would?

WO: I would, unequivocally, call that certifiable insanity.

Q: Why so? What makes it insane?

WO: What makes it not? I think everything makes it that way. I can’t think of a single thing that doesn’t make it insane.
Q: I think it’s more reasonable that somebody would say, “I’m moving to Somalia to become a pirate” than “I’m flying up to heaven to become an angel.”

WO: You think so? It still seems like the same thing to me. Because both a pirate and an angel are about escape. When I was a kid, I read about pirates like John Rackham and how he traveled the world and had all these exciting adventures. And I remember thinking, did he really become these things that people liked to write about? Maybe he was just a diseased loser who wanted to escape, escape, escape, escape and then failed, even at his escape. That escape from the real world seems like the main reason why somebody would want to be a pirate, and maybe also why somebody would want to be an angel.

Q:I don’t know, Will, I’m still having a hard time buying this. Isn’t lashing out at fantasies a weird stance for somebody who ended up in the arts? Do you really want to be the guy who takes aside an artistic kid with an active imagination and tells him, “You want to be a pirate? Oh, grow up!”

WO: It’s not about losing touch with your imagination. It’s not the artistic kids who have a difficult time letting go of the pirate fantasy. It’s the kids who grow up to be frat boys and executives. They become like real pirates. They still rape and pillage, they just don’t do it with the Long John Silver hats and the cardboard swords. They’re the natural descendants of Tony Scott.
Q: Wow. I guess that means GG Allin was a frustrated pirate, right?

WO:Yeah, sure. And if you think about it, all porn stars are pirates.

Q: How so? I get the whole phallic “sword” comparisons, but how else are they like pirates?

WO: I think that porn stars and pirates are like constellations. Everyone can see it, everyone can recognize it, and it’s very difficult to criticize because it’s not right in your face. Ron Jeremy is not doing me direct harm. But do I think maybe he’s more harmful than another citizen of the planet? He might be.

Q: I don’t think that anyone would argue that Ron Jeremy is a pirate. But as for the rest of the porn industry, I just don’t know.

WO: The thing about being a pirate is that anybody can do it. You can put on an eye patch and a bandana and a gold earring, but that doesn’t really make you a pirate. It’s the behavior, not the costume. To be a porn star, all you have to do is take your clothes off. That’s it. You put a video camera in your bedroom and you’re a porn star. The dream of being a pirate is tied to the ocean, so the whole Midwest is fucked. They can’t be pirates. But even if you live on a coast, what do you do? Spend $70,000 to buy a yacht? Cause those are the only things that resemble what we think of as a pirate ship. But everything that resembles being a porn star, you can do that pretty quickly.

Q: And then there’s the whole outsider aspect. A pirate is somebody who breaks off from society, becomes a rogue, and does things that might be considered amoral. You could use that same definition to talk about porn stars.

WO: Yeah. Pirates and porn stars both travel in groups, and ironically they both die unhappy and alone. Pirates say “Arrrrr” and porn stars say “Ooooooh!” Instead of a rousing sea shanty, it’s [imitates a funky porn soundtrack] “Bw-waah-wah,wuh-wah!” They share a lot of the same cultural archetypes, just slightly shifted.

Q: What about musicians? Do they qualify as pirates?

WO: Well, sometimes, There’s the junkie artist-musician who in some ways functions as a pirate, because they lie and steal, and people admire them.

* "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." -- Dorothy Parker


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home