Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wild Animals

This morning in Center City Philadelphia I saw a bourgie young woman pushing a baby boy of two or three in a carriage. In the child's lap was a book, presumably with pictures, titled "Wild Animals of North America."

I noted to myself several ironies. One is that there are very few wild animals left in North America, unless you count squirrels. Another is that, while young boys are attracted to the notion of wild animals, that boy will grow up in the most regulated, watched, and catalogued society-- be it of animals or humans-- ever. We're little better than zoo animals. Except for patches of urban wilderness which soon enough point their occupants toward actual prisons, or a few rural hinterlands where reside historical throwbacks like Wild Bill Blackolive, dreams of the wild are all most people get. That boy might become a young literary writer, properly MFA'd after being properly indoctrinated in college, with proper style and proper self-regulated politically-correct thoughts, nothing untoward or messy or wild to be found in himself and his well-crafted words, anywhere.


Anonymous said...

Quite a conjectural leap there, King. From a toddler's leafing through a picture book, to the denuding of the American wilderness, to the rise of the surveillance state...and then the kid ends up as the epitome of evil, with an MFA in hand. Maybe his mother should have gotten him the picture book version of The Wretched of the Earth.

You are different, man. You really are.

King Wenclas said...

It was a roundabout way of making my point-- that most writers today are processed pets.
(See also one of the stories, "The Machine," in my new ebook.)
p.s. I encounter often journalists who refer to the 1950's as "conformist." Yet in truth that was a very activist, progressive decade in which real progress was initiated and made in areas like Civil Rights, and the culture changed drastically.
It's TODAY that's relentlessly conformist, behind the pose of hipness.
MFA programs-- wannabe writers obediently marching into the Machine-- exemplify this.
It's not an accident that the thinking, the attitude, and the art produced by the process is so much alike.
Yes, I'm different.
That's the point.