Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My love for John Waters knows few bounds. I spent a lot of time this semester researching and thinking about spectacle, and of every artist, he had the most surprising and interesting things to say about it, wanting it to allow for a "tiny, private moment of joy," if it's to be incarnated at all, making room possibly for the small ways we can make spectacles of ourselves, and constitute ourselves according to our own privately constructed rubrics, defying the rules of patriarchical/dominant culture, but found the sort of spectacles of say, times square, rather loathesome.

And then, he tends to always turn around and say things like this, in a recent issue of Artforum, where artists were polled on their favorite films of 2010, where he chose Jackass 3-D as one of the best: “A scatological, gay, s/m, borderline snuff movie amazingly embraced by a wide, American blue-collar family audience. Isn’t Steve-O chugging down a glass of sweat collected from the ass-crack of an obese man and then vomiting at you in 3-D the purest moment of raw cinema anarchy this year?”

I love this kind of subversive reading of things, and how much here Waters manages to simultaneously stay true to his own unique sensibilities and yet always be undeniably the "John Waters" persona.

When someone told me once that I was undoubtedtly "an odd bird," I started to worry that continuity even in how we socially act in our day to day was an imperative at which I was spectacularly failing. But I'm finding that there's lots of theory that makes space for strangeness. Oddness, and the failure to live up to expectations, can be their own sort of win.

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