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[Xmca-l] Re: Collective moments and perezhivanie - the Bowie phenomenon

Even though I'm of the right age to have heard his early music as a background to my undergraduate years, I too found the recent attention to Bowie somewhat overblown - the entire first half of the BBC News, a 12 page supplement in the Guardian and interviews with everyone ever connected with him. The obvious parallel is Diana in 1997 when there were also hundreds of people on the streets crying, spontaneously embracing etc. Something strange that came out of nowhere and is now seen as a break with the continued stiff upper lips of the royal family and others, particularly men, of earlier generations. I found it worrying at the time.

On Bowie and fascism - even if Bowie thought he was just playing with ideas and identity, which I doubt, he was doing so in a context where real fascism and extreme racism were on the rise in Britain in the 70s. Some other musicians expressed anti-immigrant views too. Even if it was 'playing', it was extremely irresponsible given his influence. However I doubt that was the case. I think he was probably identifying with one of the trends of the time.

Bruce R

On 14/01/2016 14:48, Beth Ferholt wrote:
Thanks, Susan. > > What I have noticed in NYC about David Bowie's death day of his >
death is a lot of people crying in public or talking about crying in > public earlier in the day. > > It is sort of weird. With other celebrity deaths I have seen people > talking and sometimes a few tears but not so many people crying. I > think embodied emotion is a key part of perezhivanie that makes it > generally harder to experience in a large group. > > I thought I was just having this reaction because of my age/what this > particular artist meant to me, but I wonder if reactions to his death > are actually different than reactions to the other deaths mentioned > above. His being in role so often is important for perezhivanie, as > is the lack of violence in his death, I think. > > Beth > > On Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 11:23 PM, Annalisa Aguilar > <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote: > >> >> Hi Susan and others, >> >> Yes, it does feel like over the past few days, at least in the >> media, there has been a kind of "global" perezhivanie for those >> who actually found meaning in the music and performance of David >> Bowie upon learning of his passing. >> >> As I've been considering his koan-like methods of creating art, >> perhaps a reason we feel kinship with him is not only because we >> may have grown up with this music, and we might have felt >> communion with his artistic content of difference and how that is >> joined with liberation. Perhaps also because he created large gaps >> that we could fill in ourselves and thereby construct our own >> meanings interwoven in his lyrics, so the work became "cognitively >> interactive" for want of a way to say it "differently." >> >> One of the most hilarious stories I read recently is that when he >> lived in (walled) Berlin in the 80s one time on a whim he took the >> stage unasked at a cabaret and sang Frank Sinatra songs. The >> Berliners wouldn't have it. They "shrugged and asked him to step >> down." The article doesn't say so, but I can imagine him actually >> reveling in that experience. >> >> There are all these different meanings colliding: >> >> What is: a Berlin cabaret in the 1980s? What is: a Frank Sinatra >> song? What is: David Bowie singing in a cabaret unasked? What is: >> being rejected by Berliners (who lived behind the wall)? >> >> Thinking about this (like this) functions similarly to the way his >> art took form, all these overlapping meanings that must somehow be >> filled in my own summation, by what I bring to all those >> "meanings." Humor is also about filling in gaps. >> >> However, on a more somber note, one of the aspects I consider while >> reflecting on David Bowie's lifework, is his short-lived >> fascination with fascism. I want to understand that too. I'm >> pretty sure he wasn't one, but rather, as an artist he was >> exploring how that worked, as in "taking on the body" to see its >> inner architectures and mechanisms, as performance artists are wont >> to do. Who knows if this was conscious or unconscious (probably >> both). I'm not claiming it was totally innocent, but there was >> something more going on than trying to shock for its own sake, nor >> was it some pathological desire for world domination. >> >> There is something "inside" fascism about filling in gaps that >> functions similarly, and, much like Arendt, and perhaps Bowie >> himself, I feel compelled to know how that works. >> >> Does this also pertain in some way to "global" perezhivanie? If it >> does, what makes it the same? And how it is different. Does it >> have to do with consent (or lack of it)? >> >> Does it mean there is a responsibility not only for the positive >> aspects of what one does, but also the absences as well? Which >> seems to be about not acting, or non-doing. >> >> Then, how does this link to ethics? I mean, we could be heroes. >> >> Kind regards, >> >> Annalisa >> >> > >