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



My apologies, sorry I missed Bruce¹s comments and further reflections on
Bowie & fascism and also on the perhaps overwrought response to his death.

In terms of the dabbling with fascist stances there has been some reviews
of that online, but still perhaps don¹t answer your questions or concerns
Annalisa: 
http://www.popmatters.com/feature/the-great-i-am-magic-fascism-and-race-in-
david-bowies/ including transcription of some of the original interviews,
http://thequietus.com/articles/03598-david-bowie-nme-interview-about-adolf-
hitler-and-new-nazi-rock-movement

I guess many will also have noted the growing body of discussion about the
meaning of Bowie¹s final legacy, his life and death as art and how this
mortal struggle has been reflected in his final creative works.  Across
youtube comments, bulletin boards, blogs and online publishing you can
find the active engagement of millions in contemplating and interpreting
the Black Star and Lazarus songs/videos. Black Star
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kszLwBaC4Sw (currently with over 17
million views and over 32 000 comments) and Lazarus
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-JqH1M4Ya8 (with over 22 million views
and over 25 000 comments)

Overall the collective response seems to be an overwhelming admiration and
respect for the way he was able to create such
evocative, powerful works while dealing with chemo and cancer treatment -
there are certainly the critics and crazies but many are also reaching out
and connecting with othersŠ these comments for example:

+Gingerscantbepirates - "The stranger and more wonderful thing is he is
inspiring me to reach out to others in a way I haven't been moved to do so
for years.  God Bless and God Speed David . ."

Jake Butler - "I think I would find it pretty fucking hard to write a pop
album if I knew I was terminally ill.  It being dark is definitely to be
expected the album is pretty much him preparing to die .  In one of his
last interviews he said he just was over writing to appease everyone so he
ended up what I think was his only way of sorting out what was going on in
his head at the time  by writing songs I think he was able to make sense
of it all and finally make peace with the reality of it. It's probably one
thing to hear the diagnosis that death is coming   but its probably
another thing entirely to really grab your head around the fact that the
time is up and now you are just waiting for it."


What I am finding very touching and perhaps different to some of the
responses to deaths of other celebrities is that through this engagement
with Bowie¹s possible struggles and perezhivanie through art, I think many
are also thinking about their own mortality, their own work, their
possible mark on the world Š perhaps thinking 'if I was dying what would
be the expression of my
living'? Bowie¹s final works creatively manifest such struggles and so
have prompted forms of Œcultural perezhivanie¹ of a quite personal and
particular nature -  How do we make sense of life and death?

Regards
Sue





On 15/01/2016 9:12 am, "Annalisa Aguilar" <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

>
>Hi,
>
>I'm glad to have Bruce's comments about Bowie and fascism, because as I
>said before, that is something I would like to understand. It's the fly
>in the ointment (or the milk). Being reminded of the times in the UK
>isn't something I have access to. I appreciate those
>insights/explanations.
>
>Certainly Bowie was an individual with contradictions, as many of us
>have. His experiments in fascism could have just been a mistake, along
>the lines of young people today who post things on the indelible Internet
>and must be marked for the rest of their lives because of it.
>
>As this thread has extended, I was thinking about Michael's and other's
>comparisons to other celebrity-deaths such as Princess Diana and Michael
>Jackson and what makes David Bowie's death different or the same.
>
>It may have to do with each individual's kind of demise. One could say
>all three were "too young", but Bowie was older then the others. His
>death seems more removed from the self-inflicted fall of Michael Jackson,
>and accidental tragedy of Diana. Dying of cancer is no walk in the park,
>and it's likely his past addictions contributed, but somehow dying of an
>illness is something more accessible to us, because many of us have
>friends and loved ones that have suffered and lost the battle against
>cancer.
>
>There is also the fact that we are living on a "smaller planet." With
>news traveling over the globe with less friction, the pulse of emotion
>feels more palpable, just like that pulse of emotion created by watching
>the Vietnam war on evening news television in the 60s and 70s was its own
>kind of phenomenon, and contributed to our sense of a shrinking planet
>back then.
>
>But after considering these things, there also appears to be several
>other kinds of factors that contribute to these " global happenings"
>concerning David Bowie's passing.
>
>One comes from his artistry, and while disputing its quality seems to be
>a matter of personal taste, the fact is, he was a working artist for
>several decades. Unlike like Madonna who really does have other people do
>A LOT of work in her name, identical to the po-mo way of Jeff Koons,
>David Bowie had an excellent singing voice, he was an accomplished
>musician, and he was also a successful music producer who helped other
>artists succeed. Then he was also an actor, and who knows what else we
>might learn about. But in addition to that, he was well known for
>collaborating equally with other not-known and well-known musicians, the
>list is quite long. In the celebrity writes ups, while it would be
>caddish for anyone to do it days after the news, I've yet to notice
>anyone who feels legitimate bitterness toward him. If someone wanted to
>settle the score it'll happen soon. Still, I don't recall any artist ever
>complaining about being ripped off by David Bowie even while he was alive
>an
> d kicking.
>
>The second is that the length of his working career crossed over three,
>maybe four generations, and each of those generations has a different
>kind of relationship to him because of the historical period and persona
>of his work at the time they came to know of him. That is something
>unusual in the lives of artists. This didn't happen with Elvis, for
>example. Bowie's trans-generational quality is quite unusual.
>
>The third element I see to contributing to this "phenomenon" is that he
>adapted to the technology of the Internet. I think I can make this
>argument just on his BowieBonds, which was selling futures of his song
>royalties for 10 years, back in 2000 (I think it was). I don't think
>anything about this venture would have been feasible before the Internet.
>I'm sure many musicians envied his privilege to make such a move. I would.
>
>The fourth element has to do with something discussed quite openly right
>now, and that has to do with the nature of questions his work raised with
>regard to gender and sexuality, and also race, long before it was "what
>people did." He challenged those limits. Many people are grateful to him
>for doing it.
>
>A fifth element is the lack of friction in the media machine itself,
>always looking for the next "event" upon which to capitalize. Bowie's
>work and life is bursting of sound-byte-able material. These combined
>make great 3 minute videos and 1,000-word webpages.
>
>Then we have his death occurring days after the release of his last
>album, which, to a person who stopped following him a few years ago,
>makes me consider how does an artist work on an album and music videos
>with cancer eating away at his body? And keeping all that under wraps? It
>must have not been easy. It doesn't seem to be sheer vanity. Marlene
>Dietrich not leaving her Paris apartment for fear of being seen is vanity.
>
>Last of this list of elements is the oblique title of his last album
>"Blackstar" which can be deconstructed on a few levels. A somewhat anemic
>possibility: he is a "black star" as attributed to his roots in soul,
>R&B, and jazz. But this seems too facile.
>But! More likely it is better to see it as an astronomical term (from
>wikipedia) and which is alluded to in his music video of that name:
>€ Dark star (Newtonian mechanics), a theoretical star that has a surface
>escape velocity that equals or exceeds the speed of light
>€ Dark star (dark matter), a theoretical star heated by dark matter
>annihilation in the early universe
>€ Dark-energy star, a hypothetical alternative to black holes
>€ Black star (semiclassical gravity), a theoretical star built using
>semiclassical gravity as an alternative to a black hole
>€ Black hole, any region of space time where escape to the outside
>universe is impossible
>€ Black dwarf, a type of degenerate dwarf star, specifically, a cold
>white dwarf
>
>These definitions indicate unknowable astro-masses where light
>doesn't/cannot penetrate. As a poetical device, it is the most elegant
>metaphor I have ever heard used to symbolize death. While he
>posits/posited himself as a blackstar, as is customary with David Bowie's
>work, he leaves a gap for us to fill, for ourselves, which is to consider
>our own blackstar-ness. He is tapping into our own mortality. My reading
>of it, there is desire for pity from him, but instead he wants/wanted us
>to celebrate life while we still have it. This is his gift to me, how I
>read it. For me, all this is evidence of his generosity as an artist, and
>what paradigm the artist *should* fulfill in human society.
>
>Considering ALL these factors, I don't actually find the "phenomenon"
>that surprising, it seems reasonable that these consequences transpired,
>if I think of it as a coalescing of these different developments coming
>from different directions and locations.
>
>Kind regards,
>
>Annalisa