When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his
mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not
believe he has prepared himself for the commission of every other
Nihilism is best done by professionals.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
On ProfessionalismWe wake some days unsure of who we are. Did something happen yesterday, last week, last year we wonder, that connects today to some larger context we've somehow since forgotten? Honestly, we can't recall. The light, the distance, the random phrase, the deja vu that hints we've lived before -- not in another life, but in some half-remembered quarter of this one. Tip of the tongue stuff. Just around the corner, out of reach...
Ah, hell, put on a little ZZ Top, then. Kick it, boys.
Yeah, that's better. Now it's all coming back! Groove you could drive a fuckin truck through.
But meanwhile, back at the ranch, this fundamental ambiguity is one of those things you're not supposed to admit to. Ever. Perhaps it's the largest proscription that comes with our credentials as card-carrying adults. Children are not expected to know these ropes. Later, we'll teach them all the facts of life, but not just yet. They're so innocent and this is such a dirty business. Let's wait a while before we admit them to the inner sanctum: the rite-of-passage lobotomy, the secret handshake of the living dead, the catechetical conspiracy of certain knowledge.
But when the time comes, here's how it works.
First, you set up a bunch of schools and populate them with educators who've already had their shots and the necessary operations. Many people do not realize that the recommended minimum daily requirement of Thorazine begins at 500 milligrams. The medical preparation is not all that involved, really. After the genitals and frontal area of the brain have been removed, all that is left is to implant The Credential.
The Credential is critical, for it -- and it alone -- imparts and betokens fellowship in The Guild, the purpose of which is to protect its members from the dangerously rudderless state of mind that would otherwise result from not knowing what to think next. Guild members always know. And if you don't, they will tell you. They have been processed to serve.
Children have not yet had the benefit of such preparation. This is in fact what distinguishes them from ourselves. They daydream constantly, displaying symptoms of unfocused curiosity and wonder that we would find disturbing in fellow adults. Make no mistake: the purpose of education is not to nurture this naive enthusiasm, but rather to eradicate its every trace. For what kind of world would we be forced to live in if our basic assumptions, our most cherished axioms, were ever imagined to be groundless fictions? What if human beings, when presented with the rigors and challenges of professional life, chose instead to fingerpaint or play with their own pudenda? As our civilization has proven at every turn -- by force where necessary -- such a descent into barbarous savagery is an unthinkable outcome. Faced with the prospect of a population pretending to be invincible reptiles or gender-free fairy princesses, failure is simply not an option.
While education is key, it is a key that fits many doors. Growing up and getting over it is a primary prerequisite for any viable career in Religion, Medicine, Politics, Science, Journalism, and of course, Business. Each has its Guild of well-credentialed experts and professionals. And each of these, in turn, has got his or her facts straight, you may be sure.
Nevermind that any individual of the class may be a simpering mongoloid of the first water. What is important is that the Guild as a whole presents a united front, an impenetrable shield against implications of personal incompetence, intellectual vacuity and moral turpitude. As professionals, no matter our domain, we have all undertaken a sacred trust to protect our ranks against such charges and to publicly ridicule those injudicious enough to even suggest them. Our individual interests pale against those of our profession -- the protections if affords us all, the many benefits it brings -- and all but the most deluded take the unyielding defense of these professional perquisites as their first and last principles.
Viva Las Vegas!
Were it not for the guild, the profession, the credentials they bestow, we could be exposed at any moment as the simpleminded spiritually craven dipshits that we really are. Closing ranks enables us to wield enormous power in this respect, turning all such suspicions back upon their perpetrators in the form of guilt, self-doubt and professional insecurity. University deans and corporate CEOs alike have always turned this trick -- and turned it into a fine art, we might add. So must we if we hope to become successful in our work, the sum and substance of which entails the carefully fortified illusion that the work itself amounts to a tinker's dam. In contrast, solidarity is everything.
These matters are seldom spoken of in public for obvious reasons. It would be devastating if everyone understood our actual motives, our labyrinthine systems of mutual self-aggrandizement, our unwavering commitment to ourselves. And in this, our worst enemy is the children, the amateurs, the dilettantes, those who would play and make fun, laugh at us, who would scratch our meticulous paint jobs by opening their doors too quickly in the unfair parking lot of life.
So, there's all that.
But we still wake up wondering where we came from, how we got here. The puzzlement won't go away. It can even happen at night. Last week we were driving around Boulder and thoughts like these were running through our head. Just then, as if by Divine Providence, this insistent drumbeat started coming from the radio -- a pretty good one, cranked up high -- the bass line pounding the speakers to a bloody pulp, guitars wailing like the fateful noise that brought down Jericho. And the words, my God! "Gimme all your lovin... all your hugs and kisses too..."
It was in that moment that we came to understand something crucially important -- something we'd been missing our entire life: ZZ Tops rocks! Yes!!! Despite all our confusion, despite the hurt, the fear, deep down inside we finally knew what it was all about. Needless to say, we were stunned by this revelation. After all those wasted years of philosophical introspection, tortured angst, the answer to all our questions turns out to be a real no-brainer: rompin stompin big-boobed babes and badass bikers.
Since then, we've had the volume maxed. Between paragraphs we've been slamming our head against the keyboard, and man, does it feel great! What a relief from all that motherfucking intellect! Perhaps this is why Neil Young once remarked: "Hey, hey, my, my... rock and roll will never die."
Now, some of you are likely thinking: "Hasn't this piece been just a little overly satiric, even perhaps a tad too... harsh?" You may have a valid point there. You may also burn eternally, for all we care, in whatever blind and sexless hell you have created for yourself. And we suspect we are not alone in this happily heartfelt malediction. Our ranks, if you look around, are legion. There must be some kind of synchronicity afoot, for as we write this, ZZ Top is boasting about their market share: "I'm nation...wide...." The message is clear. We don't need no education. We don't need no stinking badges. So fuck you.
Given the alternatives -- of school and corporate coprophagy, politics and media mayhem -- we find ourselves in strong concurrence. We once wrote a piece (for The Internet Society) in which we called Kurt Cobain a genius, and got incredulous mail from some supercilious techno-policy snot: "Surely, you can't be serious!" But, au contraire, we can.
Whether the headslamming roadhouse anthems of the damned fit your particular aesthetic budget, we couldn't give the fabled flying fig. Whether your well-honed sensibilities are offended, we couldn't care less if you paid us, which you don't. We speak not for you and your best interests here, but for your lost and disbelieving children. For the ridiculed freaks and outcast misfits, the down and dirty anarchists of forever impenitent imagination. For the eaters from the forbidden tree. For the dark and dangerous wisdom of the eye's first opening. We speak for that which has no other voice but what we give to it.
Keep on Rockin in the Free WorldNeil Young
Entropy Gradient Reversals
All Noise - All the Time
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"reality leaves a lot to the imagination..." John Lennon
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