That Same Old Something New

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

“I read the news today, oh boy.”  About a lucky rapper who had made the grade. I’ve never intentionally heard any of Kanye West’s music. So, I can’t comment on whether he’s good or bad as an artist. He’s reached the point of celebrity after millions of dollars in advertising and promotion necessary to make himself famous. That he now wants to change his name to something else.

That’s celebrity, “I want to be alone! Why won’t they just leave me alone and stop sending me their money?” You may call me “Ye” I have abandoned my Earth name for a celestial identity.

“So, if I wanted to call you, I’d say, here Ye, here Ye?” No, “Ye” as in Yesus. “Latte pick-up for “Yesus Price.” But his friends and the people from the street know him by “Ye.” There are billions of us little humans out here, living our little lives. To whom it never occurs even once, that maybe we outta to abandon our birth name out of the blue and take on a whole new Identity.

“Good morning, Tommy.” Mom! Cut it out! Stop calling me that. I told you, call me Zontar now! Attendance in gym class is going to be fun. “Alright, listen up boys! A. Dude? Is A. Dude here? How about Babbitt the rabbit? Dude? Is Dude here with us today? How about “Shake or Smooth? Zeewee3?”

A point of celebrity where the artist seeks to escape from their own persona. To try to prove they can do it all over again under another name, like Luke the Drifter aka, Hank Williams. Consciously or unconsciously, trying to run away from their own creation and join the circus. Or quit the circus and just run away from it all.

Fame has a trajectory and never stays in one place, and they don’t say, “For the first time on our stage, anymore.” You’re either up or down and success is harder to manage than failure, (or so I’ve heard) because success is so well financed. Those around you always think your ideas are really good, and I don’t think you look fat at all Elvis. I think you look real good king, have a pill.

As a proselytite of Donald Trump, I didn’t suspect that there was too much going on upstairs to begin with. His antics during the Presidential election vouchsafe that opinion. But why the antisemitism? Aren’t the millions of dollars in the bank and a lavish privileged lifestyle enough for you to curb your wrath and keep your filthy opinions to yourself?  Look, I’ve got some grievances about the way the world is being run myself. But nothing little prosperity couldn’t cure.

The old hidden hand routine and secret doings, fixing things secretly behind the scenes. The November criminals. A paranoid conspiracy that only a few (Really Smart) people like “Ye” have figured out so far. And “Ye” plans to blow the lid off it.

Donald Trump endorses, invites, and welcomes, pointed directed racist speech at his rallies. “Ye” supports Trump despite Trump welcoming, pointed directed racist speech at his rallies. He doesn’t mean “Ye” of course, he means all those other little people. All those dirty little useless eaters taxing their betters’ fortunes.

It was Woody Guthrie who said. He’d never seen a poor man who wouldn’t share what he had or a rich man who didn’t think someone was trying to rob them. Everybody is out to steal from them, and no one can be trusted really.

 I don’t think the record company pushed my last record the way that they should have. Everyone said it was great. Everyone said I was a genius. I think maybe someone’s out to get me. They shot down my idea of painting myself aquamarine and marching naked in the Macy’s parade. They didn’t even give it chance. Everyone said it was a great idea.

But fame has a trajectory and if you are 45 years old in the Pop music field? Chances are, that trajectory is downward. But it can’t be you! You’re a genius, everyone says so. If your records aren’t selling the way, they used to sell, welcome to the rock and roll life. It must be someone behind the scenes pulling the strings and doing things trying to sabotage your career. It couldn’t be the millions of young rappers out after your job? There are lots of little geniuses out there you know.

Like a scene from “A Star is Born” (the original) Fredrich March in a drunken rage, curses the evil studio machine that created him in the first place. Now, after the studio has now abandoned him on a lonely beach in the setting sun. He gets it, “They did this to me! My success wasn’t fading, someone was taking it away from me.” Somewhere in the secret court chamber of the secret world court high up in the Carpathian mountains, his fate had already been decided.

I’ve been reading “The Portable Beat Reader” another in my collection of $1.00 paperbacks of weird subjects and nonfiction, picked up in a thrift store somewheres across America. Only the best of Allan Ginsberg “I saw the best minds of my generation!” and Jack Kerouac and company. I like it and I get it. Like, I’m totally hip to it baby.

We were like these three cats, too cool for school. In a new Cadillac that we’d managed to  beat up in only six hundred miles of driving, but it’s cool. We’re out on a Friday night looking for cheap ten cent beers and even cheaper women.

It drips with period, describing a time and a youth. It drips with White male entitlement of a late 50s early 60s post war American excess, enough is never enough decadence, before we found our navel.  Before Woodstock and before Vietnam.

I know the writing is good, but in retrospect it comes off today as little pretentious and little clueless of what was really going on in the world. Nothing personal fellas, Tolstoy and “Ye” strike me the same way. It’s living inside a bubble. Inside that bubble of he’s really cool and today’s with-it writer baby. A genius, everybody says so. Making a road trip to discover the true meaning of America, while tearing up an automobile pilled up on amphetamines, drinking beer and looking for chicks.

But outside the bubble, he’s just another self-appointed pretentious prick. Drunk on a Friday night in a beat-up Cadillac who thinks he’s doing something cool and uniquely clever, something that’s never ever been done before.

No but that ain’t yer game, it ain’t even yer race
You can’t hear yer name, you can’t see yer face
You gotta look some other place
And where do you look for this hope that yer seekin’
Where do you look for this lamp that’s a-burnin’
Where do you look for this oil well gushin’
Where do you look for this candle that’s glowin’
Where do you look for this hope that you know is there
And out there somewhere
And your feet can only walk down two kinds of roads
Your eyes can only look through two kinds of windows
Your nose can only smell two kinds of hallways
You can touch and twist
And turn two kinds of doorknobs
You can either go to the church of your choice
Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital
You’ll find God in the church of your choice
You’ll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital

– Bob Dylan, “Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie”

Woody, Bound for Glory and “Ye” bound for obscurity.

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