Boredom and Desire

Nicole Hennessy

“That is what the world is coming to,” one of my roommates calmly proclaimed the other night, as if she had accepted whatever this statement was in context to before it was even relevant. I sat next to her, buried in my hoodie, unable to articulate the reasons for my aversion to modernity. Unable to spill myself. Unable to say something elaborate, simply…

Thanks to the fact that humanity’s frustrations can easily be categorized and filed away in some computerized void where our digital selves don’t have to imagine our physical, intangible souls decaying, there is no longer a need for the failed social revolutions that capitalism craves to exploit.

And despite the paralyzing progression of technologically assisted human development, Henry Miller was right when he said, “For 100 years or more, the world, our world, has been dying. And not one man (or woman, Henry!), in these last 100 years or so, has been crazy enough to put a bomb up the asshole of creation and set it off. The world is rotting piecemeal… Not one of us is intact, and yet we have in us all the continents and the seas between the continents and the birds of the air. We are going to put it down – the evolution of this world, which has died, but which has not been buried.”

In the 76 years since this was published, a few crazies have managed to emerge from the dilapidated corners of civilization: Hunter S. Thompson comes to mind, but that’s too easy.

Before the new, electronic brand of passivity emerged from the collective unconscious, when suburbanized oblivion was still enough to suppress boredom and desire, Andy Warhol created something he could lodge in the throat of society — mass-produced, celebrity-obsessed art mocking the seemingly natural and inevitable symbiotic relationship between capitalism and social movements. While indulging in the confusion of whether or not a soup can should be considered art, nobody even realized they were choking.

Several decades before this, Salvador Dali produced mutant manifestations of repulsion – art that was born foaming at the mouth.

“Democratic societies are unfit for the publication of such thunderous revelations as I am in the habit of making,” he said.

And still, people tilt their heads to the side, put their hands on their hips and stare at his paintings, lustfully disgusted, while whispering to themselves, “I don’t get it.” In a similar fashion, they stumble past Jackson Pollock’s regurgitations and find strange comfort in Pablo Picasso’s representations of the geometric nature of reality. It’s true; I’ve seen them.

Standing in the empty wombs that are museums, they look at the surface of the deactivated bombs that adorn the smooth walls and determine beauty, thankful that nobody has managed to “put a bomb up the asshole of creation and set it off,” while simultaneously cringing at the vulgarity of that statement.

Nicole Hennessy is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].