Unquiet Desperation
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Author Topic: Blowing your brains out for Art  (Read 4760 times)
Mr. Goldberg
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« on: July 21, 2008, 11:01:05 AM »

Ernest Hemingway...having completed his final work felt himself written out and subsequently saw no future validity in his exsitence. One fine day he took a shotgun and blew his head off over it.

There's a little more to it than that  ... but the story is true...

Opinions please ...is this just an attention seeking big baby's cry for help ? The final spotlight upon a sideshow of grandness ? The is a great man who wrote many great works but decided to end it with the trigger. The self indulgent act of of an artist effectively throwing the toys out of the pram ?

Van Gogh took a similar approach in sacrificing himself when the world ignored his art...as did Kenneth Halliwell taking playwright Joe Orton with him in a mutual suicide /murder act, beating out Orton's brains with a hammer.

Three very different cases and I'm sure UD readers can add more examples, but back to the original point...

Is Artistic suicide a true act of the artist ? Or is it a selfish denial.. the easy way out....a gruesome way of dealing with things especially whenever whoever is left behind has to clean up the mess - physically and emotionally. Should ART carry a public health warning ? Is it healthy to aspire to such heights if that particular mental state of pyschotic neuroses is where it may lead you to ? Million dollar question: would you be driven to it ?

Opinions please ?
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Vix0r
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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2008, 01:01:09 PM »

Art may have been what they did but I don't think you should focuss on that. Some people just don't want to live for various reasons, whether they feel their lives have been shunned, that they haven't achieved their full potentials or that they have, that they have nothing left to give them joy....
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Jay
Percy Bysshe Shelley
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2008, 03:50:22 PM »

Mmmm...which is what makes me angry about someone like him...had everything going for him...world renowned accomplished author artistically and financially....many writers' unattainable dream...and he blows his head off !!!!

I just think it exposes where "art" can send you  (round the twist). Also surprising as he was very much a man's man (huntin' and a shootin' and a fishin' and a womanisin') as reflected in much of his work. The ultimate macho man...yet uiltimately takes the wimp's exit ? God's revenge ? 

Still I suppose it's anyone's entitlement (Salinger does it behind a 40 foot fence...Van Gogh chose self -harm).

I wonder if there's some balance of equilibrium...the true artists...who perhaps get that little bit nearer to God  - as servants of the universal human condition in what they express   - end up paying in kind...

Joe Orton in particular at the  height of his potential with promise of much more to come had it robbed off him with  hammerblows from a neurotic lover.


The Lord Giveth the Lord taketh away                 kinda thing.

What price success ? Really puts me off ever wanting to be a professional writer.
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Jay
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2008, 03:51:48 PM »

PS that last message was written by Mr. Goldberg.............JAY can you please log yourself off when you come in UD !!!!
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Will
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2008, 03:04:36 PM »

Is Artistic suicide a true act of the artist ?

When you say Artistic suicide, it implies that the killing of oneself was done for purposes of art, as opposed to killing oneself to make one's past art more magnificent.  When I think about the term Artistic suicide (which I've only thought about since I read it here), I think of a guy/gal drawing something on a huge canvas and then standing in front of it and blowing his/her brains out all over the canvas.  If that is the case, then yes it is a true act.  If someone just killed themselves to promote their previous work and be famous posthumously, then it's a sad attempt to leave one's mark on humanity.     
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I think, therefore I'm lost.
Mr. Goldberg
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2008, 03:59:35 PM »

...well it's just that Hemingway did it on the basis that he felt he had written himself out and therefore didn't need to be alive anymore...like a machine which has used up it last drop of oil.

Most people opt for retirement.
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Ploe
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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2008, 06:50:17 AM »

Art doesn't just exist, you need a brilliant artist to create it. All brilliant artists are not the same as most people around them, they think and see the world differently. Suicide isn't artistic (events can't be art) it's just the final plea for help from an artist.
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Mr. Goldberg
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« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2008, 11:46:32 AM »

Mmm...so back to the original point should Hemingway have seen a counsellor or would that've done more harm than good to his oeuvre..likewise Salinger and the Great Tolstoy who totally lost it towards the end spending hours having metaphysical visions about potatoes...

Or can you be a writer without being a nutter....Edna O'Brien, Pinter, Bryson

You think of others at the top of their trade be they plumbers or pub chefs  does this excellence in skill go hand in hand with insanity ?

Is the madness part of the craft  ?
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Black-Dog
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« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2008, 10:54:32 PM »

"be they plumbers or pub chefs"
 Grin

   Plumber, upon finishing a kitchen sink repair job: "God...damn... this U-bend is repaired to perfection! In the fitting of this section of piping, I have perfected my craft and reached the pinnicle of my career. From here onwards, any plumbing I do, aswell as my own existance, will be utterly insignificant in comparison..."
   After a moment of bittersweet reflection, the Plumber lifts a revolver out of his toolbox and, placing the end of the barrel against the roof of his mouth, pulls the trigger and slumps onto the lino.
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Ploe
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« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2008, 11:08:53 PM »

With plumbers or chefs there is a definite task at hand. Their own ego doesn't get in the way. There's a job to be done. Otherwise they're poor at what they do, and they can't live.

There's a great Armando Iannucci skit on this. My Internet is stupidly slow this evening, I'll have to find it another time.
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Mr. Goldberg
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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2008, 11:53:02 AM »

Reminds me of an incident i once had while doing my degree...first year English & Drama student and full of it I was speaking at the plumber who'd come to fix the Hall of residence Washing Machine regaling him with ALL I knew about George Bernard Shaw...without even lifting his head from the task in hand he then proceeded to tell me the basic plot line of every play Shaw had ever written as he and his wife had been regular theatregoers for 20 years....sort of shut me up...

Dont judge a book by the cover or the ballcock....
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Ploe
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« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2008, 03:09:21 PM »

There's a great Armando Iannucci skit on this. My Internet is stupidly slow this evening, I'll have to find it another time.


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/InD_IGwkXiE&rel=0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/InD_IGwkXiE&rel=0</a>
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Mr. Goldberg
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2008, 03:26:05 PM »


Here you go, you undeserving fuckers.[/url]
[/quote]

Was it Eton or Harrow where you gained your impeccable Net Etiquette ?
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Ploe
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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2008, 03:39:37 PM »

Neither, I think it was on the array of rant sites and anonymous image boards I used to visit.
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Mr. Goldberg
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« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2008, 03:44:25 PM »

Must be your Southern Windsor upringing then  Wink
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