Thursday, March 1, 2012

Jive Talking Janus


The Storm / 26 x 20 / Oil on canvas / SOLD

Video feature this week involves flying books in a charming award winning video:

This piece was published in the West Quebec Post in 2011.

Jive-talking Janus

“George,” I said to Himself who was firmly ensconced in the Big Chair with the TV remote decidedly pointed towards the television. “George, I do not want to watch a documentary on two-headed babies.”

“But it’s interesting!” said Himself looking at me in astonishment as if I’d sprouted two-heads.

“What is interesting about watching the misery of people being born with two-heads? This is voyeurism of the worst order and the last refuge of a ratings-challenged television broadcast station that appeals only to the worst of human nature. People’s pain on parade! Barnum and Bailey banality! There is something sinister and unsettling about all this. It is as if we must either be people with two-heads or people without any insight or life whatsoever who watch people with two-heads on television.”

“Why,” he asked “do you have to create a black and white situation as if there were no greys?”

“There are only two types of people in the world,” I said emphatically. “People who have two heads and people who watch documentaries on people with two heads. There are no other categories. If you sat the entire world down and asked them if they would watch a documentary on two-headed babies, the only ones who wouldn’t would be two-headed.”

“So, you then are two-headed,” he said.

“I,” I said bristling like a porcupine in a windswept tree in January, “am discussing the metaphorical sense of the word. I am everyone and everyone is me. We are all two-headed. We are the world. We are the people.”

“Breaking into song is not going to convince me,” said Himself.

“The point is that,” I said, “people who watch shows on two-headed babies, or “Intervention” or David-Suzuki’s-we’re-all-going-to-die-horribly-and-don’t-we-feel-guilty-about-it-all-for-creating-the-mess-we’re-in-from-our-selfish-blind-sided-exploitation-of-Mother-Earth documentaries have taken people to their lowest form of self-expression. By watching documentaries on two-headed babies they identify themselves as NOT two-headed babies and subconsciously revel in their non-two-headedness. It’s not like they are going to go out there and change the world for two-headed babies. The number of them that actually would is so small it’s negligible. So what are you left with then? Pure voyeurism. It just gives them something to talk about at the water cooler.”

“You are being unkind to all two-headed babies,” said Himself.

“The ones who do not watch documentaries on two-headed babies do not gain their identity by voyeurism on the misery of others but actually have an internal life wherein they develop a sense of identity through actual thought and action. David Suzuki for example would be the kind with two heads and would probably never watch his own documentaries, which he makes purely for the infinitesimally small percentage that might actually do something.”

“How do you think people become people who change the world?” exclaimed George. “They watch documentaries. And did you think of the fact that actual two-headed babies can watch documentaries about two-headed babies adding a whole new type to your interesting but very very weak argument.”

“As usual, you are being ridiculous.” I said.

He wasn’t listening anymore as he had another thought leaping to his lips like a grasshopper on a blade of grass. “And what if one of the two heads liked it and one didn’t? What then?” he asked, beaming like a canary that swallowed a cat. “Could one two-headed baby have one head and the other one have two, a metaphorical one I mean? Is that then a three-headed baby? Where do they fit in?”

“For some strange reason I don’t think any, let alone two-headed, babies would be watching television. But never mind all that. The whole point is, we have now discussed this for exactly fifteen minutes and the documentary segment on two-headed babies is now over so I have won the argument because not watching the documentary is all I wanted to achieve.”

“It’s repeated in half an hour on another channel.”