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Encounters with Ginz
This is a long-winded wayward way of saying Ginsberg has inhabited this planet like few of us ever have or will -- like an unwanted house guest who farts, burps, leaves a mess and then even tries to tell you how to run your own house as part of the bargain. After he leaves and after the initial sense of relief, you actually can’t believe that you start to miss the guy.
And while he was alive, he didn’t mind pushing your face into that fecal fact -- vain and small-minded one moment, magnanimous, all-embracing the next.
Woman-suspicious or some would say -hating one moment and then the next offering a woman poet criticism, praise, assistance and as in the case of SM, a letter of recommendation she carried around with her in triplicate for years, a letter that opened doors, legs, academies, safes....
He was to ask/beg me to let him go down on me again some 10 years later (1987ish?) in NYC. I think I had a clever rejoinder or imagined I did, or it came later, the cinematic comeback line popping up long after your annoying speechlessness has subsided and after everything had dissipated and fallen apart. Fiction (books and films) is the revenge of those terrorized at the moment of confrontation. They get to mouth their great lines -- mine was “No thanks, I got a Hoover does as good a job as you.” Line 2: “I will ask my girl friend. She likes to watch. And will you sign the photos she will make?”
Anyway, I have always had a very questionable, tenuous, tense relationship with the famous, fame, those who love fame.
I was petrified of anyone famous when young, low self-esteem, whatever. But also very suspicious of its workings on the soul, ego, etc. The terror fused with the suspicion and became a lifelong iconoclasm or at least a suspicious glance at everything that seems to be more famous than it should be. And this was borne out by my relations to Ginsberg and Co. and all those who herded around them. I just could not deal with inequality in this realm, this top-down kind of shepherd-herd dynamic.
In 1987 or so I also re-played the news reports about the “Howl” 30th anniversary and the controversy surrounding its ideas -- no, really just about swear words and obscenity... absurd -- and then I played “Howl” itself in its entirety on my WFMU radio show as a protest against the exorbitant fine for obscenity that the FCC had levied against NPR -- or was it Pacifica? -- for playing “Howl” and seeing censorship in all of its lucrative punitiveness. A strong-arm tactic to punish all those who stupidly believe that freedom of expression has anything to do with freedom. I was supposed to censor the few curse words, had even plotted it out -- would do it live, manually and this was to fail, which almost got ME suspended for airing it (without censoring it) but in the end, the insanity that was/is WFMU (and the entire phenomenon of self-censorship) was a much saner and friendlier kind of insanity than the official nationalistic insanity that defines the US then and still does to this very day.
~Bart Plantenga on the playlist to his radio show 'wReck thiS meSS' on Radio Patapoe 88.3 - Amsterdam / Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies: 369: Ginsberg [10 years dead] & 20-something
Bart Plantenga has been producing his radio show Wreck This Mess in New York (WFMU), Paris (Radio Libertaire), and now in Amsterdam (Radio Patapoe) for 20 years now. He is also the fiction author of Beer Mystic, Spermatagonia: The Isle of Man, and Paris Sex Tête. His Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World is the first-ever global history of this mysterious vocalisation. Rough Guide To Yodel is its audio companion. He is currently working on book 2, Yodel in Hi-Fi, a new CD compilation, Black & Blue Yodelers, and a yodel documentary. He has served his time for being one of the founders of the Unbearable Beatniks of Lite. He currently lives in exile in Amsterdam.