Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sunny days, warm nights, surveys.

I have begun conducting my first survey. I need to get some software and decide on a sample size. But, really the actual survey itself isn't all that important.

In fact, I think i am opposed to record keeping on principle. I stand in front of photographers and video cameras at shows. I only video tape my plays as an afterthought. When someone says: my raison d etre is to document my life i feel immense waves of pity and disgust. the word "documentary" offends me. I want the experience, not the record of the experience. but finding correlations with this survey will be fun!

the important thing about the survey, and the part that i am most interested in is it's utility as a promotional tool. the only way i can gauge this is to see if i recognize anyone coming into the show.

see, the past is dead.

Last night i encountered a surly french alcoholic with his polish mail-order bride. (i joke, though they did keep her occupation overtly secret.) When i told them it was an existential survey they got all kinds of excited. Him in his i'm-way-too-cool-for-you sort of way and she in her bubbly polish whore way. (Again, joking, but that's what you get for being intentionally mysterious.) Then, upon completing the survey (they both enthusiastically answered "true" for the "you are alone, utterly alone" she wanted more questions and he was outraged at the fact that the survey didn't mention JP Sartre (over-emphasizing the "tre" like a true jackass)
I tried to explain that Sartre wouldn't want to be on the survey, did not self-apply the existentialist label. He screamed that Sartre was the godfather of existentialism as though i was a 4 year old. So, foolishly stooping to his name-dropping level, i said: "sure, along with Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Kafka, Dostoevsky, etc..."

"fuck Nietzsche" he says.

Then she goes into a delightful (if somewhat repetitive) long story about Dostoevsky's dad's balls, which he apologized for, "she's a bit of a talker." As though somehow, he thought I should be discussing dead white guys with a condescending prick rather than genital torture with his cute, intense and friendly "fancy lady" companion.

After walking away i realized what i ought to have said, rather than proving that i'm not ignorant of the history of existentialism. I ought to have said: SarTRE is not on the survey because SarTRE is dead. The survey is about things that exist and dude doesn't exist anymore, sorry.

This is why i think i hate record keeping. People fetishize and add legitimacy to something from the past (on a more superficial level, the rare funk and soul music played at dance parties) while ignoring the experiences of the present.

Meanwhile, others fetishize the future. They record and document the present in order to make it legitimate to future retro-enthusiasts. Why can't we just enjoy the now right now?

1 comment:

R. Winsome said...

so, a new development in this story... last night finishing up my survey at the comet i ran into a guy who knows my brother and his female companion was hesitant to reveal her occupation as well "it's embarrasing. I'm not a stripper or anything, i'd be proud of that" so i told the story of the polish girl. This guy has seen her around before and he told me the following story about seeing her at the comet on her birthday.

when asked by andy (the bartender) what she wanted for her birthday (as in a drink) her response was: "many men, all over my face at once."