Anachronism (Smoking Chums)
Reading Mr. Capodice's comment in my most recent smoking-related post, I must once again commend his tobacco leaf rhapsody, the scallywag. To wit, I think it's beautiful and evocative. Perhaps while nicotine gives users little in the way of accute intoxication it teaches them valuable lessons about desire and longing. In any event, I'll take the poetrey where I can find it.
I resonate with Nick's sense of temporal displacement, the continual feeling that this is not the right time for me. While he longs for a rum-runner's card-sharking black and white classic paradise, I find myself wishing I could ramble the great green beatific earth in the era just before "peace and love" became a marketing slogan, when hard bop, bluegrass and the first strains of rock and roll were the tunes of the day, and real outlaw culture was creeping up everywhere in the shadows of main street USA. I've thought about this often in my day, and the only conclusion that I can come to is that living in the past is always an exercise in frustration. Are we with our affections for less popular species of retrospective living any less ineffectual than the hipsters who merrily wallow in their 70s/80s electroclash mishmash?
Today's youth are too reactionary for their own good, living submerged in passed-on fashions, the regugitated symbols of another generation. If we are to truly ride forward in our breif time alive, we'll have to really try and come up with something honest and powerful, more than just style. We must plumb the depths of our historical affections, not in search of arcane minutae to display for one another in the grand and primal tussle that is the social pecking order, but to seek out the pearls of truth and essances of being that are the source of an era's cultural gravity. These elements of an epoch transcend time -- I fully believe this -- and if we are to mint a bold new future, these distilled liquors of the past are a necessary ingredient in our progressive potion.
I still hold that the act of smoking itself -- or any drug use for that matter -- has little intrisically to do with the era that one is whisful for. It may be an elegant symbol, but symbols are merely signifiers of deeper, more tidal forces. What does sucking down the fumes of dried tobacco have to do with a vagabond's spirit? Surely it's a poetic gesture of self-immolation, but just as surely the gamut of human experience provides plentiful alternatives, perhaps even superior ones.
I believe the whithering we see in our world -- this slow creeping end to fun and intrigue and mystery and romance and truth and passion -- has much more substantial roots than our lastest public health pogrom. While is seems we must agree to disagree on the merits of this particular point of order, I'm ready willing and able to join with anyone and everyone who wants to strike a blow at the heart of stale smug fat bland starbucks-bathed cubicle-pushing euphamism-spouting bullshit 21st Century America. There's an alternative to all this plastic; if you will it, it is no dream.