Mawkishness is cheap
For the past six months I have been longing to write something for this site. The first few words that always sprang to my mind were 'locked in time and space' and they were not followed by any other words. The smog suppressing this city is getting deeper each day. People who call the radio chat programs lament about job dismissals. Love affairs have receded into the corners on people's priority list. We used to believe physical hardships will bring out the holy traits of humanity, instead we are seeing now selfishness, brutality and effrontery taking the driving seat. Against this background the only honourable course to steer is beat one's retreat and leave behind a note saying 'I don't agree.'
Professional study has deprived me of the time to read novels. The number of books coming out every month now is stunning. The faster the mill runs, the hollower are the messages. The biggest pleasure I find in this media-controlled society is being quixotic with one's taste and keeping it secret. When the crowd sing praises for Kafka and Kundera crowning them the gems of Czech literature, thank goodness they have missed out my darling Skvorecky. When the same mob keep reiterating Proust's master stroke of beginning a memory of one life with a dip of Madeleine cake into hot tea, I rejoice deep down that they can't even get to book two of Lost Time. The hawthorns, the cattleyas, and the uneven stone slates on the pavement they know nothing about. And the Nobel Prize Committee have voted Don Quixote the greatest novel of all time, which shows just two things. One, most panelists have not read Proust. Two, many of them have not read Don Quixote either. And my life-long consolation will be Richey James' The Holy Bible will never be voted into the best ten albums. Laughing is the most powerful weapon against tyranny, I have heard. The moment you lose your ability to laugh is the moment you are floored, Ken Kesey has said something like this.
Mawkishness is cheap. On the third anniversary of my seperation from that person, I passed the day without noticing it was the anniversary. I realised this two days after. More recently I got hints that she might have quitted the job she was in. That information gave me some days of queasiness but not any dreams. 'Open the windows as it will better my mood. Therefore I can be smiling when we split,' sings Old Wolf.
Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing. A man go around letting a woman whup him down till he can't laugh any more, and he loses one of the biggest edges he's got on his side. First thing you know he'll begin to think she's tougher than he is and ...
You can't really be strong until you can see a funny side to things.
You have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.
Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, pp. 59-60, 186, 194.