Dagdha's Blog

Ma Jolie and Nicotine

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on April 24, 2008

Pablo Picasso was the first artist I studied who gave me a true appreciation for Modern Art – quite fitting as its founding father – but it was not his art that captured my interest, rather a sense of shared voracity with the man. The revolutionary Spaniard loved to eat (he didn’t trust anyone who lacked an appetite) and, as relentlessly evident from his art, thoroughly enjoyed all manner of licentiousness. After spending countless hours studying Picasso’s various works, I realized he had corporally encapsulated my abstract understanding of art and human experience. Although in most regards I cannot compare myself to the 20th century genius of Modern Art, Picasso and I do share one common attribute: our passion for physicality.

In the wonderfully brilliant movie SLC Punk, the main character Stevo entertains the viewer with an epexegetical monologue about “The Fight” and its philosophical justification in Punk subculture. The final summation, despite Stevo’s null assertion, is that pain reinforces one’s sense of being alive. Growing up with a twin brother, this collective sensation of rage, adrenaline, and pain was all-too-familiar, and it gave me an understanding of certain emotions and feelings that the majority of others lack. I dare say that you have never been in a real fight and likely never will. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing or attempting to make a bold claim of machismo, merely that experience has provided me with an erudite understanding that many lack. I think that much of my life hinges on this notion of intense understanding through experience.

I’ve been told that smoking too many clove cigarettes can result in hemoptysis, the coughing up of blood. I believe it has something to do with small particles of fiberglass contained within these flavored, carcinogenic tools of meditation. Luckily I have never discovered firsthand whether this is true, perhaps due to my historical limitation of debauched indulgence. However, lately I find myself smoking more than usual. Each clove provides me with a three-minute session of introspection and relaxation, a type of Zen meditation in which I often lose myself to the act of smoking. On the more rare occasion that I am accompanied by a fellow societal deviant, rarely is there a dull conversation; if no conversation ensues, we simply enjoy our personal meditations with one another.

I’m not advocating smoking. I’ve been force fed the dangers of smoking since before I could read. But I suppose it goes back to my feelings about experience and something that Joe Strummer said. Upon hearing from a friend that she was trying to quit, he encouraged her to keep smoking. He told her to imagine all the wonderful music, literature, and art that had been conceived while artists and writers smoked their cigarettes, and what it would be like if it were all gone. Would Picasso still have been the father of Modern Art had he not spent his twenties smoking in the cafés and brothels of Montmarte?

In some irrational way, I suppose by smoking I feel somewhat more connected to the many bohemian artists I so greatly admire, though perhaps it merely reminds me of good, albeit largely incoherent, nights I’ve spent with friends.

Whatever my original purpose was for writing this has become lost, and thus I shall leave you, the reader, unsatisfied by my lack of cogency while I go meditate.

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