Cynthia Nixon in "A Quiet Passion"

Cynthia Nixon in “A Quiet Passion” (Credit: Music Box Films)

“Look at it this way,” Lester Bangs once wrote, “there are many here among us for whom the life force is best represented by the livid twitching of one tortured nerve, or even a full-scale anxiety attack. I do not subscribe to this point of view 100%, but I understand it, have lived it. Thus the shriek, the caterwaul, the chainsaw gnarlgnashing, the yowl and the whizz that decapitates may be reheard by the adventurous or emotionally damaged as mellifluous bursts of unarguable affirmation.”

At the risk of sounding sentimental, when I read this passage, as a younger man, in “Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung,” a 1987 collection of the late rock critic Lester Bangs’s writing, it proved truly transformative. Everything about this paragraph — the call to action (“Look at it this way”), the wanton mix of high, low and seemingly made-up verbiage (“mellifluous” vs. “decapitates” vs. “gnarlgnashing”), the intentional-seeming evocation of Dylan (“there are many here among us”), the percentage rendered as a whole number, in a way that surely flies in the face of several standardized style guides — fit into place so perfectly, and thrillingly. It was at …read more

Source:: Salon – Entertainment

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