First, can I call you Meg? Hi, Meg.
Second, let me say, I love your music. I love the quirkiness and the fresh voice you and Jack bring to the music scene. Thanks for that. Now that we've dispensed with the pleasantries, I have a question: What the f*ck are you thinking?
Two months ago I spent $160 for two one-day passes to the Austin City Limits music festival. You see, this year my girlfriend and I decided to treat our husbands with a road trip to the festival for their birthdays, which fall within two days of each other. We decided on the Saturday tickets for the festival because among other good bands, The White Stripes were scheduled to close the show that day.
Make no mistake about it, your band was THE reason I wanted to go on Saturday. Mr. Jaye would have preferred to go on Sunday to see Wilco, his favorite band, as well as Midlake and BOB DYLAN, but I talked him into Saturday's performance because YOU WERE GOING TO BE THERE.
So, imagine my surprise when yesterday, three days before the show, the news hit that you had canceled all of your upcoming shows in the U.S.--including the ACL. Might I add, the ACL show is the only non-refundable performance in the lot. Further, the reason given was your "acute anxiety." Surely your publicist could have come up with a better reason. I think I smell a rat.
For future reference, I have come up with a list of excuses that might go over better.
1. Despite your claims to the contrary, a Seven Nation Army( The Stripes' hit song) could and did hold you back
2. You've come down with a bad case of Icky Thump.
3. You've got the flu, and, girl, you have no faith in medicine. Look, shit happens. Hey, that might be another good excuse. As Sarah Silverman said, diarrhea is always a good way to back out of a gig. No one questions the diarrhea. I certainly never expected Amy Winehouse to make her scheduled appearance. Let's face it, her hit song was nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I never expected you to betray me, Meg. You're better than that ballet slipper-wearing, beehived freak of nature.
Now that I have plagiarized Jay Wells' letter, I will go on to plagiarize myself, usually a fatal mistake for a writer, for when a writer plagiarizes himself, he's in trouble.
Ah what's a little Fata Morgana on a big operation like this:
Don't want to hear about it
Every single one's got a story to tell
From the Queen of England
To the gates of Hell
And if I catch you coming back this wayI'm gonna serve it to you
It's not what you want
But that's what I'll do
--Jack White/The White Stripes
I recall beginning my essay thusly:
The cultural-philosophical attitude known as nihilism vanished just after the Russian revolution of l917, only to return with a vengeance in the 21st Century, having resurfaced large in the middle of the l950's with such American magazines as MAD, Cracked, Evergreen Review and even some articles in Playboy.
Today, it's Mad Indies Rock from what appears to be Hell:
I'm going to Wichita
Far from this opera for evermore
I'm going to work the straw
Make the sweat dripFrom every pore
And I'm bleeding and I'm bleeding
Right before my lord.
And the feeling coming from my bones
Says find a home
Jorge Luis Borges quoting Pascal: "Nature is an infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere, whose circumference is nowhere."
And somewhere in his Aleph story, the story about this sphere, Borges concludes that it is a false Aleph!
Add to this the hundreds of comments in Jeff Wells' blog, Rigorous Intuition, and you'll get a spooky sense of the Devil himself, and if not him, certainly the conviction that what sensitive people feel these days is not necessarily Nature, or God, but a group of sinister people who have convinced us that their very brains comprise an infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.
Call them Illuminati. Call them Aliens. Call them mad scientists and social engineers. Whoever they are (Are they from here? Are they real? Are they guilty?), their presence is obviously felt by millions if you believe in the the monkey business of Art Bell, George Noory or a host of "moonbat" manque's around the world.
But, as Russians often claim, they invented everything, the Prince Kropotkins, the Bakunins, certainly Dostoevsky in his "Devils" or "The Possessed". It is my belief--to introduce an oxymoron-- that the Russians invented nihilism.
Nihilism is a condition of complete enervation. It is the absence of laeticia that joy of life, a sense of futility and ultimately, the desire to throw a bomb.
How far are we from Dostoevky's wild-eyed nihilist to the fanatics of the Middle East? Granted,they are not true nihilists, they do have a belief, but it is carom of their true faith, a kind of nihilism.
And how well is our own creeping nihilism articulated by RIGOROUS INTUITION, Bill Mahe or The Jon Stewart Show--where he for the first time had a musical act, The White Stripes singing, Get Thee Behind Me, Satan...
Am I just courting comments here? Do I seek a new audience of moonbats? I don't know, except that if life is a tragicomedy, Jon Stewart certainly has a handle on it and Jack White of The White Stripes for sure.
I'd like to take a more positive view.
There is a sense, coming from my own background, of a kind of salvation. The late Hryhory Chubai of Kiev:
and around there was no river, no sea, lake or stream was around
only helpless imagination
surrounded itselfwith uncountable suggestions
for every one of the flower's eight faces the imagination surrounded itself and staggered
staggered and felland never got up
and did not come
did not ask--what time is it
did not ask--why the door opened
did not ask--where they buried the goldfish--on the sun or on the moon
and it is very frightening when there's inquisitionwhere one cannot remember the voice and cannot forget the face
when for a long time no one comes...
But, for Mr. Chubai, a kind of damsel with a dulcimer finally appears, a Joni Mitchell, an accomplice, alover. A loreli?
The Ukrainian poet goes on:
it's a thousand flowers coming
it's a thousand women
and behind each one will sit ashes
but someone invisible will suddenly say CHRIST HAS RISEN
all will turn their heads backeveryone will want to see behind him a fire
everyone saw behind him ashes
someone will suggest to halt the debates
but the invisible one will again say CHRIST HAS RISEN
all will slowly turn their heads back not to frighten the one who's behind
all will suddenly hear how on the sea of black pepper the green waves will turn yellow
allwill suddenly see on the far shore a star which they never saw before
all will start waiting for the tiny boat of the nightingalethat is to take them to the shore
the waves on the sea of black pepper turn yellow and calm
the knotty bottom will regain sightand someone will again say CHRIST HAS RISEN
all will slowly turn their head back
any minute nowthey are to seebehind themselves A FIRE
Well. From Satan, through Easter, to Chrismas. I don't know what I have done here. But something Important has surely gone by.
How do Jack and Meg White, not yet thirty, see all of this?
It might be small wonder that Meg White has "severe anxiety"