Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Trick-or-treatise: Transcendence and Il Matto

It was just another internet thing this July. In fact, it was in keeping with the perfect Internet Thing Trope:

Curious, because I think it's a meme #fail.

Unlike Rick Rolling, Lolcats or Sad Keanu Reeves, this video evoked various reactions instead of one universal emotion/message. Many thought the guy was acting the fool-- and yes, there's a double rainbow song, and even an error 404 page. But about as many folk found it inspiring. I started receiving it in my email as the day's happy thought from my parents' friends.

The guy himself, Paul Vasquez AKA Yosemite Bear, wrote about it all on his site. Reading that post is what got me writing this one. Bits like these:
On July 3rd I woke, checked my email and noticed I had some strange comments on one of my You Tube videos. I thought that's weird, I just deleted them without another thought, sometimes it happens. I went back to recheck my email and more weird comments on the same video, I thought this is strange, what's going on so I went to You Tube and started investigating. I quickly found the comment that started the beginning of my life taking on a much larger perspective. "Jimmy Kimmel Tweeted your video, you're so lucky." It hit me, my life was going to change, I always knew it was coming and here it was. I had done all the steps, I had followed a path I had laid out for creativity. I had always followed my passion, I had never cared about money, I always focused on art, Spirit, family, love, enjoying life, documenting what I thought was important and getting ready for when society breaks down and now one of my videos is going viral. I called my girlfriend Sage who was on her way over (a three hour drive to tell her that my life is going to change. I told her I had something like 18,000 hits in just a few hours and she said "big deal" I'll be impressed when you have a million views. Fast forward four days and I'm at a million views and she's impressed, I've been doing interviews all over the world MTV Canada ran my video and two others, things are going crazy, my phone is ringing non stop and my email is flooded with offers with people wanting to work with me and be connected to me. All of this is mind blowing, I am struggling to try and figure out what it all means but after two weeks I have had some time to contemplate stand back and think and remember that I have bee saying for years that this is what I have been saying was going to happen, it's not how I expected it to happen, I didn't expect fame, I didn't expect fortune to come this way but I have put all the pieces into place for this to happen so when it happened and a reporter asked me for the first time was this all a big surprise to you what I heard coming out of my mouth was a big surprise to both of use, "no I expected this all along". Then reporters tried to get me to say I faked the reaction I had when I saw the rainbow but nobody believes this, everybody believes I am a pure soul...
If you haven't watch the video, do. Most everyone starts out laughing: it's what every stoner TV comedy script from the past two decades has aimed for. Seth Rogen would sell his mother and his Dental plan to come up with that tone, language and timing. You start out thinking it's a joke, just like when you start out watching for instance, a video of Bill Hicks doing a routine and you think hey, snarky funny man here.

Nota bene: in *no* way am I comparing Hicks to Yosemite Bear. The only think they have in common is I look up to both of them. Work with me here!

Look-- Bear, in that video, is sincere about everything. Hicks, in the above-linked video, in all his routines is sincere about everything, especially when he is at his gosh-darned angriest. Especially then.

Yosemite Bear played from his fuckin heart. In his own way. He could've done what we would've all done. Taken a video, kept our reactions to polite noises, posted it on Fb with edited comments about what a lovely holiday it was. Instead, he went with the crazy wisdom of Il Matto.

And by doing so, Bear ended up channeling the very origins of Transcendentalism.
The Transcendentalist adopts the whole connection of spiritual doctrine. He believes in miracle, in the perpetual openness of the human mind to new influx of light and power; he believes in inspiration, and in ecstasy. He wishes that the spiritual principle should be suffered to demonstrate itself to the end, in all possible applications to the state of man, without the admission of anything unspiritual; that is, anything positive, dogmatic, personal. Thus, the spiritual measure of inspiration is the depth of the thought, and never, who said it? And so he resists all attempts to palm other rules and measures on the spirit than its own....
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Transcendentalist, 1842

--We're not our skin of grime, we're not our dread
bleak dusty imageless locomotive, we're all
beautiful golden sunflowers inside, we're blessed
by our own seed & golden hairy naked
accomplishment-bodies growing into mad black
formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our
eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive
riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening
sitdown vision.
Dunno. Something to be said for being this unselfconscious. What joy such people must feel.