Pt. V Lipstick Traces: Greil Marcus

August 21, 2007

A Review

Greil Marcus: Lipstick Traces

Part V

The Crash Of Yesterday’s Art

by R.E. Prindle


     At this stage of the review it will turn into a secret history of the secret history.  Since last writing I have read Mr. Marcus’ opus on Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone, The Dustbin Of History and Mystery Train plus a few articles available on line.  The qualities not as apparent from a volume or two become more apparent when enough material is read.  No writer can write several hundred pages without revealing himself and his intentions.

     Thus it becomes clear that Mr. Marcus was reared as both a Communist and a Jew.  Of course he uses the palliative, socialist.  He seems to have come from a privileged background while having received a Jewish conditioning.  He was born in the summer of 1945.  His father, Greil Gerstner, died during WWII so he must have been adopted by his stepfather, obtaining the name of Marcus.

     As part of the Critical Theory of The Frankfurt School he has been trained to view life as one tragedy after another.  Whereas in the Western tradition we are trained to see life as a series of adventures in which if we triumph, good; if not, then efforts must be taken to rectify the situation.  There is no mystery in situationism; it is just the way it is.  Thus the Westerner even more that the Jewish Guy Debord is trained as a situationist.

     In his criticism Mr. Marcus unremittingly condemns the United States as fatally flawed and ripe for destruction.  As this is his vision he is compelled to work toward its realization.  This might be considered strange because when his grandparents or great-grandparents landed on these shores c. 1900 they thought they had found the Promised Land.  So what happened in the years between then and now to turn the Promised Land into the shitheap Mr. Marcus sees?  Nothing.  The conditioned Jewish character merely asserted itself and Paradise turned into fecal matter.  One might look to Freud for a solution but I think the answer can be found even earlier in that ridiculous Holy Book of the Jews that Westerners call the Bible.

     Now, they are always looking for a paradisical ‘situation.’  According to their Holy Book 5700 and some odd years ago which is when they believe that the world was created they lived in the literal Paradise.  All they had to do was keep their nose clean and mind their manners.  So as to leave room for no mistakes their mentor God, or as Jews spell it G-d, told them all of Paradise was theirs to enjoy but they must never eat of the fruit of a forbidden tree.  Pretty clear wasn’t it? 

      So then the Jews defied their mentor by eating the forbidden fruit.  This act enraged their mentor so greatly he picked them up and bodily threw them from Paradise thus beginning a very long list of expulsions.  Also their God did not fool around.  He was unforgiving telling them to never come back at the same time setting up a guard who couldn’t be fooled to make sure they never did come back.  Thus the first act of the conditioning of the Jewish people took place.

     So, the scenario is that the Jews are welcomed, then the Jews repel  mentor or hosts, the host eventually becomes sufficiently angry with the Jews to expel them from their midst.  This scenario has been repeated for, by Jewish calculations, 5700+ years.

     C. 1900 Mr. Marcus’ ancestors arrived in what they jubilantly described as the Promised Land, in another word, Paradise.  They prospered mightily.  Mr. Marcus himself is the product of that prosperity but, like the Jews in the Garden of Paradise, Mr. Marcus is busily trashing the Land of Promise.  As he sees it the United States is fecal matter that has to be flushed down the toilet.  Further he wants you to view the United States the way he does and trash the only home you have ever known or will ever know.  Mr. Marcus is a dual citizen; when the country is trashed he and his successosrs will just move on as they have always done.

     That’s the short form.

     Now, Mr. Marcus and his fellow culturalists have declared war on the Aryan species as well as on the United States and, actually Europe.  They will settle for nothing less, according to their spokesperson Mr. Noel Ignatiev, than the abolition or genocide of the entire species, one billion strong.

     While this goal can be achieved by psychological means, indeed is well advanced, the fun comes from openly fuddling people.  To do that one needs a power base.  A power base was first achieved in Russia in 1917 but that one slipped through their hands.

     But then this summer Sarkozy got himself elected President of France thus placing the power of that State in Jewish hands.  One of the first things Sarkozy did was to begin to distribute French atomic weapons to France’s enemies.  Unless the Jews and Moslems are secretly allied this act seems suicidal for the Jews.  Who knows maybe it has reached that point in Jewish minds.  It should be clear to all that as there is no God  the story of Paradise is merely a reflection of the Jewish ego.  In the search for anti-Semitism it is quite clear that it is a product of the Jewish outlook.  In the conflict within the Jewish mind God became the first anti-Semite.  The whole Jewish scenario develops from this inner psychological conflict.

     A second thing that began happening after the Sarkozy election was that key Jews were beckoned to France for instructions in somewhat the same manner as Judaeo-Communist revolutionaries returned to Russia just after the October Revolution when as Mr. Marcus quotes Trotsky as saying, the Mensheviks were tossed into the dustbin of history.

     Mr. Marcus was called to France in July of this year under the auspices of The Cartier Foundation For The Contemporary Arts [ http//,8816,1649503,00.html  ]

ostensibly to give his views on Buddy Holly.  Whether Mr. Marcus actually met with Jewish conspirators in private to receive instructions I can’t say but it would have to be proved to me he didn’t, especially as this ‘cultural’ forum turned into a podium for America bashing in which Mr. Marcus gleefully participated.

     Speaking of Elvis Presley and Jackson Pollack the director Alain Perrin described them as “Two young people living in a society that they want to provoke to rebel against, and to mock sometimes.”  I think perhaps Mr. Perrin is projecting his and France des Juifs’ opinion on Elvis, I don’t know about Pollack.  I never had the notion that Presley was mocking America and I wouldn’t have liked him if he did.  The early Rock n’ Rollers were not mocking anything they were just trying to break in a different musical form against great opposition and make it big.  That opposition merely had to do with people who were shocked at the musical departure.

     I graduated HS in ’56 and was one of a minority who accepted the music in my class.  The new era began really with the class of ’57 when the form had penetrated to the youth consciousness.

     The skewed Mr. Perrin goes on to say “This was the America that had liberated the world of Nazism…’  Surely Mr. Perrin meant France although in his skewed imagination it may have seemed like the world. “…but this was also a racist America, a puritan America, (no capital.  It might be possible to say America was still Puritan but it was not puritan.) a hyper conservative, McCartyite America.”  Well, one out of five ain’t bad especially for France as America did what the French couldn’t do themselves.  I hope Mr. Perrin wasn’t offended that America wasted its own men, some of whom were my relatives, money and resources to save an ungrateful France from itself.  As I understand it there was no scarcity of French collaborators in that glorious lovely Liberal Communistic ‘pure’ France of Mr. Perrin’s imagination.  One would expect a Communist of Mr. Perrin’s stripe to be opposed to weird old ‘conservative’ America.  But, then I’m sure he doesn’t want to talk about that in an open forum.  No one expects gratitude from the French but a little realistic appraisal of the past wouldn’t hurt.  Liberals are Liberals, but, geez.

     Mr. Marcus slips and slides in with his two cents worth: 


     In the 1950s (ten long years note) the official story was that America was back to normal (the Depression?) women were out of the factories, (happened in the forties) everything was working like clockwork, (not so, but Mr. Marcus was a nine year old and it may have seemed so) but underneath this was an entirely different story (secret history again) of confusion, conflict, desperation, (how did I survive?) desire for grandeur.  Life could have been an epic story, life was dangerous ( aw,  come on, Mr. Marcus, don’t put me on with all these cliches) you could step outside the role that had been preordained for you.  (by whom?)


     Now, let’s see.  How many cliches are in that novelistic approach to history.  Mr. Marcus says he was born in the summer of ’45.   McCarthy was shot down in ’54 so Mr. Marcus would have been eight or nine. His memories of the fifties then are pretty thin so he must be reading the Time-Life Decade series for the 50s.  Even then they wouldn’t have made such puerile remarks.  Well, I’ve read the series and they do, so…  My memory of the time was that there was no normal.  The discord was right on the surface and that was no fooling around.  Our town was virtually in the hands of the Chicago Outfit.  Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamster bomb wielders were serious, the Korean War, the Commie Threat (that Mr. Marcus and the French refer to as ‘McCarthyite America’) produced great tensions.  The Atom Bomb, my god Mr. Marcus don’t you ‘remember’ the Rosenbergs in 1953?

      If you’re going to try to write history give up your sophomoric Jewish presentation.  Hunker down.  Get objective.

     Mr. Marcus has his own secret history and mocking America is central to it.

     In concentrating on the nonentities clowning it up in Zurich Mr. Marcus fails to relate Da Da to the course of the evolutionary development of Western society thus exaggerating the importance of these clowns grossly.  Their effect on the development of society was minimal.  The Da Da art movement did have some effect.  Bear in mind that Da Da is merely a state of mind shared by a percentage of any age cadre from say 17 to 25 or so when they are struggling to find their way.  Finding one’s way isn’t easy and does have its stresses.  The situation of this particular group occurred as the Scientific Revolution, the real revolution, begun in 1859 with the publication of Darwin’s Origin Of Species was disrupting Western society to the maximum extent.  Science challenged religious concepts including those of the Jews.

     The ethos of art had run its course having achieved all that representational art could achieve.  The search for novelty or an avant garde, if you will, produced Cubism, Da Da and Surrealism.  Thus these clowns in Zurich who produced nothing but had a narcissitic crush on themselves were presumably able to make a noise.  In reading Mr. Marcus  one isn’t sure exactly what that noise was.  In any event the Cabaret Voltaire changed nothing that had not already been changed or was changing.

     Other than rescuing this crew from the dustbin of history and amusing us aside it is difficult to understand what significance Mr. Marcus finds in this clown act performing hackneyed stunts.

     He somehow segues this act into his following act, even more insignificant than the opening act.  The Crash Of Yesterday’s Art concerns the career of another complete and insane non-entity, one Isador Isou.

     In order to give some significance to Isou he manages to compare him with both Elvis Presley and Tony Curtis.  Not bad footwork for a fancy dancer.

     As is usual with Mr. Marcus all the people he considers important are Jewish and those he denigrates are goys.  Thus in the comparison between the earth shaker Presley and the non-entity Isou the latter comes out as the more signficant of the two.  How Tony Curtis comes in isn’t clear unless it is his famous pompadour that is said to have influenced Presley’s hair style.  At any rate the two Jews to one goi with Presley basing his hair style on one Jew while the other’s portrait often mistook him for a ‘pop star’ which it would appear raises him to a level slightly above Presley seems relevant in Mr. Marcus eyes.  I don’t know, hard to dicipher.

     As Mr. Marcus describes the megamaniacal Isou it would appear that he could have been at the famous dinner at the Maison de Sante described by Edgar Allan Poe in his famous The System Of Dr. Tarr And Professor Fether.  In fact much of Mr. Marcus writing reminds me of nothing so much as Poe’s lady who tried to get outside her clothes rather than in them.  I have great difficulty taking Mr. Marcus discussion of Isou as seriously as he seems to, although I find the story a fascinating bit of trivia.

     Leaving Isou’s manias aside it seems that his contribution to the deconstruction of Western Civilization was to insist that paragraphs, sentences and words were meaningless while the only thing of importance was the bare letter itself.  A building block.  You see what I mean by trying to get outside one’s clothes than inside.  Mr. Isou grandiloquently called his ‘organization’ The Lettrist International with he and his other member.  He wished to establish the Lettrist Dictatorship.

     Actually as a Jew Isou was merely following the letter mysticism of the Jewish alphabet in which not only does each letter have incredible symbolic meaning but each curve and segment of a letter is also endowed with incredible symbolism.  A whole several hundred page volume could easily be written concerning the letter aleph and each additional letter thus adding up to a magnificent Harvard five foot shelf of the Jewish alphabet.

     Somehow Charlie Starkweather and Caril figure in here but I’ll have to go back and study to get it which would scarcely be worth it.  I’ll see if I can find the time.

     Mr. Marcus also recasts a version of his musings on what appear so be his favorite song:  It’s Too Soon To Know of the mid-forties.  Favorite songs are often inscrutable to anyone who doesn’t ‘get it.’  I know the song and while I like it, I don’t get it like Mr. Marcus does.  On the other hand I don’t expect Mr. Marcus to get a couple of secret favorites of mine, one by a singer whose name I forget, Clint something or other, although I should still have the 45.  I got the disc in a close out mystery package of 10 for 99 cents.  The song goes something like ‘Bertha Lou, Bertha Lou, I wanna conjugate with you.’  I like it however I have never met another person who has ever heard the song.

     Another favorite of mine is by the Crows (Orioles-Crows- the bird, the bird, the bird’s the word) of Gee fame that reads something like this:

I’ve got a girl named Rosie Lee,

I wanna tell ya what she did for me.

She took me in when I had nowhere to go

And that is the reason I love her so.


Face like a tadpole, shape like a bear,

But when it comes to lovin’ Rosie is there.

     The lyricist is certainly no Allen Ginsberg but as you can see both these songs and Ginsberg’s Howl are concerned with a certain word begining with the letter F.  And the usage is indeed international.  God bless Isidore Isou and the Lettrist International.

     Well, enough of this funnin’, let’s get on with the serious stuff.  So Isou and his Lettrist Interntional is going to segue into Guy Debord and his Situationist International but first we have to go to church.  It seems to me that I have a vague memory of Part VI so the invasion of Notre Dame must have been a true international scandal.

Part VI Follows.

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