Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Anything you can do, icon do better

Being an iconoclast isn’t easy and it is getting more difficult in this day and age. Devoting my energy to knocking down the celebrities that hoards of people build up takes resilience. After all, I get socked a lot, mostly in the solar plexus of my mind. Sure, most of my iconoclasm comes naturally, but my resources grow thin as more and more icons appear.

Not all of them need my participation getting knocked down. A lot of them self-destruct. Besides, my iconoclasm has limited distribution, so I can only barely chip the foundation of an icon. Still, this is important work, because there is only room in the cultural wheel for so many heroes. When there are too many heroes then the soldier pool becomes thin and everything gets out of whack.

Of course humanity is, in essence, out of whack, but there are a few of us along the watchtower keeping an eye on how to balance the place. And we are ourselves a breed in peril of extinction.

There is a little iconoclast in all of us, but, believe it or not, the hardest thing about being an iconoclast is having to turn against an icon that you genuinely like. This is usually a public figure that begins to attract so much attention and popularity that he or she must be knocked down to size and that is difficult when the natural ego-driven part of you wants to adore the person.

Iconoclasm is in trouble, just as the Dada movement began to water down and eventually evaporate. There just aren’t enough people with the stomach or courage to embrace iconoclasm anymore. There are too many people settling for the cowardice of fan-dom, the strange comfort of being a faceless crowd member. And, of course, there are too many people who demand nothing from icons. That’s why truly great people are not icons and don’t need to be attacked. Truly great people are like old bowlers (the don’t fade away, they just can’t lift their balls).

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