Sunday, April 8, 2012

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men


What baffles me in life is when people forfeit true authenticity in pursuit of anything else but that.  It may not be enough, but it's just about as important as being human. Sometimes it's hard to judge what true authenticity really is. The concept of it gets muddled amidst so many illusions. I find myself asking if I am authentic, or have ever even come close to being so.  

I was read an excerpt from a marvellous novel yesterday called "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" by David Foster Wallace. In a chapter called "On His Deathbed, Holding Your Hand" the author describes (either in his own voice or in the voice of the character) his hatred and disgust for his infant child. The words in this story were piercing and revealing to me, as was the subject matter it talked about - complete and utter abhor for the basic human condition, the id. The vividly loathing words the father emblazoned his own son paint a clear picture of how easily detestable something so "unhuman"...nay "pre-human" can be. Because being human implies having the ability to reason, perform cognitive processes, to have shame, to have self-control, be self aware and all that is to do with the moving away from being an animal and being controlled by impulses and driven by pleasure. The infant, lacks everything a human should wield in order to exercise autonomy over his instincts. Thus the infant in the story was greedy, ravenous and ceaseless in its demands, hunger and wants. What disgusting nature! 

Bringing it back to what we started off with. Is the infant though, authentic if he lacks everything that is to be learned and indoctrinated throughout the course of his development? Does authenticity = primal/id/infancy? Perhaps not? Perhaps authenticity should've been more clearly defined as something outside of the ugliness of the human's lowly origin - an animal. 


Angie Bitchface said...

I used to feel that way about babies -- like, I kind of saw them as defective humans, and that kind of freaked me out about them -- but now I really really want a baby, more than is healthy for a college student :( must be hormones from being in love or something.

have you read Infinite Jest? it's super long, but totally worth the 2-3 months you'll have to spend reading it.

ramon said...

authenticity is something found in old paintings and doodads. are not human beingshuman true to their environment? we are, after all, only animals. or do you think us something more?