Those Days of Always Deference

I am a lover of form. If an artist expresses himself using a form that his audience can read and play with and understand, he can be as revolutionary as he likes. He is saying, "Look where I am going," or "Do you see how I got here? Isn't it incredible/beautiful/worthwhile/whatever?" The artist without form is a failure, his work meaningless/irrelevant. I love Mark Tansey's display of work with a platform from which to speak, and work without said platform. Homeslices, must you not condemn the passive, plaintive, pouting artist who wants to kick someone in the face yet relies on that very someone to impart his own meaning to a work?

From form, freedom. And inspired by that idea, I have composed a short bit of vers libre on the virtues of form and shape and symbol and type and even structure, for goodness' sake.

A Narrow Glimpse of Freedom in Form

In those days of sweater vests,
When men wore hats,
When children wore ties
With the top button cinched.

In those days without tennis shoes
Except for excercise,
In those days of yes ma'am
And no ma'am and get up
When she walks in.

In those days of closed air,
In that ancient day of rules
At work and home, at play;

In those days of always deference,
When life was shorter, and tighter;
In those days a man could light his pipe,
Or not, as he wished.

Gabcast! The High Post #2 - A Narrow Glimpse of Freedom in Form

The city of Greenville has passed a ban on smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants, beginning next year. Our society has shunned external displays of structure, deference, and authority. So many of the spoken and unspoken rules governing our interactions with each other have been swept out.

We are losing form, so that we lose meaning, and cannot say what we live for (although we want to live as long as possible). We are losing form, so that we lose perspective, which is why a ban like this can happen.

The form of deferring to others, as opposed to the chaos of whatever pleases me first, makes place for things. There is a place where it is right, even good to smoke. There is a place where it is not. A ban like this lacks perspective, and has no room for diversity or a theory of place. It is good for all of us to be together at the dinner table. It is also good for the men to go sit by the fire and light their cigars, while the women go do their womanly things.

Ah, for those crazy tight-knit days of freedom!