February 1st, 2011

S.C. Hickman

Ken Bruen: The Divil Knows

"Evil is only a concept to those who've never experienced it. To those who've met it, the term 'concept' dropped from their vocabulary."
     - Ken Bruen

Ken Bruen
Sometimes you got a love the guy, I mean Ken Bruen, nihilist extradonaire has pumped out more delicious black comedy crime fiction than a meat god on wheels.  We've seen a gang of sociopaths, pyschos, priests, misfits, and other unlikely suspects tumble across the subterranean landscape of a parallel Ireland, England, and America ever since Bruen released his strange bird of prey Rilke on Black. And, I must admit, the first book I took a hankering too was The White Trilogy - encompassing A White Arrest, Taming the Alien, and The McDead. The guy's merciless, the type of writer you either find ready to stuff on a pole with tar-and-feathers wrapped in black oil, or bring along as an accomplice to your own darker journeys into the hinterlands of imaginative nihil.

With Bruen's well-known series featuring that fun loving case history for all borderline psychos, Sgt. Brant, we discover an unlikely officer who measures life as a daily bout between Ed McBain novels, a life in which being human doesn't mean that one must mean or even understand the meaning of being human, all one needs is to keep a foot on the sane side of that alternative hallway of the abyss - whatever that might entail, or even mean - and believe that (yes, my dear, there truly is a dark lining to the universe of reason - and it doesn't include yours truly, but only those strange creatures just beyond the periphery of your broken mind) reality or the real is a nightmare for others rather than a script being enacted from the desperate chronicles of one's own black desires.

And, in Bruen's other well-known series we find that misfit of misfits, Jack Taylor, a down and out alcoholic, neither recovering nor fully shaped to its wet immersion, just an atypical bender of the Dark lady's punch-and-jude excess - or, as Lacan might have said it: jouissance. We've seen Jack Taylor wander through Galway like a forlorn troubadour of shadows through eight novels, he's followed crime down to the frothy sea and back again; yet, at the sea's edge he's only ever found death, not the twin of sleep, but the black slime of a nihilistic trace of the nothingness that is. An ex-garda, are should we say, dumped from the Garda Siochana ("the Guards") for a superfelonious infraction Taylor now wanders the back streets of his old haunt, Galway, like a spectre in a parade of zombies; neither alive nor dead, he seems to follow the dark side into caper after caper of inevitable doom like a comic poet of our despair. They even have a new tele-series out based on his unique blend of noir based on Bruen's characters: Jack Taylor Films.

It looks like Jack Taylor will continue to wander those dark zones of Galway for some time now, since in his latest installment (the eighth?) Bruen has Taylor almost leaving Ireland for good, moving to America; yet, at the last moment, the Divil - yes, my dear, you heard it right: the Devil intervenes and poor Jack is stuck in his prison house of a city, Galway, forever - just a suburb of Hell anyway. But not to spoil the fun, hop on over and pick up your own copy of this new book at the local pub, I mean... bookstore and have some fun twittering to the band.  


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S.C. Hickman

Cengiz Erdem: The Immortal Subject Beyond the Life Death Drives

"The creature called human can cease being a passive non-being and become an active being only insofar as it produces love against the negative power of the already existing capitalist law. As we all know, the laws’ negative impositions give birth to the vicious cycle of the life and death drives, which is in turn exploited in the way of more money."
     - Cengiz Erdem

The ImmortalLiving outside ourselves we are guided not by the Real but by the inner compulsions of a drive toward the last flowering of the negative force we call Death; but, death, is not itself creative, it is only the truth-event of life as it changes place with the symbolic order of Life in its dark mode of entropy: a god of no thing and nothingness. Cengiz Erdem in his new essay tells us that with "the domination of nihilist global capitalism all over the world social life has become a masquerade." I'm reminded of Bruno Schulz for whom the "substance of ... reality is in a state of incessant fermentation, of germination, of potential life. There are no dead, solid or restricted objects. Everything is diffused beyond its own boundaries, enduring in a particular form only for a moment, to quit it at the first opportunity."[1] He saw this world, its customs and manners as being guided by a certain kind of principle, what he termed "panmasqueradium". Schulz says this of it: 

"Reality adopts certain forms for appearance’s sake alone, only as a joke, for a game. One person is a person, and another a cockroach, but such forms do not reach the essence; they are merely roles, assumed only for a moment, like an outer skin that, a moment later, is cast off. A certain radical monism of substance is evinced here, in which individial objects are only masks. The life of this substance depends on its using up a vast number of masks. This meandering of forms is its life essence. There emanates from that substance, therefore, the aura of a kind of pan-irony. A backstage, behind-the-scenes atmosphere is ever present, in which the actors, having taken off their costumes, now crease up with laughter at the pathos of their roles. The very fact of individual existence implies irony, leg-pulling, and a clownish poking-out of the tongue."

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