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I Am Deeply Flawed LOL

There’s a quote in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance that says:


“You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It’s easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.”


I dunno if that’s true. Surely there’s some cracking painters who don’t have their shit together? Painters who lose their keys and forget their mum’s birthday and get too drunk at networking events and think it’s funny to go around asking TV execs how they go about obtaining a recurring role on Hollyoaks.


I thought being an artist meant being flawed and learning how to tap into that? I thought it meant being addicted to alcohol or heroin or Malteasers and not being able to maintain healthy personal relationships?


Comedians are flawed – and are encouraged to be so.


If there’s one group of people most applauded for being psychopaths, it’s comedians.


We’re literally applauded: at the start of our sets, at the end, and – if you’re me – many times in between.


Even that slight bit of arrogance I’ve just displayed can be seen as a positive for a comedian. It’s lapped up as ironic. I can pretentiously say I’m being faux-arrogant for comic effect instead of just a big-headed prick.


Comedians are the worst.


We’re needy, narcissistic, depressed, manic, selfish, smelly, drunk, evangelically sober, messy, obsessively tidy – basically any annoying quality you can think of. Some of these are contradictory, so no comedian has all these qualities, but I’ve never met one with less than three of them.

I know listing depression as an “annoying quality” is dodgy and trivialising. To explain:

I don’t think being depressed is intrinsically annoying – just when comedians are depressed, we’re fucking annoying about it. Instead of dealing with our feelings, they’re harvested for punchlines to be repeated to audiences over and over again across the country until we’re completely detached from both the feelings and the causes of those feelings. No longer are the thoughts of being ugly or unlovable ones to be challenged and worked through – they’re inspiration for self-deprecating jokes.


That’s probably more me specifically doing that when it comes to depression. I’m just saying most comedians I know turn their problems into jokes rather than solve them. And even if that’s not healthy, it makes great comedy.


I dunno what comedy from a perfect person would look like. They tell a story about someone being rude to them and conclude it must have just been a misunderstanding?


Does anyone wanna hear that?


I suppose not all stand-up comedy is self-deprecating or rooted in negativity. Some people do joyous, life-affirmingly daft comedy. But, unfortunately, a lot of those people are quite simply paedophiles.


Maybe I’m misinterpreting what the author means by perfect or taking it out of context. I read that book ages ago. I just write quotes in my phone, and I was scrolling through them and read that and thought, “what the fuck is this geezer on about?”


Before writing a blog, I should’ve probably reread the book or at least done the bare minimum of googling the quote. But I’m an artist. I’m flawed.


Even calling myself an artist is a bit grandiose and pretentious. As is using the word grandiose. I must have an inflated ego. Again, that’s where the magic comes from.


I dunno much about painting tbf, so maybe you can be a goody two shoes and still knock up a decent piece. But then there’s loads of mental art. That geezer who painted the melted clocks couldn’t have been all there. I’m sure he lied about not having change to a homeless person at least once in his life.


I could just be really wrong. It’s just I’ve held onto this idea that to do something great you have to be messed up.


Look at examples from history. Churchill – cokehead. Henry VIII – couldn’t hold down a relationship. Jesus – smug.


It’s such an established idea in my mind that it didn’t occur to me that things could be another way.


But maybe you don’t have to live your art. We talk about separating art from the artist – maybe artists need to do that themselves. Maybe you can be in touch with dark thoughts and impulses to be self-deprecating, or anti-social, or completely misanthropic, and make jokes about those things without living like that in your day-to-day life.


Working on yourself doesn’t have to harm what you create. Finding insight into why you have certain flaws could add an extra texture to your creative output, enriching it rather than diminishing it.


Maybe that’s what a perfect person is: someone who’s paradoxically always trying to improve themselves. As they do they reach new heights, see their own and the world’s foibles from a new vantage point, making them more rather than less able to turn them into art. Perfection stems from the ever-presence of imperfection, and the endless quest to eliminate it. That’s what leads to perfect art.


Sound like bare effort.


Probs just gonna carry on being unhinged and writing about it.


Anyway, that’s about it.


Cya x


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jamesofgnosall
30.10.2023 г.

Ooh there’s a few rich seams to unpick here. Firstly the quote from the book is correct but it’s an ironic joke or play on words as in a ‘perfect’ personality and a ‘perfect’ creative product. I think a good comedian and you are one for sure probably doesn’t acknowledge the crafting of material that is done that must require effort and thought. The delivery is I guess another aspect of it. I think audiences enjoy a comedian who is willing to expose themselves (not literally) and say the inner fears that we all share but are scared to acknowledge. So you help us feel that our own madness is not unique and thus we are not as mad a…

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