Monday, December 11, 2006


Where does ‘outrage’ come from? Is this the right question? Can you answer it?

I say: “I'm outraged!” But where does it come from? I mean the roots of it -- the deepest tendrils from which I make my art.

I do not now speak for anyone as to the what of ‘outrage’. Only for myself.  I do not go so far as to think beyond today. There were yesterdays when I believed I was “The Everyman,” but not now.  I do not infer a truth representative of all humanity. So then to speak of ‘outrage’ is to say I have dissected it for you -- and in so doing will attempt to share an anecdote with you.


My childhood recollection is of a boy on roller skates, maybe eight or nine years old. The wheels clack as he skates on the pebbly pavement surface of the sidewalk (the sound of skates is softer on the black tarred road). I remember this (now faceless) boy who stopped me, would not allow me (I forget exactly what), but gave me recourse to be enraged. The injustice of it! He would not let me be! Nor could I skate away from him. I, losing all self-possession, pummel this boy.  What triggered this? What signal? I pummeled him. Screamed. Wept. It angered me to be so o u t r a g e d!

The emotion was overwhelming. It was not about face-saving, but of volition -- there was no volition on my part to lose control. I'd never done this before... this surrendering to a dementia of what I now label ‘outrage’. Kicking off my skates and screaming, pummeling this horrid bully with my fists… I was in tears! I wept as I flayed at him. Rebuking him as my fists pounded at him... It was all his fault that I was weeping and enraged. I was outraged! Outraged.  I even realize how ridiculous my rebuking him may have sounded. I was angry at my own ineptness, incoherence. I felt such embarrassment and shame.

I, who later speculated as to being in my art an Everyman, did not see myself as an Everyboy. None of those boys on my street were at all like me. They had no mothers like mine -- mine who demanded roller skating only on the sidewalk, not out in the middle where the surface was smoother and where all the others  boys played, skated  and rode their bicycles (which I was not permitted to have). I was (repeatedly) the new kid on the block, the Jewish kid (among the goyim), whose mother would not welcome them to her apartment or serve cookies to their children.  

Did I seethe when I was eight or nine? I recollect I did during my adolescent years. I harbored and repressed a lot of anger and resentment. It seemed to me that any other response was futile, would only excite and aggravate me, accomplishing nothing. I shed no tears, showed no shame, deigned no helplessness or anger. ‘Outrage’ is an ‘Inrage’.

That is but a tendril of what the word ‘outrage’ denotes.  Such is the play dough for my expressions in the art I make, the pornography I the artist make of it.  Its roots and vectors charged, energized by my inrage, my rage and defiance.

So, you can either buy into it or not… consider it or not an explanation that takes what outrages you into account. Mine comes from the soil of my childhood. We all tell singular ‘my-life’ stories, parsing the vectors (strands) to tell or hide. It contextualizes the point we’re trying to get across.

Are you ‘outraged’? What is your story?


Blogger Mirjam said...

Just wanted to say that I really love the third drawing you have included with this blog entry. I love the organic quality of it, and never tire of looking at it.

January 4, 2007 at 11:25 PM  

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