Klosterman, Tweedy, Madonna and Me
I read a great book over my holiday by Chuck Klosterman, IV, which is a collection of his essays on pop culture. In one essay, "Ghost Story, 2004", he documents an interesting interview of Jeff Tweedy, frontman for Wilco. I like Wilco, and I like Tweedy. Klosterman was struck by Tweedy's down-to-earthness, his normalcy, that he's a regular guy with problems like everyone else, plus he doesn't seem to carry the pretension many artists do. This is one quote from Tweedy:
So many artists reach a certain level of success, and then they cross over; they surrender everything to the service of their persona.Tweedy goes on to reflect on how many people have possibly been destroyed trying to live up to or copy Madonna's persona, or Keith Richards'. I've talked about this before... about how we so easily can slip into the image we have of ourselves, or how we try to play the role of "Good Christian", or "pastor" or even communally as "The Church". It's dangerous and destructive. As Tweedy notices about Madonna, "You could never get to be that huge unless you surrendered every other impulse in your body to the service of your persona." I personally think Madonna manifests even greater genius because she's built into the Madonna persona the ability to change. Now that's forethought, since one of the greatest dangers of a persona or image is that you are not allowed to change because it would mean the death of the image that has brought so much success. But that is only one of the dangers. Another danger might include the fact that the image isn't you, but a facade you present to a public who implicitly approves and supports that image. It is a luscious co-dependency. This is why the church flirts with danger when it tries to look successful, present a public image and further it's noble agendas and become really big. The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Howard Nowlan.