Thursday, June 06, 2013


The three sacred monsters are impressive and disquieting


The format is so strange that we remain aghast and flabbergasted for at least five minutes when we open the delivery box. The size of the “object” is that of the long play vinyl record of the old days, and thick enough to contain maybe three or four records of that type, and the whole thing is intriguing. The libretto which is the only thing that comes out is the same size and we find out this libretto encloses two CDs and one DVD.

Let me look at this singular assortment in the most incredible disorder.

The first CD is the songs of the musical play in disorder as for their chronological order in the libretto with small in-between tracks to link them all in a way or another with some dramatic dialogue. That gives dynamism to the music since we are within a story that is being told. We discover the order of the songs is not that of the libretto because we are a good audience and we look for the lyrics. This is a very good idea to give the seventeen songs in a dramatized presentation, hence with an obvious added value.  That’s ten times better than the second CD that gives the songs in proper order in the classical format, one after the other. I guess that will give choice to listeners, on one hand the traditionalists and on the other hand the innovators. The first CD is like a presentation of the songs on a radio with an actor saying a few words between each song. Pretty awesome it is, as the new generation seems to like saying after Supernatural and the Winchester brothers. This allusion is not gratuitous.

But before moving to the libretto let’s say the music is very good and somewhere between some swinging country-leaning rock music and then some more meaty fleshy sanguine music from the rock planet of more recent times and yet the general format is very regular, the way people like Jimmy Hendrix used to do things. It does sound like a good modern advanced form of music for some Broadway show, some musical dramatic production that wants to attract the theater audience of major stages in major cities.

I then got into the libretto, the play itself, the story and there we get two brothers, in fact two sets of two brothers as if we had Dean and Sam Winchester as well as Michael and Lucifer. And of course each pair is duly associated with Cain and Abel, page 31 for Drake and Frank, the more recent real live ones, and page 58 for Andy and Jack, the older ghostlike ones from the past, and that reference to Cain and Abel is in proper order, older brother and then younger brother, because Stephen King knows his Genesis by heart. He of course knows the older son is the killer of the younger son because the older son fails to capture the attention of God and the younger one succeeds..

And of course, since we are in the 21st century we can take some liberty with the Bible, and the two pairs of brothers invert the order of the model, and it is the younger son who kills the older son both because the older son is the failure and the younger son is the winner of something, no matter what, on the background of teenage hatred that has to do with girls, with one girl because these two pairs of hormone-dominated non-castrated draught animals, generally known as brothers, are not satisfied with draught beer, or drafting any kind of plan to conquer the moon: they have to fall in love with the same girls who prefer the older brother at first and is attracted by the success of the younger brother afterward and change their allegiance. More horrible that that you cannot imagine and you may die. It is squalid, bleak, awful this time and in no way awesome, but definitely horrible. Girl-friends sure do not get the good side of the deal.

One generation of brothers (in fact the two older brothers of the father of the second generation of brothers) are playing their parts as ghosts and we learn more or less that they are trapped on the earth because the third brother of this older generation, hence the father of the two brothers of the younger generation, is carrying a deep sense of guilt in his mind about the event that killed his two brothers. It is his telling the truth, in fact a first part that is innocuous and then the second part that is somber and dense, that is supposed to free the ghosts that can move on to another world. Unluckily this telling of this old story starts a whole chain of events that will fatefully get rid of the younger pair of brothers.

But inversion is essential: Stephen King rewrites the Bible in the style of Sigmund Freud who felt so guilty about his Old Testament and his Judaism that he built his psychiatry on the Greek mythological model and in the systematic inversion of Biblical references. It is a basic crime in Mosaic law for a son to look at his nude father, so Freud made the killing of the father a fundamental symbolical crime necessary to get to adult age as well balanced as possible. It is a crime in Mosaic law for a son to desire his mother. Of course Freud rewrites this part as a fundamental desire that will make you a grown up in no time provided you symbolically kill your father and then symbolically transfer your desire for your mother onto another woman who is not a relative or a sister. And he calls that oedipal of course, a good Greek reference.

So telling the tale of symbolical guilt for the surviving third brother of the older generation, who is quite alive as the father of the second generation of brothers, is a way to come to terms with his purely personal and psychological, sorry psychiatric guilt that requires immediate psychiatric treatment, in depth if you please. In other words the telling of it all is cathartic. Cathartic for the father who projects his guilt into the public tale because then it is assumed and carried by other people. But it is anti-cathartic for the second generation of brothers who at once get into a situation that leads them to do the same things as their two dead uncles. And what’s more whereas the two dead uncles were only responsible for three deaths, the younger generation of brothers, or nephews if you prefer, are responsible for five deaths. In the first case the younger brother only really kills one person, and it could have been seen as an accident caused by an abuse of alcohol, in the second case the younger brother is directly responsible for four deaths, including his own and his father’s. That’s Freudian to a maxium peak of intensity, especially when we know the mother of that second generation of brothers preferred her older son. In other words the accidental death of the mother at the hands of a nonsensical fight between the girl friend and the mother leads to a sort of Freudian vengeance that makes the younger son kill the father and the older son. Isn’t that twisted and warped, corrugated would some people say, I guess.

Stephen King in his Freudian rewriting of Genesis is making the load of guilt heavier than anything you could imagine and Cain, I am sorry the younger brother Frank in the second generation has seen his guilt multiplied by four. The modern Freudian world is not exactly a happy story.

The question we have to ask here is why that motif of the tale of two brothers is so pregnant in American literature particularly since the Second World War. Steinbeck had done a lot already with his East of Eden, Supernatural and Dexter had been particularly heavy on the subject too, and now Stephen King has transformed the sorry religious or mythical tale of Cain and Abel into an apocalypse, a mass murder, a case of epidemic serial killing. When we think how much effort it has taken for all the Christian churches and temples to hide the fact that Jesus had many brothers, the most important of whom is James supposedly the Minor (James the Major is a fairy tale) who was stoned to death after an illegal decision of the high priest of the Jerusalem temple in 62 CE, when we think of that we can wonder why this story of two brothers is coming out so strong in modern American culture.

Some will be entitled to wonder if the USA are not schizophrenic somewhere, more or less carrying in their collective unconscious the guilt of having killed their brothers, their European brothers, their English brothers, their Indian brothers, their Black brothers? That makes many human brothers they have killed and tortured most of the time to death. The history of the USA sounds like a giant Guantanamo. Are the Americans of the USA in need of a deep and vast cathartic psychoanalysis? Or will it be enough to prescribe one pill of Prozac to all Americans every day starting as soon as the first day of conception (via the pregnant mother till the real birth) and then in the milk bottle of the baby?

The DVD does not add much, except the three artists sitting; one next to the other, like the three monkeys of the fable and the song recorded in Studio given at the end of this making-of is just perfect for them:

But you can see with those eyes
And you can hear with those ears
And you can speak with that tongue

For sure the three members of the jury really see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing that will change my approach, but they are quite fascinating speaking of their work as if it were their new born baby or their teenage high school crush. They sure are sentimental, especially Stephen King. One thing is sure in this DVD, the songs and their lyrics seem to have been written by John Mellencamp first and then Stephen King came along and wove a tale of twice two Cain-like and Abel-like brothers. I am sure Stephen King must have thought of this two sons quite a few times.


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