Friday, September 18, 2015

A Very Dangerous Drug for Young Men

This is why Joy Division can be a very dangerous drug for young men. They seem to be presenting The Truth (they present themselves as doing so). Their subject, after all, is depression. Not sadness or frustration, rock's standard downer states, but depression: depression: whose difference from mere sadness consists in its claim to have uncovered the (final, unvarnished) Truth about life and desire.

The depressive experiences himself as walled off from the lifeworld, so that his own frozen inner life - or inner death - overwhelms everything; at the same time, he experiences himself as evacuated, totally denuded, a shell: there is nothing except the inside, but the inside is empty.
The Aesthetes want the world promised by the sleeves and the sound, a pristine black and white realm unsullied by the grubby compromises and embarrassments of the everyday. The empiricists insist on just the opposite: on rooting the songs back in the quotidian at its least elevated and, most importantly, at its least serious. 'Ian was a laugh, the band were young lads who liked to get pissed, it was all a bit of fun that got out of hand...' It's important to hold onto both of these Joy Divisions - the Joy Division of Pure Art, and the Joy Division who were 'just a laff' - at once. For if the truth of Joy Division is that they were Lads, then Joy Division must be the truth of Laddism. And so it would appear: beneath all the red-nosed downer-fuelled jollity of the past two decades, mental illness has increased 70% amongst adolescents. Suicide remains one of the most common sources of death for young males.

- Mark Fisher, Ghosts of My Life: Writings on depression, hauntology and lost futures (2014)

Thursday, September 10, 2015