But nevermind all that: I'm actually not entirely sold on his work, either. I think he's got a great sense of humour, and comes up with the occasional brilliant one liners - like the "don't fuck with the bees" bit in his recent video "Shoulders." It's a very smart way of connecting the lessons learned in childhood with respect for the environment, and I like how it resonates off the colony collapse disorder phenomenon: that one line is rich, dense, witty, and to the point, all things I admire in poetry, and he sets it up very skillfully. He loses me later in the same piece, however, when he starts rhapsodizing about environmentalism; I mistrust anyone who makes rallying-cry pronouncements of this sort, like he's waving a flag so people can line up behind him. The more intense he gets, the more I find myself wondering what's for lunch. And while there's some good storytelling in his Stickboy-related "To This Day" piece - pretty much everything involving the word "chop" - on the whole, it actually gets on my nerves, particularly as it draws to its conclusion: its just a little on the feel-sorry-for-me side, with his anger about what he's experienced poorly disguised under sentimentalized music and moralizing conclusions straight from the Oprah Winfrey world (bullying is bad!). Erika and I got into a mini-quarrel over the piece, in fact. I believe I made reference to this masterpiece of insensitivity by the Eagles in the course of the argument. But even though my flesh was kind of crawling at parts of the video, my reactions were just strong enough that they made me curious; something was happening under my skin that I did not understand. So I pretty much insisted that I was going with her to see Stickboy, the new opera with a libretto by Koyczan, about his experiences of being bullied in school. Besides, that way if Shane put the moves on her at least I'd be there.
Stickboy images by Tim Matheson, used with permission of the Vancouver Opera
Shane, if you're reading this, hands off, man. She's mine.
Stickboy" used in the opera. Which is just as well. It wouldn't fit.
(With thanks to Annie Mack).