I’ve been reading about John Cage lately.
And, looking at some comments on Youtube videos of him, it seems to me that a lot of people call him either “pretentious” or “crazy” without actually considering why they think that of him. If you actually read more than about a page about John, you’ll quickly find out that he was neither crazy nor pretentious; he just asked “Why?” to everything, and then he followed through with it.
So, going through with this line of reasoning—that to ask “Why?” and follow through is to be pretentious and crazy—Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, all of the Beatles, Jesus, Philip Pullman, Beethoven, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Wagner, Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, Buddha, George Carlin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bill Hicks, David Bowie, Jack Kerouac, and plenty of others are all pretentious and crazy as well. (And that’s just the men, because the women in this society in which we live don’t matter. Why?)
Anyway, the above reasoning means one of a few things. 1) To be pretentious and crazy is actually a good thing for the advancement of civilization as we know it. 2) To be pretentious and crazy is bad, and none of the above people are either. 3) To be pretentious and crazy is bad, and the above list of people are destroying civilization. 4) None of it matters or means anything, and we should let them do what they will without carelessly judging them or throwing perceived insults at them. Because they don’t care. Why should they?