The anatomy of melancholy in Gen-X v. H.O.L.

On that same note…
The diary entries of our good friend Johnny in House of Leaves seem to straddle the angsty rants of many an author, beatnik, hooligan, grifter, et al. There is the obvious sense of desperate anxiety about, well, everything. It’s awfully similar (though much darker) to the tone of our three wayward wanderers in Gen-X.
I see this as a response to the newly evolving idea—at least newer as these authors were growing up—of the COLLECTIVITY of EVERYTHING: a true establishment of certitude with all things strung and tied and pulled and stuck to each other. (Hello, Mr. Internet.)
No longer are ideas separate and distinct, an island alone, but dependent on each and every damn thing that is and ever was. The sense of knowing, of understanding the sum of the parts has become incredibly important and demanding. To build off my previous post (boy, even this is connected!): it is that same demonizing lack of the present and the ever-evolving momentum, fallacy of the NOW; that there can be no pinpointed instant or static perception. Not just a lack of an answer, but a lack of all answers.
But! socially this has some interesting consequences, which are both extremely observable in the Gen-X’ers as well as Mr.’s Truant and Navidson. This idea of a bundled whole all tied together has seemingly led to the idea of a ONE. Well, if it’s all knotted up with e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g then it must have a sole formula, that one secret ahh the life-giving elixir. This is the crux of both the Gen-X’ers and H.O.L.’s characters’ quests, leading them down the surprisingly short road to all sorts of maniacal implosions and explosions.
In Gen-X the adverse thought and behavior is a reaction to the powerful social forces of the times: the yuppies, the grocery stores, the corporate shell of a life, and, most importantly, the hope for that great big nuclear apocalypse. Like the anticipation of the apocalypse, the Gen-X’ers quest is one for nothing, a sort of hiding from the something that every one seems to own, literally. Like Brahmins they wander, stripping themselves of all they possess, all they are, until they find that core.
But isn’t that core something, too? In fact, it seems rather like the idea of the ONE—that blaspheming life source.
Conversely, both Johnny and Navy actually seem rather adept at taking part in greater society. Truant the night owl and Navidson the celebrity could, originally, get along rather well in social environments. There seem to be answers. Navidson does the suburban dance, Johnny continues his wild romps through LA clubs.
But when there is a cessation of answers, a lack of a finite END, the ONE, both men go insane! All bearings are seeming lost for good upon the discovery of a sole inconsistency—a missing link in the web.
This is a bit of social commentary on Danielewski’s part. We have become so obsessed with answers, with the whole, with everything being the all, that the idea of the nothing, the lack of knowing, the one hole that means that the entire ONE can therefore not exist because of lil’ dastardly hole…well what are we to do??

Does Navidson, alone in the hall for his last fateful adventure, accept that he is falling?

-Steve Whisler


~ by PDG on March 22, 2010.

%d bloggers like this: