Negating Everything That Causes Us to be Dead While Alive

Mark Leyner, “The Art of Fiction N° 219” by Sam Lipsyte The Paris Review 204 (Spring 2013)

Bro, we’re living in the Kali Yuga, a Dark Age of petite bourgeoisie ideology, a petite bourgeoisie ideology whose resources and ruses are infinite and which ubiquitously permeates the world — high culture, low culture, bienpensant media, prestige literature, pop music, commerce, sports, academia, you name it. The only reasonable response to this situation is to maintain an implacable antipathy toward everything. Denounce everyone. Make war against yourself. Guillotine all groveling intellectuals. That said, I think it’s important to maintain a cheery disposition. This will hasten the restoration of Paradise. I’ve memorized this line from André Breton’s magnificent homage to Antonin Artaud — “I salute Antonin Artaud for his passionate, heroic negation of everything that causes us to be dead while alive.” Given the state of things, that’s what we need to be doing, all the time — negating everything that causes us to be dead while alive.

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