The modern iconoclast
He is ubiquitous. At once irreproachable and black-eyed sinister, he cheers us for a moment before we sense a sneer. He is the rubber-stamp guarantee of congeniality, designed for contagion: a morale boosting initiative for a life assurance company in the 1960’s, disseminated into the world in the form of fifty million black-on-yellow badges. The hallmark of seventies psychedelia and eighties electronic dance music, his is the glazed ecstasy of the narcotically compelled. Today, he is such a familiar currency in electronic communication that the modern iconoclast’s first break with convention is a decision not to use him.
Opening paragraph of Happy, Brown, Derren, Penguin Randomhouse, 2016
I am likely to be on a bit of a Derren Brown fetishist trip for the next while. I’m re-reading Happy, Tricks of the Mind and Confessions of a Conjuror. More of a trinity than trilogy. These books resonate deeply with me.
I love Derren Brown. His style and immensely broad vocabulary reminds me a lot of Christopher Hitchens. His writing is high end, complex. Something you have to sip slowly or digest piecemeal. Its probably one of the most underlined books I own.
‘Happy’ is packed with Rilke, Schopenhauer and Epictetus. It doesn’t get sexier than that. (which I think proves that I’ve matured in my old age… it used to be that telling me you weren’t wearing any underwear would get me going, now whispering…
Things are not all as graspable and sayable as on the whole we are led to believe; most events are unsayable, occur in a space that no word has ever penetrated.
Letters to a young poet, Rainer Maria Rilke.
… is way more likely to get me hot, bothered and all tingly in my no-no-special-place.
In any event. I want to be a modern iconoclast. You know, one day, when I grow up.
I screenshot the blood splattered Watchmen version of the iconic smiley face to use as my graphic. Hmm. I might watch the rest of it later. I am suddenly reminded how amazing the cinematic version of this comic is. Also the Silk Spectre and Nite Owl’s sex scene to Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in this movie is amazing!
There’s not a lot of movies where you can sit back and say… ‘damn, that sex scene was flippen well done’.
And then post coitus deciding to go break Rorschach out of prison… it ticks all the boxes for me. Ha ha.
Anyways, Happy is one of the best books about Stoicism out there. As we wheel back round to… eh.. what might have been the point of this post. Before we got distracted by Malin Åkerman’s boobs.
And by we… I actually mean I. Or maybe me.