GIBBY HAYNES VS. JOE WENDEROTH: A TALK
05/09/10
 

Gibby Haynes is most famous for his fronting the band, Butthole Surfers. Joe Wenderoth is most famous for his writing the book, Letters To Wendy's. Both Haynes and Wenderoth are Americans of the second order. Both Haynes and Wenderoth, moreover, have come to a similar point in their careers. It is this similarity, perhaps, that has allowed for them to speak to one another with a kind of fortuitous dread.

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Gibby Haynes: what's your favorite fish?

Joe Wenderoth: I think Piranha. They seem so clean to me, like knives that have come to life in the water. Other fish are not like knives that have come to life in the water and so I am aware of their fish-flesh, their bulk. Piranha have no bulk. I like their dependence on plurality, too. Lots of fish swim in schools, but a school of intelligent knives! The only other fish that rivals the Piranha, in my view, is that fish they just found evidence of—the one that developed legs to walk from puddle to puddle, way back when. That struggle—not the struggle to cross the no-fish-land of between-the-puddles, but the struggle TO GROW THE BODY that would for the first time make the attempt possible—that struggle reminds me of my own struggle to get from morning to night.

GH: my favorite is tarpon! have you noticed an increasing reliance on all things psychedelic in American television commercials? if not...that's ok!

JW: I have noticed. I was just thinking about it, in fact. The stuff that annoys me the most is the flowing digital robotic architecture stuff. I watch a lot of sports, for instance, and I'm always reminded of how things have changed when they show a retro clip. They used to just put the stat on the screen, but now it has to be made to seem like the nugget at the heart of some sinister cartoon geometry. I think one could make the argument that "special effects" increases to the extent that proximity to a "live region" decreases. I prefer the live region t.v. to the special effects t.v., which is why I watch sports so much.

GH: if you cloned yourself would you letmake a clone sleep with your wife? explain.

JW: I would make him sleep with my wife, I think, in many cases. It would free me up, give me more time for prayer. I would sometimes attack him for having slept with my wife—give him a vicious beating. Everyone wins with cloning. Mainly I would use him for things like wiffle ball. I have always wanted to play wiffle ball with myself. I have always wanted to know what it was like to face me, the pitcher, and to face me, the hitter, and some people have given me a fair approximation… BUT TO KNOW PRECISELY WHAT IT'S LIKE! That would be something.



"It's not primarily the hatred that bothers me, and not the "loss of life"—it's the way that the game itself is obliterated."



GH: if you could press a button and have anybody you want instantly and anonymously killed, who would it be?

JW: There are so many people to consider. I feel like I couldn't help but to make a decision I'd come to regret. The first person who comes to mind is Joe Buck, the announcer guy. I don't think I'd ultimately push the button for anyone, though, as it would represent a betrayal of the rules of the game. It would suggest that hatred was something one could be rid of, or something that one could at least act upon in some Very Satisfactory way. I'd argue that one has to learn to live with hate. And I'd argue that accepting the rules of the game with regard to how one can express one's hate…ultimately makes the whole game more interesting. I am truly sickened, for instance, when I hear about some governments' having rounded up and executed a bunch of people it hates. It's not primarily the hatred that bothers me, and not the "loss of life"—it's the way that the game itself is obliterated. If the society in which one is living is not a game, then what the hell is it?

GH: first album you bought?

JW: KISS Alive II. if memory does not deceive.

GH: first book you read?

JW: When I first went to Calvert Hall, a catholic high school in Baltimore, they put me in an advanced literature class. I think it was in that class that I was made to read Moby Dick. I was completely incapable of responding to that book, of course, given that I was in eighth or ninth grade, but I am convinced that its majesty nevertheless registered with me. Maybe it's akin to a three-year-old child stumbling into a room where his mother is having sex with two guys—despite the child's naiveté regarding "sex," something of the importance or the potency of that scene has to come across. I don't know if that's an argument for or against exposing adolescents to adult books. In any case, I wouldn't want to have to try to teach such a book to a fourteen year old. I sometimes am not sure if there are very many twenty year olds who are ready for (or in need of) adult books.

GH: what was the most memorable disappointment in your youth? (mine was a fairly large toy cannon i purchased with christmas money or some such. when i got it home and out of box i found out it was only a "plastic cannon" and did not function in a devastating manner like the real thing. ironically i was devastated. it affected me for years and i still use the expression "plastic cannon" to describe a disappointment. for instance: the movie pirates of the carribean was a plastic cannon or just another fuckin plastic cannon, etc.)



"Clown comes undressed! Clown is terror. Clown is complete and cannot be altered. Clown is indivisible."



JW: I was on the blue team, and we were playing the green team for a chance to go to the World Series. I was pitching, and we were winning, six to one, in the bottom of the sixth inning (the last inning). With two outs, I gave up a walk and a couple of hits—a run scored and it was six to two, and the green team, on which the Vasold twins played, was getting all rowdy on their bench, shaking the fence and just generally going wild with each pitch. I gave up a double and the two guys on base scored, making it six to four. My father, who was the coach, came out and removed me from the game. The guy he brought in to relieve me went on to lose the game. I don't think we would have lost if I had been allowed to stay in the game. It took me a good while to forgive my father for taking me out of the game. I hated the Vasold twins, and I hated the fact that the green team went to the World Series. We were the better team.

GH: ever heard a racist joke aimed at white people (that you thought was funny)?

JW: I don't think "white," as it's construed in this country, is a race so much as it's an absence of race. This is why I suspect there are no funny jokes about whiteness. Races are designed to be funny; lacking a race is lacking funnyness in one's foundation. "Whites," because they are lacking in funnyness at the foundation, are inclined to "seriousness." I think it's probably easier for someone who has a race assigned to him to shed that race; it's as easy as understanding that I'm not that. It's harder to shed "whiteness" because whiteness is a non-thing—whiteness is a not-being-black and not-being-asian etc…. How do you shed your not-being-black? So shedding one's whiteness is tricky—the key to being able to do it has to do with subverting the seriousness that whiteness entitles one to. It has to do with figuring out ways to demonstrate that one is not a person—or at least not wholly, not successfully, a person. That one is something monstrous (something real) before one is a person. Because it's the truth, it's possible to achieve this demonstration, even when one is deprived of a race. Let me ask you a question, though. Are you able to undress a clown in your mind?

GH: No, because clowns or clown is pure. Clown comes undressed! Clown is terror. Clown is complete and cannot be altered. Clown is indivisible. Clown divided by 2 is clown times 2. Clown is noise and silence. Clown is sky and horizon. Clown is clear and colored. Clown am become death. Destroyer of worlds! Clown is all and nothing. Clown isn't. Clown is only.

Yes, because clowns or clown is pure. Clown comes undressed! Clown is terror. Clown is complete and cannot be altered. Clown is indivisible. Clown divided by 2 is clown times 2. Clown is noise and silence. Clown is sky and horizon. Clown is clear and colored. Clown am become death. Destroyer of worlds! Clown is all and nothing. Clown isn't. Clown is only. (one is to repeat this twice daily for 23 days in order to avoid clown as well as to embrace clown.)

JW: I like the way the word "clowning" is used in the black community. "He be clownin' all the time." It's a friendlier conception of clown—when one is "clowning," one is not a clown—one is acting like a clown—one is partaking of clown-ness. It's like clown is a drug—you can take just a small hit if you don't want to risk much. Take a big hit and there's always that limit, that possibility of overdose—take too much and die. Dead from clowning. And yet, it is not possible to take enough to BECOME, fully, clown. Clown is a god, a divine entity, like you say—all and nothing. ONLY.



"Monotheism is sort of like a society that has just one t.v. show."



GH: Clown is what might happen when you die. And everything's friendlier in the black community. Nothing isn't friendlier in the black community. So the black community is not clown. Perhaps that's why they take it so lightly? Briefly, what is your concept for god (can you offer an explanation (excuse) for our existence—god or not)? What do you think of organized religion? What's a favorite aspect (peculiarity , strange ritual etc.) of any religion and who's your all-time favorite religious figure (mickey mantle and Richard Nixon included)? An odd note: when I just typed Richard Nixon and mickey mantle my word processor capitalized Richard Nixon automatically and not mickey mantle and not god. Hmmm?

JW: I detest monotheism. The shift to monotheism has been the worst shift in the history of the species. It's the numerousness of the gods that makes the whole divinity thing make sense. Xtianity tries to throw Satan in, but he's not really on par with God so it's stupid. Monotheism is sort of like a society that has just one t.v. show. How stupid it would be, in that society, to say: "I love that show!" T.v. is so great because it's so various—because it has so many stars in competition with one another. As for whether or not any of its stars actually exist—I think that's fairly irrelevant. They could all be animated—who knows? The point is: we see them, and we get to think about their various appearances and exploits. As for gods, I've become a big Ganesh fan of late. The notion of an elephant-headed guy riding on a mouse is appealing. I also like a lot of the Aztec gods—Tezcatlipoca, "He Whose Slaves We Are," is my most beloved. He's the god of the immediately present, or more significantly, the god whose presence in the moment (in every moment) insures conflict, forces decision (fortune/disaster). He's thus a sort of antithesis for the god most xtians nowadays imagine. That is, I get the sense that most xtians posit their god as quite distinct, and quite distant, from the actual involuntary smothering coming aching net of nerves and blood and light and muscle their "identity" rides upon…whereas Tezcatlipoca is that net, or in any case the wielder of the net, forcing it to catch what it's going to catch. Xtians often talk about putting their life in god's hands, but they don't know what they're saying. Firstly, there is no need to "put" it there, as it always already is there, and secondly, they quite simply overlook, or look out through, what is actual—the god, the flaming net actual conditions of every present. When they put themselves in god's hands, they mean to extract themselves from where they are. They prefer to imagine god as some psychological thing, some safe harbor out past the on-going spectacle of made sense.

GH: How bout I write a tiny genius melody and you jot down the lyrics right quick. Uh…how bout four lines for the verse and one line to repeat for the chorus. Example:

          I ran down quick to the store
          Get me a sack full a Jim
          Nothing gonna change my shirt
          Change me the shape I'm in

          Neck fulla shirt and jim
          Neck fulla shirt and jim
          Neck fulla shirt and jim






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Andrew Bulger is the house illustrator of Gigantic.
 
 
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