First a last minute plug. And not for me this time, either. I just found out last night that my pals The Rubber City Rebels will be playing tonight, June 7th, 2007, at Slim's in San Francisco at an event called Dirkfest. I just saw the Rebels last night at Safari Sam's in Hollywood (another last minute show) and they were fan-fuggin'-tastic. So go see 'em while you still can.
The Rubber City Rebels formed in the mid-Seventies in Akron and put out one smokin' hot LP on Capitol Records around 1980 before going on a hiatus that lasted over 20 years until their second LP (OK, CD) on Smog Veil Records, Pierce My Brain. Here's a promo video from that:
Yesterday my publishers sent me a copy of the latest issue of a rag called Buddhadharma in which there is a negative review of my new book by some blockhead named Benjamin Bogin. Who can bite me, by the way. I suppose I should be happy just to get reviewed at all. But it's common practice for book reviewers to actually read the books they write about rather than just skim the chapter titles and pick quotes from the press release as Mr. Bogin has done. Whatever.
There are a few things about the new book that seem to be bothering a wide range of people who tend to think of themselves as "into Buddhism." One is the cover. I find opinion neatly divided. People who love those covers with rippling water and lotuses that decorate every Buddhist book these days just hate, hate, hate the cover of Sit Down and Shut Up! Then there are those who don't care much about Buddhist books who love it. I love it. So everyone who doesn't can bite me.
The other thing that bugs people is all the "dude talk." Yeah. OK. Maybe I should cool it. It just amuses me though to write about Buddhism in a Bevis and Butthead voice. And I write more to amuse myself than anything else. So, again, I cordially invite you to bite me, please.
Seriously, though, I think one of the great tragedies is how Buddhism has become the property of stuffy intellectuals who seem intent upon making it as inaccessible as possible to ordinary dumb people like me. The books they write are so full of obtuse language and labyrinthine arguments as to be utterly incomprehensible to people like myself to whom the lyrics of "God Of Thunder" by KISS seem like a profound commentary on spiriuality (I am being completely serious here, by the way. Listen to it sometime.). I've tried reading those books. They bore the shit out of me. And what use is that? I see myself as trying to wrest Buddhism out of the hands of fucking brainiacs who really don't have any serious interest in it and give it back to the people who might really get something out of it. Or if not anything as heroic as that, at least cutting their ties with a big pair of scissors and squirting seltzer water in their faces. Maybe that's what got Benji's knickers in a twist. For which he may, if he so desires, do me the courtesy of biting me.
Another other thing that bugs folks is the way I say stuff like "why should I care about some old dead Japanese dude?" It's being taken by some as me talking down to the audience or trying to anticipate what they might think. Again, biting me may perhaps be in order here. Because this is really more a reflection of what I thought when I first encountered Dogen. I don't have a whole lot of reverence for so-called "ancient words of wisdom." Loads of what's taken for ancient wisdom in this world strikes me as just old bullshit that's been repeated so many times it seems wise. My initial take on Dogen was that he was just another one of those guys everybody thought was way cool because he'd been dead so long (like that's some kind of accomplishment). But I gave him a chance and discovered there really was something to it.
At any rate, everybody can bite me. OK? The line forms to your left.
And don't forget all the places I'm going to be speaking next week in San Francisco (the list is 2 articles below this one). Ample opportunities abound for you to personally bite me if you wish to do so.
Please feel free the leave dozens of comments that totally miss the satirical tongue-in-cheek nature of this piece. And feel free to bite me if you don't enjoy sarcasm.
Thanks! ; 0 )