You know the problem with kids today? I’ll tell you the problem with kids today: kids hate surrealism. Maybe it’s Dora the Explorer, Bob the Builder or even Hello Kitty. I’m not sure, I’m not an expert, but I think the concrete realities portrayed in simplistic cartoons alienate the child to the undercurrents of surrealist thought, and propel them to a contrasting post-modernist alternative. Phew!
My niece took some time to discover what she loved. She went through Harry Potter, as most kids do, but evolved to heavier literature. Now she’s 13 months and, unfortunately, knows what she likes.
I have had numerous debates with her, insisting that Bukowski was demeaning to women, that she should try Dickens instead. I explained that the educational tale of a poor kid mountaineering his way up in life, through adversity, past low expectations is something she could benefit from. She won’t hear of it. Bukowski’s outsider philosophy, the way he went against the pretentiousness of his contemporaries made an impact in her. He’s her biggest influence.
She wrote this, the other day:
Style is the answer to everything.
A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing
To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it
To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art
Bullfighting can be an art
Boxing can be an art
Loving can be an art
Piling a blue Lego on a yellow Lego can be art
Not many have style
Not many can keep style
I have seen dolls with more style than kids,
although not many dolls have style.
Slinkies have it with abundance.
When Kevin shot Harry and Marv with a BB gun,
that was style.
Or sometimes people give you style
Garfield had style
Son Go Ku
Shaggy, the friend of Snoopy
I have met kids in kindergarten with style.
I have met more kids in kindergarten with style than kids out of kindergarten.
Style is the difference, a way of doing, a way of being done.
Six diapers standing quietly in a diaper genie,
or you, worried, walking out of the bathroom without seeing me.
I told her it was too much in his style, that she could do better. She stood blank-eyed at me, her face showed anger and her body twitched as I criticised her. It looked like anger directed at my critique, or it might have been the strain of pooping. Anger doesn’t smell that way.
Now she’s venturing in cinema. She’s trying to look at editing the opposite way Walter Murch did.
It’s not the first time she shows interest in the arts. She might be a late bloomer, but she’s a natural nonetheless. A hipster, too.
The other day she sat on my lap with a pencil in hand. She drew on a sheet of paper, but I could make nothing of it. Surrealism is OK, only if done by you? Hypocrite. She eventually found the pantone too bland and went for the empty coffee mug I had in front of me. She dipped the pencil in its bottom, and achieved the lighter brown she was going for.
She’s also into music and dance. She’s more eclectic than her uncle. I saw her bob her head to French-singing rapper. I nodded sideways in disapproval. She ignored me; not one to go for the peer pressure.
Apparently today is your day. I didn’t make a fuss of it, because I know you think these celebrations are a commercial manoeuvre by capitalist companies to advance their own self-serving goals. That’s why I’m writing this now while you are asleep. Five naps a day, what a baby!
I’m not the messiah, but you can follow me: