Sunday, May 1, 2016
If confession is itself the disease it purports to cure, autobiography always has this deranged undertone: it’s Augustinian whether you like it or not. Autobiography is an infected condition – it is implied that, by confessing, some things will improve down on earth and up in heaven. Autobiography is a perverted sacrament.
He is not here to be polite, that’s what his book says right on the cover. Yet I expected something more from my oblique encounter with Robert Crumb. I wanted to invite him in person for one of my interviews that become comics. I said I was a cartoonist but he walked away, showing me his behind. Inside David Zwirner Gallery other people, all of them Amazonian women, were also showing their behind inside polite frames. Partialism in religion amounts to a heresy, and is characterized by a belief that God isn’t simple and unified, that indeed He is a bit all over the place, scattered and lost. Partialism in sexuality happens when one trades the whole for a specific part of a body. As I listen to Robert Crumb’s band playing, I too am lost and scattered, a wounded partialist.
I once phoned up the greatest cartoonist in the world. His name is João Abel Manta and he has given up cartooning in favour of portraiture. I wanted to conduct a brief interview, but forget about it. He doesn’t like those black and white things he did in the sixties and seventies. He would only have old man things to say, boring things, he insists. I hang up the phone feeling guilty for having disturbed the dust. I feel deeply shamed, as if I had been conducting some kind of telephone scatologia. João Abel Manta’s silence is politics’ silence, we have given up on something precious in favour of passive-aggressive ways of being. That giving up seems beyond repair.
Love of comics is a form of lust, for comics do not love you back. This is why some comics bookshops still feel slightly creepy. Forty-year-old men can be found chasing phantasms of youth, quietly, guiltily browsing super beings in tight-fitting clothes. The shop next door sells porn.