Feb 23, 2011

Howl



It has been a while since I saw a film that left me in a state of revulsion-based inebriation. The 2010 film Howl, based on the 1957 obscenity trial regarding Allen Ginsberg and his putrid poem Howl, indubitably induced an acute case of cinematic nauseousness in my otherwise healthy body. It has been a couple days since I had the displeasure of watching this piece of excrement entertainment; which gave me enough time for my health to once again reach equilibrium. To get over the cinematic sickness created by Howl, I consumed the 2010 documentary William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, a wonderful tribute to the greatest mind of the Beat Generation. In the documentary, Allen Ginsberg narcissistically (in a completely pointless and petty manner) questions W.S. Burroughs about the former love he had for the obnoxious poet. In Howl, James Franco (who plays the young Allen Ginsberg) somehow manages to capture a very similar type of repellent narcissism that the real Ginsberg so shamelessly flaunted. Despite watching uncountable horror films last week; Howl was the only movie that left me in shock, conjuring up what I can best describe as the cinematic equivalent to AIDS. 


In 2001, James Franco somehow was able to capture the troubled spirit of Jimmy Dean in the biographical TV movie James Dean. Mr. Franco must be a meticulous method actor, as he was also able to capture the all-encompassing ugliness of Allen Ginsberg in Howl. Throughout the film, Franco recites the perverted poetry of Hebrew Marxist Allen Ginsberg. Despite the fact that it is taboo nowadays to associate Jews and Marxism as two heads of the same unholy kosher beast; Ginsberg synchronized these two seemingly different identities within his poetry. Howl reaches a peak in putridity when James Franco recites the following line from the poem: "Where you accuse your doctors of insanity and plot the Hebrew socialist revolution against the fascist national Golgotha." Of course, Howl is more like a conglomerate of perverted Judeo-Marxist psycho-babbling, and far from a howl of hallucinating poetry. James Franco must have put in his complete vigor as an actor whilst attempting to duplicate the distinct accent, sporadic speech patterns, and peculiar pantomimes of Kaddish-obsessed Allen Ginsberg. 


Like most good Jewish boys, Allen Ginsberg took after his mental Marxist mother. In Howl, it is revealed that Ginsberg's Mommy exposed him to Communism and unhappy stays at mental institutions. To Ginsberg's credit (as well as the directors of Howl), his poetry makes more sense when you put it in context with his upbringing. I certainly have no doubt that Ginsberg was truly expressing the psychosis-ridden spirit of his subconscious/conscious mind, thus resulting in authentic personal art. After all, art is subjective and relative to the eye of the beholder. Of course, I found it hilarious when various literary experts in Howl de-construct Ginsberg's poem as being without artistic merit. The Beat generation writers (especially William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg) successfully popularized literary libertinism in America. William S. Burroughs was surely a sagely teacher of Occult studies whose influence seems infinite. I cannot say the same about Ginsberg. As expressed (whether the filmmakers were conscious of this or not) in the film Howl, it seems that Ginsberg was only talented in regards to offending decent folk. Although Howl portrays the 1957 obscenity trial as a triumph over American Puritanism; the event really just signified an all-time low for American art. Howl portrays Allen Ginsberg as heroic rebel, yet the 1957 obscenity trial was probably the best publicity outlet that the word-shitting poet ever had. In style and form, Howl certainly compliments the anti-linear lunatic lyricism of Allen Ginsberg. It is without question that James Franco deserves an Oscar for the relentless struggle he took up in portraying Allen Ginsberg; the retarded Rebbe of nonsensical poetry. 


-Ty E

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