I am teaching Jesus' Son in my intro to lit class and the students often want to know if such and such really happened. The narrator is not reliable, but he is very aware. Oftentimes lucid via drugs. Other times he thinks he is lucid and is just fucked up.
The surrealist moments of the stories reveal the psychology of the narrator and the "agonistic embrace" of reality and desire.
As a strategy, surrealism has been adopted full on by the capitalist machine. It is an excellent marketing strategy. It went mainstream in the sitcom world with Ally McBeal (perhaps before?)
Ally McBeal was hailed as a "breakthrough" form of narrative because it showed what a "female pyschology" and enacted it on the screen. I only watched a few episodes, but there was a wierd male lawyer who had a fascination with flushing and stuttered. Ally McBeal carried around a theme song in her head. She was empowered.
Surrealism as special effects is also an interesting adaptation. The dream sequence is now as common as _________.
quirky funniness and elements of surrealism are also hallmarks of a lot of NY School poetry (insert generation).
From Matthew Rohrer to James Tate to Russel Edson. I was initially attracted to surrealism (and I still am to some degree), but I am wondering if there is a difference between surrealism as marketing technique versus surrealism as poetry technique. Is surrealism in American poetry implicated in the surrealism of American advertising?
I see the "let's be strange to be strange" connected to the "look at me I am a quirky genius."
The other for the sake of the other might be a different thing, however.
The strange as exoticism (sometimes surrealism) or the strange as psychology ( as in that'd deep man).
If the surface is the meaning then how can a surreal image "plumb the depths" of consciousness?
Surrealism in Eastern european poetry is very common. Tomaz Salamun's use of surrealism is different than ___________.
Then again, the real is surreal. The terms are interchangable. Just look at Chris Vatiello's recent posts about American Desolation (Costco is made surreal, perceived surreal, is surreal, is real?)
Anyway, the surreal is hip, cool.
How can we take it back?