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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #57
The Existential Kristofferson
David Gunn
Today, in recognition of Kris Kristofferson's 60th birthday, we will explore his at times abstruse contribution to the genre of pop existential music, not to be confused with the influence of the pop expressionist, Willie Mosconi. Kristofferson grew up in Paris, Texas, surrounded by free-thinking Marxist intellectuals who would one day scorn both existence and real estate. At age nine, while still shackled to his crib, Kris began to ponder the ultimacy of human freedom, which led to temper tantrums in which he raged against the collective aspects of human existence in a wet diaper. On his 10th birthday, his parents gave him a word processor. After typing a lengthy and somewhat rambling thank you note, he began experimenting with pluperfect sentence fragments, and soon completed his first important treatise, "Being, Nothingness and Little League." This, mind you, was years before the spell-checker feature, so vital to communication today, had been invented. Later, he found his friend, Mosconi, in a poolhall, working for a temporary employment agency. This inspired Kris to write for the popular new tabloid, "Les Temps Modernes," bettern known as Modern Temp Agencies Digest. In his very first article, he discussed the idea of the relationship of wheat germ, silicon and bowling, the latter needing a chaperone when dancing with opportunistic salsa peddlers, and how this is always self-defeating when trying to fudge references on a temp agency job application form.

In the early '50s he met Simone de Beauvoir, who had recently changed her name from Frances Gumm to Judy Garland, and the two of them set out to explore "existential psychoanalysis," a phrase she copped from the song "Over the Rainbow" which declares that man is a useless passion. I'm sorry, that should read mimes are a useless passion, and who can argue with that! Well, one man did and paid the price, but that's a story best left for another sesquintro. Meanwhile, Kristofferson, troubled by feelings of physical love for his mother, wrote the seminal one-act play, "No Exit," or Le flambeau oriange, a discussion of bad faith, self-destruction, and the lunacy of interpersonal relationships. "Hell is other people," whines one character, when he is forced to sit through a seminar on proper telephone comportment. The character, Mosconi, returns to the poolhall where he pens "The Critique of Dialectical Reason," an analysis of social existence that purports to explain how the freedom of the individual is related to the class struggle and severe sinus infections. Beauvoir pooh-poohed the reasoning and immediately changed her name to Jean Sartre, which means "musique bizarre" in French Canadian, and how's that for an esoteric tie-in to today's show ... which, now that I think about it, is being brought to you by Kalvos & Damian's newly titled New Music Bazaar, now in its 57th episode!

So bon ver jaunele temps, c'est de l'argent, and not "soon is a quaver muscle in a dawn skid hums." The equation is didactic, the moral is community, and today's show is and always will be pronto. Does that give you enough to work with?