Home » Comments about Shep » JEAN SHEPHERD & Farther Reaches (Part 2 of 2)

JEAN SHEPHERD & Farther Reaches (Part 2 of 2)



These unexpected and higher insights/expressions are open to all of us, but mostly we are trapped in lower zones of our thinking and expectations. (One of my favorite comments, that might be used here, is that “They’ve found the missing link between lower primates and civilized man—it’s us!”) But sometimes other and higher expressions of reality are available through openness and a questing toward them. These heights represent an evolutionary potential—a greater, higher human level.

stary nightVan Gogh’s “Starry Night”

Van Gogh’s landscapes capture what seems to be all levels of appreciation. They express his feelings/thoughts that the visual world is a swirling, flaming, living entity—and his vision of it thus helps many others apprehend it. (I know that often, after experiencing an exhibit such as one of great paintings, as I walk out of that museum, seeing the prosaic world around me, I sense that surrounding world with some of those attributes the artist expressed.

shrekShrek and Fiona

Shreck 1 is quality trickle—especially with its directly imported class-act song,  “Hallelujah,” composed by Leonard Cohen, with its elegant, metaphorical, arcane conundrums.

cohenLeonard  Cohen singing his “Hallelujah”

(On Youtube, Cohn’s is there in several renditions, but the Shrek version is by others.)

 The highest expressions in the arts are not just there for those who directly experience them. The entire field from best to worst gains from what’s highest. It’s clear in every art that perceptions and innovations at the top are absorbed by other lesser practitioners and put into effect in their own, more easily understood forms, and are appreciated on a less sophisticated level at the width and breath of art–from the junk-food bottom all the way up.


From Stan Brakage (Dog Star Man

or from another similar work by him, 1962)

–maybe a fifth-of-a-second frame

Example: I used to attend avant-garde (“underground”) films in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s. A technique used to express and convey visual information and feeling in some of those films was exceedingly fast cutting from one image to another–maybe 5 or 6 images a second or more. The technique got around and affected millions who never saw Stan Brakage’s Dog Star Man, 1962, or anything else by him or others in little makeshift movie houses in the East Village in the 60s. Soon that technique (with all its speed-up of input and audience’s growing ability to absorb it and be emotionally enraptured by it) became a fad in television commercials. And subsequently it could be seen in mass-market commercial movies, such as in the  finale of the Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway film, Bonnie And Clyde, 1967. The quick cuts work well to express the violence of bullets hitting bodies.


Warren Beatty and Faye Dunnaway, 1967

(or dead body-doubles)

!   !   !

Don’t deny and kill the best we humans can potentially attain—let it remain as a sometimes-achieved enjoyment, and when we can’t understand or even believe in it or we turn our backs to it–leave it out there in the world. As Don Quixote quixotically sang in “Man of La Mancha”: we can strive for it—as THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM!

!   !   !

donQuixote BalanchineGeorge Balanchine as Don Quixote

in his ballet of that name.

He dreamed and achieved his dreams.

!   !   !

Jean Shepherd’s radio work, for decades, achieved the level of Maslow’s “Self Actualization.” His portrayal of a mind exploring (“questing” maybe?), finding, suggesting, raises our level of humanness, and thus affects our psyches in a form that will not go away. Over the years we pass it on to others in our everyday interactions. Our “excelsiors,” our impossible dreams, sometimes encounter holy grails and advance our sensibilities.

classic shep imageJean Shepherd at the heights.

Excelsiors and impossible dreams coming true

as he performs his artistic essence.

From his voice to our understanding.

Whether we realize it or not.

!   !   !



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