Author Topic: R. Crumb on the Antique Phonograph show this week  (Read 5075 times)

Denim Gremlin

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Re: R. Crumb on the Antique Phonograph show this week
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2011, 01:37:48 AM »
I myself thought the most emotionally compelling thing about Crumb the movie was the mystery whereby Robert managed to escape the family madness through his devotion to art and hard work--but even at that, at a stiff price in fucked-upness.

I would challenge that.  I don't think he escaped the family madness. His form of madness just turned out to be lucrative.  Is that the distinction you are drawing between madness and "fucked-upness"? 

His brother who committed suicide worked just as hard as Robert did, if not harder, but there was not a penny to be gained from it.  He also shared Robert's dedication to art.


I wouldn't say that at all. he completely closed himself off be came a shut in and never progressed in his work beyond what he was doing as a kid, sure he got weirder with it all but he was still doing essentially stupid pirate cartoons while Robert put himself out there and actually made a name for himself. the act of actually trying to do his art as a career definitely sets him apart, Charles never made the effort because he never could, he was to fucked up and crazy.
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cavorting with nudists

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Re: R. Crumb on the Antique Phonograph show this week
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2011, 09:37:09 AM »
I myself thought the most emotionally compelling thing about Crumb the movie was the mystery whereby Robert managed to escape the family madness through his devotion to art and hard work--but even at that, at a stiff price in fucked-upness.

I would challenge that.  I don't think he escaped the family madness. His form of madness just turned out to be lucrative.  Is that the distinction you are drawing between madness and "fucked-upness"? 

His brother who committed suicide worked just as hard as Robert did, if not harder, but there was not a penny to be gained from it.  He also shared Robert's dedication to art.

Hmmm, how to respond when I feel sorta-busted, sorta-not?  I will meet your challenge, but admittedly my original post was hastily written and not overly precise:  notice the trickiness with which it both suggests an explanation for Robert's having escaped and calls it a "mystery."

I would say that Robert did "escape the family madness," though obviously not untainted by it.  Unlike his brothers, he stayed functional. (Apparently there were also a sister or two who refused to participate in the movie; who knows what their story is?)  He found employment in a field linked to his art (the greeting card company, I'm talking about) and was successful at it even though at first it wasn't his own uncompromised artistic expression. And he's obviously formed a strong and longstanding, if unconventional, bond with his second wife and is, for all I've heard, a good father.

I admit it's too glib to simply attribute that to a strong work ethic, though.  It's a mystery.  Who the hell knows why he managed to stay afloat while one brother succumbed entirely and the other has apparently held on by the slimmest of threads?  I'm sure Robert doesn't.  In the movie he never mentions feeling anything like survivor's guilt, but I think it's pretty clearly suggested in the family scenes where the three of them are talking about some pretty harsh stuff and Robert keeps making his oddly forced, gleeless laugh and grinning his goofy "God, life is so weird" grin. (The fact that it's suggested by what is shown rather than being spelled out is a virtue of the film, of course.)

I don't know how to tie all this up, but in my original post I simply meant to say that the movie makes us wonder about all this stuff, including the possibly sentimental idea that maybe it is possible to transcend a lot of shit through a dedication to art, and that's its most emotionally compelling aspect, to me.

Of course, if you're just in it for the laughs, Charles is your man.
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JonFromMaplewood

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Re: R. Crumb on the Antique Phonograph show this week
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2011, 03:46:07 PM »
Thanks for the thoughtful response, CWN.
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