Alright Alright (Here Goes part II: Lifter Puller) May 5, 2021 5:24:05 GMT -5
Post by skepticatfirst on May 5, 2021 5:24:05 GMT -5
With the THS rework of the Party Zero material, we get a couple of different stories of characters ending up in the hospital after parties (Charlemagne at Regions Hospital after the metal bar party [TIMT, SN, HSL], Holly-in-Mary at Methodist Hospital after the crucifixion party [FN, AE]).
There is no explicit LP mention of the kids being hospitalized after Party Zero, but it's plausible to infer that they were; not only is this the normal real-life consequence of being gang-raped and bloodied, but it's also the most obvious way to explain how the newspapers got ahold of the story.
We're told in Math Is Money that the newspapers report the assault on the Narrator:
newspaper said that some crabs stabbed some rich kid
but what's a rich kid doin that far up on jefferson [MiM]
with the implication that they report it as a sexual assault (for "stabbed"=raped, see CRUCIFIXION above).
The Gin And The Sour Defeat informs us that the newspapers *fail* to report on Juanita:
the newspapers are suppressing information
wanna talk about the chick with the chalk outline
on the side of the baltimore beltline [TGatSD]
The "chalk outline" here refers to Juanita's half-death after a hit of meth (see HALF DEAD above), familiar from the first appearance of Katrina out of the Party Zero bathroom (see KATRINA above). As it turns out, these lines refer *not* to the Party Zero episode, but to a later reprise of it that takes place literally on the pavement (compare "chalk on the sidewalks" [LQ], and see BALTIMORE BELTLINE below). Still, the theme of useless newspapers failing to report deaths is an important one, reappearing as recently as Denver Haircut:
He said he can't read the paper. It's not worth the trouble.
Finds out about funerals from the blasts of the bugles [DH]
This critique of the newspapers has interesting implications for the "breaking the fourth wall" presentation of the Narrator as Craig-on-stage's alter ego.
Like the THS Narrator ("So I started a band, man" [PJ], "We like to play for you" [TSPotC], etc.), the LP Narrator is the leader of a band. Our expectation, as the audience, is that he and the band are going to bring us "the entertainment and arts" [TCMamG].
But it turns out that that's backwards. *This* singer wants to talk about what the newspapers are failing to tell us ("wanna talk about the chick with the chalk outline"); the mission of *this* band isn't "art," but news reporting.
In Touch My Stuff, for example, this reversal is set out explicitly. What artsy English majors are doing is only music journalism, but what the genuine artists in the band are doing is *reporting the news*:
these english majors wanna be some super genius novelists
they end up music journalists, chicks ain't that into it
we are the troubadours and these are the news reports [TMS]
The newspaper report in Math Is Money is followed by a similar rejection of "art" in favor of hard reality:
this ain't smart dude, this ain't art dude
this is sonic economics and i'll put it on a graph for you to prove [MiM]
Slips Backwards is at pains to inform us that the artistic presentation of the Denver slums in Kerouac's On The Road isn't the truth, that reality is something different:
i've been thinkin all about what you said about my karma
catchin every reference that you make about the dharma bums
these denver slums they look so good in text [SBackwards]
The world of Night Club Dwight doesn't look so good in real life, and in Space Humpin' $19.99 Dwight himself gleefully tells us how he's disabused the kids of this artistic pretense:
they think i'm smart, they think it's art but then i start with a crash
i'm just a brash trash talker [SH1999]
The Narrator is an alter ego character, not Craig Finn; real-life Craig's love of Kerouac (link) and reference to his own work as art ("You gotta make yourself happy with your art, and I don't see any big resolution or any spelling it out for anyone": link) are well documented.
But, like the THS Narrator, the fact that the LP Narrator is a lead singer lets Craig go beyond telling the story in first person voice to actually embodying the role on stage, an identification which will help us work out a puzzle in the story that's coming up. We'll get to that shortly.