Discover more from Love Letter Day X
Remember when I was workshopping potential aliases?
I read the funniest story about Paul McCartney last year while doing a little internet research on our favorite Beatle.
On Paul’s first trip to Tokyo on tour with the band, he was caught at customs with a massive quantity of marijuana. He was kicked out and banned from Japan for life. Fifteen or so years laterthe Japanese government decided the Beatles were too big and Paul so benevolent or harmless that they lifted the ban. It seemed he would finally play for Japanese fans. Except…he’s caught with a massive quantity of marijuana, AGAIN.
I don’t know if he’s been able to return or what marijuana laws in Japan are like now, but when I was a teenager, I recall being caught with marijuana was tantamount to being caught with cocaine in the US. Ironically, I don’t think cocaine was a big deal in Japan.
Anyway, I mostly wanted to tell this story because it’s funny, but I’ve contined to do a little research on Sir McCartney and this time with a little more seriousness. So I started reading The McCartney Legacy: Volume 1: 1969-73 (Allan Kozinn and Adrian Sinclair; 2022: Dey Street Books).
I have simultaneously started a book given to me on my birthday (thank you, Nathalie!)—a biography of Clarice Lispector called Why This World, by Benjamin Moser (2009: Oxford UP).
p.s. I wonder if Clarice Lispector liked marijuana.
So I’m mentioning these two books in one breath, because both of these biographies begin with a lengthy preamble about how each had to hold two wholly different identities—one private, and one public; real, and perceived. We can get Lacanian or Deleuzian or whatever about this, but the books are very straightforward in depicting the duality of each figure. In a way, we’re to believe we’re reading about four different people. Two of them were celebrities in whose best interest it was as individual humans, to keep a distinct partnership with personas whose biographical details diverged from the real goings on of their lives. In Lispector’s case it even implied her birth year and possibly her family lineage, making the dual citizenship prismatic.
I am tempted to make a gross generalization about the preeminence of “Man versus Man” conflicts in the zeitgeist of the silent generation Lispector and McCartney bookend. Today, in 2023, deep in the
information surveillance age, it seems impossible to obfuscate the absolute truth—even the interiority of ourselves. We cannot hide, or recognize our deepest truest thoughts, except through social discovery. Think of the number of celebrities who cannot recall what they said on record on Twitter fifteen years ago, or the footage and test results we use to undergird our moral narratives. To suggest we could simply lie about all of our lives, seems stupid today.
Paul and Clarice would damn well present facsimile versions of themselves to the public in the 1970s and 1940s, respectively, because they could.
I’m sure I told you about the time I did “journey work”—taking a massive quantity of MDMA in order to explode open pathways in my mind and find the truth inside. I wonder how MDMA is received in Japan. Hallucinogenic drugs are a time-honored vehicle with which we collapse our understanding of the self, I’m told. My self-discovery was quite profound, though I’d initially went into it needing a baptism from a maladaptive human dependency. In a nutshell, the trip confirmed the drum inside me would exist with or without me.
Speaking of drumming: today, I reached a breakthrough after hours of practicing subdivisions between my hands and feet, as if my limbs could work independently of each other and work free from my thoughts and a lifetime of conditions. As if these were each individual identities I could stage for your entertainment.
But you need not surrender any identity. To know any version of the truth you wish for me would be worth the price of entry.
I’m cobbling together the details of this story from a faded memory of an article I read. I am not looking up the article to verify anything, so please don’t quote me on any of this.