Flush It Friday: Open up this Moshfegh Pit!
Two of the most common reasons we give to normies for why we listen to angry, miserable music is that it makes us feel less alone and that it’s cathartic. These are also reasons given for why it’s good to read fiction; hardly anything can make me feel more at peace than finding an artist of one kind or another whose work makes my mind resonate like a tuning fork, to paraphrase David Foster Wallace (my fave is problematic).
Last night I started reading Ottessa Moshfegh’s short story collection, Homesick for Another World and remembered what a blackened, sludgy attitude her books have. The misfits that populate her work are addicts, dropouts, selfish, and humanly irrational. Perhaps more apparent, at least to normies, in Moshfegh’s body of work than in an Eyehategod album is the pink, wounded humanity underneath the hopelessness and spite. Speaking of pink, her meme-iest and therefore biggest hit, if not my favorite of hers, is My Year of Rest and Relaxation, which I’ve used for the header image. The relaxation in question does not involve spa days, beachside reading, or yoga, but rather the careful, systematic consumption of copious amounts of sleeping pills procured from an unscrupulous doctor. The interesting and funny thing is that the protagonist’s plot to sleep away a year in order to relax and clear her head seems to work; this is no moralizing cautionary tale. Anyway, that cover image is an art-sludge cover a la Vile Creature, amirite.
In Homesick‘s first story, “Bettering Myself”, the protagonist is a woman in her thirties teaching English and math in some kind of Catholic high school. She comes to work still drunk and spends the time in between classes trying to sleep it off in a sleeping bag she keeps in the classroom or going out for a beer. She breaks down in class sometimes, begging her students for help, who generally look away. She doctors her students’ exam results, and the principal seems to leave her alone out of some mixture of fear and disgust. She has a relationship with a boy still in college from which she seems to derive comfort from its shallowness and lack of consequences. The titular self-betterment is similarly shallow and is done in preparation for meeting her ex-husband. At dinner, she antagonizes him and calmly refuses to quit calling him nightly until he bribes her. Eventually, her plan to quit her job and possibly her life are thwarted merely by the lack of someone to tender her resignation to on the day she goes in to do it. At the end, you can’t imagine that things will ever change for her. Despite all this, she maintains some kind of pride and the reading experience isn’t too bleak. Moshfegh is always darkly, dryly hilarious, serving to comfort the disturbed and disturbed the comfortable. Ooh-wah-ah-ah-ah.
Anyway, bump those uglies, bads, and goods, post you BandCamp Friday picks (!) and like, reflect on some notable cathartic experiences you’ve had with media or something. They can be really healing, but I can also wallow in them too much sometimes. Moshfegh, BoJack, and Primitive Man are powerful drugs. Take as needed for that wrinkly-brain pain.
Theophrastus Bombastus detonated some history on us with an interview with Etxegiña about their tight new black metal album (they have some cool merch on BandCamp!):
Karhu heralded the advent of sad boi fall with a review of the dreamy new Skepticism:
Megachiles dropped a double of blackened Kaldeket and punky Svisselsant:
Hans ground our wretched, raisiny lobes down with many words about the greater grindcore metropolitan area:
And finally, Karhu dragged September out back of the shed and told it about a few good releases it may have missed:
Keep on keepin’ it smooth and don’t let the world flush your heart.