In 1984 I sat in on a philosophy class at the University of St. Denis in Paris.
Gilles Deleuze was quite a figure, hunched at a desk in the center of the crowded room with his shaggy mane of hair and his long uncut scary-looking fingernails. He was surrounded by a multitude of disciples and mini-cassette recorders spread out on the desk in front of him. I did not realize until recently that he exited this terrestrial globe by throwing himself off of a building. I decided to compose a belated elegy to this grand philosopher which you may read below. There is also mention of Guy Debord (whose philosophy inspired Malcolm McLaren among others).
I still have a place in my heart for the Sex Pistols, Bow Wow Wow, and especially that great and groovy global mix Duck Rock .
Debord shot himself. McLaren passed away in 2010.
Do you think any of them will be in heaven?
A schiz-flow elegy for Gilles Deleuze
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit,
according to the tradition of men,
according to the basic principles of the world,
and not according to Christ
Colossians 2:4-8 (NKJV)
His Nietzschean trip moved from Comic toward Tragic:
Deleuze’s delusions flew out the fenêtre
Airborne and stoned on philosophy’s magic
(the nihilist suicide’s raison d’être…)
Propelled from the window, transcending the Ontic,
his organless body in textual flight,
a schiz-flow beyond on a voyage turned frantic.
His thought, a nomadic adornment for speed,
multiplicitly viewing a thousand plateaux,
was a force for unhinging the doorways of light
and a plea for postmodern decoding indeed.
His frame soon encountered pure striated space
in the form of the pavement caressing his face.
He joins other smokers of Gallic tabac,
other esotericians of cognitive frenzy
(those mullahs of madness, those sultans of Whack…)
Sorely missed by his victims, disciples and friends
he is mourned, misinterpreted, copied, dismissed
—but for semioticians he heads up the list.
Another brave Frenchman, some guy named Debord
a bespectacled Marxist (who missed all the marks)
made the medium’s message a radical bore
dialectically fading the lights into darks.
Indirectly disrupting pop-culture with Punk
and other anarchic phenomena-junk,
he too chose to leave with a nihilist bang
while we whimper and suffer down here with the gang.
The old situationist’s last situation:
an agit-prop funeral short on elation . . .
So to French de-constructor-philosopher-ravers
and all who rejoice while society wavers
I offer these lines, like a quick coup-de-grace
and be warned: they’re now viewing the Good Lord en face.