What went wrong in this particular case?

Before going farther, listen to this song by Joshua Tillman, stage name Father John Misty:

It’s an existential contemplation framed by environmentalism. Excellent vocals. Expressive and earnest. From his online bio:

Tillman grew up in an Evangelical Christian household in Rockville, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. He is the son of … an engineer at Hewlett-Packard, who met [his wife] at a Christian youth group. His mother was raised in Ethiopia, where her own parents were missionaries. The oldest of four children, he has a brother and two sisters. Before Tillman settled on a career as a musician, he briefly had ambitions of becoming a pastor because of the performance aspect when he was approximately six years old. He comments that his parents focused on the spiritual aspects of his upbringing, which he describes as “culturally oppressive”. They were estranged for many years, but they reconciled. After learning drums at a young age, Tillman learned guitar when he was 12.

Tillman was raised in a Baptist church, attended an Episcopal elementary school, then a Pentecostal Messianic day school. Tillman said he was naive when he was growing up because there was almost no cultural influence and no secular music allowed. Around the age of 17, there were new stipulations from his parents – he was allowed to listen to secular music that had a “spiritual theme”. So his early purchases included albums like Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming as he was able to establish that Dylan was classified as a “Christian artist”.

Inflexibility backfires. Going with the assumption that those biographical bits are true… You can’t beat a bright boy with an independent spirit into conformity and expect good results. He once said in an interview:

I was so angry and terrified that I’d been raised that way that, at some point, my number one mission became to make as big of a joke out it as I could.

If you wall your family off from mainstream culture, you have to connect yourselves with like-minded peers. Everyone needs a community, which is why the Amish are thriving as a counterculture.


Millennials are the hardest-kicked generation, which is also why Tillman is a blasphemer with gamma’esque antics in his live videos. But talent overcomes a lot. One of Tillman’s finest songs:

My love, you’re the one I wanna watch the ship go down with
The future can’t be real, I barely know how long a moment is
Unless we’re naked, getting high on the mattress
While the global market crashes
As death fills the streets we’re garden-variety oblivious
You grab my hand and say in “I-told-you-so” voice:
“It’s just how we expected”

The soulful voice, the lyrics about the simulacrum of private peace in the midst of social chaos. Good video, too. One of the best death-scenes in cinematography.

Every Man Needs a Companion is a similar slow-tempo contemplation. It lays bare his conflict with God, with his popular culture, and with his patrimony:

Joseph Campbell and The Rolling Stones
Couldn’t give me a myth
So I had to write my own
Like I’m hung up on religion
Though I know it’s a waste
I never liked the name Joshua
I got tired of J [his earlier stage name – PA]

Something went wrong. Heavy-handed parenting, unlucky “secular horoscope” a.k.a. generational cohort, or was Tillman born irredeemable?

What Went Wrong, Part 2 is about the rebellious daughter.

27 thoughts on “What went wrong in this particular case?

  1. It is a fine balance, exposure to the culture without getting subdued by it (or subsumed into it). With our own, we did not shield them from it, but gave them a good understanding of what is true and the key: why it is true. An intelligent soul is rarely satisfied with a what, they also want the why.

    One advantage is the current culture is so depraved, ridiculing it is rather easy. Intelligent souls also do not like being part of the ridiculous. But, all you can do as a parent is your best, the rest is up to the kid.

  2. Not irredeemable. How old is the dude? Jesus might yet be in his future. I’ve noticed a lot of these folks come back to faith once they realize their parents presented an imperfect version of what it is.

  3. God in heaven. I can’t take that plaintive folksy stuff. Made it through 1 minute. I’d rather be water-boarded. It’s the weekend. I can’t start like this. Antidote needed.

    I can’t stand the broad- but she has pipes:

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  5. Ah yes, the ever-popular tortured artist effect… or should I say affectation?

    What went wrong is the technology that allows every (ahem) “artist” to mewl over their oppressive existence… often while their mouths are still full from the previous meal… although this particular fellow has a serviceable voice, I will admit.

    Was it Zimmerman himself who once said: “If pencils weighed ten pounds and a ream of paper cost $500, there would be a lot fewer songwriters… which wouldn’t be a bad thing.”

    And a big “meh” on that Rebel Yell Miley tripe as well.

    (((shakin’ mah haid)))

  6. I’m a big fan of John Misty’s first album. I couldn’t tell if he was a religious man losing his faith, or a faithless man finding religion, but the album is shot through with a genuine, tortured – yet not entirely Christian – spirituality. I’m most fond of the opener, “Fun Times in Babylon:”

  7. I was going to post a link to a strong, powerful-sounding Romanian Iron Guard hymn — but the jewtube account that had the song on it has been nuked and that specific hymn doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else on the site.

    Ah, the party of (((love))) and (((tolerance))).

  8. FE, you lasted longer than I did. Could only stay in at about 45 seconds. Voice is better than most mainstream “artists”, but in 2019, that ain’t saying much.

    What went wrong was too much of the churchian gobblydeegook. If the focus is on “look at me, see how much I can do and how much of a Christian I am” (in an evangelical Yahtzee kind of way), then that’s when/why things go wrong.

    Surrounding oneself with too many of those goody-twoshoes creates a superficial onesupmanship, where none of it is about God or Jesus, yet His name is taken in vain so as to procure social brownie points. Pastor at the church I used to go to said as much; that it’s one thing to be around fellow believers (or churchians) because it’s simple, and urged everyone to go out and live it, be kind to others and show some charity, minister to others in whatever capacity, etc. They would all nod in agreement while in service and then fight with traffic as they left to beat the restaurant rush.

  9. And a big “meh” on that Rebel Yell Miley tripe as well.

    Wha? 80’s punk. That’s when White men were peak bad boy. You were only 40, 45 at the time. Surely you have some good memories?..)

  10. “…best death-scenes in cinematography.”

    There is no ‘death in cinematography,’ except for the demise of cinematography itself — an unabridged Schrödinger’s-scene stretching pliably across the glowing scaffold of all cinematic footage, including the earlier silent films. A similar scenario may hold for photography, but the jouncy workings of its ephemera differ obtusely from the semi-magnetizing fairway of film.

  11. Great post. The featured video reminds of John ‘not a dissident right hero’ Lennon in his solo albums. The production values; the tempo of the song and its vaguely carnival sound; and especially the lyrics. I read somewhere that Lennon in his latter years had an arch conservative streak going on, underneath the surface.

  12. It’s the weekend. I can’t start like this. Antidote needed.

    Tfw it’s ten minutes to quittin’ time and it’s vaguely disappointing, knowing this is as good as it gets

  13. PA — Can we talk about our problems on this the current thread? If so …

    Elliot Rogers post here, because A) I’m having a shitty day.

    For this the summer solstice, instead of appreciating it, I went to the grocery store for ice cream, the famous Minnesota chain Lunds of the 60s homicide family. Breyers brand ice cream was on sale for $4.99 and is “all natural” and afaik not run by jews.

    So I go to the counter to pay, and deliberately get in the line w/ a White male clerk and NOT the other line w/ an typical woman albeit White. But as I am waiting she calls out “I can help you here” and I say no thx. Then as I am paying she comes over unsolicited and bags my modest purchases and interrupts my payment exchange with the ever-annoying “paper or plastic?” I distractedly say plastic and she says the following to get under my missing foreskin. She wordlessly snickers “huh” in a cunty way. I don’t have a better description of how she said it but you would recognize it. It was a snicker and it was unsolicited and rude.

    And this was after I had avoided this bitch because I avoid women whom I don’t like the looks of. But she just had to come over and be a bitch!

    I said back in an unpleasant way, What’s funny? and she replied “I am just in a good mood and am sorry if I offended you.” I said back, I’m not making jokes.

    It’s a fucking burden having this face, let me tell ya! Everyone’s lookin for a face That would be the title of my screenplay. You go out and drive around, like say tonite on the solstice, and see how many losers in the passenger seats especially, are doing nothing but looking for a face. Obv there is a “who is looking at whom first” paradox, but even so.

    Thx for reading!

  14. If you are getting enough satisfaction out of life, then grocery store clerks don’t get under your missing foreskin (nearly as much). So how do you get satisfaction out of life? I was so wound up I wanted to go to the bar and start a fight. Except I am not even a skilled or practiced fighter. This civilizational arrangement and my place in it, is so frustrating. You hear about people all the time doing crazy road rage stuff, and other random things like that.

    There’s literally nothing to do, by way of “going out”. Going out is a young person’s thing. After the age of 30 or 40 it’s Unbecoming or whatever. Chris Rock had a good bit about the old guy in the club. “He isn’t really even old — but he’s a little too old for the club.”

    AA is a social thing but it’s full of egomaniacs and very difficult personalities. Well adjusted people ought should be grateful for being well adjusted. There’s definitely a point past which line of being not-well-adjusted, that Life is difficult and you get Darwin’d out. Those whom the Gods would destroy, they first make angry. That’s what happens to a lot of old animals, the more charismatic types like buffalos and elephants. Once the get old they just have had enough and will not get out of the way.

  15. “Going out” is pointless; well, unless you’re out for something in mind, but that’s fleeting.

    That phrase got me thinking that in I imagined in the past, going out meant just going outside of your house and hanging with those in your community, whom were not all to different from yourself. Or maybe that got bastardized after WWII*, where going out meant dressing up, well, dressing up for today’s sloven society, and having a few cocktails with a steak dinner and hearing live music. Maybe in the city.

    Maybe “going out” is how things got all so whacky to begin with. Too much free time and relative disposable income to do as such. And for what? To say you did? That you went to a place that’s been talked about or that Harry down at the office mentioned and everyone else murmured with agreement?

    Going out got in the way of raising the kids so TV filled the void. Suddenly, there was a market for the teenagers and the music craze and drive-ins and so on. Parents wouldn’t be able to relate. At that age, their was either a depression or a war. Sound familiar?

    I feel your shitty encounter with the cunt clerk, Elk. Women just know how to piss of a bloke all because they’re in a good mood or even in a bad mood. Just because they’re wont to do so and it’s just about their lot in life. At any rate, today was the longest day of the year and now they’ll be getting shorter.

    *My film professor always anchored damn near all of his works and teachings based on the war and how much it shifted everything. Everything was through the lens of it. At the age I’m at now, with the newfound (for me at least) information I’ve been obtaining every since taking the red pill, I’m finally starting to understand what he was getting at and from where he was coming.

  16. @Elk

    That’s not a good state to be in for a long period of time so I’m glad you recognize that. Whether she was trying to snark at you or you read too much into it- she doesn’t really affect your life. What do you really care about some dumb wage-slave broad? There are niggers selling weed in my libtardtropolis who probably make more money than her.

    I’ve got too much shit to do to worry about that stuff. I’ve got a business to grow, weights to lift, tennis to play, books to read, broads to chase, friends to hang out with and right now a hangover to entertain.

    The other thing is- I hate entitlement. No one owes me anything. Not even common courtesy. And that goes both ways. I don’t owe anyone else anything. I just prefer being affable and polite. I feel good interacting like that. I don’t get anything out of walking around acting like a jerk to people.

    I don’t expect things from people. Marcus Aurelius has a good take on it:

    “I shall meet today inquisitive, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. All these things have come upon them through ignorance of real good and ill.”

    As far as “going out” I am damn near 40 and still do it. Was out last night with a group of friends. Had some entertaining interactions with broads but ultimately nothing came of it. Some were rude. Some were nice. Maybe I’ll write up an FR. Or maybe not.

    Ultimately I’d say to pursue and develop your interests. You won’t have the time to give to petty interactions

  17. That’s when White men were peak bad boy. You were only 40, 45 at the time. Surely you have some good memories?..)

    Don’t make the night darker than it already is… I was “only” in my thirties… and the good memories I have are from New Wave and the likes of Tom Petty, not the weirdo’s like Billy Idol and, in the case of your video,, the even weirder Miley Cyrus slut brigade.

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  19. In that case, this duet goes out to GE. This sexually promiscuous crooner has a bedroom resume that would make Miley blush.

    DJ FE

  20. Just watched the Billy Idol/Miley Cyrus performance. 100% White Energy. Say what you will about that poor satan-sacrificed Miley, but that duet was not bad! Fun question: who’se more unclean, 1980s Madonna or current Miley? Miley does edge the older witch on likeability. Good stuff Eddie. Stevie Nicks had the voice and the look.

  21. Other vids posted on this thread…

    Mason Jennings: nice. Instantly associated it with Tom Petty’s “You don’t know how it feels” by the sound and pace.

    Misty, “Fun times in Babylon”: yep, I’m a big fan of his first album too. Good song. A total aside – the whole time I wondered how they did the airplane wreck video set. Is there an aviation emergency training site where they shot that…. otherwise it looks damn expensive of a video for an indie artist.

  22. — One advantage is the current culture is so depraved, ridiculing it is rather easy.

    True words. I see it. A kid has to be in a bad place, or in college, to actively gravitate to the poz mainstream.

  23. In that case, this duet goes out to GE. This sexually promiscuous crooner has a bedroom resume that would make Miley blush.

    Never was a big fan of that gravelly-voiced coke whore neither, but at least her onstage persona didn’t encourage little girls to bang n1ggers.

  24. Speaking of making the night darker, in redoing the match, I was actually only in my mid- to late-twenties when Rebel Yell first came out… since I wasn’t a fan of Idol, the years of his big time never stuck in my mind so much, not to mention that I pretty much lost track of pop culture in the mid- to late-eighties, since that was when I had a housefull of small children, which pretty much zones out everything except Disney and such. .

    Hell, I didn’t even start liking Def Leppard until this past decade. 😉

  25. “Never was a big fan of that gravelly-voiced coke whore neither,…”

    Another track falls flat for DJ FE!

  26. — I pretty much lost track of pop culture in the mid- to late-eighties

    Latter half of the 80s was not as good as its first half. Caveat though: hairband rock, from GNR to obscure one hit bands, started coming on the scene. They didnt peak until 90-92 though. Otherwise, late 80s pop got Janet Jacksonized.

    But you missed the early 90s, which was rock and pop second creative supernova, as rich as its late-70s first iteration.

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