[Jandek] The Cell--what's it about?

Edward McCoy edwardmccoy at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 21 17:07:38 PDT 2006

I think I follow this line of reasoning (below) a little more... I've only listened to The Cell three or four times, but I haven't gotten a definitive "physical sickness" impression from hearing or even reading the lyrics.
  After re-reading the lyrics and some of these posts, I suppose I can see where one might pick up on that thread, but I posit The Cell is certainly a metaphor.  Can any piece of art "about" surviving an illness be solely about surviving an illness?  The Cell may be more (or less) personally revelatory than other pieces, but it's still not journaling - even if it were expressly about surviving an illness, it's still a consciously-created work of art meant to have meaning to someone besides the artist that created it.  

Lauren Ciechanowski <ciechano at stolaf.edu> wrote:
  As much as that is true, I still think it is important to also take into
account the metaphor of some sort of mental anguish overtaking someone's
brain and body - which would also very much explain a decrease in appetite
for some people.

I don't know. I feel as if Jandek's repitoire much more frequently and
consistently references a sort of despair, and The Cell is very much a
reflection of that same despair.

So he might be sick, of course, but it is just as likely that he was/is
going through a period of melancholy, where food does not hold his
interest, but death and destruction do.

My two cents,

> I dunno. Sounds a fair enough discussion to me. And it's more than
> just empty speculation. Jandek's lyrics have always been fairly
> scrutinised, and this is just more of that. His lyrics have always been
> fairly personal, so to look at them without reference to him as a
> regular Joe Human would be to miss the point.
> The sooner people realise that Jandek is just a guy, and should be
> treated as such, the better. No more of this pedestal-placing crap. I
> think J-man himself has spent years trying to stay off the Pedestal with
> great success, but some fanatics make it hard.
> Ps - this isn't a dig at you personally - your mail gave rise to my
> mail, not as a retort - just another mail...
> Steve

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