|Travel Photography Desert Southwest
I left Los Angeles in the afternoon. I kept a copy of Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness on the dashboard, and occasionally, I read passages. Conrad's madness interested me.
I played the Doors song, 'The End', which I often play when I am on the road. It is Marlon Brando's theme song from "Apocolypse Now", Coppola's adaptation of Heart of Darkness. During the course of the song, Martin Sheen, as Marlow, slays Marlon Brando; Mr. Kurtz. "The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on He took a face from the ancient gallery And he walked on down the hall." Somehow, however, I felt that Conrad's novel had led the public into some wild misconception about madness; of being from people who lived in far away places, in the woods; of Kaczynkski and Jonestown and Waco and Wyoming.
I've seen people go mad. And they are no Mr. Kurtz. To me, it happens to ordinary city people, and it happens quietly. People live out their lives, going about their tasks, and one day they may even have a moment of consciousness. Their brain shuts down - part of it - as a way to protect themselves from their own miserable life. Madness, therefore, is a luxury; the ultimate prozac pill to free yourself from the misery of your own reality.
The traffic on the way to Las Vegas was maddening. Seven hours in what should have been four. But like every other Friday night, Los Angelenos are saying, "Hey I know, let's go to Las Vegas!" Someone else will invariably yell out, "Veigas Bei-bee!" I despise the strip for its oily-faced latesleepers who smell of sour milk, and the ching-ching-ching of the smoky casinos, and the purple carpets and the stale gasoline-smelling air that just kind of hangs there. And I despise that unimaginativeness in Angelenos who could go anywhere in a five hour drive: San Jose. Rosarito. Phoenix. But everytime, its "Oh I broke even" and "They fed us free beer all night" and "Veigas Bei-bee!"