Pinakothek (10): The Grasshopper and the Ant

By: Luc Sante
September 8, 2009

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Like the ant, the teenage stoner labors ceaselessly and uncomplaining, pursuing an arduous task that casual onlookers would dismiss as pointless, yet which is essential to the little creature’s survival. Like the ant, the stoner lacks an animating concept, but sets to work at one corner and emerges, hours or days later, at the opposite corner. Like the insane who express themselves visually, the stoner is drawn to symmetry, to altars and monuments, to murky quasi-spiritual allusions, and like them, too, the stoner abhors a vacuum. Like Manny Farber’s termite, the stoner “leaves nothing in its path other than the signs of eager, industrious, unkempt activity,” although unlike the termite the stoner is unlikely to be rediscovered by the French. Like the ant, the stoner can carry many times his or her weight, often traveling through dense undergrowth or over endless arid terrain, and appears to enjoy using outmoded or simply impractical tool — in this case a Hunt’s Crow Quill pen, hence the blots. Like the ant, the stoner endures the contempt of family and friends in stoic if sullen silence. Unlike the ant, the stoner will require eyeglasses — if not now, then soon. Unlike the ant, the stoner works to the accompaniment of music, typically some carpetlike stream of psychedelic monotony. Like the ant, the stoner is as yet innocent of carnal pleasure. Like the grasshopper, the stoner — as the name would indicate — is on drugs.

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Originally published at Luc Sante’s blog, Pinakothek. HiLobrow.com has curated a collection of our favorite Pinakothek installments. This is the tenth in a series of ten.

HILO HERO ITEMS by LUC SANTE: Dashiell Hammett | Pancho Villa | James M. Cain | Georges Bataille | Félix Fénéon | Émile Henry | A.J. Liebling | Jim Thompson | Joe Hill | Nestor Makhno | Hans Magnus Enzensberger | Captain Beefheart | William Burroughs | Ring Lardner | Lee “Scratch” Perry | Serge Gainsbourg | Kathy Acker | Arthur Cravan | Weegee | Alexander Trocchi | Ronnie Biggs | George Ade | Georges Darien | Zo d’Axa | Petrus Borel | Blaise Cendrars | Alexandre Jacob | Constance Rourke | Damia | J-P Manchette | Jean-Paul Clebert | Pierre Mac Orlan | Comte De Lautreamont | André Breton | Robert Desnos | Arthur Rimbaud |

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What do you think?

  1. A stoner on the quad
    Ran into a fallen god
    Of many times his size.
    He showed not the least surprise.
    His business wasn’t with such.
    He gave it scarcely a touch,
    And was off on his weed-scoring run.
    Yet if he encountered one
    Of the school’s philosophy squad
    Whose work is to find out God
    And the nature of time and space,
    He would put him onto the case.
    Stoners are a curious race….

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