Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Brilliant Hands

A Facebook friend asks why this has been categorized as a "funny video." The short, stupid answer is something like this: the kid is kind of dorky looking and he's playing the accordion, which our country has (stupidly) judged a dorky instrument.

More interesting to consider is the way in which real genius (which this young man obviously has) makes anyone who has it look like sort of an idiot. Not in the "great artists are usually misunderstood in their own time" sense so much as the "what could have possessed you to do that with your life?" sense. If you want to be really good at something, you've got to work at it and think about it every day, spending as much time on it as you can. You've got to learn a new way to live in your body and in your mind.

Probably the best part of this video is the way the kid lives in his body. He probably knows he's sort of dorky looking. He surely knows the accordion is not typically considered equivalent in coolness to, say, the electric guitar, or, for instance, just about anything. He knows he's going to be made fun of tomorrow at school, if not for looks then for how he dresses, if not for how he dresses then for the fact that he's smarter than everyone else in the room, and if not for that then because he's breathing. But right now he is going to play that accordion. He is quite literally an accordion-playing machine. His joy is the joy of training your body to exist toward a purpose, to live for making a thing. His joy is the joy of hands that know what to do -- hands directing the mind. I love it.

I love it!

I love it.

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