I fucking love Werner Herzog. I love his interviews and panel discussions as much as I love his movies. He is a master at articulating abstract ideas and finding absurdity and allegory and pathos in almost every human endeavor. Max loved him too. He used to rent a couple of DVDs at a time and bring them over to watch together. We never got through the entire Herzog catalogue, though. I will have to go on with that alone.
Today I came across a writer, “Erik K.,” who knows how to get the most out of Werner. I’ve reprinted his post here but you can also read it at his blog here. I love him and you will too.
A diverting game to play while in miserable circumstances
Earlier this week I found myself in an extremely interior circle of hell. I speak of the Comcast Customer Service Center in Chicago, where I thought I was just stopping by to pick up some self-install equipment. This stopping-by turned into over an hour of queueing followed by one of the most angrymaking customer service interactions I’ve ever had. I resurrected my long-dormant yelp account just so I could vent my spleen. Having gotten that out of my system, let me tell you about a fun game I play in situations where I might otherwise have a rage-out:
THE WERNER HERZOG GAME
Number of players: 1 (2 if you count imaginary-Werner-Herzog-in-your-head)
Prerequisite: Having seen one or more Werner Herzog documentaries (ideally late-period ones where the voiceovers approach a brilliant kind of self-parody)
How you play: Imagine Werner Herzog narrating your horrible experience. Allow his doomy-yet-weirdly-soothing Teutonic soliloquies to transmute your experience from one of mundane frustration, boredom, etc. to one of sublime terror, or one that exemplifies the murderousness of nature, or the pitilessness of the universe.
Some examples to get you started:
- “I believe the common denominator of this food court is not harmony, but chaos, hostility and murder.”
- “The blank stare of my oral hygienist bespeaks a terrifying malevolence. The scraping of her tartar pick is the nightmarish sound of cannibals whispering darkly.”
- “The post office is a place of pestilential despair, a primordial soup one wishes to crawl out of, if only to evolve to further Lessons of Darkness.”
Tip: If you’re having trouble channeling your inner Werner Herzog, imagine the person standing behind you in line, or jostling you on the overstuffed train car, or whatever, is Klaus Kinski, and he is trying to murder you. This always helps me get in the mood!