The Job. William S. Burroughs

Hacia 1970, año en que se publica The Job, Burroughs ha acumulado una cantidad de experiencias suficiente para alimentar a tres generaciones: los beatniks de los años cincuenta, los chicos rebeldes que funcionaron como punta de lanza vanguardista de lo que sería un amplio movimiento social; los hippies y los movimientos contraculturales de los sesenta, que se inspiraron en su mordaz crítica del american way of life y aplicaron ingenuamente a la revuelta colectiva su búsqueda de nuevas formas de liberación (drop out); y en los setenta la emergente subcultura de los punks, destinada a hacer socialmente efectiva la quiebra en la representación occidental que Burroughs había preconizado en sus escritos, tanto por su fondo como por su forma. Es preciso ver estas tres manifestaciones como fases distintas de una misma revuelta contra una civilización descompuesta, y quiero llamar aquí la atención sobre lo que significa su consumación, sobre lo que el punk representa más allá de modas y estilos y de la industria del rock: el estallido final de los significantes, la ruptura definitiva con la inmediatez de los discursos y con la falsa organicidad de la cultura, un proceso que se viene desarrollando a partir de las primeras crisis del capitalismo, que se expresa desde las primeras manifestaciones de las vanguardias artísticas, y que ahora se hace público. La ingenuidad con que los hippies se enfrentaron al sistema, convirtiéndose finalmente en una más de sus excrecencias ha quedado atrás. Hay un antes y un después del punk no solo para las formas artísticas y literarias, incapaces de seguir evolucionando desde su propio concepto, sino también para los movimientos sociales y para las propias bases de la civilización. El punk es dadá para las masas.

Extracto de Burroughs (virus). Texto escrito por Luis Navarro para servir de presentación al libro El trabajo (The Job). Entrevistas con William Burroughs, de William S. Buroughs y Daniel Odier, que puedes leer completo AQUÍ

8 responses to “The Job. William S. Burroughs


    When did I stop wanting to be President? At birth, certainly, and perhaps before. In this life or any previous incarnations I have been able to check out, I NEVER wanted to be President. This innate decision was confirmed when I became literate and saw the President pawing babies and spouting bullshit.

    I attended Los Alamos Ranch School, where they later made the atom bomb. And bombs bursting in air over Hiroshima gave proof through the night that our flag was already there. There was the Teapot Dome Scandal under President Harding, and I remember the unspeakable Gaston Means. Scion of an aristocratic Southern family, infamous private eye and go-between in this miasma of graft, I remember him walking into a hotel room full of bourbon-drinking, cigar-smoking lobbyists and fixers with a suitcase he puts in the middle of the table. «Fill it up, boys, then we can talk business.»

    I do not mean to imply that my youthful idealism was repelled by this spectacle. I had by then learned to take a broad, general view of things. My political ambitions were simply of a humbler and less conspicuous caliber: I hoped at one time to become Commissioner of Sewers for St. Louis County. Three hundred dollars a month with every possibility of getting one’s slimey little paws deep into a slush fund. And to this end I attended a softball game, where such sinecures were assigned to the deserving and the fortunate. And everybody I met said «Now, I’m old so-and-so runnin’ for such-and-such, and anything you do for me I’ll appreciate.»

    My boyish dreams fanned by this heady atmosphere and three mint juleps, I saw myself already in possession of the coveted post which called for a token appearance twice a week to sign a few letters at the old courthouse. While I’m there, might as well put it on the Sheriff for some of the marijuana he has confiscated, and he’d better play ball or I will route a sewer through his front yard. And then across the street to the courthouse cafe for a coffee with other lazy worthless bastards in the same line of business as we wallow in corruption like contented crocodiles.

    I never wanted to be a frontman like Harding or Nixon, taking the rap, shaking hands, and making speeches all day. Who in his right mind would want a job like that? As Commissioner of Sewers, I would not be called upon to pet babies, make speeches, shake hands, or have lunch with the Queen. In fact, the fewer voters who knew of my existence, the better. Let Kings and Presidents keep the limelight; I prefer a whiff of coal gas as the sewers rupture for miles around. I have made a deal on the piping which has bought me a 300 thousand dollar home. Although there is talk in the press of sex cults and drug orgies, carried out in the stink of what made them possible, fluttering from the roof of my ranch-style house, over my mint and marijuana, Old Glory floats lazily in the tainted breeze.

    But there were sullen mutters of revolt from the peasantry: «My teenage daughters are threatened by this immorality! Is this the American way of life?»

    I thought so, and I didn’t want it changed.

    Sitting in my garden, smoking the sheriff’s reefer, coal gas on the wind sweet in my nostrils as the smell of oil to an oilman, or the smell of bullshit to a cattle baron. I sure did a sweet thing on those pipes, and I’m covered too. What I got on the governor wouldn’t look good on the front page, would it now? And I have my special police to deal with vandalism and sabotage. All handsome youths, languid and vicious as reptiles. Described in the press as no more than minions, lackeys, and bodyguards to his majesty the Sultan of Sewers.

    The thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts. Then I met the guvernatorial candidate, and he looked at me as if trying to focus my image through a telescope, and said in effect, «Anything I do for you I’ll depreciate.»

    And I felt the dream slipping away from me, receding into the past. Dim, jerky, far away, the discreet gold letters on a glass door:

    William S. Burroughs, Commissioner of Sanitation

    Somehow, I had not intersected. I was not one of them. Perhaps I was simply the wrong shape. Some of my classmates, plump, cynical, unathletic boys with narrow shoulders and broad hips made the grade and went on to banner headlines concerning two million dollars of the taxpayers’ money, and a nonexistent bridge or highway, I forget which. It was a long time ago, and I have never aspired to political office since. The Sultan of Sewers lies buried in a distant, 1930s softball game.

  2. Yo también he publicado algo sobre Burroughs recientemente, a ver si con esto del aniversario me saco unas perras que está la cosa muy malita… aunque yo, como quasi-nativo digital que soy, he optado por añadir a la mezcla Beatnik una estrella del pop revenida y noventona, no recuerdo si era George Michael o Ted Nugent… bueno, no importa, uno blanco y anglo, que es lo que cuenta.
    No creais que me he matado, ea, que editar material superficial para las estanterías hipsters es cosa facil… solo hace falta pillar un par de webs sobre el tema, fusilarlas mal y rápido, traducirlas como el culo y ya está.
    Viva la revolución !!!

    1. Qué sarcástico y molón eres.

      Mi culo y tú gastáis un estilo parecido.

      Con cariño: Pfrrrr

Comments are closed.