3/3/09

The Gentle Art of Making Enemies


Last week I nearly went spastic when my favorite band Faith No More announced their reunion. Bassist Billy Gould says the band is "still young and strong enough to deliver a kick-ass set" and hinted that they might consider writing new material. My obsession with Faith No More once led me to deliver a speech about their song 'Land of Sunshine' (in eleventh grade English class), and later to write an essay called 'The Holy War for Faith No More.'

A few weeks ago, I was browsing through some design-related books when I stumbled across something that surprised me. It turns out that the Faith No More song 'The Gentle Art of Making Enemies' (from their greatest album, King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime) was not the first work to bear that name. It is also the title of a book by the painter James McNeill Whistler, published in 1890. Below is a photocopy of what I assume was the title page of the book.


The page reads, "THE GENTLE ART OF MAKING ENEMIES as pleasingly exemplified in many instances, wherein the serious ones of this earth, carefully exasperated, have been prettily spurred on to unseemliness and indiscretion, while overcome by an undue sense of right"

According to Wikipedia, "the book contains Whistler's letters to newspapers chronicling his many petty grievances against various acquaintances and friends." As for the Faith No More song, it is a wild pastiche of absurdity, including the infamous line "Happy Birthday, Fucker!" and also "If you don't make a friend now, one might make you / so learn the gentle art of making enemies."

5 comments:

Jered said...

Wowzers. Between the two of us, in one week, we've discovered FNM influences in a fortune cookie and a book by a painter. Is it coincidence that this is occurring after their reunion announcement? Are we more in tune to recognizing these synchronicities because the recent news has rejuvenated the band in our brains? Is it something to do with unspeakable forces and collective consciousness? What gives?

By the by, Dan-- if you haven't already, head over to fnm.com. The sites formatting and graphics are straight out of 1997... it begs for a complete and necessary overhaul-- maybe you can get yourself a job...

Scott said...

i am willing to travel to Europe to see them.

Dan Redding said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Redding said...

I still say the best place to see them would be in 1992, when they toured with Metallica and Guns 'N Roses. Can I go ahead and call that the greatest tour of all time? Don't mind if I do.

According to the Wikipedia entry, Metallica and Guns originally wanted Nirvana to open for them, but Kurt and Axl couldn't get along. It is kind of difficult to imagine Kurt sharing a stage with any band wearing spandex shorts (Guns and FNM were both guilty of that particular crime, and I'm willing to bet Kirk Hammett had at least one pair).

Anyways, yeah, let's fly to Dusseldorf or wherever the fuck and see them play.

Jered said...

I'm looking at the various European lineups... The "Nova Rock" festival in Austria seems to be the winner-- FNM are playing along with Metallica, NIN, Dimmu Borgir, fucking MASTODON, The Sword and Gogol Bordello, among others... The 2 festivals in Germany look like fun too-- oddly they have the same dates and lineup as each other, including Eagles of Death Metal, Fleet Foxes, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Social Distortion...
The Download Festival in England... well, go to their website to see the shitty acts they've culled together into a "festival".
Would it be even remotely possible?