When I say I am repulsed by banality I actually mean people's capitulation to it; the readiness with which we accept the proscriptions of news broadcasts and soap-operas, lifestyle shows and self help guides: that which tells us what we should want and how we should define, which is always, always with reference to some dehumanisaing, utilitarian framework, be it capitalist or otherwise: you should want the car, you should want the house, you should want the credit rating, the dinner parties, the dying quietly before you can become a drain or burden on society.
When I speak to people on the bus or on the street and they barrage me with passive complaints about government, about society; about their wives, their husbands, their parents, their children, what I immediately perceive is a desire to say or express something else: a need to scream, to rail at the quiet, grey horror they perceive in their own lives, but which they have been discouraged from expressing. It's like living in a society exclusively inhabited by sufferers of PTSD, quietly and unthinkingly brutalised from the youngest age into suffering in silence, going with the flow; doing and thinking and saying only what is proscribed, what is allowed or convenient. Woe betide any that should break that status quo or breach the unspoken contract.
This is banality; it's the quiet surrender to what we assume is and should be, and I despise it; it is the most insidious form of human abuse; one that we have so enshrined within our systems, our traditions, our histories, that it is almost impossible to comment on, because it's almost impossible for most to perceive. The only way to do so is through a kind of extremity; you have to know ecstasy and despair of an intensity that could easily break you; dissolve sanity, and come through them; piece the fragments of yourself back together according to your own designs and desires, in order to have even a hope of even seeing it for what it is, much less defying it.
And all the while culture will try to drag you back; it will insist that you should be afraid and ashamed and repentant and disgusted with yourself...not for any genuine ill that the refutation of banality might evoke, but because by that very factor, you become grit in the machine; an irrtant to be expelled, a potential infection. There's a kind of glory in that; an anarchist sense of exultation that we must celebrate; that we must express and expose to others, particularly younger generations, with evangelical zeal.
I can think of no better place to do it than in stories.
George Lea is an entity that seems to simultaneously exist and not exist at various points and states in time and reality, mostly where there are vast quantities of cake to be had. He has a lot of books. And a cat named Rufus. What she makes of all this is anyone's guess.