Ask Andrew W.K.: "What's This Partying Thing?"

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Photo F. Frank Vierti
[Editor's note: Every Wednesday New York City's own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions, and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose or -- no surprise here -- a party. Need his help? Just ask: AskAWK@villagevoice.com]

Hello Andrew,

I must admit, I've only recently discovered you and your writing, but I read your column on the dehumanizing effects of our political divide and I found it quite poignant. I was intrigued enough to look further into you and your work, and I must say, with all due respect, I just don't understand your obsession with "partying." The juvenile antics, unkempt image, and "partying" themes cheapen the quality of your ideas and, to be frank, make it very hard to take you seriously. I guess I just don't get it.

Sincerely,
Intelligent Observer

See also: Watch Andrew W.K. talk about his party philosophy with Glenn Beck

Dear Intelligent Observer,

The very nature of partying is to provide a life-saving release from the constant pressure to "take things seriously." Seriousness of the sort you're describing is precisely why things like partying are crucial to our mental and spiritual health. I take joy very seriously, and partying is the formal pursuit and celebration of joy itself. I'm having a party to celebrate life. I'm having a party to celebrate partying itself.

It seems to me that people often equate intelligence with seriousness, and stupidity with playfulness. These people also tend to overvalue a sort of stoic distance and lack of excitement and enthusiasm as somehow being a sign of wisdom and advanced thinking. An austere and somber attitude doesn't make someone smarter or more intellectual. Sometimes people are overly serious because they're afraid of looking unkempt, unimportant, uneducated -- they fear they'll "make a fool out of themselves" if they don't remain dour and stiff. In my opinion, if more people aspired to the level of life-mastery and self-actualization that a true fool has attained, there'd be much less conflict in the world. Fools realize that the most ignorant people are usually the ones most violently accusing others of being ignorant. Fools realize that in most cases, understanding is overrated. Most importantly, fools realize that no one really knows what's going on, starting first and foremost with themselves.

You can enjoy something without having to comprehend it. You can appreciate a melody without knowing what notes it consists of. You don't need to "get" me or what I do. I'm not here to be understood, I'm here to be experienced. I'm not here to impress you. I'm here to party with you.

I don't understand why people have such a problem with partying anyway. Much like music, smiling, and laughter, partying is one of the few activities enjoyed by all people across the globe since the dawn of civilization. Despite how popular celebration is, partying still gets a bad rap for being "low" behavior. People think it's irresponsible or somehow morally wrong to enjoy life in a pure and playful way without some "higher" purpose to it. But that is the whole purpose -- the beauty of partying and joy is that it doesn't need any additional purpose -- it's an end in itself. And that end is the experience of joy in the highest order.

Partying is fully immersing ourselves in the best and most immediate aspects of this incredible gift called "being alive." Joy brings out the best in us. Partying allows us to experience the best of that joy and be truly ourselves. Partying allows us to be close with other people that we wouldn't necessarily connect with in other circumstances. To look over and see a total stranger lost in blissful happiness, smiling from the depths of their soul for no reason except that it feels good, and to understand exactly what they're feeling because you feel it too. That is the magic of partying. That exhilarating pleasure of not-having-to-be-yourself! That sheer delight of really being free! That glory of being in love with life! That feeling of feeling really, really good!

What's all the rest of this madness for otherwise? What are all our ceaseless efforts for if not to earn us moments of pure euphoria and elation? Are we not meant to be in a state of energized enthusiasm about our own existence? Isn't that an evolutionary survival technique anyway -- so that we want to stay alive and press on -- because we have joy to look forward to? I'm pretty sure that the end result of all our work, all our battling, and all our pain and suffering isn't to see how serious and grim we can be. The darker the world, the more we must increase our efforts to stay in the light -- and to defend that light from the encroaching shadow. If there is such a thing as evil, it wants nothing more than to have us believe that feeling joy is wrong.

We must be brave enough to wholeheartedly deny all the forces working to crush our spirit. We must not let devastation and death remove the joy from life. Existence is confusing and challenging enough as it is. Taking it too seriously and removing the few opportunities for unadulterated cheerfulness does not alleviate us of this burden -- it weighs us down further and saps our strength until all we can do is plod along towards the void without any relief. The more appropriate response to life is to remain at play and in awe, not to mock the severity of our collective plight, but to truly stay engaged in the bewildering and ferocious grandeur of this adventure we're on together. Whether we like it or not, we were all invited to this party and we must work to have the best time we can while we're all here.

Having the strength to smile, to stay close to joy, and to stay close to each other will see us through our darkest and most challenging ordeals. It's not as easy as being glum and cold, but it's worth the extra effort. Believing that joy is wrong is the most violent disrespect to our inherent nature as loving, pleasure seeking creatures. Let us elevate ourselves and embrace our highest and mightiest capacity for happiness. This life is our chance to unleash as much joy onto the world as we can. Let us make that joy together. Let us cheer each other up and cheer each other on. Let us party and party as hard as we can. After all, we can't save the world in a bad mood.

Your friend,
Andrew W.K.



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20 comments
NoTuesday
NoTuesday

Dear Andrew,


well, well well (did I say well?) said


Donna Lauri Daniels
Donna Lauri Daniels

Life is for the living....love it and live it out loud. My husband and I believe in grabbing life by the balls and loving every second. We don't work all week to stare at each other on the weekends ;D

Replica
Replica

I'm sorry, poignant or not (going with the latter, here), Andrew WK is a giant prick. I'll never forget the time me and a friend bumped into him outside of his awful venue near the Bowery and said hello. This was only to be met with a response that went something like, "Oh cool, isn't your dorm around here or something?"

Why I didn't spit in that faux-punk's face, I'll never know.

Lonnie Jackie Robbie Klein
Lonnie Jackie Robbie Klein

we love you CBS actress candis cayne....light a candle for candis in sheridan square...nyc......at heaven in london UK...badlands disco san francisco....

balbola
balbola

To this day I still run in to people asking if I ever finished school, or went back, all just because they constantly saw me having fun, going somewhere and doing something instead of burying myself in my dorm dreading class or a final. What they all don't realize is that I graduate a half semester early with a 3.8 gpa. Celebrating, partying, and living life is not a sign of lack of intelligence or lack of willing to put in work. Life's about finding the balance and having as much fun and joy as you can, while obviously still accomplishing what neds to be accomplished.

Face
Face

"Andrew, I'm a right-wing dipstick who found out about you for the first time this week, when Fox Media was looking to co-opt your insights on 'the dehumanizing effects of our political divide,' desperately hoping to humanize the least human, least feeling, least PARTY folk around.  I don't get you."  --Genius

Zen Lerock
Zen Lerock

Hes too busy partying to wash...durrr

Lupa Alexander
Lupa Alexander

What does liking to party have to do with looking like a bum?

collinsnem
collinsnem

Number Two point I wanna make here before wrapping up this pontification which has been all too solemn its own self, is that the time has come for all good men and women to come to the aid of the Party, ie DECIDE whether you wanta jump and caper with music that’s alive or molder in the Dostoyevskian hovels of dead bardic auteur crap picking nits out of its navel and so sickly that to see it shake it’s ass would be a hilarious horror indeed… I believe in the Party as an exhilarating alternative to the boredom and bitter indifference of life in the “nothing is true; everything is permitted “ era, just as it provided alternatives in the form of momentary release from the repression and moral absolutism of the fifties. The Party is one answer to how to manage leisure in a society cannibalized by it.” (Bangs, 75)

SunDevil247
SunDevil247

Well written. Andrew...you get it. You just do.

Sage
Sage

@Replica Apparently his mistake was assuming you were educated. Fortunately that is a glaring error we can all avoid.

Baxter4
Baxter4

@Replica Sounds like you're just an a**hole. A friend of mine was in a band with a guy who died on-stage, who happened to be a huge AWK fan. At the request of his friends, Andrew flew out to his funeral, paid his respects, and played piano during the service. Speaking of dorms, when he played at my school he hung out in the dorms that night and was super nice to everyone. I don't know him personally, but I don't think "giant prick" are the words I'd use to describe him.

Also LOL at "faux-punk." Go home, dude.

darin26
darin26

@Replica The problem you perceived was only inside of you. Please describe your problem in way I can understand it. 

Weeknd
Weeknd

@Face Sounds like you need to go over the "political divide" article again. You have no idea whether this guy is right-wing or watches Fox networks of any kind, and yet you find it your ultimate duty to judge him on such a basis. 

DollyShot
DollyShot

It means you can express yourself however you like in dress and style ^_^ Freedom, my friend!

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