‘My every incarceration’: From Iggy Pop to Buddhism in one wonderful misreading


How does one skip from Iggy Pop’s “colourful” past to an enlightening discussion of Buddhism in one simple move?

One of the things I love most about social media is the potential for the most fascinating and enriching of discussions to come out of left field. Unlike in the so-called real world, such conversations can take place with people from around the world (who you might not necessarily have met in person). And also unlike in the real world, the conversation isn’t necessarily lost to the ether once it’s done.

Here is a case in point…

‘My every incarceration’
The other day, I posted a very short Facebook update, comprising an excellent Iggy Pop quotation from the book I’m currently reading, which is entitled Please Kill Me. The quotation from Mr Pop (or should that be Mr Osterberg) was as follows:

“I can’t remember the details of my every incarceration.”

My friend Michael VanDervort replied as follows:

“I read that as "incarnation” at first, and thought Iggy was a Bhuddist. He may be anyway"

This resulted in the discussion veering off in an entirely unexpected – and really quite wonderful – Buddhist direction. Regard:


‘If you want rules and answers, try HR’
Things got really interesting (indeed, enlightening) when the excellent Heather Bussing (who clearly knows a fair thing or two about Buddhism) joined in:


Upgrade your knowledge
I love Mr VanDervort’s point that social media can help us to upgrade our knowledge:


Creativity thrives under impossible constraints
And the chat concludes (for now) with a little point on how constraints can drive creativity:


There’s no reason why the chat has to end there, though. If you’ve any thoughts or responses sparked by the discussion above, please do share them!

Iggy’s holographic Buddha
Now let’s return to Mr VanDervort’s original post here:

  • Is Iggy Pop a Buddhist?

A quick Google returns no conclusive evidence to suggest that Iggy Pop is a Buddhist.

But he did apparently once hallucinate a “gigantic holographic Buddha”:

“I know that sounds like no big deal. But I saw a gigantic holographic Buddha – correct in every way! Buddhas can be very intricate… I can’t even draw, you know? I could barely spell cat, you know? And there it was. And I thought, Wow – the power of the mind, you know?”

Iggy’s heartbreaking eyes
Finally, I couldn’t write a post about Iggy Pop without also sharing a link to this absolutely wonderful scene from Jim Jarmusch’s film Coffee and Cigarettes, in which Iggy Pop and Tom Waits enjoy the titular aperitifs/digestifs (delete as applicable)… while Mr Waits toys rather cruelly with Mr Pop’s feelings. Iggy Pop’s eyes are just heartbreaking in this, I think:

Books and films discussed here

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