Daniel Johnston’s Heroic Self Confidence

Yo Zushi at The New Statesman:

And it’s his music, and his equally affecting artwork, that Johnston should be remembered for. That’s why I’ve resisted till now touching upon what the word “outsider” really means when we speak of him. It’s a euphemism, a somewhat awkward way of acknowledging his schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Since Jeff Feuerzeig’s powerful 2005 documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston, the singer’s mental health issues have been central to his myth, to the point that the knowledge of them threatens to overshadow his accomplishments. What I mean is that “True Love Will Find You in the End” is a great song – not just “great for a crazy guy”. I think Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy said it best a couple of years ago in an interview with the New York Times: “Daniel has managed to create in spite of his mental illness, not because of it. He’s been honest in his portrayal of what he’s been struggling with without overtly drawing attention to it.”

more here.