Tuesday, September 20, 2011

His ear was strangely hollow.

There's a fascinating case of a missing man - a found man, more precisely - discovered on the beaches near Adelaide, Australia. (full details showing here) The long and skinny (hairy, pointy, meaty) of it is that the man could be a spy, could be a soldier-deserter, could be a vagabond, could be anyone or anything. Who likely enjoyed reading the Rubaiyat.

From this man, whose identity is nothing except for anonymity par excellence, a preliminary investigator wrote that he carried "an expression about his face as though he might have been an educated man."

I wonder if the same comment would be made if he had not been a well-kempt Caucasian found.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"Celestial Vengeance is approaching."

Then there are these moments. I look across Adelle's, to a young woman talking to another, perhaps her mother. She cradles a newborn. She rocks the child. She never looks down, and she never ceases the rocking motion. She was there before the child's consciousness, her touch present before his nerves had catalyzed their connection. There was someone holding me, and the child could become me. And the mother could have been my mother, and at some point she was her son -- a stoner moment of contemplation that opens the universe in its inanity.

Then I was driving out to Fort Stark, and a chipmunk ran in front of Neutron Star. Then I saw a boy, a blond boy, a lonely boy, sitting at an empty tennis court. He must have been a wealthy boy. I thought: If this were a novel, I will kill him the next time I drive down this road. Fate might let a baby chipmunk live, but a novelist would not suffer the life of a random kid.

There was a family on the beach. I walked by them to an isolated rock on the jetty, and lay down, and turned off my iPod to listen to the waves, to think. They began to shout and whistle. A little girl came near me and started shouting, "Hey Dad! Dad!"

He was swimming away from shore, near the buoys, towards the riptide and the rocks and the ocean.

"He can't hear you," said the mother. "The high pitch of my whistle might be audible, but..."

He wasn't yet in danger. They wanted him to pose for a picture. This family stood on the jetty all around me and I thought about the typical response, about anyone's response to them: They should leave. They should not exist and be bothersome to me.

Yet it struck me, lying there as an intruder, a stranger, on this family-claimed public beach, that they weren't going anywhere. Their right to existence was quite clearly established. I was the one in danger.

Questions for discussion:
I spent all my Moscow time in bars and cafes, reading and drinking and writing. Why is what was acceptable there seemingly inappropriate here?

Corollary: I wrote so much but there isn't always a clear point in my head. There's always a point. ...Right?

Could Camus have written L'etranger, or would it have been so important that he had done so, had he not been Pied-noir, but a Parisian?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I remember we were driving, driving in your car.

A year ago, when The Animus wasn't yet The Animus, but still an independent woman, I had gone out of town to sit at a roundtable discussion in DC for Dr. Faustus and all his friends. I came back on a late flight, forgot half of my things at my parents', doubled home, set out still later. I might have been speeding along the major route numbers.

When I got to Portsmouth I would have calmed down, slowed down. I would have been excited. There would have been a chain of cars in which I found myself, a police cruising the other way; no matter, we drove.

The police turned around and pulled me over. "Are you aware of how fast you were going?"

"I thought I was going with the flow of traffic."

"Why are you out so late?"

"I'm returning from out of town. I was at a conference in DC."

"Where are you going?"

"A...friend's house."

"Were you drinking tonight?"

"Not at all."

"Not even one beer?"


"Are you sure you haven't had any alcohol?"

Her tone had grown more incredulous yet less aggressive as the conversation wore on, as it became clear to both of us that I hadn't really been speeding, that I hadn't been drinking. As it became clearer to her that there was something, certainly, on my mind, something I didn't want to reveal to anyone, something that, then, still seemed like a Secret Never To Be Told. Not drugs. Not drink. Just the phenomenon of the closet.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


It was raining in Portsmouth, like condensation and coffee staining my shirt, and I thought, "This is meant to happen, this thirsty August maritime wet, the hailing of our winter's discontent." Poor sumering yuppies ducking for cover underneath the eaves, straining away from the soaked handrails.

I've been working two jobs and I haven't written. I'm not sure of cause and effect: I'm not writing about them because they are the two jobs, or because they are what they are,I have not been writing. Double shifts and sycophantic smiles and taking it like a man from the Man and enduring cold sexism and hot capitalism and the dewdrops of cloth drenched in sweat and grease.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Man's Garden is his Panopticon

[A post promised to The Wrathful Poetess.]

I write myself into narratives of paternity and dependence, of piquant sorrow and solvent despair, of silences and sunflowers.

The cucumbers are restless. And the tomatoes bloom.

I think next year I'll hand-sculpt a trellis for some grapes to vine.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Translated from, as I wrote it then, "that bizarre form of drunk garbled Russian that is my native tongue."

I remember a cafe near the spectre of a medieval tower in downtown Moscow, my head wrapped around medieval monks and definitions of sins and punishments. I wonder; What was I trying to get at, there? What does the timbre of that cafe represent, that sense of Moscow's cold and early spring? I convince myself that I can reinterpret, and renegotiate, those meanings. I convince myself that a sincere writer can't worry about what is en vogue (a question for the opportunist and worst kind of literary critic).

I can't fill in all the gaps of the void. There must be silences while I still decide upon which side the divine hammer's (Tolstoy-is-God-construct-the-writer-is-dead-Tolstoy-is-dead-God-is-dead) blow must fall. There can't be synthesis, can't be ultimatum, only --

He asks, "What will you write about today?"

I say, "Probably I'll put her through the same situation I'm in."

He says, "That's a horrible thing to say. That's doubly hurtful."

The Wrathful Poetess said her poetry workshop became sick of love poems. I'm scared my workshop will be sick of discontented male aesthetes.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Meanwhile, a tabby cat stalks chipmunks in the backyard.

A moment in an argument last night. He says,
I don't want to be analyzed right now. I just want to say how it is.
I have, since, realized that I have no need of the previous manifestoeses with which I've sometimes populated this space. Rather, a simple tenet that has been informing all of them -- the categorical refusal to accept anything without analysis, to allow it to be "how it is."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When they ask me what I'm writing, I'll point them here.


She wasn’t a beautiful woman
Though grandmothers so often are
Pale daguerreotype vixens staring at the man
(It’s always a man)
Caught spiriting away their souls
The devil’s in innovation inspiration inhalation --

Was it a violet gasp or ancient sigh
The morning she realized
I wonder: How long did she remain
(Willfully) ignorant
Or how long did she curse the bun
The devil maims independence intoxication inhibition --

She wasn’t a happy woman,
My mother whispers to me: White River Junction,
For a society baccalaureate from Smith?
(She held me, once, as a baby)
Smokey, whiskey breath in a chest full of journals
The devil’s incantations inscriptions exaltations.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Word is No.

A Sesame Street throwback:
No teeth, no biting
No Mexican, Thai, or Indian
No dates at 2 am.

No rumors, no discretion
No laughter at a stupid joke
No flash of recognition at an allusion
No double entendre.

No comfort on granite rocks above the surf
No shivers behind texted innuendo
No cliched absolution in the shower
No palliative for desire.

No reconciliation. No rehabilitation. No respiration.

Monday, June 13, 2011

57 Years of Combined Life Experience Trumps 1 Year

Recently I have discovered that babies are illogical. Galinda and Scientist Joe had a Meeting of Scientists™ to go to last night, and the Animus and I put on our babysitting caps.

Two thirds of the charges went to bed without a whimper, but Castor (of Castor and Pollux fame), who saw Galinda leaving, freaked out. Not wanting him to keep Pollux up, we let him play for a half hour before engaging the BATTLE OF THE WILLS. OF DOOM. ™. .COM

When an infant is distressed, the following will not work to coddle him:
- logical argumentation according to classical formulae
- continental logic
- reading a signed copy of Ann Williams's Down from Cascom Mountain in a soothing tone
- reading a signed copy of Ann William's Down from Cascom Mountain in a dramatic tone
- the Animus using Dog Whisperer methods
- a change in diaper
- the "sleeper" hold
- the "cholic" hold
- almost any reassuring hold imaginable
- marching up and down stairs in any reassuring hold imaginable
- letting him scream in a playpen while you hide in the dark eating dinner around the corner, pretending that if he can't see or hear you he'll eventually forget why he's so hysterical
- a bottle of water he is too hysterical to drink from
What will eventually settle him down is
-wedging him between two adult male bodies on a couch with a blanket over him so he can't move, B-rated movie (we used Wanted, for example) playing, until he flops down on the Animus's lap and shuts his eyes.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I live in my pasts.

Yesterday. The cafe. I work the espresso machine when The Wrathful Poetess comes in. I try to restrain myself - the customer comes first - but a grin splits my cheeks. She gives me a hug.

Later, and I had described my housing situation. She says, "Oh."

She says, "I suppose you could always crash on someone's couch."

I ask, eyebrow raised, "Maybe in someone's bed?"

She pauses. She laughs. "Yes, I'm sure someone would let you into their bed."

Later, I ask how long she and Man-at-Arms have been going out (seven weeks). She says, "You just came back too late."

She says, "We met through an online dating service."

She says, "The girls and I were just talking about how big your dick must be. One of us was going to scoop you."

Later, she finds the necklace I put in her tip cup. "Thank you," she says. "I love big things."

My eyebrows should just stay raised forever and ever, amen. I say, "It's just a gift. Gift qua gift."

She asks, "No ulterior motive?"

No. It's not a hair comb. It's not a pocket watch.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Nesting Internal Exiles

There was, by the way, no rapture. I don't feel like talking about the non-events that have transpired after the non-apocalypse.

Instead, a year ago today: a diner in downtown Moscow. The tulips are wilting at the feet of red-thumbed Mayakovsky (he never loved to garden). Boisterous Anglophones around the table, boisterously discussing the calculated act of boisterously confessing boisterous sins, that awkward game of trying to sound convincingly like you have confessed but not revealed too much. Oh yes - Gypsy Song stole candy at the grocery store. Ginger Doctor joked, 'You wouldn't mention that you'd jacked off seven times before going?"

"No," said Gypsy Song. "You're supposed to confess things you're sorry for, not things you plan on doing again the next day."

Ginger Doctor asked, "But what if that was just a statement?"

Gypsy Song laughed, imagined: "Father, I masturbated seven times today..."

Ginger Doctor continued, "'Are you sorry about it?'

No, I just wanted to tell you.'"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Don't turn. Don't look.

Euridice: Remember: so long I've not escaped the Dark--
I'll remain worse than a dragon.
Yet I'll become as I once was -
When my breast (unaccustomed, now only with pain) again heaves.
It seems we're near; it seems I can hear
The wind and the sea.
-from "Orpheus," Elena Shvarts (1982)

Friday, May 20, 2011

"This is my prayer/I'll die living as free as my hair"

There is a virulently vocal and excitable section of the population of the American population anticipating the full release of Gaga's new album. (Barring any destruction of the current world order beforehand). As a case in point, consider this pre-release:

Thanks to the power of social media, one of Gaga's tweebs (showing here) could react to "Hair" on a platform that allowed him to write "directly" to his Mother Monster:
@ladygaga cannot listen to Hair without crying. no jock judging me is gonna stop my freedom. i'm as free as my hair. bubble dreams < 3
19 May
Unexpected or no, Gaga (who has over 10 million followers and has only tweeted 764 times since March of 2008) almost immediately replied:
@gagaforgaga2010 you sound like you're on the right track baby. But you can cry AND dance. Fever dries tears.
19 May
Cue euphoric reaction.

What I'm trying to get at here is the manipulation of raw power in this Gaga<->fan dynamic. The basic interaction is the following illusion. One "could" petition the angel from afar; the telescopic refractions of Twitter hyperbolize the distance (I-am-but-one-of-10-million-who-adore) between fans and the object of their desires while simultaneously and disorientingly allowing the vertigo of "touching" her (I-can-address-a-tweet-to-Gaga-and-wonder-if-she-sees-it).

Yet by responding (even to an infinitesimal proportion of such tweets), Gaga transforms the Freudian wish-fulfillment from the realm of dreams and the unanticipatable to the realm of the actual and expectational. The new mindscape is related to the previous by a chiasmus; the fan-subject is no longer one lost among the legions, but one among many worshippers for whom the thought constantly resonates: "It could happen to me!"

The Devil doesn't affect heads of state but rather possesses the historical no-man subject. Gaga's cult of personality (scenario of power?) similarly magnifies her hierarchical status by personalizing the vertical bonds of power between fawning fanatics and Goddess. In no way humanizing Gaga by its personal value (as opposed to, say, a paparazzo's photographs), the interaction heightens the paradoxical sublime of her near-but-far-away cult body.

I'm the spirit of my Hair, it's all the glory that I bare.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Heard it on the news today

A little boy found on the roadside
So easily marginalized,
Demeaned, trivialized:
This is a symptom! Synecdoche!
This is everything wrong with
American culture, writ large!
Big in the little! Exclamation point!
Just don't confront the terrible truth:
There is a little boy on the roadside.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Character Sketch

Technological fetishism, as I have previously mentioned.

There is that individual who serves the technological revolution (sluzhit technologicheskoi revoliutsii). He tracks the updates of the digital devices. He charts his life in pixelated hues, and follows the university health center on Facebook. Just because he can. No one thinks to update the health center's profile. No one enters into a relationship with it. There are no scandalous pictures of the health center, sloshed, at a Baseball Bros and Female-Sports-Journalists-in-the-Lockerroom theme party.

The servant of the technological revolution is a dichotomous subject. At the same time he participates in such obsessive hoarding, he is a nihilist. The old model is become redundant. Destroy it. The update is available. Purchase it. Download. Consume. Devour the regurgitated contents spewn all over the office floor.

The servant of the technological revolution slowly enacts his vision upon the rest of the world. He's at a party thrown in his honor, and even as he hoards the drinks and presents awarded to him, he sits with the youngest, the sexiest, the most nubile. He sees no reason to consume any but the newest software patches.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And back again

There was a woman on the plane who fainted or had a seizure. I felt a rush of emotions: I was nervous for her, nervous that she would be the first dead body I saw. I wanted the crew to make an emergency landing if it would save her life, but I feared the inane wrath of that collective of slave-drones, the animal-cracker-stealing suits. I was confused at how people (myself included) could go back to their books, their iPods and ipads and business ventures and naps, while there was a body on the floor by the forward toilet and the stewardesses were mobilized.

The chickens are restless.

A businessman switched seats to accommodate the woman. He sat next to me and began to take interest in the iPad, in Penultimate. I wondered how I could ever use that toy in public, could talk about its pluses and minuses without falling into games of masculinity. My tech toy is bigger than yours. Games of capitalism. My tech toy is more expensive. Games of the odious I profess to hate. I earned this tech toy even though it is built upon mountains of animal crackers that I have stolen from the airplane stewardesses.

I am chicken. Hear me roar.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cabin Pressure

The thing is, I'm like -- I wonder if there isn't truism to that thing they say. Not that there's the Devil in some music (all music), but that there's something the soul imbibes when it partakes of some kind of cultural production. I feel high, and although it is a body that's been up since 5 and has had oceans of coffee and whiskeys sour, it feels like a different high, the Tom Wolfe, the ragged Merry Prankster high.

Does Tom stand with the Pranksters or against them? On the bus, off the bus. Do I stand with them, or against them? There are sense impressions attached to texts like Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, ideas that weren't in Wolfe's head and likely aren't in any others. A grizzly man in his mother's basement, emerged only for his nephew's funeral; so much pain to move. Another man, black musician hopes dashed-prevailed-triumphant, alone in his apartment for so long (how long?) before he was discovered.

The thing is, there's this fit girl sitting next to me, feet up on the exit row, dolling herself up before the eventual (eternal) return. Tan skin, brown eyes, brown hair streaked blonde, popping against white tank top, black bra, Uggs.

The thing is, this suit comes out of the bathroom and snags a bag of Southwest airplane crackers. Shifty-eyed glance after the stewardess's back. He takes another. And it's like - man, here's the state of modern America. One guy engages in masturbatory intellectualistic trips; the girl hides how intelligent or genius she is by playing a different game; the guy who could buy a BJ warehouse stock of animal crackers with out noticing the cut in his bank account, the guy who'd be the first to spout about business ethics and MORAL ECONOMY and TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY, revealing himself for the cheating stealing terrible very bad no good heart of the great tree of American capitalism he is, the fountainhead, the fish rots from the head--

My ears start popping and my head explodes.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Confessions of a Demonologist

That's your problem, historians, in forgetting that there's a difference between subjectivity and objective truth. You can write whatever you want about something; you can write that it didn't happen, but that doesn't change what actually happened.
-My anonymous microhistorical primary source

Friday, April 15, 2011

Poetic you is me.

The wind swirls around you, its trajectory ostensibly affected by your presence, leaves curling from the Quad's straight shot around to get to Sunday classes. The grass bends. A hippie barefoot pedals, happily singing nonsense syllables lost inside his mountain beard. A little kid playing games like the ideal son of a university man. There are ways that one could live in a rural setting, if one were happy with other exigencies therein. You hesitate to admit to yourself how - what - with whom - you could comprehend such a dramatic shift in your sense about that place, hesitant to mark it down, hesitant that even your hesitancy has reified it beyond the acceptable.

There are moral choices; there are existential crises. Homer, when she was here for the weekend, said that my life is absurd. She said that I am ridiculous. You fear she might be right. You know.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The skies are made of diamonds

Forget your personal tragedy. We are all bitched from the start and you especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt use it—don’t cheat with it. Be as faithful to it as a scientist—but don’t think anything is of any importance because it happens to you or anyone belonging to you.
-ERNEST HEMINGWAY, in a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald (courtesy this awesome site)
I bought a pair of shoes today.

I thought about an elegy for the pair they were to replace, about the materialist instinct that mourns the passing of consumer goods.

It mourns the lieu de memoire that is my pair of shoes. I remember: there were scary dogs and sleeping dogs and stray dogs that lie in the middle of the street. There were rivers' tides and riptides and voices that sounded from the deep. There were hills and fields and shadows. Puddles. Corn and grass in wild sunlit hues of burned and parched and life. Quotidian snippets. Hills and forests and graves. So many graves.

There seemed always to be graves.

Maybe I'll give the shoebox to the Vegetarian Veterinarian, for the next animal he has to euthanize.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Because I remembered she was dead.

It's probably weird for me to return to history after my last polemic effort, but I still feel connections to these people whose voices I've sought to hear for the past four years. My heart just broke when I read this letter from Vera Mukhina, two years before she died, when she was sent to a southern medical resort:
I've been in Barvikha for two weeks already, since August 24. I've already been lying down for twelve days, lying eternally, never standing, only to get to the table in my room for breakfast and lunch. [...] The doctors are closed books, and it's hard to engage them in an open conversation about one's health. It might be that it's necessary to do that; after all, why should a sick person know when he's going to die? But sometimes it's worse [not to know]. [...]

I can find no peace, I'm parched for life. I love life, I love the air, the sun, the earth; I love humans, I love actions. It's that which is killing me. It's obvious, this inactivity so necessary for me has torn me from my typical equilibrium, and I'm crawling up the walls. At the same time I understand why I must rest, I can't stop myself from reacting. They told me to lie down again today, and it upset me to tears - it didn't even upset me - and somehow stupidly insulted me. Can it be I'm already an invalid, can it be I'll never again climb into the woods for work... No one ever told me that I've become an invalid, but I can hear it in their words. I don't want this!
I still feel connections to these people whose voices I've sought to hear...

That seems like such a paltry understatement. What I mean to say is that this whole venture has been an attempt to reconstruct an imaginary analogue of these people -- but then I become sentimental when I succeed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The truth comes out. No April Fools. A new manifesto?

My good? better? best? friend, Briullov, wrote recently about his rejection from academia, about how that rejection wasn't truly a rejection. Showing here. He's inspired me to write, finally, what I've been meaning to confess. What I've obliquely hinted at, in my own way
It's hard for me to describe my intellectual interests, even to the specialists in my field. It'll be still harder for them to swallow the surprises I have in store.
I haven’t always wanted to be a writer. Avoiding the opposite of that phrase, the trope “I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” was the advice I invariably heard from anyone who heard about my application to MFA Writing programs. It seemed, to them, a naturalized fact that anyone applying to such a program would have always wanted to write. Such a statement would be redundant, at best. To the contrary, I thought of writing as an escape route when I needed to detox from “real life.” I surrounded myself with philosophical treatises about the contingent individual and the postmodern context, and reassured myself that of the potentialities that once surrounded my existential being, I had chosen a definite path with a clear conclusion. This application is the physical manifestation of the thesis that I had not found such a path, not yet. The three years of developing professional and creative writing skills in pursuit of an MFA in Writing will enable me to embrace writing consciously in ways I hadn’t allowed myself to previously.

Using “escape” as the word to describe writing is in its own way ironic, for escapism, in hindsight, also fueled my previous career path. It was the most valid answer I could provide when I explained why I double majored in Russian and linguistics at the University of New Hampshire; how could one get further away from one’s roots in small-town New Hampshire than by flying across the world? Escapism - from the collapsing economy, from the job market - drove my flight into the “Ivory Tower.” I spent a year studying architects’ projects and rhetorical patterns at the Moscow Architectural Institute with a Faustian Contract, and secured myself a place in the entering PhD cohort at The University. I was fascinated by the concept of potentiality. Even though I studied architects who worked in the 1930s through 1950s, the height of Stalin’s terror and purging, the era defined in historical memory by the Gulag, I was less interested in rebellion and revolt than I was in the prospect of discovering how these individuals negotiated their spaces, enabled one another, and found creative outputs for their ideas. I could never have articulated it as such in the moment, but I was consumed by the reverberations of these aesthetes’ escape from the mundane existence of a terrorized Soviet population into their dreamworlds and fantasies.

Writing creatively was a tool for history. When I wrote for myself, the stories took on fantastical elements, as exemplified in the first story of my portfolio, “The Dream of a Radiant Future.” Yet as I continued to inculcate myself further with the theses and postulates of postmodern historiography, as I felt my mind bend (as any mind ought bend under the pressures of a quality education), I confronted the deep truth that the questions I asked were not historical questions, and were not questions that the discipline could easily subsume. Writing may have been a tool for history, but my interest in history was an improper expression of a deeper desire - to tell stories. When I accepted that idea, I realized I had always entertained the notion of a manuscript, a book deal, rescuing me from a PhD program in which I could perform admirably, but which I did not enjoy.

I have practiced telling this narrative, at least up to this point. A parallel narrative, about which I have spoken less because I am continuing to come to terms with it, regards my own identity. This past summer I came out as a bisexual man. The second story of my portfolio, “Should Ariel Be a Handsome Man,” arises from that decision. As I continue to accept myself, I hope to refine my thoughts and narrative techniques, to address the distinction between “gay and lesbian fiction” and mainstream literature. By that statement I do not mean that the only stories that interest me involve homosexual or non-heteronormative individuals. To the contrary, I hope to learn techniques in this program to address the normalized perception that there ought to be a distinction between gay writers for gay audiences and straight writers for straight audiences.

In contrast to the professorship I would surely have to pursue if I continued to study Russian history, I have opened myself up to a new set of possible outcomes and job opportunities. Allowing myself to contemplate three years of intensive creation and writing instruction imbues me with the hope that fiction writing will cease to be an exercise in escapism. Instead of perceiving an unbridled cluster of contingent paths, I am embracing the chance to write for writing’s sake, to practice ars gratis artis. In her article, “The Contingent Person and the Existential Choice” (Philosophical Forum Vol XXI 1989-90), Agnes Heller writes: “We cannot know ourselves, nor can others know what we ‘really’ are before we became what we are.” I may not have thought that I wanted to be a writer, but the concept of writing creatively always became a driving force in the ambitions I pursued.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I kind of want to recast myself in The Viking's terminology

Interactions like the following are what give me hope for Satan’s chatbox not truly being Satan’s chatbox.
Me: I DO WHAT I WANT! #firstworldproblems #manifesto (17 minutes ago)

The Viking: @Icarus so, does that make you, uhm, the skinny-academic-east coast version of Eric Cartman? (13 minutes ago)

The Animus: [implied @Icarus] RT To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. (14 minutes ago)

The Animus: [implied @Icarus] RT The only opinion of you that matters is your opinion of you. (13 minutes ago)
In other news, I need to remember that no matter how sexy and form-fitting this new Lucky brand sweatshirt is, it’s still a grey sweatshirt and needs to have an undershirt.

Pit stains. Pit stains of doom.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Meme, The Retweet, and the Destruction of the Human Soul

Retweet (verb) [ri-twit'] - to promulgate the same message as has already been said. The equivalent of saying I want to say the same thing as that person has said.

It is also the most dastardly thing that Satan's Chatbox could have done to humanity.

Let's consider the genre of the meme, for a second. For the uninitiated, the meme is that phenomenon where a blogger, Fb user, tweeter, etc. etc. fills in forms of a survey or answers specific questions. The prompt - the meme - is generated, but the answers are user-specified and -specific. The meme is the Talmud of social media, the illuminated manuscript: the basic text and format must remain the same, but the marginalia will be exciting and different.

The retweet is the mindless, bastardized version of that process, the listless bureaucrat against whom Gogol' characterizes Akakii Akakievich. It is the reason why Ayn Rand has already failed:
[Ellsworth Toohey to his niece, Catherine] “…All growth demands destruction. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. You must be willing to suffer, to be cruel, to be dishonest, to be unclean- anything, my dear, anything to kill the most stubborn of roots, the ego. And only when it is dead, when you care no longer, when you have lost your identity and forgotten the name of your soul – only then will you know the kind of happiness I spoke about, and the gates of spiritual grandeur will fall open before you.”

“But, Uncle Ellsworth,” she whispered, “when the gates fall open, who is it that’s going to enter?”

He laughed aloud, crisply. It sounded like a laugh of appreciation. “My dear,” he said, “I never thought you could surprise me.”
It is the reason why Orwell's fears of Big Brother will never come to pass: there are not enough independent thoughts left to necessitate a watchdog system.

But, Icarus, they'll ask, Where is this rage coming from? Your existence is an amalgamation of quotes and references. Isn't that part of the Neurogia you and Briullov espouse?

Yes and no (a typical response). Yes, because I must admit to my own brand of mindlessness. No, because I would flatter myself that there is something different to using oblique references metaphorically, to forcing the reader to contemplate in what way the quote fits, as opposed to this shallow, one-to-one repetition. If I intentionally repeat something that's been said before, I do not mean, literally, that I want to contemplate what dark secrets I've spoken to the night, the dark bower closing in around me. I mean to create resonances, allusions, to "play the game" of intellectual creation and referentialism.

The retweet function of Satan's chatbox, and this overall, quasi-plagiarist practice of using exactly the words someone else has used to crow about your new toy, your new car, your home, your day, your love, your soul -- that's unfortunately from the same field of culture that inspired beautiful artifacts like the Talmud and the illuminated manuscript. That phenomenon is driven by that field's same impetus to destroy.

I want to say the same thing as that person has said is not the correct definition for a retweet, because it allows for humans actually to be thinking and participating in an activity that is the summary denigration of all human thought and agency. It is wanted in this context to show that this body-construct can reify the same thing that's already been promulgated by other body-constructs.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This is before I comforted myself with Deleuze's "Anti-Oedipus."

The Mentor nodded. "I really like that you're trying to avoid ever using 'Speaking Bolshevik.' Sometimes someone finds the right way to phrase a phenomenon, and it's great, but then everyone feels like they need to give him credit, and...well. The unfortunate thing is that it is wholly imbued with hegemonic ideas of power.

"You know, he was given that project by Michel Foucault. I was unfortunately in Russia, then, when Foucault - we always called him that, just Foucault - when Foucault came to Berkeley. He told me about the encounter when I got back.

"They were in a bathroom together -- Foucault was shaving his head -- and Foucault said to him: 'Go to Russia, and find a location where a community was built from nothing. You'll find, there, the most distinctive expression of Soviet political imagination.'"

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The End of Art?

...Two hours later, he announces that his work is done. I am extremely pleased, as the piano has not been tuned for a couple of years, and was sounding a bit wobbly.

'It's a fine instrument,' he affirms. Sitting at the piano stool, he takes a deep breath and launches into an array of pieces, demonstrating the incredible warmth of the sound. He plays 'Rhapsody in Blue,' then 'Maple Leaf Rag,' then a couple of classical pieces that are probably by Rachmaninoff or somebody else from the past. It is amazing. The room fills with sound -- wonderful, incredible music. The Toddler stands transfixed and spellbound, a broad smile beaming across her face as if this is the most fantastic thing that she has ever heard in her life.

I am a bit pissed off by this. I play her the piano all the time and she has never once stood transfixed or spellbound or with a broad beaming smile. He has probably slipped her some sweets or something. I wait for him to finish and then show him out the door.

When he has gone, I pull the Toddler back into the piano room. I play all my specialties, the theme song from 'Minder' and the song that Iggle Piggle sings. But there is no beaming smile. The kid is tone deaf and it is a disappointment to me.
-- Johnny B, Nov 10, 2008, at the Private Secret Diary
I include that quote for several reasons. First is because I have had a somewhat recurring dream that I have gone to The Piano Teacher's house and needed to sightread music I've not looked at for these past five years. It is embarrassing and mortifying and obviously has something to do with the fact that her last words to me were: "I don't care if it's not with me, please promise me that you'll keep taking music lessons. you have a gift, and it'd be a shame for you to lose it."

Oops. Cue guilt. He ought to enter, stage left, accompanied by Shame and Lost Opportunity, after the Chorus of Might have Beens.

Second is from a note I've been meaning to write - which is in response to that weird and heralding cry for the 'end of art,' and for the end of time, and the whining sob for beauties passed ago:

No. Wrong. False.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ecce homo

It snowed again last night, heavy, petulant teardrops from a black and starless night onto the falsities of this entombed curtain of an existence. It snowed - as I mused then - post-ironically, belatedly, when snowfall could feel romantic and yet so untoward and banal. "Black night/White snow/Wind, wind!/A man could hardly keep his feet.
Freedom! Freedom!
Hey, hey, without a cross!
I suffer from frequent nightmares. If they don't come every night, it's at least five times a week. I can't describe what it means to see harrowing visions for just under half of my existence, conscious or no. My dreaming mind is a dick; it knows just what buttons to push, and does so. All night. [Every/Almost every] night. Consider that.

Once I woke up, 3 am, the dark night when the empty bed feels like a frozen grave, and heard a girl crying. Must I admit to hallucination? Or just that I'm a coward? If I were the man I wanted to be I would have saved Katie Genovese. Maybe I'm another apartment whisperer. Sometimes I feel like it must be so.

Sometimes it feels like that nexus of bundled contingencies that is, in Agnes Heller's reckoning, the postmodern individual, points in too many concretized, yet transient, options: a, b, c, ... aleph-one. Is there a tightrope? If there is, it swings. My foot treads as heavy and misguided as the snow falls.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The other shoe to drop.

I don’t believe in the triumph of this visual epoch’s technologies. The photo camera and the videomaker are in their heyday, but it has not always been and it will not always be so. Someday we will write, and we will describe not just external and internal impressions that are not that which we so desire, but are the obsession itself.

People. So many people on the street, and so quiet where I sit. I’m glad I can’t hear the thoughts inside each head – this quiet pretense at solipsism – and they become one blur of rushing water. The tide ebbs and flows, a blonde –black haired – man – woman – blue – eyed – tiny polka-dot bikini.

When my twin nephews see the camera they get excited. They can't yet recognize that this apparatus snaps representations that might later become the iconography of their soul, but they're attuned to the power structure of the camera. It is a shiny object that makes noises. It is a an object in the hands of someone whom they know.

Perhaps more importantly, the camera signifies a near-frantic period of participation in the child's minute-to-minute existence. When the camera appears, fingers will poke, and toys materialize, and voices coo. "Smile! Hey, Teddy! BOOGITYBOOGITYBOOBOO! BOO!"

The camera - which can create the artificial representation of existence - is surrounded by a praxis of artificial love and desire.

"The camera loves her."

"She loves getting her photo taken."
"She hates getting her picture taken."

(Never: "She is indifferent about being photographed.")

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We were both pre-coffee.

No liquid crack was harmed in the makings of this conversation.
The Animus: Should I have hot chocolate or coffee?

ShadowG: It can go either way.

Animus: ...I realize that.

ShadowG: Gah that's not what I meant. I meant: 1) You should enjoy hot chocolate because you'll be at my place for the next week, where it is banned in favor of coffee, or 2) You should enjoy coffee because you'll need to get your tolerance for it up before you get here.

Animus: Hot chocolate flavored coffee? That's just nasty. We are in-- I'm having a brain fart. The right word isn't 'agreeance' -- OH. Agreement.

ShadowG: In *favor* of coffee. Favor. Also: wow.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Three Easy Pieces

I submit for your consideration three separate pieces, three separate years, three Valentine's Dayses.

First, this anecdote I found in my journal from February 14, 2009 (I spent Valentine's Day finishing chapter 1 of the thesis).
I just went to get a coffee, still in a rage. Walked into Zeke's.

Andrew to himself: "Fuck Valentine's Day. If I see Cupid, I will slap him square in the penis."

Cashier lady: Happy Valentine's Day!

Andrew: [momentarily flabbergasted. Can he say 'slap him in the penis' to a cashier?] Thanks...you...too?"
The proceeding are excerpts from the journal entry dating to Valentine's Day, when I nursed a champagne hangover in Prime Star in Kitai-gorod, Moscow. It explains why:
Thursday (2/12) Briullov and I went to Arte-Grim to get masks. I got a demure and typical Zorro mask of black velvet, and a plasticky green flat-top Savannah hat. Briullov got into a fight with the saleswoman, who had told him the mask he wanted was, "Of course, a woman's mask." Not the right thing to say to Briullov, obviously. He, then, not even looking at it, said: "I'll take it!" He ended up with a different one, but the dynamics of the exchange were amazing: the saleswoman, trying to help this 'boy without taste,' was caught between professional duty (what should be a position of power) and the male-female dynamic (where, in the stereotypic context, she would not have as much bargaining influence).

...Like any situation, we almost didn't even get to our destination [on Friday, the 13th, a multinational Carnival hosted at an embassy], because the employee at the security checkpoint wouldn't check our names against her list, although we all had passports and could tell her precisely which number was ours: the physical tickets were inside, at the party. Finally a Stalin look-alike (played by a German) came over. He and Briullov's Realtor spoke to each other through triple-paned glass in accented English.

Let the awkward drinking begin. I never lost myself, but it hurts my organism to think back on the party itself because there was no point where I stopped drinking. I would finish champagne if I wanted to get on the dance floor, run away from an awkward situation by going to help myself to another drink...

The other day I said 'autoportrait' to Sasha. There's actually something logical about that mistake even on top of it being an Anglicism of the Russian. We have autobiography, after all. Autopilot.

...There were a lot of great costumes (Briullov discusses the gendered implications of who was wearing what kind of costume here), including cowboys and Arabs (never by US citizens; apparently the new cowboys and Indians), a man who looked like a bondage star, a Hitler's Youth Organization candidate who unintentionally dressed as BFlow, a Merman king, a mouse in a trap, a cat, a bird, a Viking, three tigers, and a queen.

Ugh, my head. Thousands of dead juice bottles strew the floor around me, and I still feel light-headed.
Valentine's Day 2011, and The Animus gets into town the 16th.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I can't shake a feeling of hopeful euphoria

Consider the following news articles written directly after Mubarak's resignation.

Consider blow-by-blows in twitter accounts such as Nick Kristof's.

Euphoria! Excitement! Hope!

Let's just take this at face value and say: populism has succeeded, for at least a moment. Who knows what will come of Jan 25 in the future, for Egypt, for the Middle East, for the world. But at least, now, there's hope that the 21st century will not be defined solely by 9/11, by American Imperialism, by hateful and spiteful rhetoric against "medieval" or "anti-Christian" values.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I need a John Deere cap after all these venatic metaphors

I have meetings with multiple professors in the next couple of days. Meeting with professors is always fun. Professors. Meeting. Eek.

Not for the nervousness it now sounds as if I might suffer. No. Rather - meeting with some people is like dancing a waltz, or shooting a fat, lazy pig at point blank with a sniper rifle. It's easy. You're in, you're out, you're gone.

With others, meetings go like the dance chimpanzees perform when they've made a particularly good hit with the poop they've flung. They go like trying to shoot a chicken pumped up with equal parts acid and PCP from a distance of 30 meters. With an air rifle.

Meetings with my undergraduate The Professor went something like the latter. I once met with the woman when she was high on painkillers. We had quite the soul-revealing conversation. Another time she'd had a reaction to shellfish and arrived with hives and drugs and God knows what else. The Professor was - and is - a trooper.

But even scheduling a meeting with her can be astonishingly difficult. Once in Moscow, I trudged a kilometer to her house in six inches of fresh snowfall before she picked up, said, "Oh, you're up already? I thought you'd gone out partying last night," and sent me back to my hotel for another two hours.

Senior year of undergrad, we were to meet in the library to discuss my thesis. I got to the library, saw I had a missed call from her, and rang her cell.

She said, "I can't find any parking in T-Lot. Come over here and we'll figure things out."

In my mind - which, I'll grant, likely has little to do with the actual event that transpired - the call was along the lines of Dane Cook's heist monkey.
Our meeting took place down at BNG, where I tried to ignore the barista on whom I'd nursed a crush for the past two and a half years. That's neither here nor there. After commenting on an article I was writing, The Professor looked squarely at me and soberly inquired, "When are you going to write your memoirs about Russia?"

A fair question, I suppose. A part of me hopes I'll never have the chance to write memoirs about Russians, to use that seed about meetings with frantic chimpanzees. Not because I don't want to be famous, an established member of some community in which I'd be granted a small space to shoot my mouth for a hundred pages or so and - gasp - expect people to read it.

No. For reasons that still must remain a surprise. At least until I see what style meetings I shall undergo.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Like a Behavioralist Sex Joke

Let's consider Harry Potter.

Spoilers, and all that River Song jazz.

(Must I trace a genealogy of my thought? I was contemplating the phoenix and the void.)

Dumbledore's pet phoenix, Fawkes, perpetrates his self-immolation in Harry's presence in Chamber of Secrets, when Hogwarts was filled with suspicions that Harry was a Dark Lord.

Harry was also considered a Dark Lord because he could speak Parseltongue.

In general, we readers were meant to realize that Fearing the Protagonist is Evil™ is a very naughty thing; in fact, one should never bully anyone. FtPiE™ is prejudicial and wrong and, obviously, Harry is never punished for being a Dark Lord (even though he does really creepy things involving casting so-called Unforgivable Curses and making Draco Malfoy's skin blow up - we forgive our white middle-class heteronormative hero the unforgivable).

But here's the thing (and, I must admit, the complication that makes more ambiguous that whole forgiving-the-Unforgivable bit). By Order of the Phoenix it's become a major plot point that Voldemort knows of the mental connection he has to Harry. In the words of a Doctor Who character, "A door, once opened, can be traversed both ways."

Even more importantly, in the grand unveil to the "Is Harry going to die at the end of book 7?" rumors (the answer, again, ambiguous: "Yes...but no..."), in Deathly Hallows we learn that the aforementioned door to Voldemort is a mental demon-construct (and Horcrux) that must, itself, die.

So, not only was there a temporary telepathic connection to the Dark Lord (which postdated the initial FtPiE™), but, indeed, there was a demon-construct colonizing Harry the entire time. (I use "colonize" intentionally.) Which means that some part of "Harry" was, indeed, a Dark Lord. Which means the FtPiE™ was correct; the prejudicial assumptions of all the Hogwarts studentry were, in fact, vindicated by Rowling's own plot points.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Am a Bird Now, by Antony and the Johnsons

Consider the phoenix. Its mythologic value is meant to come from its rebirth, its eternal flame --it is the sun, always abandoning us to the fear and loneliness of the night, always returning from its slumber. It is a positive, comforting image.

How did we forget, post-apocalyptic-minded that we are (for the American man-cockroach shall survive the End of Days with nuclear family at his side) that a phoenix has to die before it's reborn? It is immolated; it subjects itself to the wretched end we gave to heretics and the "sinner."

The phoenix, therefore, represents a darker premise/conceit of the modern conscience. It tells us that no matter the self-destructive behaviors we employ, we can have redemption-through-suffering. Indeed, to this firstworldproblem state of mind, the self-destructive behavior must reach the phoenix fire before it can get better.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Et la nuit continuait

Briullov made me a mixtape.

We listened to said mixtape last night, the last night before he had to go back to New York, and drank manhattans. Many Maraschino cherries died.

Mika came on, and Briullov started to laugh. He said, "I love this music video. Half-man, half-woman."

I said, "What?"


We watched it. He said, "Mika really doesn't know how to dance, does he?"

He said, "He just kind of...makes weird poses. But he rocks it, so it seems like he's dancing."

We looked at each other for a moment, the lamplight reflected in ice and liquor refractions. We turned the song on again.

We made weird poses, and we rocked them.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In a glance

stare blank silent spaces
poison cat eyed subjective intelligence
refusal ironical poetical animal,
always with "-al"
archaeologically doomed fluidity

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Maybe I look good in green, ok?

Consider these selected quotes from Francis Ford Coppola.

First of all, it's interesting that he colludes [or the ellipsis means to insinuate that he conflates] the idea of intellectual property (and plagiarism) and material property (and copyright infringement. I understand the point of the former, and would certainly need to think about it more. Is imitation/mockery the most sincere form of flattery? What about so many examples where artists begin their career specifically by creating the OPPOSITE of what they see the current masters doing? Inasmuch as they still exist within a spectrum of analysis (self-defined by the very praxis of choosing to REACT), I wouldn't call that plagiarism. Nor do I think most authors would love to be told they were plagiarists.

Onto the latter. FFC certainly posits an interesting question. I've tried to describe the same when I talk about how I perceive hipsters, today, take the Bohemian ideal (a perfect artist trapped in poverty) and drive it to [past?] its logical extreme (an imperfect/BAD artist trapped in poverty). We don't have to touch upon that right now. What I mean to say is: yes. I agree. FFC's ideas resonate with me.

But does that mean they're right?

Imperialism and colonialism were political ideals that existed until not too long ago -- their death is far younger than the death of the formal patron structure he references -- yet I would never want them back.

Obviously that's hyperbolic. Nevertheless, what I mean to imply is that his argument for LA LONGUE DUREE is problematic because it fails to account for the simple fact that this IS the life artists live right now, this IS a capitalist society, we ARE looking, at the end of the day, for more than intellectual glorification [ideally]. Despite alarmists denunciations on the "death of art" and the "death of modernity" and the "death of publishing," there are more books published every year. You can't seriously tell me that Stephanie Meyers expects Twilight to be the intellectual genesis for a Balzacian revolution.

Dear God, I hope it won't be the intellectual genesis for a Balzacian revolution.

Do I sound like Ayn Rand?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Sketch on Ambiguity

The sun glowed orange, like it was burning hot, and the snowbanks melted, and the winter solstice far behind. Not so orange to forget those cold days of February when the last chill winds pierce, when it decides to burn white cold, when nose hairs and door locks and souls freeze.

The sun glowed orange on a student wearing a long cloak for warmth. I watched its hem ripple in string theory-driven chance as the kid walked along.

The sun glowed orange, and I decided the gym was rank with the loneliness of homosocial panic. That thought rolled on my tongue even as I bit back lactic acid.

The sun glowed orange, and I was, myself, so lonely, but the snow was melting.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Liberty, Justice, and ISP, for All

Despite my vitriolic manifesto to the contrary, I've become a part of the Twitter phenomenon. I even have my tweets push into a sidebar to the current website.

One of my favorite tweet hashtags, or genre-markers for the uninitiated, is #firstworldproblems. I use it all the time, but perhaps I use it too carelessly. Perhaps it needs better explanation.

What used to be my quintessential example of firstworldproblems was the night, last semester, when Comcast service went down for a half hour period. The unBridge and I were texting each other back and forth, frantic, asking if the other had service, wondering what we could do. The unBridge found it most ironic that instructions how to bypass the outage could be found...on the internet.

That panic that arose from nothing more and nothing less than a lack of an Internet service - that's a first world problem. What human being actually needs constant access to broadband Interwebs?

But then #Jan25 happened. The Animus, earlier today, linked this post in a tweet of his own. In no way am I trying to draw a direct parallel from my experience to that of Egyptians, either to trivialize the latter or to self-aggrandize the former. Rather, I mean to examine it metaphorically, analogically.

The Animus says, "The thing with social media is it makes divulging your personal and tracking information fun."

But the other thing with social media is it prevents another Guatemala from occurring. Hopefully it prevents other acts of hate and suffering from occurring. All the world can be tracked? Sure. But simultaneously, all the world can be watching.

In the cacophony that are the Interwebs, the position that resounds is not the most vitriolic or imbued with the most rhetoric. The most powerful reverberations are the silences.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"The Deconstruction Not of Heteronormativity. Nor of Desire. Of Interpersonal Interaction."

Briullov is in town! I'm excited to give him a new example of my very own [derivative] paranoiac-critical method. (Cf. Dobuzhinsky's "Kiss")

When we had a drunk lunch together, just the two of us, the Wrathful Poet Goddess smiled at my fashion antics. She stared out the window at a cityscape marred by poor snow collection. Maybe dim sunlight scarred gray cloud cover.

She said, or at least, the literary construct of her memory I've created [that which is called "The Wrathful Poet Goddess," here devoid still more of real-world referent] confessed, "He definitely loves me. I love him, too, but he knew before me. He said it before I did. It's interesting, isn't it, to feel that way: sometimes I wonder what it'd be like if he didn't love me so much."

She said, "I love the Wrathful Poet Goddess I see in his eyes. He sees everything that's good about me; he sees only the good in me. I want to be like the person he understands me to be."

She said, "He makes me laugh. Isn't that the most important?"

I would have said, "The unstable subject projects his oscillations."

I would have said, "The know-it-all is most dangerous when he suspects he's wrong."

I would have said, "I don't know what to say to you, то робостью, то стыдностью томим. That's when I know it's gone too far, the Russian. The abyss. I don't know the tightrope. The funny thing is the free fall doesn't feel anything particular."

Homer's said to me, too many times to count, "You can't mask everything you feel emotionally, irrationally, in the guise of an intellectual conversation."

Cf. Rilo Kiley's Execution of All Things

Monday, January 24, 2011

This isn't Simon and Garfunkel.

It's hard for me to describe my intellectual interests, even to the specialists in my field. It'll be still harder for them to swallow the surprises I have in store.

There are shadows that form the gestalt of those interests, though, or perhaps it's better to say that the shadows create a perimeter that obliquely defines the gestalt within.

Consider this: I retold a protean form of my commentary on the media, polar bears, and the zodiac at a Drunk Lunch (of Doom™) with The Wrathful Poet Goddess, Isis, and Fluidity. They laughed, and then their laughter stuttered down.
The Wrathful Poet Goddess: It really is horrid to see what's happening. I was in Pennsylvania to visit family. There are people who like The Polar Bear.

Isis: I could never forgive America if she became president. It's taken my whole life to undo my father's misogynistic views on women...she would reaffirm everything he thought.

Fluidity: Something definitely needs to be done.
At which we all fell silent; as so many of our Russian or Marxist or existentially-conscious forebears have understood before us, the intellectual gap between asking ЧТО ДЕЛАТЬ [What is to be Done?] and the choice of action [or choices or vacillations between moral codes, e.g. showing here] is almost too large for any but the bravest, most stalwart, most foolish to cross.

The silence that fell among us is where my interests begin. When those Soviet architects participated in the politics of monumental art and architecture, what defined their silences and their speech? When the "little people" of Europe lived their pre-modern existences, what kept even their alien existence human? When the concerned citizen wants to act, how can they?

Something needs to fill that silence, lest it mark the shadowed perimeter of a gestalt of despair.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

If I don't use them, the thought stays a draft forever.

Writing yesterday's entry, which used my cell phone's text feature to create a dialogue, I thought about all the times that I've been waiting for a friend in a bar. When I have my Hemingway Notebook (of Doom™, obviously) I can write in it, but sometimes I don't want to be burdened by a bag. Heaven forbid I'm carrying the HNoD™ in hand and forget it in some ridiculous drunken moment. When I'm HNoD™-less, I'll write notes to myself as saved text message drafts.

Some of them are drafts, literally, like this one (which I eventually tweeted:
The unstable projects its oscillations on the observable, the stable object.
Others are prompts for historical treatises I'll likely never research, like this thought on the "face-in-the-window" trope of horror movies, which arose when I walked past a slew of house parties on my way to Crane Alley:
More to the image obsession than face value. What does the face in the window represent? Nesting, a constellation of meaning. Paranoia. Desire for private, intimate. Why did horror movies tap into it? What cultural process?
Sometimes I become obsessed with words, like the term Gertrude Stein used to describe some of Ernest Hemingway's early fiction:
Inaccrochable. He wrote in a whisper, a conspiratorial matrix, murmurs and secrets and confessions
They can be Emo Most Epic (and/or riffing off of Agnes Heller):
Understand the intransigent truth that I can be mad at you, wrapped up though you are in that shallow image of narcissism that draws you to me/Where is an oyster for my head?/Lorca, you can't perceive this: the cryptics in which I encode my life are protection. Or are they из-за так называемых недостаток ... That's when I know it's gone too far, the Russian. The abyss. I don't know the tightrope. The funny thing is the free fall doesn't feel anything particular.
or completely incomprehensible to me the next morning (I'm pretty sure this one was "Should I go to the next bar or go home?):
Count an imaginary unit before you follow them into the inferno you know you should not perpetrate our sins made of the worst kinds of desecrations. Self-loathing is quaint. So naive when I wanted to love her.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I think I'd make more than him if I got a job.

The Animus had to perform a courier task for me today. He went to the post office. The following exchange of texts occurred:
Animus: That better be the best $5 I spend all month! ;)

Gestalt: $5?? How come it wasn't 44 cents? or 88, maybe, if they needed 2?

Animus: Mailer plus certified. No chances that way if it gets lost.

Gestalt: Oh. Well...you love me? This is what it'll be like when you buy me lattes on Sat mornings. :D
I like joking about The Animus being a sugar daddy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's time for a conspiracy theory.

I'm convinced that there's a direct causal relation between media representation of the assassination attempt on Giffords/Palin's subsequent misappropriation of 'blood libel' and the "revelation" regarding the zodiac.

It goes like this: (read the following as #. Event -> (yields) Media Response Prime

Media Response Pushback)

1. Assassination -> "OHMYGOD GUYS! What have we done?! There's some SERIOUS vitriol thrown around in Washington. This is a bad bad thing.
"Hey. Wait. I feel like I saw a target painted on Giffords, before...now, where did I see that?"
2. The Polar Bear says "Ay dios mio! The blood libel!" -> EITHER "OHMYGOD GUYS! She's so right! Democrats suckzzzzzzz!" OR "OHMYGOD GUYS! How dare she say that?"
"OHMYGOD GUYS! This is getting too heavy. Our 14-year-old reader construct can't handle it. Think of something, quick!"
3. The earth has slowly shifted for millenia. We've known about this process for millenia. -> "OHMYGOD GUYS! Let's use this!"

In picture form, it looks something like this: "Assassination and serious examination of ourselves and our future? No. ZODIACS!!!!!1111!!!1111!exlamationpoint!!!"

(image credit: Hyperbole and a Half)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dead Guy Ale? No, too obvious. Let's make it a Blue Moon.

I want to write a story in the space behind my dreams, or the space defined by dreams. There's a boardwalk, at midnight, and some creepy men. A piano recital I'm not ready for. The Professor introduces me in a language I've forgotten to understand. There's something I want to say, something I want to remember, but I slip from it into different perches and poses. An amusement park ride carries me over zombies and islands. A log cabin, two. In swamps. A bar, a dirty blonde with eyes too wide apart, but she smiles, and remembers me, and I order a beer.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

And I should call this home.

It's an accumulation of the weirdest minutiae. I peek an eye open in the dead of night, and the alarm clock glows a different color. My hand creeps under the sheets and feels empty air. In the predawn gloom I run into the wall, forgetting which layout, which room I should be picturing. No Keurig, here; I brew my own coffee. When I've rinsed out the shampoo and my eyes are closed, I'm pawing at shower wall, where a different control, in a different shower, used to be.

I rub at my eyes and see where the tap truly is. The water drains away.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

He also says, "So this is what it's like to experience time the slow way."

I've been on a bit of a Doctor Who quoting kick. Let's round it out with a throw-back to David Tenant's Doctor X, to the last line he ever said in that role.
I don't want to go.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I am a caricature of myself

I am busy on something Very Important and Secret™ that I'll tell you all about soon enough. This is what it looks like when I'm so tensely focused.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

There are no Dementors here.

The following is shamelessly stolen from the Animus's iPhone because my memory card finally committed suicide, as it has been threatening to do since last summer. Thankfully I had uploaded most of the images. The only photos it immolated in its conflagration of absolute data corruption were from the Road Trip of Doom™ to Philadelphia, and the pictures I had tried to take this same day.

Fog rose from the Cocheco. A grey mist hung over all the fields. It filtered through the trees' barren branches, promising mystery and the ancient magic of the seasons. Not least magical of all, it inspired me to feel happy about a wintry landscape.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Titillating, or Troubling?

The New York Times online produced a series of fourteen actors reproducing "classic screen types." You can decide what you think (if anything) is compelling about James Franco's flirtation with himself. Tilda Swinton's sobbing is striking but, like many of the other "types," seems melodramatic. Or perhaps it's -- in Bill Nighy's Dr Who character's words
[Van Gogh] transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world, no one had ever done it before.
Or perhaps it's that Franco's playing into stereotypes that Hollywood actors are so full of themselves [and so stupid] that of course they would hit on themselves in a bar.

Or, a la Katy Perry's recent video, perhaps because things like homosexuality, Narcissism, egotism, smarminess, and all their friends are acceptable as long as the individuals perpetrating them are white middle-class individuals.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I say nothing new, but I'll say it in a new way.

"There were cracks. Some were tiny...some where as big as the sky. Through some we saw worlds and people and through others we saw silence...and the end of all things."
That's a quote from Dr. Who. I can't explain its relevance to that series without spoiling the Animus.

Its relevance to this life is that the blog has seen silence. I am naughty, to be sure, to allow the blog to feel silence. Humans create dialogue, create the stories and narratives and fictions
"Not all fiction is false, you stupid hipsters."
-Graffiti at Caffe Paradiso, Urbana, IL
that surround us, that define our existence. That phrase, at least as I've heard it uttered, often comes from a place that denigrates our myths, our shortsightedness, our prejudice.

An absence of storytelling is death. It is worse than death; without my stories, I am in oblivion.

I woke up in the middle of the night last week and was suddenly, painfully aware of the fact of our mortality. MORTality. Muerto. Mortal. We who are about to die salute you.

Before we shall have fallen silent.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Next Stop: Ninth Grade

Jeff Bridges, as Kevin Flynn in the recent Disney production, Tron: Legacy, says: "Perfection is unknowable."

David Tennant, as Dr. Who in a 2009 Thanksgiving special for the series, says: "Adelaide, I've done this sort of thing before. In small ways, saved some little people. But never someone as important as you. Ooh, I'm good!" Adelaide responds, "Little people? What, like Mia and Yuri? Who decides they're so unimportant? You?"

I wonder this. Who, after Thomas Carlyle, subscribed to the Great Man approach to history as a vindicated academic discipline? Long before the cultural turn and all its friends, there's been no such thing as a one-man production on the historical stage. And the quest for perfection? Didn't that leave the realm of philosophy essentially the same time the discipline split from theology?

They say that as the size of a mob increases, the average intelligence of its members decreases. They say that news broadcasts are delivered for the average intelligence of a 14-year-old.

Must it be so? I'm not yet convinced it does.

More importantly, even if we take for granted that these ventures will be produced for 14-year-olds: why can't we be smarter than a 14-year-old? A computer programmer ought to be better than a typical user. A teacher who assigns "1984" should have read other dystopian novels, the rest of George Orwell's bibliography, know the historical context...so s/he will have a leg up on his/her students. Did Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz contemplate perfection and come merely to that conclusion when they wrote Tron? Was "little people" the ultimate decision Russell T Davies could reach for Dr. Who?

When I wrote about Inception I asked what it is we're afraid of contemplating, why the American movie-going public needs its failsafes of video games and immortality.

Why do we need to restrict ourselves from enlightenment? From riddles? From ambiguity and contemporaneity? Don't tell me The People aren't smart enough. I say they're not trying hard enough.

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's because I don't buy wire hangers.

Some new apocalypse porn movie (or perhaps a movie with Nicolas Cage -- they're usually mutually inclusive) was advertised on the TV.
Me: "Oh, look, more Apocalypse Porn™. The Apocalypse will kill everyone off except for an indicative white, middle class male and his heteronormative nuclear family--"
Mom: "Right, right, because he's a cockroach."
Me: [smiles silently that he is starting to rub off.]