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. 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,, 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 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.]