This is really strange. I have more work piled up than I can possibly accomplish, but it's July 4, and there is some sort of mandate to take the holiday. Plus I live in this cool California version of small town USA, and they do up July 4th like nobody's business. I've gotta partake. I can do a compare and contrast with my former digs in the New York State version of Dogpatch where they showed similar devotions from a wildly different context.
So I checked up here on my blog-space, biding time from working, and I found this entry languishing. It had been sitting there for well over a month, waiting for me to have a chance to look it over. I just launched the sucker, and what the hell!?
I never do manage to get things written the way they would be written if I had the right ability. Like I have this new friend who knows how to bend those spaghetti balloons into shapes which are almost too amazing to describe. The results are like what Chinese calligraphic painters can do with their brushes, to where a few practiced strokes might channel the particular qi of a cicada, say or a horse, and then even to a Western viewer, they have a kind of verisimilitude, which is nothing in the direction of photographic. That's what these balloons are like. Evocative of a rose, or a sub-machine gun or an elaborate hair-style.
That's the way I'd like to write.
Sometimes I wonder, what would happen if we named things not according to their phenotype or genotype, but according to the ecological niche they occupy. Hiking up the mountains yesterday, I was transformed and transfixed by the flowers along the path, regretting mildly that I did not know their names. But I wanted a name for the place they grow in, some demarker for the qi which allows their engenderment there.
Would language then deteriorate, or would we ourselves become that much less insistent that the function of our lives is to assemble as much experience to our Proper Name as we can muster. And then still expire disappointed at what we failed to achieve. Like novelistic mastery of the sort Frantzen credits Wallace with whose ex-post-mortem writings now are the subject of some embalmers art.
What if not to succeed that way were still to leave one rights as an instance of that energy which sometimes erupts in florid recognition, and sometimes simply makes the attempt, which some more idealized instance of the type gets picked for (ho ho)?
You know, I muse now that political rhetoric seems only to target those most susceptible to being sold on a slogan. WalMart shoppers, each of whom now has that precious one-person, one-vote and is feeling kind-of uppity about the privilege. We don't need no stinkin' interpretation!
We just bought an antique lamp, with the confidence to know that simply based on its construction and materials, its value was more than we paid for it. It isn't likely to go down, so why not put money there instead of in a bank account which won't even keep pace with inflation?
Most purchases solve problems; whether decorator problems or shelter problems or transportation problems, they lose their value instantly upon the act of purchase. Not so antiques, especially in the ever-new state of California where only aging gays and lovers of old houses and the WalMart flea-market types seem to be patrolling the aisles. Which is my type? What's my context,. what's my niche?
I think I'd like to see a political rhetoric targeted at thought leaders. Something removed from marketing hype enough so that people recognized their own incompetence to judge, the way we might with antique roadshow questions. We might be amazed, were we to have no reason to mistrust the judgments, at the value revealed.
Something we thought we understood well might be revealed to be a pig in a poke, manipulating our certainties the way that a practiced Chinese peasant does with tourists climbing along the Great Wall.
But I suppose my hope is hopeless. Rhetoric has gone the way of all flesh, toward meaningless and useless exercise of reflex desires. If it moves it must be edible.
Remember when libido was channeled into something like a Corvette? Now I see countless ads which have been reduced to the analog of flesh-shots which subliminally once channeled my desire for goods to enhance my style of life. Typically, they show four different flat-screens, one mobile, one tablet, one desktop size and one big screen.
These are the anything contexts. They can display text or flesh or moving pictures or put you in touch with a friend. You can read a book there, and you can let it flow across the screens, and you can let your mind flow, even, if you were to wish it, while walking in the mountains among wildflowers. There is no signal there. Thank God!
Consider the movement of the word, "technology." It has surpassed words like biology where the ". . . ology" denotes 'the study of.' Techniques for getting things done transmute from the study or even the enactment of those techniques to something which indicates some thing itself. Some item meant to embody something universal about techniques.
It's a thinging or reification like that long since done to "Science" as though that were some disembodied thought process which could be invoked in terms like "Science has long since discovered . . ." Long before that it happened, though from the other direction, to God which represented a striving for a Name for that which cannot and probably should not be named.
Technology is an empty construct, working almost the way that entrepreneurship does, which once quite properly referred to the process by which someone not quite scrupulous would work to relieve you of your hard-earned cash and to provide you instead with something rather more like a pig in a poke. As though technology solves any problems. As though it can be any more than an end in itself, to fascinate endlessly, to distract, to name in place of proper naming.
Rhetoric also once referred to verbal maneuvers apart from their earnest truth value. These were techniques for persuasion, apart from the rightness of the speaker's cause. Our politicians now, need it be said out loud, are the personality equivalents of technology, embodying nothing. There is no distinction among the wax figures, Mormon or lipsticked poker faces, one step from Scientological (properly so-called) batshit.
And this is that which I celebrate, blowing up July 4. Sound and fury signifying nothing. Hooray!!