Reading Deleuze is hard. It's hard to make the words cohere, as he tries to de-interiorize his self, which predates the selfie, which maybe he foreshadows. We've all gone mad to save ourselves from de-interiorization, staring at identical devices, making identical faces. It's hard to make the writing a body without organs without somehow personalizing the author, just in the way that so many post-modernist post-feminist post-patriarchal scholars do by believing that they can reference him by name and title. I would have a hard time short-handing him like that. My memory is not good enough.
I still want to know what a written word is. It's not a tool. A pencil is a tool, useless without the ground of paper or something like it. A keyboard is a tool, now useless without computing power and some medium for storage and then transmission. Nevermind that the written word is not a tool, it's become almost entirely disembodied since there is no longer any physical implication with the writer. Who could have just spoken it, and never formed the words.
I can't read Deleuze. Not that it doesn't make sense, but that it does. It would be easier if I could ascertain that it doesn't make any sense. It would be really easy if he just created a freaking narrative, already.
So I had to divert myself. I'd come off of reading The Jasmine Wars which just left me cranky. So it was either go watch Blade Runner, or indulge the new Dan Brown novel. I chose the latter.
Apart from the evident fact that authors are now enterprises, maybe even approaching cinema in scope of hired guns, I think I made the right choice. It was a fun and absorbing read. I feel relieved of the obligation to do anything useful when there are so many who are so much better than I could ever be.
Yes, well, I do wish that I could write an absorbing narrative. I wish that I could have been a scholar - that I had that kind of precise memory and cataloging ability. I wish that I had been an engineer. But here I am, leaving behind finally a tattered career and still lost in an endless quest for the energy to compose something useful on my way out. I don't know what form it should take.
In the end, Brown's new novel, Origin, was pretty solidly middle-brow. He caught the focus of most of us who are barely holding on to the state of knowledge as conveyed by whatever media we can endure. We have our own "theories," and Brown responsibly and reliably brings focus to them. He doesn't let us down - he gives us a plausible scenario without resorting to any authorial tricks. He's inventive with his characters and with the institutions he describes, but most amazingly the final reveal is plausible not only in the narrative, but in real life. I suspect he may find himself with an embarrassment of adherents of a sort. He gives focus to the media narratives which we only barely grasp. Thanks!
The novel is meta in other words, hinting that the scale and scope of his readership (among others, he thanks a virtual army of translators, perhaps pulling off the same globalism of release that Apple now does) maybe enabling him to do what his protagonist does; get the world thinking in some semblance of the same direction. He must have gotten a lot of people talking.
But a lot more will watch Blade Runner, and the new Star Wars, descended though it has into the Wonderful World of Walt, an entity to which Brown tips his hat more than a few times. A constructed world so much better than the one nature would leave us to without our technologies.
I have to come off myself. I mean I still read critically as though I have something more penetrating to say, maybe more penetrating even than what Deleuze is writing. But that's just ego, right? That's what I tell myself. The world doesn't need yet another one of us telling it like it is. Hat's off to those who do it so much better!
Just now as I write, fellow Buffalonian Harvey Weinstein is being piled on by all the right-thinking people of the world. Far be it from me to defend him, but it's hard not to think he's taking the hit as a kind of Voodoo proxy for our president. It's hard not to think that his basic crime is being wealthy and ugly, his behavior being no worse than many people of closer acquaintance who would do disgusting and illegal things if they could get away with it. I mean few of us are as handsome as the Donald.
He lives in the world Hugh Hefner created, and now indulged in by all the Ivy Leaguers if you are to believe the media. Beautiful people of privilege indulge the lowest urges simply because they can, and too bad really for the women not hot enough and the men now powerful enough by proxy of wealth. Women who compete on the basis of body heat, and who might not complain if my other fellow Buffalonian George Clooney were to let them come on to him.
George nor silent Brad wouldn't have had to beg and deploy power (Weinstein's taped coercions were more pathetic sounding than scary - you would have to be in a position to lose something to be scared) to get himself laid. Forgive me if I empathize with the sleazeball who promoted bands as the Harvey and Corky of my youth. The mudpit in which he wrestled was always known as such.
There's just a bit of disingenuousness in the pile-on. Don't we all construct personal narratives of absolution, even if at the expense of some convenient other who presents himself? I suppose that Donald Trump should watch out, since his will come faster and more furious when it does, though I do note that he has more restraint in this case than do so many of the liberal-types with whom Harvey Weinstein was always more closely identified. I only hope that I will never be so quick to cast stones, even at the Donald.
Well, the trouble for me with reading Deleuze is that he affords the same insight and clarity which a glancing lifelong intersection with Chinese culture has. Deconstructing power, but for some purpose other from empowering the selfie-self. Deconstructing power has to include re-embedding the interiorized and mystical self within the continuum of ever-evolving nature. And that means to discover an ontology of accident, which Darwin did for sure. But which our constructed world would shelter us from.
The transhumanist future of Dan Brown's fictional cosmos negates the ground - the ecological niche - within which mankind might continue to evolve. The ugly and not just the poor. Who will we all want to look like when we have the choice? Will we become as indistinguishable as iPhones without their bling? Will our narratives all fuse?
It is nice to be able to stand outside the fray and watch it roll together toward conclusion. I do believe my juices flow more by reading than they do by immersion in 3D surround sound, but they both tend in the same direction.