Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Late night discussion board post. 103B was big. Sublimity is not rest / like a wave it will crest / and fall / into itself, but forward.
Sublimity is not rest
like a wave it will crest
into itself, but forward.
Derr says there is violence implied in any of our subscriptions to the practice of language. Or he writes that. (I'm not even going to cite him.) When we use language we agree to arrogate to the rules that govern the language, and enforce its consequences -- which fall, sometimes, with violent force upon the individual. So one might read my questions of violence as redundant, right? Undoubtedly proscriptive, right? Or is there still doubt? What is this skepticism that nags me?
Perhaps that's what is at stake in the subliming of logic: to abstract oneself from consequences (as of the law, as of violence).
Do any of you watch John From Cincinnati? Or Deadwood? David Milch created both and acts/acted as head writer for both series. David Milch is a philanthropist. That is, he loves human beings. (He spreads his wealth, too, but that's besides the point of invoking the word's "original" definition. But then, there we are, again, questioning what a specific word means in a specific situation, or context, and how I can make it mean that in said situation, or context.) Milch writes fabulous dialogue. He understands iterability, and language as a social enterprise. If you haven't seen either show I really recommend you watch them. And they're great for different reasons so it's impossible to pick a favorite. But I will say that John starts yet slower, or it takes a little longer to, uh, "get" (at first glance).
Let's take John From Cincinnati. The eponymous character is named John. He says he comes from Cincinnati. His last name is Monad. John Monad says he is form Cincinnati. He points at the sky when he says, "Cincinnati." There's some things John knows and there's some things John doesn't know: "Some things I know and some things I don't." He takes others words and uses them through his mouth, for his own purposes. Exact phrases. When John's new friend, Butchie, tells John it's annoying when he says, "Some things I know and some things I don't," Butchie proffers, "Say, 'I don't know, Butchie,' instead." From then on in the show, when in doubt, John says, "I don't know Butchie instead." And it works. Sometimes, though, it costs John some blood. He gets in a van with some "vatos" (as it were) and after he repeats their words back to them they think it an insult and they stab him in the stomach, repeatedly. He lives, as he always does, but for a second you can see that some contexts are not as welcome as others and iterability can fail communication. The consequences of that failure is death. But, being a Monad, to say a being of time and space, he lives on, as he always does. An episode later he delivers a speech to the entire cast, but none of the characters seem to hear him, nor see him, nor register how his speech affects them. It simply does by being out there, by performing without being heard, without a "proper" context. I'm still grappling with it, and all it means. But it takes a certain amount of visual literacy as well as literary literacy so that's what's complicating things, beyond just the words heard by me, by you, by the true audience of the show, and of John, which now includes you, if you've made it this far in the post:
If my words are yours, can you hear my Father? Can Bill know my Father, keeping his eye on me? Can I bone Kai and Butchie know my Father instead? My Father's shy doing his business. Kai helps my Father dump out. Bill takes a shot. Shaunie is much improved. Joe is a Doubting Thomas. Joe will save Not-Aleman. Joe will bring his buddies home. This is how Freddy relaxes. Cup-o'joe, and Winchell's variety dozen. Mitch catches a good wave. Mitch wipes out. Mitch wipes out Cissy. Cissy shows Butchie how to do that. Cissy wipes Butchie out. Butchie hurts Barry's head. Mister Rollins comes in Barry's face. My Father runs the Mega-Millions. Fur is big. Mud is big. The stick is big. The word is big. Fire is huge. The wheel is huge. The line and circle are big. On the wall, the line and circle are huge. On the wall, the man at the wall makes a man from the circle and line. The man at the wall makes a Word on the wall from the circle and line. The Word on the wall hears my Father. The zeroes and ones make the Word in Cass's camera. In the Word on the wall that hears my-Father-in-Cass's-camera, the good one Mitch catches doesn't wipe Cissy out. In the-Word-that-hears-my-Father, Cissy shows Butchie something else. In-my-Father's-Word, Cissy shows Butchie in Shaun. In-my-Father's-Word, Tina raises Shaun at lunch. In Cass's-camera, Butchie lays the court out for Barry, and Mister Rollins watches, and he doesn't come on Barry's face. In Cass's-camera, Butchie knows Kai kept the faith. In-my-Father's-Word, the Wave lifts them up. In Cass's camera, Bill doesn't bump his head on the stairs. In Cass's-camera, as long as he's being stupid, Bill gives Lois a kiss. In His-Word-in-Cass's-camera, the Internet is big. Nine-Eleven is big, but not every towel-head is eradicated. In His-Word, We are coming Nine-Eleven-Fourteen. In my-Father's-Word, Bill sees how Freddy relaxes. In Cass's-camera, Ramon wants to know who's hungry, in the courtyard and Room Forty-Five. In my-Father's-Word-to-come-in-Cass's-camera, Doctor Smith calls Ocean Properties. In Cass's-camera-to-come, my Father stares Not Aleman down, and Freddy sees Bill much-improved. You will not note my-Father's-Word, nor remember Cass's-camera, but you will not forget what we did here.I'll just let that sit for a second while you re-read it, whomever "you" are, my fictive (perlocutionary) locutor. "You" read it a second time?
Shit is big, right?
It means more when you've heard each of the phrases from somewhere else in the show but it still gives me shivers to simply read its rhythms there. And you know what Milch does in the season finale that just aired tonight? He has John say everything in the speech again, directly to another character. And the character reads him perfectly. Or so it would seem. (In this regard, Luke Perry's Linc Stark is almost analogous to Ian McShane's Al Swearengen of Deadwood, but I've not the time; I mean, look at this shit!)
So maybe all I have to ask is this, again: "Shit is big, right?" Mull it over: "Take a second. Mattera fact -- take four, B -- and think before you fuck little skateboard P." Which is, of course, followed by: "When the pimps in the crib, ma, drop it like it's hot -- drop it like it's hot. When the pigs try to get at you, park it likes it hot -- park it likes it hot. And if a Nga get a attitude, pop it like it's hot, pop it like it's hot. I got the rolly on my arm and I'm pourin Champ-Dom and I roll the best weed cuz I got it goin on."
LeChaim, shug booty. I know one of you made some sense of this shit.
I'm off to Tahlequah, Oklahoma in a mere 10 hours where weather.com tells me it will be 99 degrees Fahrenheit when I land -- in Tulsa, but who cares? -- : SHIT WILL BE HOT. Luckily, there will be a river or three to jump into. As long as there's a river, I'm good. Cuz, really, fuck a lake! There could be monsters waiting in the silt, ready to snap my foot off and keep chewing up my leg from the bloody ankle all the way to my tender inner thigh. All I fear in rivers are the rocks:
We saw sun on your rocks, in the white
churn across lips and tumbling runs
down past that hole on the left
you----yeah, that big fucker, that one
ready to chomp your rig, lover, the one
we're trying to avoid--placed
too close but far enough for a thrill.
----The cam straps are tight; hold on