American politics are tribal in the same sense that baseball team affiliation is tribal: you root for your team not out of ideological loyalty, but because you’ve always rooted for that team. The major parties are less coherent entities than a collection of constituencies.
I just realized that I’m not even writing a parody of a Most Interesting Man in the World commercial; I’m actually just writing lines from a hypothetical commercial.
Poor Sally Draper…
Community is interesting. It’s as informed by postmodernism as a show can get; basically every episode is a parody or pastiche of some other media. Yet its formal irony coexists with thematic sentimentality; at its core, Community is about learning to care about other people. It’s even heartwarming, but not in a fake, forced way (well, except in the 4th season, which crosses the boundary between moving and cheesy [it also crosses the boundary between funny and unfunny, unfortunately]).
David Foster Wallace predicted the existence of a show like Community in his short story “Tri-Stan: I Sold Sissee Nar to Ecko” (which is terrible and nearly unreadable; seriously, DFW is a great novelist, but his short stories are a mixed bag), in which he spoke of a show formed exclusively from recombination of elements from other shows (the details might be off; it’s been a while since I read this short story). DFW thought of this sort of self-conscious irony as fundamentally paralyzing; it let writers avoid commitment to anything, instead allowing them smug refuge in clever critique. It was the enemy of sincerity. Yet Community somehow manages to blend these apparent opposites; it manages to be sincere, and not in a manipulative way. It’s a heartening anomaly.
He wanted to fleck words like paintdrops fingered free from the bristles of a brush. He wanted to soak the page with words thisaway and thataway, sensible and not, whorish, refined, words smeared like the paste of stars crushed between your fists, words like the explosion and then the dripdripdripdropdownyourlips of sweetjuice when mouth meets peach, words like what you would’ve heard if you put an ear to Joyce’s sleepsmelling mouth middream, words that could abolish white altogether. And there he sat, hunched over the desk with its white wood beneath the white of the paper, both immaculately white, white like a strange variant of blindness, his black fountain pen hovering, inkheavy, heavy with potential, unrealized, unrealizable maybe, the hand that held it shaking, shuddering even. Cowardly hand. Slowly, it occurred to him that, perhaps, it hadn’t been the best idea to quit his job.
Yesterday was a long day.
I feel like an alien in church.
She looked beautiful in the casket.
The more distant a relative is, the more likely they are to not stop talking to you.
Satancat looking through rainy window with droplets about face looking in looking in, meowless you would think. Or a meow like something ominous and horrorfilm. Two big drops before her nose like tearboogers. Why so glum little girl? Eyes almond and hateful and satanic. Why so glum? You wonder why they care so much for these cats they do. Loveless little things. They smile at you but that smile is. Hm. Autonomous. No, not the word. What I mean is. What I mean. Like automaton they smile at you. Like automaton they purr. All instinctual. Behaviorism. Synapse to synapse, dust to dust. Eliminative materialism: trim the fat of the mind. Dan Dennett up at Tufts. Your cat doesn’t love you, just atoms interact with atoms interact with atoms and then you get your molecules and then you get. Survival of the fittest. Darwin. Though he didn’t say that. They like him, their Darwin. Haven’t read him though. Haven’t read much. But the cats. The women and the cats they like. Loveless. They are, not the cats. You imagine them, neckbearded, notredame’d over the keyboard, hands hairyknuckled and fapsweaty, eyes dreamlit of. What. What do they dream. Rich maybe. No. They don’t want wealth they just want things. Downloads. Effortless. Pirates upon the high sea. Blackbeard with beer belly. Smell the same as Blackbeard likely. You think they’d have smelled of shit and whiskey the pirates anyway. Bathe once a year in Caribbean; warm isn’t it, the Caribbean? Come up saltsmelling and glistening. Though who knows in the grandscheme. Some historian likely. Primarysourced. “Ole mister beard, and I don’t mean to insult his honor, but he smells of eggy rotted for days on end. Signed J.D. Bloom, Privateer.” Eggy. Vitamin C? Scurvy and all that. Do eggs have it? Don’t think so. Could Google it. Worth the time? What isn’t. Just a second. Nobody watches plays anymore. The time. Time for everything in one second, everything competing like if your thoughts they were sailors thrown overboard and they keep bobbing up and sucking out the air and of course you’re going to save all of them if you can. “Help me sir, I’ve got a family!” cries the one shiverfaced and dying. But you save all those sailors you’ve got no time to move your rescue boat down the channel and save that bigger ship that’s halfway capsized. Ole chandeliered Titanic. Icicle-eyed DiCaprio swallowed down lukegreen Atlantic’s insatiable gullet, float forever at the bottom, arms and legs splayed, christfallen cruciform. Was he ever a stage actor I wonder. Metaphor might be a bit attenuated. But point remains. Indulge indulge indulge every little thing and then things worth indulging you’ve got no time for. Of course you say that. But you still like plays, right? At least somewhat. Macbeth, Macbeth, wherefore art thou Macbeth? Remember, you first heard the line like that in some cartoon and thought that was how the play really went. Jimmy Neutron it was; Macbeth in space. 90s kid, you call yourself, but they won’t call you. Too young by a hair. Macbeth and lightsabers. They didn’t call them that. Copyright reasons most likely. Copyright. They would love that. Redditors. Redditors. I read it on reddit. Obvious. They love the copyright, love arguing about it. Of course I should be able to copy. The only copy right is the right to copy. Fuck yes I would download a car! MPAA’s Hitlerian president in cahoots with equally Hitlerian Congress. Le-terally Hitler. Oppression. Free content, free access. Why should I. A dime to. The artists make their money off concerts. Capitalist exploitation they talk almost. Almost. Too pedestrian for Marx. Besides they like the old capitalists you imagine in tophats and one eye monocled. An upboat to you good sir they say. Why thank you good sir! Edit: My most upvoted comment and it’s about fapping. A good fap. Joycean word. Onomatopoeic. They come here for that too, though they don’t speak about it. As much, who am I kidding, just not as much. Whole subs full with just albums of women bent over bovine or butterspread or with a toy inside or something fleshier than a toy. Fapsweaty their hands. What a word. A fapsweaty post and they give me le gold! A scam that is. A gift for reddit not the redditor. All these things and yet I stay.
The cat still sataneyed and scheming.
They took a picture of the drenched thing instead of letting her in. The poor tearboogered girl. Whored out love. Your soul sold in the service of wit. Or what they call wit. The lulz. Nothing more ephemeral. Porter scene in Macbeth. He could equivocate to Heaven. French hose. Seen that twice: the audience knows they’re supposed to laugh but can’t figure out at what. Awkward chuckles; that one high-pitched shriek from the back. She’d laugh at anything. Porter falling over himself and if he does it good enough you can almost smell the whiskey on his breath. Provokes the desire, takes away the performance. Shakespeare’s cleverness survives but does gasp sometimes in the thin air that surrounds us. Thin air: his invention. CPR; oxygen mask. Paramedic from Hell. Careful or you end up with something bloated, reanimate, undead. Perverse restoration. Ecce Homo. Mockery of modernism. The Scream. How incomprehensible we will be. Incomprehensible our alien banality. Imagine our wit discovered some thousand years hence. The archaeologists: eyebrows raised skyward, eyes reflective of what? Narwhals? Horse-sized ducks? That woman, hand on face, tear like the tearboogered cat’s rolling down her cheek, with her imagined problems? Imagined and multiplied and forgotten. We mock ourselves for our pettiness in the face of the suffering that has found its way into every crevice of the earth save ours but in this mockery we obliterate all those dark crevices from memory until there is only ours with its overstocked refrigerators and unfilled Brita pitchers and well-paying early-waking jobs. Joke about the privilege long enough it doesn’t seem like a privilege. Smile you glib bastard headshaking cheeks rosed like that’s enough. Smile and celebrate your pettiness and make a game of it. Kindergarten: share with the class. Clever enough and it’ll make the front page. Karma: you’ll reincarnate even better in the next life. Maybe even high enough up the totem pole (wrong India) that you’ve better things to do than wallow in your own picayune existence on this wallowsome site.
Getting a wee bit sanctimonious are we. Get so worked up. If you were older doctors’d say watch your blood pressure. Stared at this cat five minutes. Pretty meowless loveless cat. Imagine her highshouldered in the dusty clockless hours of the town in the words of McCarthy. Imagine her whiskered face milkhappy, sated. Imagine her placated purr as you rub your hand against her soft fur. This poor puss. And you’ve made a war of her. Artillery strikes rising parabolic from your head and dudding unheard and unfelt by the feet of the faceless foe. Hateful incantations from your fingers drunk with damnation. Strawmen shot dead, now burning in hypothetical Hellfire. Leads to anger leads to leads to. Words afire. You swear by that David Wallace lecture what with the two fish swimming and not understanding that what they’re swimming in is water. What with the zenning out so as not to kill yourself. Radical empathy for others. I might be in somebody else’s way. All these mights. Got you nowhere. You read that site day after day. Come here and check. Without fail. Addict. The veins of your mind needletracked and collapsed. Getting off on offense till it shrivels you black and ratdead. Got to be better than them. Better than their smallness. Than their angry young white maleness. Than their stupid fucking ephemeras of wit. Than their Borgish monomind. Than their pseudointellectual complaining. (So beautiful. Imagine that in a modern art gallery. Philistines.)
A confederacy not of dunces but of mediocrities who believe themselves stars. Or stars vice versa. Who anger and judge and. Judge. Something about this crawls beneath your skin. Scarab bulging with divinity and recognition. You too have felt loveless and needy. Cursing the world. Made you rich and privileged and lacking. Evervirgin it felt. Booo hooo. Evervirgin and your voice it creaked and your smile was a trembling thing and the second the thing you smiled at disappeared it too was gone. Loveless long enough and you believe the whole thing’s extinct.
Amourosaurus. Buried beneath layer and layer and with it all its hope of salvation fossilized. Wander the earth forever myopic and beg to be better than all those blurry things. Of course they all know what they are. They know and you know. Each post, each point accumulated pointless. Mill: well-being in individuality. Definition of the individual. Divergence from the mean. I diverge. They diverge. I plus him plus her plus him plus her / all of us together. Some weird perfectly recognizable perfectly alien aggregate whose eyes lock ours dead. Rage of Caliban seeing his face. We each stars burning bright at the edge of the universe, our light banded together, redshifted, undifferentiable, our nuclear hearts all the same to the Earthbound observer straining through his telescope to eyecatch just the faintest of us. Us. Needing some moment of love.
Satancat will do.
Did I grow as a person in freshman year of college?
I am somewhat more confident in myself.
I am more attuned to my personality flaws and immaturities, probably because I’ve realized their capacity to hurt other people and not just me.
I guess that’s a start.