Category Archives: Wtf did I just read?

When you see it

The video clip began

Immediately, it was apparent that this was porn. Nothing in the proceeding seconds did anything to dispel this insight. Strangely enough, they also did very little to support it. As the moments went by, very little of a pornographic nature took place. Very little, in fact, took place. There were no characters to speak of, barely even anything in motion. Still, somehow, the very essence of porn was evident all over, communicated loud and clear to anyone who saw or heard it unfold. All this without bothering with people, plot or anything else beginning with the letter p. This video clip managed to convey everything without everything – a masterful subversion of genre and medium

Needless to say, a great many academic articles were written about this relatively short video clip. Not a single one of these articles dared mention it directly, leading to a powerful surge of circumlocution, some more skillfully performed than others

Kafka does not live here

“You say your story is Kafkaesque”

“Yes”

“What makes you think it is?”

“Well, see, there is this bug that has to navigate what seems to be a routine bureaucratic errand, which turns out to be the start of a series of inexplicable events, and”

“Let me stop you right there and give you some of my impressions”

“Shoot”

“Here’s the thing. Your protagonist seems to have a firm grasp of who he is, even though he is – as you said – a bug. Moreover, the worldbuilding you do seems to indicate a stable set of circumstances whose particulars are known and relatively unchanging. Atop of that, the plot is intuitive, possible to grasp without too much in the way of close reading. It is very easy to follow along and know just exactly what is going on, and why. The antagonists – no pun intended – have clear motivations, and act on them in an understandable (albeit unfortunate) manner. Lastly, there are virtually no emotional confrontations with father figures of any kind”

“I do not understand”

“Indeed. Let’s continue this discussion with the shared understanding that this story is not, in fact, Kafkaesque. What do you see in the future of our protagonist?”

Non-inclusive yet all-encompassing writing

Theory

Foucault (1970, 1977, 1982)[1]

 

 

[1] This might seem an unorthodox theory section – consisting of only a name and three numbers which are presumably years of publication – but it makes sense if you think about it. Those who already know Foucault’s theories know them to such an extent that repeating them would only be to retread old ground, with an added risk of miscommunication due to imprecise wording and nuances lost in translation. Meanwhile, those who are not familiar are unlikely to become so through a brisk discursive walk through the highlights; again, the specter of miscommunication looms overhead. Thus, those who know already know, while those who do not know will not be enlightened.

100% cat

Here sits Jaspers
regal of bearing
proud of stature
listening to things beyond hearing
cat from head to tail

Here loafs Jaspers
legs tucked away
all snug and comfortable
pondering the day
cat from head to tail

Here flomps Jaspers
belly for all to see
petted and rub’d
that’s what he wants to be
cat from head to tail

Cat person

You change your mind like a girl changes clothes

Yeah, you meow like a kitten

I would know

And you overthink, always purr cryptically

I should know that you’re no good for me

 

‘Cause you’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re nyoom, then you’re loaf

You’re wrong when it’s right

It’s black and it’s white

We fight, we break up

You nom, we make up

You don’t really want to stay, no

But you don’t really want to go, oh

You’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re up, then you’re down

 

We used to be just like twins

Purr in sync

The same frequency, now’s a dead rodenty

Used to laugh ’bout nothing, now you’re playing string

I should know that you’re not gonna change

 

‘Cause you’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re nyoom, then you’re loaf

You’re wrong when it’s right

It’s black and it’s white

We fight, we break up

You nom, we make up

You don’t really want to stay, no

But you don’t really want to go, oh

You’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re up, then you’re down

 

Someone call the doctor

Got a case of a purrpurr sonar

Stuck under heavy fur

Can’t get legs unpurred

 

You change your mind like a girl changes clothes

 

‘Cause you’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re nyoom, then you’re loaf

You’re wrong when it’s right

It’s black and it’s white

We fight, we break up

You nom, we make up

You’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re up, then you’re down

You’re wrong when it’s right

It’s black and it’s white

We fight, we break up

You nom, we make up

You don’t really want to stay, no

But you don’t really want to go, oh

You’re boop then you’re bap

You’re bap, then you’re boop

You’re in, then you’re out

You’re nyoom, then you’re loaf

Extreme peer reviewing

The book invited criticism. Both explicitly, by means of a humble invitation from its author, and on a deep, implicit level; something about it screamed that this was a thing to critique. Every page figuratively screamed that here was a “but” to be had, and that it would be a good one, should you take the time to formulate it.

Yet. Everyone who did found that, in the last moments of their due diligences, their critiques did not measure up. There was always some prior remark, some footnote, some small but crucial aspect that rendered their critical efforts moot. Though the book did cover a finite amount of things, somehow it seemed to contain an infinite amount of rebuttals to any attempt to criticize it.

This sparked quite an interest. It became an informal competition among its readers to find the one thing that could unequivocally be said to be bad – no ifs, buts or qualifiers. The race was on.

At length, in a small gathering of the minds, one particularly bright voice abrupted: “I’ve got it!” When all else failed, the voice announced, there was still a nuclear option: to proclaim that the book was, among all the other things is was, boring. Following this revelation, cheers erupted.

At that very moment, the author – for reasons quite unrelated – entered the establishment, and noted the general excitement of the room. Upon asking what was afoot, the answer was given. And then, the final blow, the one innocent utterance that so shattered hearts and minds:

“I’m glad to see you are all so excited and enthused by what I’ve written”

Recipe for new dreams

Go new places

Go to old places and see them from new angles

Meet new people

Meet old people

Do new things with old people

Do old things with new people

Revisit everything

Ask her out

Ask him out

Read

Write

Walk every street in your city

Do it now

State of the art invisibility

The room was crowded. Everyone in there was an expert in something, and the anticipation of what was to come was palpable. It was the final talk of the applied invisibility conference, a crossdisciplinary gathering of the best minds late stage capitalism had to offer. Scientists and engineers from every field of study were present. Years of dedicated effort had led up to this moment. The presentation that was about to start had been hyped to the moon and back – the culmination of humanities ambition to become tactically and strategically invisible.

Silence fell as the presenter entered the stage. The presenter tapped the mic, and then announced, with soft and subtle words:

“I write literary critique, with a specific focus on contemporary poetry”

The assignment

The assignment was as follows: write something. The specifics were utterly unimportant; the point was to produce discourse of sufficient quantity and coherence to qualify as a text. The one demand was that the text began and ended. That was the assignment.

Yet, as you learned more about the topic, you found that your desire to produce discourse on that topic diminished. The more you learned, the less your will to in any way share what you knew. Knowledge corresponded to despondency to such a degree that, eventually, the very thought of communicating became an abstract blank. It became a very specific form of aphasia – the thought of saying anything at all on the subject became so alien it had to be approached through elaborate frameworks which ought to indicate something, but didn’t. As knowledge accumulated, your very being turned into an avatar of indifference.

At its worst, it started to creep into communication as such. Words became meaningless, emotions faded into tenuous notions, shared understandings into unverifiable rumors. Significance vanished, and the possibility of communication with it.

Yet. The assignment had to be completed. The task done. The words worded.

Then the indifference reversed. If nothing mattered, then it didn’t matter which words were worded, and thus any arbitrary assemblage of words would make do.

Thus, you worded your salvation.

Ghost ordinances

It is common to assume that ghosts are the spiritual remains of those who are unwilling or unable to move on. Exactly where this moving on is supposed to go is unknown and in dispute, but the general assumption that some portion of the dead do not undertake the journey is widely held. The dead are supposed to go somewhere, but ghosts for whatever reason do not.

A less examined assumption about ghosts is that they are the spiritual remains of a person, whole and entire. It stands to reason that this assumption is not to be taken for granted, and that ghosts in some sense are what the dead left behind when they left. The old adage that you can’t take it with you comes back to haunt us, as it were. There is no reason to assume that the afterlife requires each and every aspect of our mortal countenance brought along. Shedding excess mortality would, when seen in this light, be a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

This opens up for the possibility of unrelenting ghosts of uncured toothaches haunting unsuspecting and unlucky survivors. Which does, to be sure, reframe the common wisdom that prevention is better than cure.