Category Archives: Wtf did I just read?

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.

The elder gods

There are gods. In general, they don’t do very much, and most of them only do one particular thing. The process of who gets to do what is rather intricate and heavy on the backstory, but it usually ends up with someone being the god of this, someone else being the god of that, and so on until you end up with the god of all other miscellaneous things that are not the domain of the other gods.

It is strongly discouraged to question why this is. For one, the aforementioned backstory will be related to you, in detail. Second, the celestial bureaucracy has had more time to sort out the finer details than you can imagine. If you have things to do and places to be, just accept the things related as given and move along.

It is assumed that the elder gods are more powerful than their newer counterparts. Knowledge is power, and knowledge is gathered by being around and doing things, which is the general activity of gods, regardless of age. Thus, having been around longer equals roughly to being more powerful, on general principle.

You already know this, of course. Hearing that the gods are angry is enough to make you quake in your boots with fear right and proper. Hearing that the Elder Gods are angry is enough to make you forget that quaking is an option, fearing that they will find out where you are by listening for your boot noises.

Hearing that the Elder Gods are angry at you in particular is bad news bears all around. Especially the Elder Gods of Bears.

However, there is a limit the power of elder gods. It is not that they themselves age and lose potency over the years – as you have seen, it’s quite the reverse. The gods are, however, made in the image of those who created them. And if we go far enough back into our ancestral history, we find gods created by ancestors who had almost, but not quite, developed a sense object permanence.

Knowledge is power, which means that your best bet is avoiding the really really old gods. If they can’t see you, they don’t know you’re there, which means they can’t be angry at you.

Even if they are old bear gods.

Repetition and difference

Economists phrase mass production in terms of “economies of scale” and “efficiency gains” and suchlike. While they may have a point in alternative ontologies, they fail to catch the essential necessity of having many non-unique things at many places at the same time. Without them, our world would end, and chaos would ensue.

In those alternative ontologies, there would be what me might call “object consistency”. That is to say, things continue to exist even if no one was actively perceiving them. An absurd notion, to be sure, but such is the nature of things that are not. You and I, for as long as we or someone else can retain the thought, know that things are not so, and that our society is based on the fact that everything looks just the same. A house is a house is a house, and as long as they all remain identical, they will remain in being.

Economists do get some things right – such that demand creates supply (how could it not, seeing that demand is a prerequisite for the thing existing on a fundamental ontological level?) – but these absurd notions have to go. They are pure speculation with no bearing on our reality, and frankly it is embarrassing to have our prestigious academy associated with these ridiculous ideas. The economists have to face reality – for the sake of all of us!