Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Self-Prescribed Status as Member of Cultural Elite Maintenance Tip #1:

"You want to be already sick of everything no one else has even heard of..."

From David Brook's Op-Ed Column in the August 7th, 2008 online edition of the New York TImes:

Dear Dr. Kierkegaard,

All my life I’ve been a successful pseudo-intellectual, sprinkling quotations from Kafka, Epictetus and Derrida into my conversations, impressing dates and making my friends feel mentally inferior. But over the last few years, it’s stopped working. People just look at me blankly. My artificially inflated self-esteem is on the wane. What happened?

Existential in Exeter

Ouch! It burns, it burns so deep.[Earnest fist-shaking] Mock me, will you Mr. Brooks! [/fist-shaking] For my part, I have worked exceptionally and obsessively hard to cultivate a face-saving level of ironic detachment (serious hours), and thus my self-esteem has suffered no undue inflation, artificial or otherwise. But where is this mythical dating pool-with their Grande Light Lattes and their copies of Finnegan's Wake and The Anti-Christ in tow? If you perchance occasion upon this and have determined the location of this private Elysian Starbucks(TM) of mine, please inform me of its whereabouts immediately.  Epictetus? Really, do people have parts of the Enchiridion committed to memory so that they can bust it out at grad student soirees.

My acquired sense of disdain is reaching new heights, new heights I tell you!


Friday, August 01, 2008

Suppose We are Less...

goatsKafka, I think, in his Zurau Aphorisms, alerts us to the consequences of that afterthought DuBois supposed is lurking behind:

"The animal twists the whip out of his master's grip and whips itself to become its own master-not knowing that this only a fantasy, produced by a new knot in the master's whiplash."-#29

                                                                                              "The Group and the Indie," Heather Boose Weiss (2004)

It has been many knots, perhaps now it is just knots. Moreover, is the animal exquisitely conscious of the fantasy of which he is the most industrious fabricator? If so, it seems we are always and already happy architects of our own nullification. A high price to pay for our existence. But indeed we can now conceive of Foucault's "law without the king," it is just the ungripped but heavily knotted whiplash. It suggests a canvas wherein a painter, stripped and bloodied, paints himself stripped and bloodied, but what shall he use for the pigment?