Look, we know it’s never any software company’s fault, ever, but let me make one thing clear: Between watching television, to the one, and watching software, to the other, look, you’re up against Comcast; it ought to be a low bar. But between Samsung, who makes the television, and Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, who allegedly serve video, it’s forty-five minutes later and you still don’t work. What the hell is wrong with you people? Watching software brings a consistent result of regretting the thought there might be something worth watching.
There is a certain futility in announcing anything, especially when there is nothing to announce. Still, two poems in two days and an actual effort to retain them feels like starting something. Here’s a joke, though, that isn’t actually a joke: National Poetry Month, having just ended, managed to remind of something apparently forgotten.
At some point in my nearly forty-five years I forgot that I am a poet.
No, really, I have no idea how this happened.
Except I probably do.
I don’t know, I should probably be embarrassed; but, y’know, whatever.
#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor
I think at some point it is fair if we just take a moment to observe and, inevitably, resent the fact that the godforsaken #trumpswindle is somehow tied into the otherwise inexplicable fact that Dumb and Dumber To actually exists.
Maddow, Rachel. “With new players, details Trump Russia probe seems far from over”. The Rachel Maddow Show. msnbc. 9 March 2018.
Is it, then, some challenge of art, because in truth explaining what seems important enough to justify the sentiment is far more complicated than the moment otherwise seems to warrant: Of course the plate of birdseed has been moved to the dripline, that it might collect the water falling off the roof.
People are people. Humans are human. When truth being stranger than fiction starts to seem an insult is approximately the point at which one can no longer ignore the nagging, garbled question about how human imperfection seems so inhumanly, perfectly antithetical, as if an act of will.
“What do you think is become of the art of forcing the thunder and celestial fire down, which the wise Prometheus had formerly invented? ‘Tis most certain you have lost it; ’tis no more on your hemisphere; but here below we have it. And without a cause you sometimes wonder to see whole towns burned and destroyed by lightning and ethereal fire, and are at a loss about knowing from whom, by whom, and to what end those dreadful mischiefs were sent. Now, they are familiar and useful to us; and your philosophers who complain that the ancients have left them nothing to write of or to invent, are very much mistaken. Those phenomena which you see in the sky, whatever the surface of the earth affords you, and the sea, and every river contain, is not to be compared with what is hid within the bowels of the earth.”
“There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth; for when as children we listen and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts, and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life. But some of us awake in the night with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens, of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas, of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze and stone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests; and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy.”
―H. P. Lovecraft, 1922
“It had taken him years, and much conniving, to get access to the mighty, and more trickery still to learn which of them had dreams of magic. When pressed. He’d used the jacket, seducing those who fawned upon potentates into revealing all they knew. Many had no tales to tell, their masters made no sign of mourning a lost world. But for every atheist there was at least one who believed; one prone to moping over lost dreams of childhood, or to midnight confessions on how their search for Heaven had ended only in tears and gold.”
―Clive Barker, 1987
“See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.”
―Robert R. McCammon, 1991
The weather report for the next couple days is hardly catastrophic, but neither is it pleasant, and that in turn brings to mind talk of blustery, wet, generally unpleasant winter expected to be, overall, too mild to build significant snowpack in the Cascades, and while it is easy enough to hope such chatter is, well, merely chatter, it is also rather quite tempting to mutter something about, Damn it, Nature! stop wasting water like that!
Except, you know, we’re the human species, so the next thought to mind is also pretty obvious: Oh, right.
Image note: I’m pretty sure I was playing around with the photocopy filter in GIMP. Never mind. It’s Bloom County, by the one and only Berke Breathed, and I’ve a date of 26 March 1982 for this particular episode.
It occurs to wonder what actually happens when the written word is dismissed from duty and argumentation is carried out via social media with links to other people’s YouTube rants.
No, really, I just don’t get that bit about how someone wants their voice to be heard so they send you a link to an hour-long YouTube rant. Honestly, they’re like really unskilled salesmen; getting you to sit through an hour of their favorite bigot is the point. Seriously; they know they’re not going to convince you. They just want to demand that you waste a bunch of your time in order that they might feel special, and then despise you for accommodating.
Sometimes it feels stupid to post these notes, but then we might recall the godawful narration explaining poker to a James Bond audience; and something goes here about the simpleminded moralist explanations in Hunter x Hunter mixed in with the sexual molestation scene and the nostalgic bit with the guy standing there in the middle of an emergency sniffing the scent of a woman from his fingers.
No, seriously, at first it’s a combination of Dragonball and Boobah―(“Look what I can do!”)―with infantile moral lessons describing character motivations, and then ....
Which actually might prove useful, for once. Perhaps the proper response to, “Here is a long-assed video in lieu of me actually doing any work to post a proper argument,” would be to simply post episodes of Hunter x Hunter and One Piece, the latter of which actually has the courage to denounce sexual harassment by its name.
It was a sort of picture-postcard day, and with everything else I somehow arrived early enough to recognize the eerie silence, then fell, captivated, into witness of an airplane stretching vapor across the sky, scoring the blue just above the trees, and after a moment not quite started but still slipped back to waking life according to the strange recognition that it was not a cartoon, and there would be no cut to the next scene.
Just once, when people are arguing online, I would like to see someone complete whatever rhetorical maneuver it is they attempt.
I happened to witness someone I’m not especially sympathetic toward seemingly attempt a windward tack in order to bait an opponent. Naturally, internet discourse being what it is, there are plenty of peanuts in the gallery lining up to shell the one. The weird thing is that if they wait, this maneuver can go one of two ways, and the most obvious reading is that the early critics would be pleased by the outcome if the other actually takes the bait.
And, yes, just once I would like to see someone actually complete this maneuver. Or pretty much any other rhetorical maneuver, instead of sound-biting from one moment to the next as if nothing anyone is saying has any relevance to anything.
Does life imitate art, or is it the other way ’round? Observation suggests it’s a dynamic interaction, but if we all are supposed to loathe politics and politicians, why does everyone seem to want to behave like politicians in a political spat?
Kind of like the people who disdain or disbelieve psychology trying to psychologize.
And pretty much as vapid.
To the one, there is such thing as a bad picture, and we all know it. Sometimes the camera just … you know, that’s the way it goes.
To the other, we usually worry about that when we are the subject of the picture, instead of merely a set piece.
Still, we sometimes find an unforgettable moment if only because it was captured in still life.
More the pity, I suppose. Something about that which we cannot unsee goes here.
Image note: Gov. Chris Christie addresses members of the Camden County police force, 2 November 2015. (Image credit: Emma Lee/WHYY)