Tuesday, October 11, 2005

 

Oh the horror!

UNICEF bombs the smurfs! Rivers of blue blood will flow when the mega ton bomb hits their little village. And to think, it's all for the children...

Saturday, October 01, 2005

 

Mixed metaphors: where's my web surfboard?

New technologies confuse languages as much as they do the people who speak them. I have already written of the strangeness of the word "blog", but when I think about my own blog and its (my) obsession with places, I am reminded of the web's mixed metaphors. Already the web or the inter-net (la toile), is an interactive network composed of individual "sites" (itself composed of "pages"). Yet the threads of this web are never seen, the "links" in the internet chain remain simple highlighted hieroglyphs, like mini Aladin's lamps that instanteously transport us to far away places when we wave our prosthetic digital hands over their enigmatic signs. These hands on the screen are metonymically called "mice" because of the hardware used to manipulate them.
Nietzsche, in "Truth and Lies in the Ultra-moral Sense", reminds us that all words, all language, derives from metaphors, metaphors which we have forgotten. Language is always imprecise, it is always different from the object it describes. The seemingly idiotic choice of metaphors used to describe the unfamiliarness of the internet (how do you surf a web? Why aren't web pages web points or web waves? Is their an internet tide or undertow?), is a constant reminder that when we say anything we speak in metaphor. The very velocity with which new technologies are born and die guarantees that the terminology remains strange, the metaphors mixed and awkward, and that is how it should be...

 

The mystery of atmosphere

What is it that makes me so attached to certain places and so repelled by others? I seem to have an overly developped sensibility to the atmospheres which surround me at any given moment. I have been blessed in the past, some would say spoiled, since I have lived in some of the most beautiful places in the world. Now that I live far from anything of natural or manmade beauty, I feel a constant sense of horror. Now that I am in the middle West, the plainness of people, landscapes and buildings seems to reflect a deeper reality, that of a plainness of speech and more insidiously thought and soul. I am afraid that ugliness is contagious, that I will start to blend in here. After a while, I will start buying clothes at K-mart and eating at Red Lobster for my birthday... I know for most, this sentiment is only a factor of my own incurable snobbishness. And yet, as a snob, I am not alone. Nietzsche, who's memory and thought this blog is of course indirectly dedicated, theoriezed that great philosophy and great art was only possible in the geographic arc that extends from Rome, through Tuscany and then over Southern France and ending in Paris. Everywhere else, the atmosphere (too hot or too cold) extinguishes the spirit, stiffles hope, and forces man to focus on his survival. If one were to translate (move across) F.N.'s European geography to an American one, we would get the very familiar coastal divide, or the red/blue America. Maybe thought is only possible in blue states (maybe this explains much).

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