Saturday, October 21, 2006

BLOG OF THE WHITE WHALE

Yes, i realise we live in a postmodern age. It’s all over the shop. All the fine arts: painting, architecture, sculpture, dance and music: and of course the music video would constitute the postmodernist’s avant-garde, if such a linearly progressive notion were permissible outside the modernist ethic: all these artforms have collapsed, been swept up and thrown into a pluralist gunny-sack with film, books, magazines, TV quiz shows and ringtones, given the label “texts”, and succumbed to a play of intertextualites, ‘ironies’ in inverted commas (i.e. the ironic use of irony), carnival, self-reflexivitities, self-consciousnesses and even self-contradictions. The cannibalism of the retro. The pastiche of languages and styles. What Henri Lefebvre called the increasing primacy of the ‘neo’. The Society of the Spectacle. And the gunny-sack has been flung into a quagmire, the logical swamp of late capitalism ...

Sure, i can dig it. No wuckers.

But in a deliberate attempt to escape the solipsism of writing a blog which, as far as i know, nobody reads, i began (sorry, but isn’t David Bowie’s Sound and Vision just a really cool track?) to peruse other blogs. And, Dear Lord, how i wish i hadn’t. I feel somehow contaminated. Like i imagine i would feel if i ever cheated on a girlfriend with someone who had radiation sickness. (Ex-girlfriends out there in alice-in-wonderland: i never did, honest) . I just hope this short foray into blogland doesn’t corrupt my style, although i can already feel it etching my paragraphs like acid on copper. So, prithee, what is it with all this writing (or blogging) on all these blogs about the techniques of blogging? Writing has finally disappeared up its own colon: Oh i neet to get Blogger Beta, can anyone tell me if the edit functions are much improved? I don’t think such-and-such a feed program is any better than so-and-so. This, from what is allegedly a Blog of Note called ‘Philosophical Musings’. And perhaps voicing one’s opinion on contemporary American politics does constitute philosophy these days - i confess i’m a bit out of touch with the discipline. And while on the subject of the contemporary American schoolyard and feebleminded writers, cop this from Perth’s new Drum Media, the freshly imported streetrag from the East, issue 004: “it may come as a surprise to learn that Ok Go are actually a very politically aware band.” Hmmm. Their singer posted an online guide to ousting George Bush. Very politically aware? Doesn’t the realisation that Bush should go just require a brain stem?

Back to blogging on blogging. Who cares what your technical difficulties or preferences are? Who gives a flying duck which software you use? Imagine if Shakespeare had rambled on like this in The Taming of the Shrew:

Pray, this quill is more pleasant, pithy and effectual
Than any quill i hath purchased before
And here it is in my writing, fairly drawn.


Oh i know i’m just an old man raging, raging against the dying of the light. McLuhan was right. And there is no escaping that sad fact. The technique has finally outstripped the content. The medium is indeed the message. Which iPod you wear is more important than what it decodes. But let’s cut to the chase, as they say (and what does that mean? Is it culled from film language? Generation XYZers use lines from films to communicate concepts they find difficult to elucidate themselves. A spurious impression of a line of dialogue, a raising of the eyebrows, a nodding of the head, like, know what i’m saying? Very perplexing indeed if you’ve never seen that particular film. It’s like listening to a rapper in an East-LA dialect who finishes a rapid verbal montage with just that line: know what i’m saying? Would you like a simple answer? No, i haven’t got a fucking clue.)

Back to blogging on blogging. Avid and imaginary readers, i confess: i bought a computer. There. It’s out. Oh, this is what the Greeks meant when they spoke of katharsis. It’s true, i am a CPU luddite. This entire blog has been constructed on and posted from the Borrowed Computer and the Internet Café. But i am now the proud owner of a fifty-dollar jellybean blue ex-Department of Indigenous Affairs iMac which talks to me. Actually, sixty dollars. I cut a deal and got a keyboard, a mouse with a little red light on its belly, and a Sony TC-K33 cassette deck thrown in. Ah, i knew all those cassettes would come in handy one day.

So this is the first time i have actually been able to blog from the comfort of my own room (while listening to the sweet strains of Bowie’s Low, The Fall’s This Nation’s Saving Grace, and Parliament’s The Clones of Dr Funkenstein. Yeah. Do That Stuff. Ah, Celestion made some good speakers, didn’t they?) - sorry, not blog, in fact. Write. Because Jo and i have no internet connection here in our Harley Street squalor, so blogging is out of the question. What, you cry? Everybody’s got an internet connection, i hear you say. Oh really, i reply, somewhat smug in my superior knowledge. Did you know that two thirds of the world’s population have never made a telephone call? And did you know there is a little piece of that Third World right here in Harley Street, Highgate?

But all this ultramodern supercomputerisation has done me no good. (We all return, salmon-like, to the fundamental source, the original question: does the techné do us any good? Has Bill Gates done any of us any good? If not, why has he got so much of our fucking money?) I am become a rambling, lazy, postmodern sap. Oh, the terrible power of computerisers. I am sunk so low as to become interTEXTual! Self-reFLEXive! It’s disGUSTing! I am become so lazy, all i have to do is save this concise blog entry to a little portable hard drive, take it down to the Internet Café, plug it in and save two dollars on blogging time. The iMac will pay for itself within a hundred posts, i reckon. While simultaneously corroding my writing.

What’s become of the buzz, the rush, of writing against the clock on a hired computer? As a writer I am become bloated, like some belletristic beached whale. And while we are on that subject, i have a theory. No, it’s not American submarine sonar driving them nuts and causing them to beach themselves en masse. No no no no no. It goes much deeper than that. It’s evolution. Whales are evolving into land dwelling creatures. Eventually, through a random mutation, a whale with mutant fins will beach itself only to discover it can walk about on land!

At the peak of our technological performance, the irresistible impression remains that something eludes us – not because we seem to have lost it (the real?), but because we are no longer in a position to see it: that, in effect, it is not we who are winning out over the world, but the world which is winning out over us. It is no longer we who think of the object, but the object which thinks us. Once we lived in the age of the lost object; now it is the object which is ‘losing’ us, bringing about our ruin. – Jean Baudrillard, The Irony of Technology.

3 comments:

Rob La Douche said...

You say what?

Today I discovered my inner child was molested by my inner uncle.

Art Director & Mayhem said...

sounds like you're inner trouble there mate ...

Anonymous said...

aaah good... now that you have a computer you can reconstruct the flag pic for me eh?
Jules