Well, my Puddlers, we made it through another week surviving, snow, hail, rain, mild air, thunder and lightning, which all occurred in one bizarre night. We also fought off all those ghosts, thieves, poets, lawyers, teachers and gravediggers that we encounter in our daily travels. If you don't get that, then you should read my list from yesterday and do some research on the "Scylla and Charybdis" episode of Joyce's Ulysses.
In New York, it looks like it is going to be warmer this weekend than it was than last weekend. And because of that, Mark Jack is more worked up than he has been in weeks. So, without further ado, I leave you with Mr. Mark Jack. Enjoy the weekend.
Assertions: More Notes on American History
A pink man, a soft-pink man sat near me today and stage-whispered to his companion some version of American History as only a gray headed, soft pink man can. An ideal, only vaguely concealed, ran skeletally through the narrative and was revealed toward the end of his little lesson. The thesis was unthinking and un-revelatory and its nature as conclusion/thesis was revealed as horrendously as the phalanges on some dog gnawed corpse. What point is there in never departing from one’s point, of using it as initiation, structure and conclusion? How must one approach such thought?
I’m thinking of a small, white dog, blinded by absurd stylization and breeding, with a high growl tugging furiously at the fingers of some never-really-alive soft pink man’s lecture with the intensity available to only such an absurd creature.
Our lust for historical causality in America is that of Europeans unmoored. We feel a deep history in this country as the amputee feels his missing limbs. What I cannot speak of is whether the phantom limb coincides with the prosthetic that was been subsequently inserted.
Americans tend to speak surely of the dates and geographies of historical play, but only assert the lessons, the wisdom of such obliquely. At the moment, America creates the space for concreteness as wisdom’s fount. Once that space is created, the ideal is then inserted. Thus, we speak of intentions historically located and yet continuously present. Thus, we place atop our heads the tri-corner hat and speak the slogans of change and stasis simultaneously. Where, though, is the crisis located? The tea party gave its own rebuttal to the President’s speech.
We are vain and combative, and the President’s previous assertions of cooperation and global markets for product and compassion were, on Tuesday night, underscored by that great Americanism—competition.
I watched the State of the Union via the live feed on whitehouse.gov. I watched the enhanced version. This meant that beside the video of the President, a strange and halting PowerPoint presentation faded in and out, sometimes highlighting—by graph—a claim made by Obama. At other times, they just showed pictures of earlier speeches, as if to say, “Look! Sometimes the president rolls his sleeves up and speaks to robust men in hardhats as well as speaking with a suit on to similarly suited men with hard hearts.” The graphs were my favorite feature as they operated through a certain wistfulness, showing what was and what should be in the USA Today language of diminutive conception. Here, the bar graph asserts, America’s gray bar is lower than China’s, and here, is where we should set our sites. The second graphic shows a gray bar higher than any other in the world. Is this perhaps, a performative utterance? Obama couches his speech in the grammar of future accomplishment, but the bar graph asserts differently. In positing our gray bar as higher than China’s, do we make it so?