Sunday, September 03, 2006

Explanation of today's blog post

Buddha in the Sand, Carrboro, NC

It occurs to me that the post below (the earlier one, the one that one would say "see above" about, except that it's below) natters and fritters and smokes and says not much, and therefore I wish, in the spirit of outrage, to explain it.

Language, words, only mean something because we agree that they do. Trying to study the structure of a language is nothing less than trying to map out all of the agreements a people have and can have made. What's more, these agreements limit the things that a people can think about, think about themselves, and think about thinking. The interior of the mind is, therefore, built of inherited verities, in the form of words and grammar, and it is unique only in the way that a pattern of cast sticks can be unique. The more sticks you cast on the floor, the more likely the resulting pattern to be unique. A grain of sand is just a grain of sand, but if you get a whole big mound of it.... See above.

No one asks our opinion of whether the blue house is blue. We are told that blue is the carrier of that color experience. It is sad, some people think, that so much is coerced, but it is not, in fact, sad or happy, for it cannot be otherwise, and "sad" and "happy" are just as inherited as "blue." You can't sit there with your thumb in your mouth, either.

Ah, but what if we play with language and refuse to go left to right and top to bottom? Can we not see every unsaid word between the said words? Indeed. And when you defy the gods of signification, what is the result? Is it freedom? The freedom of the freezing savage or the freedom of Buddha?

You see, words mean because we are social. We are unfree because we are unalone. How do you know the house is blue? Simple: ask someone.

That's the thing: you can answer many interpretive questions by the simple method of asking the town. (The President is overruling the town, and he is therefore a mocking mirror image of the "originalists" and "fundamentalists" who try to examine words with a loup and determine "what the author meant" without considering the town they're living in now. They're both hilariously wrong, except that one of them has a gun, and the other has a prison system.)

4 comments:

Angel Mysterioso said...

We were at dinner last night with our neighbors, and one of them, in response to something my wife said, replied, "That's all well and good, but you can't really tell other people what choices they must make in their lives." And I replied, "Would you please explain that to the Republicans in Congress?" And much hilarity ensued.

The Geogre said...

Telling them what choices they can make is not part of the GOP plan. Telling them all the wrong choices they've made is. It's a fine but important line -- one the Democrats have never understood.

There are *votes* in condemnation. The GOP is virtually empty of positive, normative values. They don't preach "acceptance" or "compassion." Their putative values are things like "fambly" and "freedom" -- words so laughably vaccuous that no one knew what they meant in 1945, and even less now -- and so they can define themselves entirely *against.* They are not for wealthy people, but they're against lazy people. They're not for theocracy, but they're against people telling them not to put up a statue of Moses (with a covered breast, of course).

I used to think that the Republicans would wither if they got in power, because everything about them was oppositional. They had no identity. They only had fear of the invisible majority elites coming to tell their grime stained majority what to do. They hated Clinton sex. They hated gays. They hated dope. They hated communists. They hated all sorts of things and didn't really offer anything.

Boy, was I wrong! They've thrived in power, haven't they? They've stopped trying to tell their voters to be afraid of liberals entirely. They've stopped trying to target 10% of the population that's gay to win votes. They've stopped proposing outlandishly doomed fringe policies like new laws especially to intervene in state court battles over the right to die with dignity. They've begun telling people what is virtuous and good and tried to lead by example entirely.

Oh, wait. No, they haven't.

Prettyboy said...

Well, I think the original post is much easier to understand than the explanation thereof.

The Geogre said...

That's weird. I'm glad the original is comperhensible, but I thought this explanation was as obvious as a bag of hammers. Huh. I guess that proves that signs slip and the differance is the trace of margins at the center and the author is dead, or just wishes he were.