Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Switching to fiction...

After a day of obessing over the miconceptions, lacunae and confusion on Andrew Sullivan's blog I have come to realize that I can't handle politics or the dark reality reality of this current time. I don't know whether it was the long time I spent away from things like that (so I lost my tolerance) or what...

I think sometimes about brain clutter. I mentioned before that I once spent several minutes thinking about the career of Kevin Costner--in all sincerity. I used my skills as a rational creature, honed through the eons to think about how Kevin Costner could make a comeback. (If you are reading this Kev--start playing campy villians in indie movies. That's all I'm going to say.)

My life is horribly cluttered. Within eyeshot in my study are things like: A collection of imported frog figures, Maneki Neko a lucky beckoning cat, a Byzantine crucifix reproduction, two unused lampshades, a 7 year old laptop, a collection of racy Italian comic books, stacks and stacks of papers and about 200 books (only about 1/5 of the number of books I own I'm ashamed to say).

It bothers me when my mind gets cluttered...It is even dangerous as my mind weeds stuff out (or rather, my mind is like a sieve) and I'm always afraid it will save the Kevin Costner references or the names of characters from the show "The Jeffersons" but omit crucial poignant moments from childhood or perhaps even my social security number.

For a number of years I've tried to avoid this clutter. If I never went to the gym I would in fact be utterly disconnected from pop culture (except for things reported in the NY Times--which I can't cure my husband of buying).

Why does such information stick to us like glue whereas important things--like the text of Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner or the details of the Krebs Cycle--disappear?

Is there some evolutionary explanation? Perhaps we perceive celebrities as alpha-hominids and ourselves as betas (or whatever is lower than betas--gammas, I guess) and somehow unconsciously believe that their prospects for mating/gathering, etc. are crucial to the survival of the group?

In fact, information such as "Water water everywhere/And all the boards did shrink/Water water everwhere/And not a drop to drink" is also not critical to survival or perhaps anything at all (except under special circumstances). Still, I find it more life affirming, more heartening and bracing then information about Demi Moore. I'm not a snob--I loved the movie "GI Jane."

In any case, this whole politics things has created a great deal of brain clutter. I read things that I regard as specious rhetoric, sophistry, deception--things containing actual, bona fide fallacies! (Lacunae are more common. Informal fallacies are rampant but formal ones are relatively frequent.) I froth, I foam...I get more worked up than an AM talk radio host does about Hilary Clinton...

I write the equivalent of 5 page rebuttals on this thing. Then the next day I think 'Wha?! What was I thinking? Who the hell cares?'

It's just not good for me.

The weird thing is that I get just as incensed--perhaps even more--about fiction. For example, I have this peculiar antipathy to Thomas Pynchon that even extends to anyone who really likes Thomas Pynchon. So it isn't as if I'm going to be calm and reasonable. I mostly just going to self-publish my own crap with the occasional diatribe and essay thingy and so forth. For one reason only: That makes me feel good and the other makes me feel bad.


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