Category Archives: Satire

“On TV it looks so real” @SeeNIGHTCRAWLER #2

After having slept since yesterday’s post and not really paying it any more heed, I happen to be reading a selection of abstracts for a conference taking place next week, and what would you know, there happens to be a fellow presenter giving a paper in the same panel as me, and her paper is using Jean Baudrillard’s hyperrealism as a lens to discuss a particular text.

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Now, it seems that Baudrillard’s theory of hyperrealism fits perfectly with what Lou experiences on the set of the TV station. And this gets me to thinking more about it, what with Lou having access to the set, and therefore being able to see that ‘on TV it [the backdrop of L.A.’s skyline] looks so real,’ and so I wonder, does this allow Lou to occupy a space between reality and the hyperreal, in that he now realises that the picture of L.A. is indeed less ‘real’ than he previously thought (whilst seeing it as the news room backdrop via his television), and so he actually occupies a privileged position, and from this vantage point is then able to manipulate any future footage to best reflect the demands of the news station, which in turn feed the cravings of a public somehow attuned to want and need ever more shocking images to go along with the storylines the news station creates?

Or is it just way simpler than that?

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“On TV it looks so real” @SeeNIGHTCRAWLER

The quote above comes from Lou Bloom as he crosses a TV news station set and sees the backdrop used in TV news shows – a panoramic view of the city of Los Angeles.

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The viewer, should s/he so choose, gets to ponder this observation as Lou inserts himself into the scene, and as the camera pans back, we not only see Lou via the screen we are watching, we also see him through the camera used to film the newsreaders. So, is it the distancing that makes it ‘look so real,’ and if so, how are we to qualify our own feelings on reality, and by extension, artifice? Is L.A. made more ‘real’ by the sheer volume of filmic representations, and is our interaction with screened images more real than our unmediated experiences? And how does that leave us all feeling about our lives in the ‘real’ world? Are we more inclined to live vicariously, if that offers us something more real than the kind of humdrum life that is not subjected to production, direction, wardrobe, and make-up, etc? Nightcrawler offers some difficult questions, to which it does not attempt to force-feed us the answers.


#Sabrina – another collection of personal musings whilst conducting research of the #davidfosterwallace archive at the Harry Ransom Center, UT, Austin, TX (Day Two Entry Two)

On the subject of David Foster Wallace, today’s treat was coming across four copies of Sabrina, Amherst’s Humor Magazine. The find has little to do with my research but they were still worth a look as the humour is juvenile and silly, in the main, but where would we be without a touch of silliness every now and then? Because I cannot share images from the Wallace collection, here is a public domain image from a 1960 issue.

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Tomato Killer / Published by Dead Ink Books

Publishing the Underground

Dead Ink is a publisher of [anti] literature, publishing contemporary fiction, poetry, reviews and interviews online, digitally and in print.

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Do tomatoes feel pain? Can you empathise with the Tomato Killer? Do you wanna hear what happened to the eggplant…?

Find out by reading Matthew Simon Alexander’s Tomato Killer @ Dead Ink

deadink25 @DeadInkBooks


Lone Star State (Ennui// as in, ‘Succumbs to Ennui’//) #2

When Loneliness Comes to be Viewed as Somewhat of a Relief…

The sun outside helps to cast a shadow of a vase, empty of flowers, that cuts across almost the whole length of the linoleum (?) floor covering of the office. It is a floor covering with the craziest of patterns on its surface, a pattern which the elongated shadow seems to complement perfectly in the brief time it has – the shadow forming an almost perfect point at the neatly placed feet of Robyn’s father, as he sits with Robyn and Robyn’s mother as they await a meeting with the Principal. Robyn is not exactly sure that such a floor covering is befitting of such an office…

The Principal sits stunned, staring at the handwritten letter on the desk.

Robyn’s parents sit stunned staring at the Principal staring at the handwritten letter on the Principal’s desk.

Robyn sits, not so much stunned as taken aback at the sight of the Principal sitting stunned whilst staring at the handwritten letter on the Principal’s desk as Robyn’s parents sit stunned staring at the Principal and the letter on the desk…

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(The handwritten letter)

 

Dear Principal Harris,
I write to you today to explain my reasons for writing what I did, and to explain that by writing such a thing I should not be made out to be the monster that I am now perceived to be by most of the faculty, and possibly yourself. ♥
In response to what seemed like an endless droning on by the teacher taking the class for literacy that day that ‘to be well read’ is somehow vital to a person’s success in life I etched onto the desk, as you know, that Hitler was well read. This is a fact. He was well read, that cannot be disputed – as stated at our impromptu meeting. ♥
To make my point more explicit I could also state that Stalin was well read. There are other examples of dictators and sociopaths that I could mention with respect to their reading habits, but I don’t wish to bore you with them. My argument could also be extended to an appreciation of art and culture, of sorts, if you wish, because it can be said that in art and architecture, Hitler was appreciative of certain aesthetics; then there’s Tito, a keen art-lover and commissioner of art himself; there’s also Goering, a huge fan of Botticelli; and Goebbels, a lover of Rembrandt’s works. ♥
What I am saying here, is that the seemingly endless fascination that currently exists in our education system at the moment with brainwashing us into the act of reading (and by extension, an ‘appreciation’ of culture) is, by-and-by, banal at best and does not guarantee that a person will go on to live a good life. And what I am definitely saying, and I feel that this point has been lost along the way judging by the reactions I’m getting from the faculty, is that I do not condone the behavior of such individuals. I make the point simply to offer another voice in the face of what feels like a really odd, and at best misjudged, kind of propaganda. And if we wanted to get out of vague, abstract notions of ‘value’ and into concrete examples, then I could also note that Stalin influenced the well-worn apothegm used in business, and other things, of ‘the-five-year-plan,’ you know, the one where you write your goals down in order to achieve them. ♥
So I guess the question I would like to ask you today is: How is it that I have to face being dragged into some kind of pseudo-disciplinary meeting just for stating a fact, when millions of people around the world, in their business and personal lives, use Stalin’s five year plan without even a hint of the irony that springs from such a thing? ♥
I hope that this letter finds you well and that we can agree, perhaps, to disagree for the sake of ongoing ‘good relations.’ ♥
Yours sincerely,
Robyn x ♥ x

Lone Star State (Ennui// as in, ‘Succumbs to Ennui’//)

When Loneliness Comes to be Viewed as Somewhat of a Relief…

Sitting in a classroom somewhere near the front because although sitting at the back is better when you don’t feel like doing anything Robyn is not the kind of kid to be allowed to sit near the back by the other kids sitting there, which is unfortunate because since starting high school, and undergoing all the problems brought about by Robyn’s paruresis, Robyn, more often than not, and this is a phrase that Robyn likes to say over and over, ‘succumbs to ennui.’ Succumbing to anything is a bad thing as far as Robyn’s high school teacher(s) is/are concerned, but succumbing to ennui, when said teacher(s) tend to think of their teaching materials as being pretty much the greatest thing since T.V., marks a person as being on a head-on collision course with said teacher(s).

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So, on the day when Robyn is succumbing to ennui way more than Robyn usually succumbs, and on the day that the high school teacher decides to reiterate the ‘importance of reading’ and of being ‘well read,’ something the teacher has not shut up about for over a month now, it seems to Robyn, Robyn reacts from deep within the ennui aforementioned by scratching directly onto the table-top in front of Robyn with a black magic marker that’s almost out of magic marking ink, hence the scratching:

Hitler Was Well Read!!!

Later on, as Robyn sits in front of the Principal, Robyn explains to the Principal that Hitler, like many a sociopath before and/or after, was in fact literate, well read, knowledgeable of the ‘Classics,’ and that knowledge of such facts generally doesn’t do much for the current obsession in the present education system with the need for kids to be ‘well read.’

The Principal seems mortally offended following Robyn’s exchange. Robyn cannot figure out whether it is the ‘Hitler factoid’ that is the cause of such mortal offence, or not.


Lone Star State (Abstemious //adjective//: indulging only very moderately in something, especially food and drink)

When Loneliness Comes to be Viewed as Somewhat of a Relief…

Robyn’s relationship with food has become problematic as Robyn devotes more and more time to thinking about food. The almost all-meat diet that Robyn had endured for over a decade during childhood, where children are pretty much at the mercy of their parents’ preferences w/r/t dietary choices, has left some issues. The smell of meat leaves Robyn feeling nauseated, whether cooked or no. The sight of meat, basically just the flesh of another animal, particularly red meat, makes Robyn think of human flesh. The implements used by Robyn’s parents in the preparation of said meat(s) are considered by Robyn to be tainted (even after a thorough washing). The practice of sitting around a dining table with one’s parents as they rip/tear/chew flesh of all manner of origin, whilst Robyn tries to swallow food of non-meat origin amidst the sounds and smells which invariably accompany such ripping/tearing/chewing, is off-putting to say the least.

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So when Robyn’s father accuses Robyn of developing a somewhat abstemious approach to food, where eating food is concerned, Robyn is left feeling a tad frustrated at the lack of understanding shown w/r/t Robyn’s choices, and Robyn’s parents’ acceptance of (or lack of acceptance of) those choices. And when Robyn’s mother chooses to side with Robyn’s father, which in Robyn’s mind is clearly just another cowardly attempt to ‘convince’ Robyn that a vegan lifestyle is an ‘un-American’ lifestyle (Robyn really doesn’t get the gist of this particular argument), the chasm that has begun to separate Robyn from Robyn’s parents, of late, widens ever farther.


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