April 08, 2007

making meaning of what wasn't mean and meaning it...

"The Bad Guys Won." Those Meanies. Right? RIGHT?? I mean? Well--Right?

That blog had many obscurities. Many of the posts were not ad hominem. Many were non satiric. There were strange and surreal things, which perhaps would be worth resurrecting (some other day).

What is difficult to convey is how, in that oblique roomful of voices, fuller than usual because most of the voices were doing more than one voice and the tenor of certain of the posts was someone speaking in character giving the whole thing a pretty radically dialogical pitch and yaw -- in that barroom of parodic lunacy, it was often impossible to ascertain who was writing, the tenor of any given post on first reading, and some sort of available context to make sense of things. When one contributor seemed to be gratuitously attacking a specific person, the first thought was not just: "this seems to be unacceptable, nasty stuff," but, at least for me, a series of questions, like, "is this some sort of joke about hate speech?" "is there some relationship between the writer and the apparent target that would explain why this is considered worthwhile?" etc., questions which took some time to gather meaningful answers because neither the writer nor the target was someone whose work, life, reputation, offered much in the way of clues, and, as noted, the absence of any "purpose" for the blog - other than to not be simply another mindless blog - complicated the interpretive status of much of its contributors' utterances.

In short, confronted with what seemed like ugly hateful stuff, and knowing that at least four of the people involved had no truck with that mode of writing, the first response was to wonder what was being aimed at other than mere scurrility. First there was the theatricality of the act of apparent ad hominem writing, then there was the question of how to read it: what was it about? why was it there? was there some undisclosed joke/relation/context? would this become clear via some response? Apparent nastiness is not always nasty, although in this case, it turned out to apparently be just that.

One other point: Posts and comments that seemed to be pushing some limit were met by other posts and comments that seemed to try to bring the entire brawl onto a different track. I.e., there seemed to be something genuinely dialogical going on, multiple voices very much not in sync, not in harmony, not even intelligible to one another - yet with some vulnerability to the idea that there could be, beyond the immediate surreality, some place this thing wanted to go, and if we were to keep going, something of interest might come of it, something other than the regrettable, distasteful, and abhorrent thing that is now what it is remembered to have been. As usual, much has been obscured in the rumor and retelling.

These are some words that I have not been able to find
. I didn't think I was reading satire, not quite.

Something--something unencountered. I thought I was reading this, what is described there. The questions of what this is called, and if there is a place for it, have been made moot. Too much, to far, to soon, to least to most?

Reading, in this case, demanded complete attention -- to the lines and to the between -- or demanded not to be read at all.