Friday, October 24, 2008

Okay Wait

Sadly, No is a real outpost on the web. It's one of the smartest, sharpest, funniest places of liberal ferocity on the web. You could call it satire, but that would be a limiting view.

It's more than that, and it's hard to explain.

And that is why I'm going to post this entire piece from one of their writers, Gavin, on what he's doing and why (although "having a reason" is part of the issue here). I'm quoting just about the entire piece (excepting the opening, which started like any other "look at this inane shit" post until the part I start to quote), and I'm sure no one will care cuz just about no one reads this blog.

This is a kind of Manifesto for this variety of political commentary.
Okay wait. It’s like, you know, I used to imagine that making fun of these people was a constructive act, in a way — that it would influence them toward kind of a banal crisis of self-reflection in which, at least briefly, they’d be able to see themselves as a reasonable Other would see them, and maybe be forced to think about the limits of the received wingnut worldview, and the pitfalls of ideology, and so forth and all that sort of thing. Then I guess I grew up a little and realized that I was just making excuses for making fun of people all the time. That it was really all about my own deficiencies, about pointing out faults in others as a way of working out issues that I was unwilling to explore in myself, or sometimes even to name.

Then I guess I grew up more, because I stopped worrying about why-this and why-that, and began to pay greater attention to the how and what of things, amidst this grand and unencompassable opera, for lack of a more ready metaphor, that we call life. Specifically, how shall I make fun of Ace so that he looks really ding-honk stupid, and what shall be my specific conceit toward this end? Technique, in other words. Architectonics. Ace is, therefore he will be made fun of, on the Internet, by me.

That’s really an ontological statement, yet one which negates ontology, if you see what I mean. I imagine that it’s what Aleister Crowley was getting at with the phrase, “the fall of Because,” and what mystics of related traditions refer to as “crossing the Abyss.” First there is no joke about Ace masturbating glumly to bodybuilding magazines, and then there does exist a joke about Ace masturbating glumly to bodybuilding magazines. Forget about ‘why’ for a moment: How is something created out of nothing? How do you, as it were, get from one side of the Abyss to the other? I imagine it as what they call the demiurge, which in itself obviates the question of ‘why,’ if you follow how that goes. And so on through the topic, etc.

But what I’m getting at is, okay, what’s actually happening here — or, if you would, what a reasonable Other can be imagined as perceiving — is that we have to come up with something new and clever each time Ace runs through the room burping the alphabet, while all Ace has to do to keep up his end is to intake sufficient calories to sustain motor function, and to pop a vitamin now and then to stave off rickets and/or scurvy.

He could, for instance, type OMABA POOPY and send it blazing through the Internet, via the energy expenditure of one poking index finger, and that’s, you know, just Ace being Ace again, like usual. He could type nothing, and you’d still know — you would know — that he’s out there somewhere thinking something nutrageously bonky that he might as well have typed up and put online, for all the difference between his public utterances (”Heh heh, I have just cracked the secret that will bring down the Obama presidency”) and what other people would call daydreaming and wishful thinking (”Heh heh, I’m a secret agent with a watch that can stop time”). Ace doesn’t have to do, it is only necessary that he exist.

By which I mean, I guess I haven’t gotten it all figured out yet, but I picked up a paperback copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and after that, it’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull and I guess that Herman Hesse book. I’m just, like, looking for clues.

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