The equivalence between brain and computer is one of the more unfortunate developments of the last twenty-five. What did Romantics do with their emotions?
Well, the Romantics outsourced them to a tree, so take that as you will— both these options rely on a sort of narcissistic symbolism, and at least computer analogies don’t have that pesky anti-positivist bent…. It’s so absurd that I should just ignore it, but I do get angry when an author goes the symbolic route without any hysterical scare quotes or subtitle about how all interpretation is going to be inadequate, arbitrary, and unreliable, so they might as well pull this crazy stunt and wander lonely as a cloud…. It’s a niche concern. But I do worry that we’re- hey- operatingon a false, life-sapping register by not compulsively writing about how impossible it is to write…..
Which verb would you choose?
I think just THINK! Unfortunately, it’ll never make a great buzzword, but it’s vague enough to include both the cerebral and the emotional; “I’ll be thinking about this for months” seems so much more evocative than “Let’s all just take some time to process”. ‘Deconstruct’ is a little too violent.
1. There’s probably a conspiracy behind how bad American instant coffee is. I had spent years saying that when instant coffee became potable, we’d know that it was truly the future— before realizing that we’re actually pretty isolated in this, and that a solid percentage of Europe is far into the future. This can’t be a technology lag; there has to be some Profitable Uses For Sludge [PUS] cabal hidden under the Rocky Mountains, counting on the fact that only 30% of their customers will own passports.
2. Almost all of The Fifties (the decade-biography based on David Halberstam’s book) is on youtube.
3. ‘To process [your emotions]’ is just not an effective verb, b/c what it evokes is too linear, passive (all the zest of minimized defragging window), and codependent (classical processing— the Lowell mills, McNuggetifiers, eighties-era hardware— is a human-machine team effort detourned from the interior). It’s too specific for its metacognitive britches, without ever touching on that right-brain jer-ner-say-qua. It creeps me out almost as much as the ’50s’ family-unit fetish, but I might start saying /prəˈses/, like, just taking my thoughts out for a stroll….
4. For the past two nights, at 2:43 and 1:54 AM, respectively, I’ve heard a train whistle four times outside of my room…. I don’t know if ghost trains just kill you— not so original— or lure you on board, to become like the Charlie of Charlie Card fame.
We cling to every word as if to handholds in a rock face, because at every moment we have no idea what to expect. In the absence of conventionally established expectations, anything is possible. Every word defers the promise of sense; in fact this creeping progress is Savitzkaya’s narrative drive. Story lies in smithereens. This is narrative atomized, moving forward by crumbs; we can see no further than the next word, focus yoked to this infinitesimal progress, like a tile in a vast mosaic, a scrutiny of minutiae, while all around us is a spreading sensation of alarm that the bigger picture, could we but see it, is quite terrifying.