Thursday, November 30, 2006

O, To be a Turk in Pants

"Was für Hose ist die?"
-Austrians. Scared, bewildered Austrians.

I risk losing the friendship of my Austrian acquaintances with the following admission but I must declare it: I am actually pretty down with Turks in Austria. I am talking, of course, about Turkish males (they don’t see fit to let the women out that often). As with most things in life, it comes down to pants. For it is the Turks and I who alienate ourselves, strangers in a strange land, from the hegemonic cultural mode: the Culture of Fine-Pants. The Teutonic men of Austria are not to be found wearing anything but the finest pantwear—blue jeans and slacks of a very distinctive and conservative cut, be it a Sunday jaunt with the family, a quick trip to the Tobacconist, or a grocery run.

Not so swarthy and unwelcome children of Islam, not so Kevin! No, the Turks, me and the Turks, we take the Wrench of Anarchy and heave it into the well-oiled machine of Austrian society by daring to wear Leisure-Pants. Leisure-Pants! A day of strenuous errands? Hold on, let me put on my sport-pants. Heading to the bar? One moment, I gotta put on my hot-pants. Ah, we’re gonna take a walk in the hills on a sunny day? Just a sec, I must throw on my short-pants. It is no coincidence that when I pass a Turk on the streets of my little provincial town, we lower our guard and give each other the man-nod. Indeed we have just held a dialogue of the most transcendent sublimity, if not a dialectic (our dialectic would only progress thusly: “thesis – thesis – thesis”; that is, “Leisure-Pants. Leisure-Pants? Leisure-Pants!). What we are both saying, and saying only with our pants, may be translated into Mulkeenian English as “Hey. I see what you’re doing. And I like it.”

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

rapper Medaphoar's notepad

This perfect text is the work of K. Carranza. It is the greatest single piece of mail I have ever received.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Canticle for Leibowitz

“The Monks
waited. It mattered not at all to them that the knowledge they saved was useless, that much of it was not really knowledge now, was as inscrutable to the monks in some instances as it would be to an illiterate wild-boy from the hills; this knowledge was empty of content, its subject matter long since gone. Still, such knowledge had a symbolic structure that was peculiar to itself, and at least the symbol-interplay could be observed. To observe the way a knowledge-system is knit together is to learn at least a minimum knowledge-of-knowledge, until someday – someday, or some century – an Integrator would come and things would be fitted together again. So time mattered not at all.”
- W
alter M. Miller, Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz, pp. 66

Miller's Science Fiction classic, A Canticle for Leibowitz, imagines the centuries and millenia following the near-total destruction of human civilization. Decimated After nuclear holocaust, there occurrs a great populist backlash against all knowledge and technology. Blaming the apocalypse and the desecration of the Earth on science and learning, the survivors carry out massive book burnings in an age that comes to be known as the great ‘Simplification.’ The only keepers of human history and the written word are the monks of the order of Saint Leibowitz, safeguarding any and all recovered documents, from blueprints to textbooks to shopping lists, through written copy and memorization.

Pictured above is the book cover (left) as well as a
photograph of my book report from sixth grade, a fully rendered movie poster for a hypothetical film based on the novel (right). This poster is a wonderfully telling artifact of my strengths and weaknesses as a young man, a revelatory relic on par with the tattered document it depicts – the sacred shopping list of Saint Leibowitz.

I am proud that in planning this feature film, I gave little thought to cost constraints. The movie’s budget is comically boundless and the ensemble cast is really something to behold. Just look at that lineup of Hollywood heavy-hitters: Danny Glover, Jeff Bridges, Mel Brooks, Kurt Russell, Tom H
anks, Ossie Davis, Maggie Smith, Burgess Meredith, all under the direction of the legendary Terry Gilliam. I myself am named as the producer while my father, Patrick, gets the nod as executive producer. What is the meaning of this?

The teaser media excerpts raise several puzzling questions. These quotes are either plain statement of objective fact (NYT, LAT), starry-eyed praise for the film’s provocation of ‘thoughts’ (Newsweek, GMA), or absurdly hyperbolic declarations that explode the prevailing order of film criticism (Siskel and Ebert). The personification of Newsweek and the LA Times promotes a special flavor of cognitive dissonance in yet another peculiar turn. All of this may or may not be knowledge. I feel like an illiterate wild boy from the hills.

Its age and its relevance long-since forgotten, this poster is an inscrutable, jumbled, mash-up of empty signifiers. I can't be sure of its meaning, but I record this information faithfully in anti
cipation of the day when it will once again make sense.