Monday, March 12, 2007

Of and Pertaining to Feline Atavism

“…remembrance must not proceed in the manner of a narrative or still less that of a report, but must, in the strictest epic and rhapsodic manner assay its spade in ever-new places, and in the old ones delve to ever-deeper layers.”
- Walter Benjamin, "A Berlin Chronicle," Reflections

I typically eschew hard-line pronouncements about the blog as medium, living as we are in the little guy’s adolescence. Heck, maybe the blog is just a little baby.

For example: one ideological pose I used to strike on blogs was a categorical opposition to any and all pet aggrandizement. I am a great lover of animals, but I find these tawdry displays usually come off as either exploitative or narcissistic. I have since come to the conclusion that ‘no pets’ is a silly rule. There is a time and place for everything.

This is Xena. She lives at “Hole in The Wall Deli” down the street where her imposing size keeps rodents at bay. She is a neighborhood hero and the biggest cat I have ever seen in person (those are gallon jugs of water below her). This is because the owners only feed her cold cuts.

I am most fascinated by Xena because she bears an eery resemblance to my first childhood cat, ‘Batcat,’ named for his large ears and my four-year-old obsession with the caped crusader. Batcat was leaner and more given to movement, but his fur bore the same markings. It is unnerving, to see my childhood cat in the eyes of a much larger living female cat. Browsing the back aisle for coffee filters, brownie mix, or vegetable oil, Xena’s eyes stare at me from her camouflaged girth, innocent and knowing, familiar and strange, heimlich and unheimlich. We have maintained a steady friendship, despite the fact that the sight of her explodes my interior experience of linear time and reality.


Perfect Ratio said...

You know what's weird re: Freud's "The Uncanny"? Reading that essay for class, then going home winter breaking and noticing that your Grandfather bears an Uncanny resemblance to Freud. My heimlich felt totally off.

That cat is cute. Also.

uncle tom said...

A very sweet remembrance of "Batty"....

The last time I did a heimlich maneuver on Gyro he spit up a hairball.

denise said...

You might very well be my favorite person today. I don't know if Kevin has ever mentioned that I am totally obsessed with Benjamin and wrote an entire Junior Independent Work on his Berliner Kindheit. He would love blogs -- what better medium in which to discover the traces of the present in our own past through spontaneous recollection. Cats.

Celtfire - J.P. O'Shea said...

Martin ... can I call you Marty? Of course not! You're much too sophisticated for that monicker.(I have your graduation picture taken by Auntie Mar on my computer - you make mortar boards look cool)

Anyway, a couple of things to cover. First, I like the way you use words - pushing the envelope of verbiage until the reader (OK, it's me) suddenly finds that he has possibly segued into poetry or some obscure Chaucerian quotation. I believe that trait in you is genetic, having minced a few words with your dad and Uncle Tom of the Tavern back in the day.

Speaking of whom, how is Papa Patrick? Is he a blogophobe? I don't see any of his trademark witicisms anywhere in evidence. Secondly, since it was you who inspired Uncle Tom to open the Tavern of Blog, can you convince him to continue or at least respond with a bloggish grunt to the postings that have arisen from his original manifesto of "not caring". The customers are clammering for the proprietor to set 'em up, again.

Well, look at the hour. As you youngsters say, old people don't dare stay up this late; already I wax diseloquent. I am a bit addled after having to look up "atavistic" and then stumbling into that link for the Freud essay.
I must gather the curious brain cells that might have wandered off during this literary adventure.I may need them to read the cereal box (bran, of course) in the morning.

Thanks for your patience.

Dr. Poopshadow said...