Sunday, November 09, 2008

Impasse Updated

Part of where my questioning has really worked is the last area for questions, in the life of each pair of pants I own.

Part of where my questioning has concerned itself has been with how to cut cheese.

Stan Apps talks fitfully about sarcasm and irony, sincerity and subtlety, as well as the duplicitous nature of being subtle.

Then I wanted to rewrite this poem I've been working on called "Humiliatingly Close Prose":


How the turtle will relieve your pain.

Anyone who gives this more than one star watches movies like Castaway.

You need to hold danger to see danger in long-term pain.

What smells like uncomfortable is truthfully pain.

My dream: Shit your tonsils. Who can hurt more?

I’m dropping the pain. Don’t you feel a tiny bit sorry for moldy voldy?

What you feel is fucking pain.

Where I can escape and thrill in the chase like Hugo's dead dog, Tiny URL.
The pain so tiny I have treat pain in tiny patients video.

Controlled sugar suckling behind it. And go far away out of pain’s way, Spock.

A mother, two kids, six reasons to leave, and a ticket to heaven.

If heaven is a rocking chair loaded with explosions

Sprawling pain has made a bed in a forest from far away.

Since this painful garbage has parked in our lozenge, we spoil.

There isn’t a way to speak about beach reclamation without paining the turtles.

I wanted to be entertainment, not to be painfully propaganda.

Good fortune is ruined by reliable weekly pickup taking pain-causing agents far away:

Where they can escape with diverse funds by grasping your country’s flaws and real pain

Something bad in your head, like my hands have known fear so, later.

4 comments:

Eli said...

There's something in the sarcasm of this piece that feels more "genuine" than the sarcasm of the original. Maybe it has something to do with the space that you put around the lines, a space for interrogation and the actualization of the words. The language also feels more insistent, more direct, less deceptive.

I suppose I never thought about a multiplicity of sarcasms. When you talked about your loss of patience, your repeating yourself, I thought of the sarcasm responsible for my own impasses. For me, sarcasm only moves forward, is purely situational, loss-cutting. It doesn't have a sense of history. My own solution to the impasse of impatience and repetition has been to look back, to stop short-changing the work I've done in the past. My sarcasm is slower. Maybe Apps would criticize me for too "humanistic" of an approach, but I might choke in bile if I keep trying to reflux against the cultural current. Sarcasm, as Apps attests, is matter-of-fact, no bullshit, politically effective. But I think you've found a way to retain that power without becoming repetitive, without volleying verbal diarrhea. Is this still sarcasm? I think it's less knee-jerk than that.
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Also, that Adbuster article on hipsterism was a bit much for me. The argument led me along for a while until I started considering the crowd as a collection of real people. The fire and brimstone became absurd at that point.

E

Ryan said...

Your idea that sarcasm has no sense of history is interesting, though, somewhat different from how I view sarcasm. For sarcasm to work, especially in the opinion of the receiver, a sense of history must be present. I can't tell you that Bush was a great president if you don't know that he was a bad one...or perhaps I'm misunderstanding something in your comments.

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For me, the Adbuster article was ridiculous the moment the writer compared hipsters with hippies, the *truly* legit counterculture.

See? Sarcasm needs history.

Eli said...

I don't disagree that sarcasm, especially when used politically, rides on history. But I think that's a more concrete way of looking at it than I am.

When I specifically say that sarcasm doesn't have a sense of history, I mean it in a more personal sense. It doesn't have a sense of its own history because, for me, it is a more destructive and self-immolating force. I'm talking about histories of writing. I have trouble relating my more sarcastic poems to each other and to my other poetry, especially over time; they're so situational and moody. I don't think it's a coincidence that a lot of satire doesn't age well (though Twain remains brilliant).

Maybe it's that sarcasm used politically exhausts itself, becomes too purpose-driven and propagandistic. "Was that me who wrote that?" Again, this is just my own experience. And again, I often write sarcastically. And, indeed, I love your sarcastics. You pull it off.

E

Ryan said...

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh. oKAY. That seems to make more sense. A pox on me for assuming you meant ideologically, as we might call Capital S Sarcasm.

I agree that it might seem like sarcasm doesn't age well (Airplane, for example, is a movie that no longer works for me on this level.) Twain doesn't age as much, but I'm wondering if it's irony that "ages" better...though it seems irony too as a time and place. So perhaps it's not that sarcasm lacks a sense of history, but that sarcasm is static, not ecstatic (unstuck in time, in the very Borgesian sense of El Sur...etc.)

I will mull this.