Feb 202010

My favourite part is the girl who says, “I see you. I see you. I see you.”

Though I can’t quite put my finger on it, there is something ineffably sad about this (aside from the obvious comedy). It’s a parody of a reality TV show about really stupid people re-enacting a really obvious Hollywood reiteration of the Romance of the Noble Savage old-style Euro-colonial racism, thus a parody of an imitation of an imitation of a bad idea. It reminds me of Don Quixote, of course, who is imitating characters in a romantic adventure novel about knights in armour long after people had forgotten what those thugs-in-chain mail  were really like. And Dostoevsky said Don Quixote was the saddest book of all.

Maybe it’s this: our inability to feel real unless we are acting a role, our need for a gesture or form that gives us substance. When we see this in others, it’s comic. But it’s the kind of comedy that expresses a latent fear, in this case the fear that if we look too closely the Self will seem unbearably empty.


  7 Responses to “Feeling blue”

  1. A San Francisco psychiatrist talks about the hippy movement and Haight Ashbury in the ’60s:

    It’s a social movement, quintessentially romantic, the kind that recurs in times of real social crisis. The themes are always the same. A return to innocence. The invocation of an earlier authority and control. The mysteries of the blood. An itch for the transcendental, for purification. Right there you’ve got the ways that romanticism historically ends up in trouble, lends itself to authoritarianism.

    qtd. in Didion, “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” Didion’s comment on same, later in the essay:

    We were seeing the desperate attempt of a handful of pathetically unequipped children to create a community in a social vacuum.

    On a lighter note, an Avatar spin-off that did not take itself seriously:


    Starring Leandro Barbosa, produced by Steve Nash, both of the Phoenix Suns b-ball team.

    • Cervantes nails his point near the end of the novel when Quixote considers joining a group of young hippy-like back-to-the-landers who have embraced sheep-herding and poetry in imitation of the Arcadian romance (thus transferring his allegiance from one literary “gesture” to another). Quixote’s niece bursts the balloon by mentioning how dirty and smelly sheep are.


  2. Post Avatar Depression (PAD)

    I don’t know if everyone has seen this:


    I can’t decide what makes me most dizzy:

    1. The story itself

    2. CNN’s covering the story

    3. CNN itself

    4. That psychotherapist telling us what is normanl and what is not.

    • Yeah, but you know it makes sense. I didn’t even see the movie and I’m depressed. What’s that about? Is that Infectious PAD (IPAD) or Hysterical PAD (HPAD)?

      Actually, I was depressed BEFORE I didn’t see the movie. That’s Pre-IPAD or PIPAD of PHPAD (pronounced fffffffpad).

      I don’t have cable so I don’t get to watch CNN which I am glad to see is still bravely defining the mudsill of culture analysis.


      • Cf. our reaction to 9/11, the subsequent wars, the coverage of these by CNN, once more our reaction, our eventual loss of interest.

  3. I could make a case that our culture has suffered from bad fiction. (All writing is fiction.) If we take out the Bad Guy(s), peace, order, and meaning will be restored unto the land. I think everyone believed that and the thinking behind the invasions — and the story — never got more sophisticated than that.

  4. Dizziness:

    Dizziness is a psycho-physiological state tied to confusion and the mental processes of understanding, with a possible ontological component. There are many variations. You have just come to grasp a basic principle, a unity that breaks down barriers between the disparate things before you, and can see it, in the totality of its relevance, racing endlessly to comprehend them. Or you see the unity, but it careens off the walls of all the things it does not comprehend and scatters everywhere beyond them, while the things it does pervade begin to dissolve into endless nothing. Or you only see the principle but sense no walls at all, only the outlines of what you think is there, the boundless extension of their empty possibilities. Or see the mesh of possibilities in things, but not the principle that might align them, only the chance of a principle, ever endless in its evasion. Or see neither the principle nor possible connections, only endless endlessness.

    In each there is the same feeling, similar to that of physical dizziness, like an irritation in the ears, a tickling of equilibrium, and it is difficult to tell whether the sensation is one of rising or falling. In each also come feelings of doubt and confidence, of anxiety and elation, but it is not clear whether the dread belongs to confidence, the transport to the doubt. With these feelings, another emotion impossible to name, diffuse yet more intense; with its movement, a stillness, a white mist spreading in a blinding sun . . . .

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