Thursday, 17 September 2009

Knowing How the World Works/Is Not Knowing How to Work the World!

Oooh, my last post went a bit wonky in the middle didn't it? I really like the piece as a whole, and both Sean Wizke and Andrew Hickey have linked to it, but... yeah, I think I've just proved that insomnia and clarity are not friends!

I've re-written a handful of horrible sentences and taken out a few others that were simply too wretched to salvage. I think it reads much better now, but if anyone thinks I've committed an act of hideous violence please let me know and I'll put some of those clunkers back in.

Also: you should all read Andrew's latest/final entry in his Hyperpost series if you haven't already. In fact, you should read the whole damned thing from start to end, even if you have read it before! These posts are a beautiful tangle of physics, liberal politics and metafictional musings, and taken as a whole they form a playfully knotty protest against the idea of canonical storytelling. Which, really, how often do you get to read or type a sentence like that? Not often enough, I would guess, unless your life is far weirder than mine. And if is then, hey -- well done you!

Some of Andrew's closing sentiments echo the themes of my Adam Curtis post rather nicely:
The craving for order, for simplicity, to get everything in little boxes, is a very, very, very dangerous one, because sometimes – often – the things you want to put in those little boxes are people, and then you have to cut parts off them to fit, and saying sorry afterward doesn’t really help…

I’m not saying that retconning away Superman’s time as Superboy, or not counting both versions of Shada, are motivated by fascism – that would be a reductio ad absurdem of my argument. What I *AM* saying is that the world itself is a miraculous, complex, multiplex place, and none of us little monkeys really have a clue how it really works. We should expect nothing less from the stories we tell each other – be they stories about Superman, or stories about how the economy responds to an increase in lending to the banks.

Of course, the big difference here is that Andrew can just say this stuff instead of doing a stupidly elaborate dance around it, but that's just how I work so fuck it!

In the comments to one of Andrew's Hyperposts I indicated that I might write about "the difference between The Invisibles as an interactive experience (The Bomb, the Barbelith site, the lettercols, etc) and 52/Mozbats RIP/Final Crisis as an interactive experience (the blog chatter, the Dibny diaries, the Remixes, etc)."

I started writing an essay on this topic, but I don't think I'll finish it because it was coming out dumb. You see, it looked like I was going to start making some snippy comments about how Grant Morrison used to try to change the way we think about the world, but now he just tries to change the way we think about the DC Comics Universe. Which is total bullshit, really -- just look at all the thoughtful writing Morrison's work still generates, from Andrew's posts to the Mindless Ones' annocomentations to David Fiore on Seaguy for proof!

Beyond that, look at how much good writing there is on this little corner of the Internet! Honestly, I know that there are some unforgivably stupid stories on the web -- one glance at any random YouTube comment is enough to prove this, should you need it reconfirmed -- but the good stuff almost makes up for it. Almost! And hey, you can (and should!) shout the idiots down if something important's at stake, or you can turn their stupidity into a joke if you prefer, but it's important to keep all of this in perspective. There are other, better stories out there, and it's crazy easy to find them these days.

And hey, if you read this blog, I'd just like to take the time to say thanks. I don't think I've got many readers, but the ones I do have are worryingly smart, and I'm glad that they want to make me a part of their stories, however small.

Coming soon -- more Filth!

Take care out there.

David

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