A heart-warming and vaguely Christian tale of feline redemption and getting-your-head-stuck-in-a-can-and-then-being-freed:
Colin Seddon, Scottish SPCA Wildlife Rescue Centre manager, said: “Luckily no damage was done and the little cat was very pleased to be freed from the discomfort that comes with having your head stuck inside a tin can.”
i like the rhythms of that conclusion, the everyday, approachable feel of it, as contrasted with the horrors of academic prose. i wonder to what extent language is a kind of music, and if so what that entails for meaning and practice, and thought. When i’m struggling with a thought, i very often feel a rhythm, catch hold of it, and then the words tumble out as if the music must come first, just. i need a sound structure, a rhythm, and then the thought comes into being in words; words follow a spectral music. George Steiner, writing of the sirens and Odysseus the seducer and orator, speculates somewhere on the shared roots and occasional opposition of speech and music. One can see academic prose as a kind of bad music, lumpen, pompous, blaring, aggressive, monotonous and joyless. So Homi Bhabha:
If, for a while, the ruse of desire is calculable for the uses of discipline soon the repetition of guilt, justification, pseudo-scientific theories, superstition, spurious authorities, and classifications can be seen as the desperate effort to “normalize” formally the disturbance of a discourse of splitting that violates the rational, enlightened claims of its enunciatory modality.
The closest analogy would be to power electronics, bad power electronics (some is interesting, for example Keiji Haino). My ex-Muslim school acquaintance Shrekh is very much into power electronics; he also seems to be a borderline schizophrenic. This is the kind of stuff he likes (and by which he gave himself permanent tinnitus):
He also likes post-structuralism. As if this terrible history wasn’t enough he read Finnegans Wake four times in a row, making notes in the margin, same story with one of William Burroughs’ dreary cut up books, The Ticket That Exploded.
My reaction to being rejected for PhD funding the first time, in August 2001, was perhaps comparable to that of the cat above – sudden relief, giddily so, since the prospect of another 3 years of academia had been filling me with growing panic and dread. My next two PhD applications (in 2006 and 2008) were an attempt to swap one tin can (data entry) for another, and i shouldn’t have been dejected by the inevitable rejection.
i feel now, at 0706 in a still snowy K___, in my third week without work, with no prospect of future employment, that it isn’t so much important to know what to do, what to want, as it is to decisively reject slavery, to know what not to do. i am aware that there is, it seems, no alternative to slavery – except death – but i have faith that death is preferable to voluntarily sticking one’s head into a small tin can, as silence is preferable to Merzbow or Homi Bhabha. Freedom, when it comes, may take an unusual form.