Comic Corrective and Dr. Suess

Bob Ashley ax386 at chebucto.ns.ca
Sun Dec 30 18:38:04 EST 2001


> After 9/11, everbody's supposed to "Love New York."  I don't even LIKE New
> York.  I respect Manhattan.  I will grudgingly concede that it is the center
> of the known universe.  The other four boroughs, though, are undistinguished,
> as far as I'm concerned, and I say this as the son of a Brooklyn native.
> Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island are just glorified bedrooms,
> basking in an ersatz status they haven't come close to earning.

I get a sense that as a collectivity, say, of all-states' hurrahs for NYC,
begins to get close enough to touch or transform an individual within our
hyperindividualistic culture, a magnetic sort of repulsion automatically
initiates itself. We can _approach_ a consubstantive state, merging
identities, but then the countercritical forces seem to multiply as if by
the square of the inverse distance to union. Halfway there is four times,
and with only one-quarter to go, the repulsion is sixteen times!

The rhetoric of unity then seems to apply an externally added force like
nuclear fusion contraption, technics bringing molecules of identity into
closer and closer vicinity. Compression, the more its applied rhetorically,
seems almost as if a mimesis of the crushing compression of falling towers.
In the physical place of the twin towers, as I imagine it, go twin tower
supplements of rhetorical collectivity. It only seems natural to me that
individuals would start to get nervous riding the elevators of idealism
wherein the floors are variously marked, Philanthropy (Ground);
Self-sacrifice (Mezz); Compassion (1); Love (2); Humility (3); Conscience
(4) and so forth. And on up to however many floors we need to start thinking
about the need to draw up a deed to secure some prime space in Heaven. The
higher we ascend, though, the more we get scared having not yet seen a floor
labeled 'Look out for Number 1!' or 'Up yours!' or 'See you court!'
Something must be wrong here, I mean, enough togetherness is enough, this
even without my bringing in the rhetorical exponents to exacerbate things.

There's not enough antigravitational force to haul individualism up to the
top floors of a full-compressed consubstantiation. Nervous, heavy-hearted
people start fleeing the twinning rhetoric, through our standard emergency
exits, like comedy, satire, polemic, editorial, Usenet flames. It seems that
if consubstantiation goes too far we get real jittery, as if nearing a brink
of neighborly nihilism, feeling like atoms of love crushed together, about
to blow ourselves to kingdom come. Feeling as if ascending Jacob's ladder,
stairs of clouds but without sufficient faith to keep our steps lighter than
air, too heavy with our oneselfness go the ideal, Platonic distance.

We can love each other only up to so many floors. After that, that inverse
squared force of individual identity begins hammering us back down those
skyscraper stairs, kicking us each and one at a time, like colored Smarties
from a box, atumble back out onto the plaza.

Just some playful lickety-splitting inspired by Ed's crack whip. :)

***
bob ashley

 






 



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