me hut journal august 2003  

"When from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid lthe ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection."

marcel proust


august - undifferentiated

another car commercial: in this one there are NO cars, simply people pulling out of their garage on their own two feet and trotting down the street, then overheads of cloverleafs and expressways with clumps of people trotting together down the roadway as if they were in cars and then at night, holding flashlights. a striking and effective commercial but just as striking for the absence of its object of desire. Just another example that the automobile is one of the central mythological motifs in modern life...and all the more so because of its purloined letter level of visibility/invisibility. How handy then that the very purveyors of the goods should be open in their regard and consequent disregard of the vehicle. This is no more better shown than in the constant barage of car chases and subsequent crashes in the media. The car embodies all the hopes and fears of the last 200 years: freedom, escape, individuality etc on the one end and the collapse of all systems, an apocalpyse paradoxically both micrological and biblical in proportion.


The immediate experience of technology is all that counts for people..but, as benjamin well noted, it is in that immediacy that the farthest regions of life and thought begin to manifest themselves---


I had occasion to send out a post and mentioned Henry Miller, the writer. so depressing in a way. I read Miller when I was much younger and I can remember with tears in my eyes the intensity of expectations then and the sense of movement. Miller of course fed that sense of larger than life. But I'm sure that then much of life was humdrum, everyday, just the way it is now. Perhaps there is something in that temporal gap that lends a fecundity to life then. well, we know this is so, from there springs melancholia and all sorts of wispy sprigs of meditations on loss and bereavement, turning almost immediately into some sort of sappy, sepia toned recollection. It is perhaps one of the prices paid for getting older, an inevitability in almost all no doubt.

(but it is also true that Miller is sort of a literary st. paul in the sense of taking one position and moving it to another. The immediacy of Miller's prose (it's 'christianness' if you prefer) yet relies on a mystique of language, on the fallen separation and yearning of logos which has to be repudiated for it to be effective. That is the nature of the left hand path genrally.)

When I go back to MS. occasionally, the lanscape itself seems to impose melacholia, a dreadful sticky sweet possession of one's faculties that can only end (well ,it never does) in some sort of bitter draught the volume of which stretches from then to now and then perilously but unmistakenly into the to come. And any of kind of Proustian object can set it off, an old song, a drift of scent, seeing someone from a distance who poses familiarity. A great wound seems to open up at those points, unfortunately steaming with those sprays of sentiment, just waiting for their condensation.

I remember vididly Miller's critique of living in America: the Air-Conditioned Nightmare as it were, robots and pod people faking it. The wonder is whether one becomes a pod person as you go along..or maybe iat's that you have to keep such observations to your self. or maybe that we have all become liberated now!

It all seems like more of a drift now, thep ointlessness of things becoming sharper all the more because it can barely if at all be expressed now. perhaps all this is more of those sepia wisps.
I had a phone chat with my friend JJ the other day and we just rounded the same bushes as always. Academics have contracted a peculiar kind of intellectual scurvy due to their dietary restrictions I think.



names just saw the Harvey Pekar film, American Splendor last night and midway theough the film there is a funny segment (almost existing separately from the rest of the film) on the name 'Harvey Pekar' and the number of men in Cleveland who have that name. It resonates eerily for me (see the earlier piece last month in the H.U.T. journal on names. Pekar seems to be exercised over someone else having his name because it detracts from his uniqueness--he goes to some lengthss to describe how pecular his name is --and now there are these three other guys who have it. And there is also the bit later on about whether when he dies the character 'Harvey Pekar' will keep going. There is something about the congruence of the banality (although funny) of his life with the repetition of his life that gets elevated into something else seemingly ... perhaps much like the repetition of his name in others. The 'is-ness' of one's self gets leavened into a braoder fabric, the banal deictic moving into a technical oneiric, the grapes of individuality churned into the wine of some larger ocean, eventually lost beneath the waves of history and time anyway; an ocean composed of nothing but names and the swells and tides of their forces, implacable while they are pronounced or when they come into consciousness but just as so, mysterious in their recession, their decline. (But can they ever so decline/disappear? aren't they -- Homer, Shakespeare, Job, Hamet, etc. -- like the alphabet itself in a cultural ocean, i.e., just because they are not in use does not mean that they are not present further along in the string of associations, matrices of meaning, somehow grandfathered in --yes, I'm aware of the gender bias here.



robert cheatham