tedious sermon instead of unappreciated serious jokes

Wed, 22 Jan 97 15:45:13 CST


There are some jokes, as in the FEDERAL BLDG BOMB COVERUP fable, which
are of deadly serious intent, but as I got chewed out via private e-mail,
thereafter killfiled (having told the party *everything but* what it was
about), it requires the tiresome sermon the homour was erroneously expected
to obviate.

1. Hyposemia caused by cultural complexity undermining itself, also the
industrialization of meaning production.
Hyposemia is a private coinage I've defined elsewhere as "a subjectively
perceived deficiency of meaning in the cultural environment." Which is
redundant, but we're oversimplifying here. What the culture is paid for is
for Thingies to be Meaningful as well as to Mean other Thingies. What meaning
means, and why it should be so meaningful, is handed over to professional
philosophers, Sages, and gurus so as not to annoy the rest of us. When, per
contra, it is bruited about by the Professionally unqualified, or unProfession-
als, such as myself, that Things Don't Mean Things Like They Useta (which I
personally would rather die than tell anyone), something in the culture is
slacking off or requiring the service contractor. Actually, this condition may
have a number of causes, many of which are observable in the historical record
centuries or millennia ago. One or two are quite recent. (See Ulf Hannerz,
Cultural Complexity, 1992.) When cultures get sufficiently hierarchized and
specialized-subcultureized, frictionizing and fractionizing gets terrific, and
many become confused as to what's appropriate even if they could do it if they
knew, which I personally can't.

More nebulous, perhaps far more insidious, and certainly of a greater order
of intentionality, is the industrialization of deliberately concocted meanings,
symbols, icons, even ikonoklastic ikons. A specific reference was made in what
was charged to "runaway amphetamines" via private e-mail to the historical type
of ikonoklastic ikon, most familiar to us in the guise of the late, great Abbie
Hoffman, a man who would have been my role model the way Zhu Yuanzhang was Mao
Zedong's, had I not been ab initio to this very day Chickenshit. Specifically,
the allusion to Abiezer Coppe, author of A Fiery Flaming Roll, suffient in its
scatologies to induce, I am certain, the spontaneous combustion of Papistry in
his time, the 1650s, I am sure.
That's an obscurity, true, but it's a preplanned, premeditated, preplanted
obscurity, for the express purpose of putting the lie to the very sort of
runaway Drugged-Psycho-Degenerate charges that you actually pulled on me. Do
any of you really believe, after all these years, that I want to, when I'm
articulate enough to express something that's recognizably me, *communicate*
over this e-mail idiocy? What I want to do is disrupt and, if possible,
destroy, extirpate, spurious meaning which already exists, comprising and
constituting the basis of a vast volume of verbiage output such that none
of it is meaningfully different from the rest of it. A deliberate, false, but
necessary exaggeration.
Half-trillion in dollars armenian is expended globally on advertising, not
counting political candidacies, media subsuming news and information, and
public relations/propaganda. Fine distinctions betwixt/among these variants of
hype, quasi-fakery, overtly true-looking imagery that's tantamount to exposed-
posterior lies, dramatizations, simulations, and checking up with what's
sanctioned as legitimate to have felt or, more Seriously, Direct-Experienced,
disseminable because it's popular, and all the rest of it you already know.
In former times, it was still possible to say, as I did ad nauseam, "No
Experience is allowed to exist in any culture until it's first been Standard-
ized." Well, you can't actually Standardize the Normals too much, Else you
don't have enough variability in your conformists to have the Vicariously
Experiencing studio-audience (quasi-viewer-surrogates, except better, cuz the
presumptive viewer is presumed such an inarticulate slob, true representative-
ness, or the showing thereof over the air, is taboo. (Have no set, and only
once, when couldn't move, did I catch one of these Thingies, over a Chicago
channel for racial minorities.) Say, there's Performing Seals on stage, who've
had, claim to've had, wish to communicate the having of, the Direct Experience
of Seducing & Abandoning Promiscuity. There's these anti-promiscuous if
awestruck gigglers in the Chorus, or ministudioaudience, who ask the soi-disant
Experienced Experiencers whether, and how terribly, they also Experienced Guilt
over their Unsafeness. Their Impregnation track record, whereof the worst part
was the Anticipatory Fear. The smugness of the Fallback Position that, if I,
Joe RedDog, are this low/selfish/callous, there's hudndeds like me she coulda
Done It With just as easily, you think I'm something special, like there's
aught whatever Good in or about my Nature/True Self?
The other Normals, who raise hands from the slightly plush seats, are as I
said, censorious but withal giggly, as they're morally appalled yet normatively
Turned On. Whatever that means. I am Coming Out and telling you, you are all
the first to know, that I have no idea in hell what is "turned-on."

Normals are the Great Unmarked Category. I'm in several Marked Categories,
so can't tell anyone anything, can give no response to the hostile query, "Well
what *are* you around hereŮ anyhow?" The Normal may be safely presumed able
to (a) cook eggs, (b) pass salt, (c) pour goo(s) in washer at cycle-appropriate
instants, (d) change, whereby is presupposed, wear underwear (e) drive a
motorious vehicle, and (e) have a more than nominal emotional-moral commitment
to labour-market participation. By consequence, you are, as Normals, familiar
with social statistics to the point of being Took, but not to apprehend your
sociopolitical world, 'neath the clouds of idelological pollution (the Chinese
got use of the word Spiritual for this purpose first, there's no money in it,
we're screwed). The best known of all social statistics, for example, is the
height of, at this time, former Secretary of Labour Robert Reich, which is or
was four feet eleven inches. But then, look at what Napoleon managed to do with
undissimilar problems.

The foregoing is a bunch of jokes which is avoiding coming to the point, and
for a very good reason, because it takes lots of anecdotal data before you will
even begin to accept how much baloney is deliberately manufactured around the
clock, the truth value of the Thingies being irrelevant. What matters, and
matters very seriously, is the aggregate of the Thingies. The Gross National
Datamass, or is that Gross Domestic Datamass, I forget, and whilst I'm sure
that foreign trade has something Serious to do with baloney, not least
transaction costs of US corporations' branches in the Cayman Islands, and
that memorable Stones song, Aruba Tuesday, well, contemplate it, do your
contemplating in the BESEECHING position. Cuz it's as the kidz say awesome
in that, if the statistical properties attributed to it are anything like,
uh, objectively real (as opposed to ideological Reality, remember, this is
a basic & fundamental theoretical distinction with me, learn it), then it's
the most monumental Thingie in the socialŮ universe whut is getting bigger
as it simultaneously gets more worthless. That's what makes this, what I am
typing onto the screen at this instant, ASCII string, not text. What consti-
tutes text qua text, IF THIS IS INDEED CAPITALISM, aint it? is: Text is text
cuz and insofar as it's PAID FOR.

Now, howzis grab ya. What you, plural, are posting to this list is TEXT,
onnacounta you are paid for by universities. You are paid regularly, bimonthly
or however often they shell out funny money in Russia, which is fully converti-
ble, but to what? Judaism? I doubt it. Too many East European immigrants in
the "boroughs" of Brooklyn and Queens in New York City for this to make sense.
The cover price of the Economist, for Russia, is denominated in Dollars
Armenian. And, crown it all, for the Great Moment of the Revolutionary
Transformation to undo the Revolutionary Transformation, it gives a figure
the Tsarist police who wrote The Protocols of the Elders of Zion were too
feebly endowed with imagination to invent for demonizing-propaganda purposes,
Prof Jeffrey "Shock Treatment" Sachs of Harvard. (Shock treatment, I'd thought,
is for treating psychosis, not socialism, but whaddahell.) Story wuz, back in
1989, Sachs' receptionist tells him Field Marshal Wojtech Jaruszelski is on the
"Tell him to legalize Solidarity, then call me back!"

Geewiz, had I known that, I'd'a said to the polltaker, the lady with the
elegant Southern, presumptively Georgia, accent, "...You *have* heard of Jimmy
"Tell him to legalize LSD and call me back!"
This is what you say when the abosolutely objectively impossible happens,
such as, you are trying to conceive a child to the Hosanna of Bach's B-Minor
Mass, but get the Transcendent Ultimate instead, and THEN the survey taker
calls up. Precision timing. This is the closest you get to the Direct Experi-
ence of Baloney.

You have, each and every one of you, given graduate courses on baloney from
earliest times to the present. You have, in some nations not fully educated by
professional educatiors in place of the vulgar propagandists who previously did
it, given what Pluto Perot called "Infomercials" on Baloney. And all these
inculcations of Truth are assimilated into the ambience of baloney which they
are intented to oppose unto death (whose) as THE CRITIQUE. Everyone qusting/
lusting after Hegemony in English Depts or Cult Studies Pogroms is Baloney
tout entiere with vested interest in nonrecognition for what it is. The worst
baloney I ever read in my life was Laclau and Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist
But it got paid for, didn't it.

Your posts, and all other word outputs, are Text, as I sez, cuz you are
regularly Paid for a job whose description includes the generation within the
quantified delimited time frame specified, the publication, wherefor you
receive nothing, and may even require the services of an expert in conversion
of mangled gibberish into readable professional-looking prose, may I recommend
my good friend Ralph W. Larkin, PhD (Sociology), (212) 889-3428, 410 Second
Avenue New York City NY 10010. If you yourself strongly believe that what you
wrote MEANS SOMETHING, howbeit neither you nor anyone else can say, from the
looks of it, what that was or is, Ralph, I swear, will have you proudly
distributing reprints to people who will query you, "Who was that masked man?"

It's not that he cannot render publishable near or farŮ English prose
which never meant anything in the first place. It's that he will moralistically
refuse. Baloney must have its limits, or we ourselves despair of our own
Reality (in the ideological sense). In terms of objective reality, there never
was, nor can be anywhere except in bourgeois ideology, any such Thingie as the
figmentational heroically monadic insular Individual, long may it Aynrand.
She's the offspring of a Hebrew consonant and a South African unit of currency.
She's the imaginary woman who wants to be raped, imaginarily, by the imaginary
male Aryan beast she's made up cuz she's Jewish. Also dead, leving behind
Camille Piglia. Ideology is wonderful, it really makes it, said Frank Zappa.
All these named individuals, from Ayn Rand through Frank Zappa, also produce
text, but the Text, not the writer or Elsewise organism held Responsible (if
rarely receiving royalties, least of all in China), is paid for. This is of
lower prestige, with exceptions, than getting paid regularly such that, as part
of your job, the text *comes out*, like excrement or something, keeping you
Regular, and if so long enough, tenured. There's exceptions, but the latter
is prioritized.
Does that mean, Criticism is prioritized over Art? Yeah, quite likely,
the various Depts of Crit could go on for YEARS without anyone noticing there
wuz no more Art. Now, looky here, I have got in the bookbag undoubted and
without question Great Art, which is David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, 1996.
How I know this is, I read a previous novel of his, The Broom of the System,
1990ish, which I just outandout loved. Something I have a Direct Experience of
as Terrible, as I can't write like that myself, and my mother is holding me
Strictly Responsible to this very day for not having been the Messiah, even if
she was the one who bribed the IQ tester. I just got the lie to live up to. It
was the fake IQ which got me into the Bronx High School of Science, Cornell
University, and best luck of all, in Brandeis University the very first year
of their Sociology Dept graduate program. Moral: If you're not very bright,
dyslexic, suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (which is when they drop a
pin three blocks away just to annoy you), and can't talk from Cerebral Palsy,
the first year of a graduate program is The Way To Go. Cuz They Don't Know,
they're LOST. Oh, yeah, I was lazy, too; AND never had a Direct Experience of
Willpower and Self-Discipline. But with truly great effort, as you've watched
SMARTNESS! Which aint essential, at least in most Smart people. It's part of
the Job, like sex.
So here's this guy, David Foster Wallace, who has got Real Talent. There are
a prioritized Thingies I hold important. Firstly, David Foster Wallace is not
merely Jewish; from the cover photo, which is identical to that on The Broom Of
The System, he *looks Jewish*. And as a former sociologist who used to be a
consoisseur of stereotypes, ate them in the best restaurants, *that's
something*, dig it. The clincher is, he lives in Syracuse NY, where I myself
lived for seven years, divided into two segments. The drawback, apart from
the national record snowfall in inches for cities with populations > 50,000,
is that you risk everyone you're ever likely to want to meet despising you on
sight within two days. The advantage, though, is that with some combination of
exhibitionism and talent, you may become, without really trying after the first
yearish period, which seems like forever, *a living legend*, given the
notoriety, well-earned, of the Syracuse Boredom, wherewith it earned the title,
TYPICAL ARMENIAN CITY, 1965-1966. This, by the way, is worth a small bonanza
to anyone with a front door, as there is a predictable deposit of platic
Thingies with bluish or greenish goo in front, at least weekly; test-marketing.
One may even tell the political scientist surveying ERA, "I wouldn't put
anything else in my washing machine." Alas, the sinkhole of cultural primiti-
vism has evolved toward Metro sophistication; even a Dome. David Foster Wallace
is the Biggest Thing in Syracuse *without* having to make the rounds sixteen
hours a day annoying people!

We all realize, all we got to choose from is between assortments of Natural
baloney and Cultivated baloney. What's more, in selling a cultural product,
unlike a yard of woolen cloth or ton of steel, like all other yards of cloth
or tons of steel qua Marx's archetypal commodity, which is defined as an
"article, thing, object" which has got two Persons, use-value and
exchange-value, in the same Thingie, which is *identical to anything of the
same sort of Thingie which meets the same Need, "and it matters not how that
need arises, whether from biology or from fancy," UNLESS AND ONLY UNLESS one
specimen or batch is DEFECTIVE.

A cultural product, materially, say, a CD, or the right to get into a movie
theater, is materially speaking the same damned thing. A CD is the same shiny
round Thingie, whatever's on it. You collect these boxes with these indisting-
uishable objects in them, requiring the covers to know which from what. The
difference one from the other in your collection among these boxes and shiny
Thingies is, they are *meaningfully different to you*. You can tell Megadeth
from Crash Worship. If I had a CD player, and put effort into it, I'd be able
to, also, after several dozen times as long a time as it took you, and would
never know which one was Good, whatever that meant.
The same principle goes for porno videos, software, and sociologists such
as World Systems Theorists. The marketability of a World System Theorist is
dependent on the meaningful difference, within the confines of Professionalism,
THE COGNITIVE determine the operational definition of Smartness, and who is
deemed to possess it, in contradistinction to those who may be legitimately
licence or permit for same. Don't go by what I'm saying. There's a REAL
HOLLYWOOD MOVIE, "Phenomenon," starring John Trevolting, which sez the same
You see how one has gotta cop *legitimacy* for ideation, which is gonna
count as screwball psychotic amphetamine-crazed drivel anyhow, given that,
as I said, I do not live in your neighbourhood, and never did. Meaning, I
cannot hold the kinds of jobs you did or do. That is, I must invoke in my
behalf a specimen of Baloney Of The Lowest Common Denominator, to support
what, if any one of you bothered to think it out, would be prima facie
obvious and not worth saying; besides, your colleagues would tell you to
stop annoying them with "guilt-tripping," because what is academia for if
not to have some kinda privilege, however measly and crummily paid as it is.

(One motive for my fiction, which you got an overexposure to, and that was
just the barebones synopsis, mind you: I made up an academia where the local
graduate students, trained to become technocrats, *publish and perish*. Due
to the logic of patriarchy. If people tend to die of disease around 30-35, and
men of the ruling class are routinely massacred in each of the very frequent
military coups on trumped-up charges, and *this was China*, how do you treat
women even worse than that? The whole thing was suggested by the Vietnam War,
which started bothering me when I first met a political scientist who wrote
a South Vietnamese constitution. At the other end of the historical period,
uh, anyone still recall the meaning of the word *VIETNAMIZATION*?)

Now, if you got this far, you may be grown up enough for the point. As
the supply of manufactured meaning increases, what happens to PRICES, class?
If this is capitalism, AND IT IS CAPITALISM, AINT IT? even stuff, entities,
Thingies, which are immaterial and cannot be quantified anyway anyhow have
attached *senses of plentifulness*, like the primordial capitalist construct
itself, which is what, class?


Scarcity is not some quantity or mass of Stuff. It is a subjective sense,
loosely related to the imaginary Experience of Hard Times as opposed to
Cornicopiahood, that Life is dogeatdog hardscrabble, or money actually does
grow on trees. And I submit, distinguished ladies and gentlebeings of the jury,
that for an instant there in the 1960s, just because nobody was looking for it,
and because it was posited by all reputable social scientists, a very substan-
tial part of the Broad Masses of the Armenian people did indeed have a Direct
Experience, like all Direct Experiences to be sure just another instance of
fabricatable baloney, but Directly Experienced As Real (remember, uppercase is
the ideological sense), when there was widespread belief, for whatever reason,
that *the only way to tell for sure-ish what was Real-ish was Direct Experience
in that all Else was guaranteed Baloney*.

It took decades of reactionary inegalitarianism to restore the MOTIVE, that
is to say, the MEANINGFULNESS, of the imperative in the culture of a capitalist
GOD, cuz HE LOOKS LIKE HE IS. Hyposemia struck in a big way, where nobody much,
even those who Served Time in New Mexico shuffling sand around, making fake
Native Armenian artifacts, and such, and Ended Up where they woulda been in the
first place, which is at Los Alamos national laboratories, with Two, Three,
Many PhDs. The word "incentives" is the tipoff that the cetral meaningfulness
YOUR BUTT, to inspire you to get rich. For the first time in the history of
capitalism, it is necessary to BRIBE PEOPLE TO EXPERIENCE BEING RICH AS

As I said for starters, the first sign of something losing its Meaningful-
ness is people talking about how it should have meaning where it DON'T MEAN
NOTHING NO MORE. Cruddy activity which formerly got done by hiring people
overglad to get the money, no longer is got done so automatically. In the
late 1970s, when the dropout culture was longsince liquidated and reactionary-
repressive Shrinko-cults were making vast quantities of money telling people,
"Acknowledge the existing power! There is nothing whatever in life except
Winning as opposed to Losing. I am Winning. Look, I have got your money!" This
was called est, Erhard Seminars Training, also the Latin for "it is," for a
hit of mystical zing, invented by Jack Rosenberg, Pennsylvania encyclopedia
salesman who changed his name to Werner Erhard, went into the business of
selling exchange-value because that's what it costs. ("I have here something
that works. It costs five hundred dollars. Why does it cost five hundred
dollars? Because that's what it costs. Once I have your five hundred dollars,
I've won, because I have your five hundred dollars and you do not. If that's
the way you want to let it be, then I win, you lose. Or you can *get* the
Training, which is an Experience which cannot be expressed in words. Either
you *get* it or you don't *get* it. *It* is what you *get*. est means *it*.)

The spectacle of hundreds of people convinced the Way to Meaning was through
holding their urine for fourteen hours showed the way both to greater hyposemia
and greater desperation. People ask, "Why is all this crazy shit happening
*right now*?" where there is no operationalizable measurement of what is meant
by "all this crazy shit," nor how much incrementation of crazy shit has
transpired since the last measurement-period or interval boundary, nor any
agreed upon standardized components of a unit package of crazy shit as is
used for concoction of the Consumer Price Index (at this time itself becoming
a bit controversial, in part because of the very hyposemia insisting that, in
general, crazy shit is getting worse).

Recall somebody who used to be Carl Sagan? Who propagated the respectability
of the idea of extraterrestrial life, whence he expected inundations of grant
support in search therefor. Toward this end, he wrote CONTACT! wherein the
extraterrestrials were infinitely wise superbeings. Then he was shocked,
appalled, horrified beyond horror, by the commercial success of ABDUCTION!
by John E. Mack, MD, claiming the respectability and moral virtue of the
Harvard Medical School. In this book, sold in better subway news kiosks and
Long Island Railroad stations everywhere, Extraterrestrials were gray slugs
who forced disgusting sexual attention on humans who were held in Restraint
from evading Monstrous Acts. Then, Sagan wrote a book of consummate silliness,
title something like Candle In The Darkness, meaning Science, wherein he said,
yes, he was quite enthusiastically in favour of the Extraterrestrial Aliens
he figured us humans had a great deal to learn from, like Graduate School, but
disbelieved, emphatically, firmly, and categorically, in the gray slugs Mack
was peddling, which may readily, Sagan said, be demonstrated as spurious,
hallucinations and delusions of the terminally mediocre, and under no
circumstances would he allow Aliens or Extraterrestrials of such base proclivi-
ties, representing beyond all question, a disgrace to all decent life forms
of Interstellar, even Intergalactic, Space.

On one thing Sagan and Mack tacitly agreed. Why is all this crazy shit going
on right now?
As I pointed out, plain as a Jewish nose, pardon my pride, in the post you,
plural, denounced and despised as pure Drug Overdosed Crazed Psycho Whatever,
because, as we all know, the functional equivalent of Mediaeval Demons in the
department of Possessing Souls is Bad Molecules, if one tries to make sense
of what has come to one's attention, in part due to MOTIVATED AWARENESS of
aformentioned "crazy shit that is going on," then one is in Deep Trouble.

Do not get me wrong. This is not a societal "self-destruct trip." It's an
ongoing reaction to *the failure of transformation in the 1960s*, and the
spiralling social irrationalities consequent to that which have exacerbated
ever since.


More sermons where that came from.

Daniel A. Foss