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Saturday, July 24, 2010

keywords in the electronic age

Maybe if you were able to give me your undivided attention for one minute we could have some kind of conversation, but I see that I’ve lost it already. So I guess I can say pretty much whatever is on my mind while you rearrange that lock of hair that has come out of position.

Do I envy you your self-involvement? At times, yes. How uncomplicated it must be to confine your attention solely to the twitches of your own body and the stimulus-response pulses of its centerpiece, your pampered, oft fondled and needlessly scratched genitalia. So… yes.

But the outside world is worth a glance too. Just last week I was on the ocean floor. I played with razor clams and built small forts from dead plankton. I walked over sandwaves and listened for the ultrasound that – it is said – large sea mammals can hear from hundreds of miles off. I imagine that in my absence you had those highlights done, and that the girl who did them spoke seamlessly, but that you listened, as you are now, alert only to key words and phrases. Words like this one: mutherfucker!

Sorry, what dyou say?

That was a little strong, and I doubt your hairdresser squeezed that one in, but it illustrates my point: briefly your head was extracted out of the long A-hole of self-absorption and entertainment you spend most of your time in, your own body, conveniently, as your principal point of entry.

Keywords. You want to reach your fellow man, then you need to get his attention, and without keywords, in this day and age, you are nowhere.

Now – I agree – most of these words are not in themselves very special, and usually they are bandied about without purpose. Choosing them, arranging them, that is where skill enters in. I make no claims of mastery here; I am an apprentice and I wish to be no more. It is a means to me, not an end. (Point of information: when applied to whole populations, it is called advertising or propaganda and we are not interested in that here.)

Of course, it goes without saying that some words are more powerful than others; some words have a greater or lesser degree of impingement. You have to be aware of that. This is key. This one for instance, pussy!

Woaah Labas, what the fuck, what’s on your mind little man?

is a powerful word. But rather a wild card for it can elicit hostility as easily as it can subjugation, and just as quickly it can put a grown man to sleep. It is not a terribly useful word. It is powerful, but unpredictable, and thus – for our purposes – useless.

When you speak to a man, you want to sting lightly like nettle. You mustn’t wish to excite his emotions in any significant way. Some argue that it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you get his sorry head out of his ass; call him a cocksucker, knock him in the fucking face if you have. But I am not of this opinion. No, surprise him, be ingenious, juggle keywords and nettle lightly because, remember, down the line – and maybe faster than you think – you will be speaking to him spirit to spirit, and I think at this point he will remember that you called him a cocksucker, and I just think that is no way to start a conversation.