Turtles All The Way Down, or Riffing in ‘C’ Sharp.
“The Crack Emcee is the Truth-teller and the Trickster, he is the Jokerman: he is the Black Conservative who has found his own ‘Slow Train Coming.’ To repurpose a bit of Dylan history: the commenters are yelling at him ‘Judas’ and his reply is ‘I don’t believe you.’”
Note: various asides deleted for reasons of brevity.
The above is a quote from a piece I previously wrote regarding The Crack Emcee (https://betamax3000.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/the-mullet-is-and-is-not-culture/), and it is (currently) displayed on Crack’s website; I bring this up simply to say that Crack has intrigued me before, as he has intrigued me of late.
Some have noticed that my latest comments have had a distinctly ‘Crack’ tone to them; terms such as ‘mocking’, ‘parodying’ and ‘spoofing’ have been used in description, and all may apply to some degree, as perceived by the reader. I will, however, state that I never intended to humiliate or ridicule — often the desired result of the text behind these words — and will further state that I don’t believe Crack would disagree with the kernel ideas expressed in most of these comments (of course, only Crack could verify the veracity of that statement). In other words: my attempt was not to make Crack a straw-man.
Note: I prefer ‘spoof’ to ‘mocking’ or ‘parody’: spoof — to me — implies a fondness or appreciation for the source. (Digression on the Woody Allen spoof ‘“Casino Royale” in reference to the originating James Bond material has been deleted).
I think it is reasonable to submit that Crack is a polarizing figure in the Althouse commenting community: how this came to be is a knot I have no intention of attempting to untangle. (Aquinas reference deleted, perhaps). What I find interesting is the ever-growing ‘one against the many’ aspect of this, and my perception that Crack is simultaneously proud and frustrated at his part of this stalemate, especially as it escalates in pitch.
Crack recently commented (proudly?) that he is in “command” of any post that he is in (http://althouse.blogspot.com/2014/09/i-was-not-here-in-run-up-to-iraq-in.html), and this can certainly be true: he can easily be the magnet that draws the thread inexorably in his direction, yet there is little if any perceptible movement that results from his words. In this context the gears then grind harder, the pressure ratchets up even more, antagonisms spark in greater arcs but the machinery does not move — a muscle car that revs louder and louder while parked in the driveway, burning oil. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_car Also, re: burning oil: two cars that I have owned.)
My initial interest was in the idea of how people would respond to a ‘Crack’ that did not employ personal antagonisms (deserved or not). Again, I did not wish to make Crack a straw-man: each of my comments came from an attempt to initially view a post through a perspective as close to his (or his persona) as I could imagine (Yes: imagination versus personal experience. I know, an argument within itself, and David Foster Wallace-style digression deleted). Most of my comments did not display any punch-line humor, other than the overall absurdity of a situation when not viewed in a default white context.
As an example, I would point to my comment regarding the Apple / U2 download post (http://althouse.blogspot.com/2014/09/how-u2-became-most-hated-band-in-america.html ): how if the artist was Jay-Z the response would be considerably different. I fully believe that to be true, and for the reasons stated in the comment. I also know I would not have arrived at that response without trying to look through Crack’s prism. This stands for most of the comments I made in this projection.
I also realized that they stood out like the proverbial sore thumb, and became aware that there was little if any further discussion of such points. This could mean — among many things — that no one was particularly interested in the race-derived angle of viewpoint, that it very well just wasn’t interesting enough to respond to, or that it was viewed-and/or-dismissed as performance — spoof — and as performance it was persona that became the only relevant context: all valid. This could also be seen as the difference between an audience laughing — humor — or an audience applauding — agreement. (If this sort of thing interests you see http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StudioAudience — specifically, ‘clapter’).
So, yes: I set out to examine something by using an inherently faulty mechanism. Everything I could then deduce was obviously limited or rendered useless by these foundational faults. Yep. This said, I found moments of real anger, and futility.
And was not so self-deluded that I did not realize that at any moment I could revert to ‘white’.
Applicable lyric for the social tourist:
But still you’ll never get it right
‘cos when you’re laid in bed at night watching roaches climb the wall
If you call your Dad he could stop it all.
You’ll never live like common people
You’ll never do what common people do
You’ll never fail like common people
You’ll never watch your life slide out of view, and dance and drink and screw
Because there’s nothing else to do.
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuTMWgOduFM )
Beyond this, though, was the largest turtle (except for whichever one is inevitably next, i.e. http://althouse.blogspot.com/2014/09/turtles-all-way-down.html ): the nature of the Althouse blog — specifically in relation to comments.
Note: my next sentence initially was going to begin with ‘at the end of the day’ just on the chance that Althouse might post the O.E.D. on that phrase. Anyway.
So: people comment on the Althouse posts that they find interesting. That’s it.
And what people find interesting varies upon what Althouse herself has found interesting: she has not bound herself to a single idea, so it stands to reason that many of her readers are of a like mind. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hedgehog_and_the_Fox : Althouse is a fox (insert risque comment here); Crack is a hedgehog.
Note: there was a Kerouac bit on epiphany that I went to look up, but got side-tracked by a piece involving refrigerator magnets: https://thecreativeepiphany.wordpress.com/category/jack-kerouac-quote/ As far as epiphanies go this is a flat cake, or worse (for worse cakes see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacArthur_Park_%28song%29).
To rejoin: these commenters write in response to the post they find interesting, and possibly look for others’ insights on the post’s subject. Sometimes there’s edification, argument, humor, points of law, occasionally dog photo evaluation. The point is — in the Great Althouse Supermarket of Ideas — if the reader is in the aisle of the Post on Spices they are most likely interested in spices, experiences with spices, the loneliness that the memory of a spice’s scent can bring. Perhaps.(digression into the Proustian nature of the Althouse blog discarded).
If — in the Spices Aisle — an itinerant preacher approached, passionately preaching fire and brimstone, the shopper most likely isn’t going to focus on the preacher’s message, because they just really need paprika at the moment, not redemption. The preacher may indeed be right: all the shoppers in the Supermarket ARE sinners and WILL be going to Hell but — again — paprika.
Then it is on to the aisle that has deodorants, but the preacher has followed you, and he is louder. Yes, you are still going to Hell, you obviously have not listened or otherwise you would be in agreement. Still: I just need deodorant, right now I am focused on my armpits, not my soul. I do not want to discuss my soul right now, I just don’t want to smell poorly at work tomorrow: I just came in for paprika and deodorant. To the preacher this means nothing — it is, in fact, insulting: you are only interested in the petty aspects of your routine existence and are thus callously ignoring The Truth that is being laid out right in front of you: you are a heretic.
Okay, you got me: I will discuss my soul with you a little.
Except you can never discuss your soul just a ‘little’ with someone who wants to discuss your soul a lot. Enter the previously mentioned pride and frustration: stalemate.
Secondarily: replace the preacher with a historian and the dynamics will not alter, nor the ramped increase in volume. Discuss.
People agree with each other until they don’t. Foxes and hedgehogs (delete Ron Jeremy reference). And even when they agree they may very well disagree on the relative importance of whatever the subject is at hand, or the possible solutions. How concerned ARE you with the conditions of the paprika laborers?
Indeed: why even paprika? Perhaps this is why PAPRIKA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAPRIKA
See? You probably thought the use of paprika was random, absurd, dismissive. Ha.
You might have thought my moments of ‘Crack’ were random, absurd, dismissive. Ha again, possibly.
It is turtles all the way down.