Wednesday, March 4, 2009

a Zona joke for the 401(k) zek

A ps to my last post - anyone who had the misfortune of running into a Thomas Friedman bsstseller over the last decade - There's an olive tree in my lexus, the world are flat and it belong to cookie monster, and other assorted fare - should turn to his column this morning for a little zona joke. Turns out he was wrong for twenty years! Although of course he doesn't end his piece by promising to refund the buyers of his books. This isn't Paul on the way to Damascus, this is Paul suddenly writing a guide to Antioch's best bordellos.

Luckily, in this world, you can change on a dime, say the opposite of what you have said for twenty years, and nobody cares. It is a great country! And definitely, contra Yeats and Cormac McCarthy, a country for old men - old wizened country clubbers. Old Madoff madmen. People who write feelingly in comments sections, I've been hardworking my whole life and how could wall street do this to my retirement account, as if that whole hardworking life hadn't been devoted to putting coins in a slot machine.

By the way, in order to resolve all problems, I have just founded the International Anti-Servility League. Please consider joining.

oh, and one last comment about the last post: I've been thinking that Nina Simone's chorus of Power in sinnerman, and Aretha Franklin's chorus of Freedom in Think, might just be the essential American dialectic, the intersybilline interliner notes to the American sound track. I wonder what Amie and North think of this proposition.


Anonymous said...

I like the idea of an Anti-Servility International. I haven't checked it out on facebook yet, my bad. But may I suggest it should have a motto and a song to go with it, if it doesn't already.
Speaking of songs, that is quite the dialectical soundtrack between the choruses of Simone's Sinnerman and Franklin's Think. You're on to something there.
Of course the country music, talk radio listening folks might not quite like this dialectic. They might not want to sign-up for Anti-Servility International, not that I'm suggesting that indicates (pro)servility. They are so anti-authority and guv'mint as everyone knows.
I also wonder if there isn't an irreducible difference between song/singing and dialectics, in as much as dialectics is about the return to oneself and song/singing might just be the experience of being thrown out of oneself, a shattered self.

Let's just listen.


Roger Gathmann said...

None of my comments on your comment have shown up, Amie. This is so discouraging! Let's see if this works.

Roger Gathmann said...

Hey, it worked! Okay, I was saying - at length, but now I've forgotten half of it - that I puzzled over how to talk about the sibyl to sibyl call and response, which is why I settled on dialectics. Because the sibylline self is divinely mad, I'm not sure if you can fall back upon it - or at least that moment of return is the moment when the prophet's mask comes off. Dialectics as I was thinking of it was less Hegelian than Ralph Ellisonian - what he called change the joke and slip the yoke.

Well, I hope that makes some sense. I loved the Dostoevskian toss off line of Simone's about freedom, "because if we ain't we're murderers."

And, to finish up, I looked up Cicero's on Divination, in which he launches a sideways attack on the Sibyl. Here is how it starts:

PS – I notice that Cicero, in On Divination, surreptitiously attacks the Sibyl. But here is a great line, very a propos of our sibyls:

“But what authority has this same ecstasy, which you choose to call divine, that enables the madman to foresee things inscrutable to the sage, and which invests with divine senses a man who has lost all his human ones?”

Indeedy, boss. This is a great puzzle to the archons of the zona. They can’t figure it out.

Anonymous said...

That is some passage from Cicero. So Mr.C was hearing Stygian sounds in Rome.
And is that an exact quote from Ralph Ellison about changing the joke and slipping the yoke? It is great! Bataille's take on Hegel is just that in a way.
I wonder if the bosses can hear the zona soundtrack, dare hearing - let alone translating- sybilline soundtracks. Maybe, instead of reading op-ed columns in the NYT, WaPO, WSJ, etc., one might listen to Kafka's "the burrow".