I want all the years I spent with my exes back
All new wine and champagne glasses from the friends who break something every time they come over
All the cell phone minutes I spent listening to whiny friends bitch about the lovers they keep “swearing” they’re never taking back (only to take them back over and over again)
All the presents I bought for people who didn’t buy me anything
All the inches of hair expensive stylists have cut off my head after I asked them to “keep it long”
All of the hope I felt electing government officials who promised me things and then didn’t deliver
All of the time I’ve wasted watching shitty porn that promised to be artistic
All of the brain cells I’ve ruined listening to stupid reviews on Yelp
All of the time I spent making an imaginary Christmas list.
But don’t you only need to guarantee 10% of the set bail amount for release? I looked around a bit online to answer my own question and couldn’t find an answer because each county has their own rules. However, I’ve watched more crime shows than anyone in the world (I feel confident in that statement) and I could swear posting bail only meant securing 10% of the bail amount.
Last night sounded like the wild west outside. Gun shots, helicopters, the works. I have no idea how much of that was related to Occupy LA, but it was scary.
What was going on? A roar of laughter from the aphasia ward, just as the President’s speech was coming on, and they had all been so eager to hear the President speaking…
There he was, the old Charmer, the Actor, with his practised rhetoric, his histrionisms, his emotional appeal - and all the patients were convulsed with laughter. Well, not all: some looked bewildered, some looked outraged, one or two looked apprehensive, but most looked amused. The President was, as always, moving - but he was moving them, apparently, mainly to laughter. What could they be thinking? Were they failing to understand him? Or did they, perhaps, understand him all too well?
It was often said of these patients, who though intelligent had the severest receptive or global aphasia, rendering them incapable of understanding words as such, that they none the less understood most of what was said to them. Their friends, their relatives, the nurses who knew them well, could hardly believe, sometimes, that they were aphasic.
This was because, when addressed naturally, they grasped some or most of the meaning. And one does speak ‘naturally’, naturally.
Thus, to demonstrate their aphasia, one had to go to extraordinary lengths, as a neurologist, to speak and behave un-naturally, to remove all the extraverbal cues - tone of voice, intonation, suggestive emphasis or inflection, as well as all visual cues (one’s expressions, one’s gestures, one’s entire, largely unconscious, personal repertoire and posture): one had to remove all of this (which might involve total concealment of one’s person, and total depersonalisation of one’s voice, even to using a computerised voice synthesiser) in order to reduce speech to pure words, speech totally devoid of what Frege called ‘tone-colour’ (Klangenfarben) or ‘evocation’. With the most sensitive patients, it was only with such a grossly artificial, mechanical speech - somewhat like that of the computers in Star Trek - that one could be wholly sure of their aphasia.
Why all this? Because speech - natural speech - does not consist of words alone, nor (as Hughlings Jackson thought) ‘propositions’ alone. It consists of utterance - an uttering-forth of one’s whole meaning with one’s whole being - the understanding of which involves infinitely more than mere word-recognition. And this was the clue to aphasiacs’ understanding, even when they might be wholly uncomprehending of words as such. For though the words, the verbal constructions, per se, might convey nothing, spoken language is normally suffused with ‘tone’, embedded in an expressiveness which transcends the verbal - and it is precisely this expressiveness, so deep, so various, so complex, so subtle, which is perfectly preserved in aphasia, though understanding of words be destroyed. Preserved - and often more: preternaturally enhanced…
This too becomes clear - often in the most striking, or comic, or dramatic way - to all those who work or live closely with aphasiacs: their families or friends or nurses or doctors. At first, perhaps, we see nothing much the matter; and then we see that there has been a great change, almost an inversion, in their understanding of speech. Something has gone, has been devastated, it is true - but something has come, in its stead, has been immensely enhanced, so that - at least with emotionally-laden utterance - the meaning may be fully grasped even when every word is missed. This, in our species Homo loquens, seems almost an inversion of the usual order of things: an inversion, and perhaps a reversion too, to something more primitive and elemental. And this perhaps is why Hughlings Jackson compared aphasiacs to dogs (a comparison that might outrage both!) though when he did this he was chiefly thinking of their linguistic incompetences, rather than their remarkable, and almost infallible, sensitivity to ‘tone’ and feeling. Henry Head, more sensitive in this regard, speaks of ‘feeling-tone’ in his (1926) treatise on aphasia, and stresses how it is preserved, and often enhanced, in aphasiacs.*
* ‘Feeling-tone’ is a favourite term of Head’s, which he uses in regard not only to aphasia but to the affective quality of sensation, as it may be altered by thalmic or peripheral disorders. Our impression, indeed, is that Head is continually half-unconsciously drawn towards the exploration of ‘feeling-tone’ - towards, so to speak, a neurology of feeling-tone, in contrast or complementarity to a classical neurology of proposition and process. It is, incidentally, a common term in the U.S.A., at least among blacks in the South: a common, earthy and indispensable term. ‘You see, there’s such a thing as a feeling tone…And if you don’t have this, baby, you’ve had it’ (cited by Studs Terkel as epigraph to his 1967 oral history Division Street: America).
Thus the feeling I sometimes have - which all of us who work closely with aphasiacs have - that one cannot lie to an aphasiac. He cannot grasp your words, and so cannot be deceived by them; but what he grasps he grasps with infallible precision, namely the expression that goes with the words, that total, spontaneous, involuntary expressiveness which can never be simulated or faked, as words alone can, all too easily…
We recognise this with dogs, and often use them for this purpose - to pick up falsehood, or malice, or equivocal intentions, to tell us who can be trusted, who is integral, who makes sense, when we - so susceptible to words - cannot trust our own instincts.
And what dogs can do here, aphasiacs do too, and at a human and immeasurably superior level. ‘One can lie with the mouth,’ Nietzsche writes, ‘but with the accompanying grimace one nevertheless tells the truth.’ To such a grimace, to any falsity or impropriety in bodily appearance or posture, aphasiacs are preternaturally sensitive. And if they cannot see one - this is especially true of our blind aphasiacs - they have an infallible ear for every vocal nuance, the tone, the rhythm, the cadences, the music, the subtlest modulations, inflections, intonations, which can give - or remove - verisimilitude to or from a man’s voice.
In this, then, lies their power of understanding - understanding, without words, what is authentic or inauthentic. Thus it was the grimaces, the histrionisms, the false gestures and, above all, the false tones and cadences of the voice, which rang false for these wordless but immensely sensitive patients. It was to these (for them) most glaring, even grotesque, incongruities and improprieties that my aphasic patients responded, undeceived and undeceivable by words.
This is why they laughed at the President’s speech.
If one cannot lie to an aphasiac, in view of his special sensitivity to expression and ‘tone’, how is it, we might ask, with patients - if there are such - who lack any sense of expression and ‘tone’, while preserving, unchanged, their comprehension for words: patients of an exactly opposite kind? We have a number of such patients, also on the aphasia ward, although, technically, they do not have aphasia, but, instead, a form of agnosia, in particular a so-called ‘tonal’ agnosia. For such patients, typically, the expressive qualities of voices disappear - their tone, their timbre, their feeling, their entire character - while words (and grammatical constructions) are perfectly understood. Such tonal agnosias (or ‘atonias’) are associated with disorders of the right temporal lobe of the brain, whereas the aphasias go with disorders of the lefttemporal lobe.
Among the patients with tonal agnosia on our aphasia ward who also listened to the President’s speech was Emily D. , with a glioma in her right temporal lobe. A former English teacher, and poetess of some repute, with an exceptional feeling for language, and strong powers of analysis and expression, Emily D. was able to articulate the opposite situation - how the President’s speech sounded to someone with tonal agnosia. Emily D. could no longer tell if a voice was angry, cheerful, sad - whatever. Since voices now lacked expression, she had to look at people’s faces, their postures and movements when they talked, and found herself doing so with a care, an intensity , she had never shown before. But this, it so happened, was also limited, because she had a malignant glaucoma, and was rapidly losing her sight too.
What she then found she had to do was to pay extreme attention to exactness of words and word use, and to insist that those around her did just the same. She could less and less follow loose speech or slang - speech of an allusive or emotional kind - and more and more required of her interlocutors that they speak prose - ‘proper words in proper places’. Prose, she found, might compensate, in some degree; for lack of perceived tone or feeling.
In this way she was able to preserve, even enhance, the use of ‘expressive’ speech - in which the meaning was wholly given by the apt choice and reference of words - despite being more and more lost with ‘evocative’ speech (where meaning is wholly given in the use and sense of tone).
Emily D. also listened, stony-faced, to the President’s speech, bringing to it a strange mixture of enhanced and defective perceptions - precisely the opposite mixture to those of our aphasiacs. It did not move her - no speech now moved her - and all that was evocative, genuine or false completely passed her by. Deprived of emotional reaction, was she then (like the rest of us) transported or taken in? By no means. ‘He is not cogent,’ she said. ‘He does not speak good prose. His word-use is improper. Either he is brain- damaged, or he has something to conceal.’ Thus the President’s speech did not work for Emily D. either, due to her enhanced sense of formal language use, propriety as prose, any more than it worked for our aphasiacs, with their word-deafness but enhanced sense of tone.
Here then was the paradox of the President’s speech. We normals - aided, doubtless, by our wish to be fooled, were indeed well and truly fooled (‘Populus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur’). And so cunningly was deceptive word-use combined with deceptive tone, that only the brain-damaged remained intact, undeceived.
Whenever someone wants to bring up examples of me being an asshole or an egomaniac or whatever point they’re trying to make to me about me, they bring up my blog. Because really, it’s the best example of a number of things.
‘What is your blog about’ and/or ‘why do you have a blog’ are two of the most ridiculous questions I am asked on a semi-regular basis. Now, ‘what do you blog about?’ is, ironically, not a stupid question to me because you’re asking me which topics I frequently like to discuss, which vary at any given moment. When you ask me ‘what is your blog about’, the only answer is me. My blog is about ME.
‘Why do you have a blog’ is usually asked by people who I’ve only just met after someone else has pointed at me and exclaimed SHE HAZ BLOG. Asking someone why they have a blog is about as pointless as asking why I wear heels and tight pants. Figure it out.
Before I had a blog, I talked a lot of shit about people with blogs. This was when I had a LiveJournal and a MySpace, the two sites that allowed me to have a blog without actually having a blog. This is a great example of me being an idiot. After Facebook took over the world, I left MySpace but kept my LiveJournal, although I enjoyed blogging on the MySpace platform about 18,000x more than writing “Notes” on Facebook. Eventually I started a handful of blogs on different platforms, all of which I got bored with and abandoned. Tumblr is what a call “blogging for retards”, because it allows one to “reblog” other people’s shit, and believe me when I say a large majority of people who have e gads of followers (readers) do nothing but reblog, which is insane. I get the allure of following someone who will do the work of following loads of other people and then reblogging their best shit so you don’t have to, but it’s still sort of depressing. Nonetheless, it is what it is, and I myself quite enjoy reblogging other people’s posts when I think it’s worth it for the amusement of both myself and my readers. That leads to another point which I’ll get to in just a second.
Ever since I opened my LiveJournal in…2005 or so, I’ve quite enjoyed having an online public diary. Really, if we go back to ‘why do you have a blog’, that’s the answer. I like being able to talk to myself via the written word and also know other people are reading it and getting whatever they want out of it. Some people look at my blog literally just for pictures, sort of a quick 5 minute break from work just to see what photos I’ve posted or what art I’m into for the moment. Some people read my blog because they are friends of mine or used to be friends of mine and want to keep a sense of connection alive, especially because I have no other web aliases (no Facebook, no Twitter, etc.). Some people read my blog because they care about me in a loving way, some people read my blog because they hate me but maintain some kind of strange satisfaction in knowing what I’m up to, or whatever. This line of reasoning can go on and on and on, since I don’t live in the heads of other people. Regardless, I write because I like to, and post pictures because I like to, and maintain this blog because I not only like to listen to the dialogue inside of my own head but because I enjoy knowing other people are reading it. If I haven’t said this before, I encourage back and forth dialogue between myself and my readers, so if you’ve ever thought about contacting me before but haven’t, feel free. I’ve got this ask box for a reason.
To many people, having a blog is nothing more than an exercise in narcissism. In some ways, it’s a very egomaniacal activity; you maintain a site dedicated to YOUR opinions and YOUR thoughts and so on. Again, it’s a web log: your (we)blog is your diary in many ways and I’d say 99% of blogs run by individuals are about that individual’s life and feelings and other things related to them. If this sounds stupid to you, I’d like to point out if you have a Facebook or a Twitter or any other social networking site, you’re doing the same thing as having a blog with slightly more watered down results. Somehow, posting pictures of oneself on a blog is egomaniacal but posting pictures of oneself on a social networking site is not. Posting bursts of emotion on a blog is silly, but Tweeting the same sentiment is not.
People often lament the fact I’m not on Facebook anymore by telling me they miss my rants and outbursts and funny pictures and whathaveyou. Thank you for the sentiments, friends, I’m glad I amuse you. However, none of these people read my blog. This is fine, but cheapens the sentiment of these people missing me on their computers so much they felt the need to bring this fact up to me, repeatedly, in an effort to bring me back to one of the world’s worst and most life-ruining websites ever. No, friends, I will never have a Facebook again. I am very sorry for this fact although I wish you would not have a Facebook, either. If you like me that much, read my blog. Or just, you know, talk to me or send me an email or something. I promise I’m amusing regardless of the medium.
If you piss me off and don’t talk to me about it after I ask, I’m going to talk about you on my blog. If you act like an asshat and I find it amusing, I’m going to talk about it on my blog. If something happens and I find it worthy, it’ll be discussed on my blog. When I started this blog, I had a vague sort of persona I wanted to cultivate; it was the literal second side of myself who was always going out, always talking shit, always endlessly sassy and coy. Another writer came out at the same time and ran with that schtick, to astoundingly successful heights. I am, often, asked if I am that particular person, although of course I am not. I found after reading her that that persona is far too negative for my tastes. I can be a bitch but I am very rarely a cunt.
Of late, I’ve been literally avoiding any serious posts at all, instead choosing to talk about nonsense as it’s easier to write and easier for the average person to read. However, the average person is not my target audience. I’m going to start writing for my ideal target audience and get back a bit more to my roots. I’m still going to post all sorts of dumb, tongue-in-cheek shit like I Don’t Like Your Face and Babes of Google (because who says brilliance can’t go with LOLs) but I’ve decided I’ve got to do better work and more of it, getting back to the days when I wrote novels and short stories endlessly instead of half page posts about what assholes pissed me off in line for Pinkberry. It is what it is. So it goes.
The craving to be understood may be in the end merest egoism. - F.H. Bradley
Veronica makes regular stops at three different convenience stores in her neighborhood
she’s ashamed of how much money she gives them
she never looks them in the eye
she lives on 116th
the first store is on 115th
the second’s on 117th
and the third’s on Summit, which runs perpendicular to 116th
usually, she’ll go to the first at around 11 am and buy
a big batch of booze
then go back home
at around 7pm she’ll stop by the second and buy her second
big batch of booze
and then go home
the day after that she usually stops by the third place
at around 3 or so
and buys an even bigger batch
the next day she repeats the whole process
each one of these convenience stores is privately owned
it’s the same three men working in their respective stores
every time she visits
all three men falsely assume that she only buys beer from them
and all three think she drinks much much too much
little do they know
there’s another man
I don’t know what it is about the 70’s-80’s era of funk music, but I LOVE IT SO MUCH
It’s hard to describe how much I love it
I love it more than EATING FOOD
AND OTHER IMPORTANT STUFF
Why don’t people do choreographed dances in INSANE matching suits anymore?
Too busy thinking about green screening shit, I’d imagine.
I miss you, 70’s-80’s funk. I’m so glad I can listen to you and see you via the Interwebz.