Tuesday, May 06, 2008

An Ypocrite


Sure enough, unprepared, sty or eyelash making the ducts bleed a teary scratch anthem, morning through the watery blur just another blank whim of the day. Veblen talks about “the regulating norm of consumption” and how it feeds “conspicuous waste”—the consumer par excellence wanting only “to conform to established usage, to avoid unfavourable notice and comment, to live up to the accepted canons of decency in the kind, amount, and grade of goods consumed, as well as in the decorous employment of his time and effort.” Sounds like Blogland with its certifiably herd ruminancies, cud-chewers in the common wilderness of no (unnail’d down) extraneous desires, no? Veblen says a sense of “prescriptive usage is present in the motives of the consumer and exerts a direct constraining force.” If you refuse to own a proper change of jeans . . . if you talk about extraneous books, veering off the scuttlebutt of the decorous (or the shill indecorous with they self-serving (self-servicing) pomp and romp). Dos Passos wonders: “Where was the forgotten man in all these meetings, the citizen of Hooverville, the down and out guy you find wherever you look for a second under the thinning veneer of comfort and the American standard?” Concessions everywhere is how I see it: conceding to become mere concessionaires (with the cock-eyed rough-nail’d hot dog stands in the mud of the beach, the oily smother of the boardwalk). It’s funny to see how the clever mock-Marx academics in the crowd, done with wringing the scrawny neck of the semester (le travail qui n’ose pas dire son nom?), get a chance just about now to foist off a few self-satisfy’d bon mots. Just yesterday I caught a squadron of crows taking turns dive-bombing a solitary raccoon who’d had the temerity to emerge mid-day for a look about. ¡No pasarán! ¡No pasarán! the crows squawk’d in thin little Mickey Mouse voices, the morally-corrupt’d voices of the “winners.” Yah, “An ypocrite is this, / A man which feigneth conscience.” Gower, John Gower. He’d probably know.
This world, which evere is in balance:
It stant noght in my sufficance
So grete thinges to compasse,
Bot I mot lete it overpasse
And treten upon othre thinges.
Forthi the Stile of my writinges
Fro this day forth I thenke change . . .
That finical scrupulous restlessness to move beyond the finenesses of one’s own quarter. Insufficiencies drubbed by teary-eyed insufficiences: the war, the war, the war. And my bombast against the bombast. Off to the lavatory: something’s got to paw that thing out of my eye.

John Gower, c. 1330-1408
(“I throw my darts and shoot my arrows at the world. But where there is a righteous man, no arrow strikes.”)