above KEEPING STILL, EARTH
below THE AROUSING, THUNDER
The intercourse of heaven and earth — the image of Harmony. The wise ruler models his laws upon the principles of heaven and earth, and enforces them for the people's benefit.
"Composition is everything in culture; and the act of composition, which is an act of presentness, when brought into the foreground as the making of form (poesis), is the preoccupation of that part of culture we call the arts."
- Joan Retallack
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2020
"The distance engendered by a poethical recognition of reciprocal alterity stimulates curiosity and exploration. Very different from the play of postmodern irony — ironic distance is a closed case, a conspiracy of knowing that can leave little room for noticing the nascent swerve."
- Joan Retallack, intro to Poethical Wager
Ironic distance of the postmodern — I know what that feels like. Have I forgotten my theory about The Big Lebowski — that it's a myth for its time? The hero does nothing wrong but suffers while Jackie Treehorne enjoys riches and the friendship of the law. The difference between large and small wrong doing is the moral I now remember, which seems so obvious I don't know why it seemed so new. Now it is known, I experience the curse of knowledge that makes me forget how it was I thought before. Today, reading this quote of Retallack, I think of the jokes and the inner circle of knowers of lines from popular culture. I feel put at a distance, by the ironic inside jokers, who are closed by their knowledge and may not see what I now know. If I told him, would he listen?
Sometimes it might be better to just record my thoughts so that you (me reading later) get the full sense of the thought coming together. I'm not sure that I didn't have more nuance in my thought about what the Cohens did with their movie. I remember thinking of political implications: the first President Bush had called out a minor aggression and then stood like the imperialist and said "this will not stand". How many murders happened in eastern Colorado in 1910 and were the accused all treated the same? How many ended in the lynching of a purported murderer? Maybe none but the one memorialize by a plaque this week on 14th & Larimer where the courthouse and jail once stood. Maybe the black kid who was lynched was the murderer. Or, maybe the story is the basis of To Kill a Mockingbird.
If I write an essay like this about The Big Lebowski I fear that someone has already written what I think, as it now seems so obvious to me. The desperate punishment would be against small crimes strike lessons. . That last sentence was a chance sentence written by the dictation machine. The real sentence was: Very disperate punishment meted out against small crime (too large) and large crime (too small). The last thing I want to read is an essay saying what I already know. I probably already know what Joan Retallack is telling me here especially since I've already read the essay. But every time I read it, I learn something new. How does she do that?
I want to learn something new today about the presidential election. I want to learn who the winner is in several states; just one state will do.
When I finished writing that last sentence, my darling husband came in to tell me the election had been called for Biden. Thank you, Pennsylvania for granting my wish.