September 26, 2011

The goal seems to be to be seen with books, but the important relationship between a set of eyes and their subject when it comes to books is between your eyes and the page.

And I know it feels like homework to you. I’m sorry your formative experiences with the written word were ones of drudgery instead of ones of joy. I’m sorry the only messages about reading being magical you ever got were from wholesome public television hosts, intoned the same way as don’t-do-drugs-or-have-sex-ever messages, so once you got a little older you could reject those messages outright for their super-square packaging, missing the underlying truth, which is that if you let it, reading is this awesome subversive conspiracy between your brain and the brain of someone else who very well might be dead. It’s a little bit telepathy and a little bit emotional hallucination and no one can ever truly observe you doing it. They can watch your body pointing its head towards an object its hands are holding or that it has placed on the coffee-shop table in front of it. But they can’t see the magic, and when I say magic don’t picture a public television host waving his hand at you, the hand trailing animated sparks achieved through a crappy video effect. Picture the dark magic that involves bare boobs and cow-skulls full of blood. Reading is a ritual where you are invited to try on the brains of others and commune with ghosts, revolutionaries, drunks, sluts, the oppressed and their oppressors, doers of awful things who can tell a hell of a story about it, and doers of nothing who can tell an even better story about it, stories that might make you feel not so bad about doing bad things or no things sometimes yourself.

I mean, if that sort of thing appeals to you. If you prefer to think of it as magic in the more whimsical sense, go right ahead. The point is you have to start rewiring the associations your brain has made with the act of reading, to short-circuit the part of you that was tragically made to think of it as homework, or else you’ll miss out on a richness it’s impossible to be ironic about.

And I know you’ll take that as a challenge. I know you’re a damned Irony Olympian, and you think it makes you seem smart. It might have once but now everyone’s ironic about everything. The virus of irony might have once been a carrier for intelligence or wit but that’s being bred out of it as the virus mutates and spreads. The only sure way to seem smart is to be smart. And if you don’t stop making people feel bad for having the courage to actually be smart instead of just posting a note of irony on the front door of their personality that’s meant to signify “INTELLIGENCE WITHIN,” I don’t know what I’m gonna do.

I wish someone had assigned certain other things to you as homework when you were young so that you wouldn’t do them anymore, like making other people feel inferior because they’re curious.

I wish that doing that felt like homework to you so you’d knock it the fuck off.

Posted by DC at September 26, 2011 06:55 PM
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