Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What Is This Thing Called, Love?

1. I believe it is anger.

2. But what is the source of the anger?

3. Fear.

4. Let me get this straight, something frightened you and you got mad?

5. You called it.

6. What frightened you?

7. Different stuff at different times. Sometimes, driving the Santa Monica Freeway eastbound into the belly of Los Angeles. Sometimes fear of being bored and not being able to extricate myself from the situation. Sometimes wondering what the Republicans are going to conflate next. Sometimes bureaucracy. Sometimes--

8. Okay; I get the picture. Your biofuel is anger.

9. And my solution is to direct the laser of humor at the target.

10. So you think Republicans are pretty funny?

11. You ought to have heard them in the hot tub at the Y, laundry listing the valuable information "we" got from water boarding.

12. And that was funny?

13. Remember, there is no victimless humor nor humor without pain.

14. This could get serious.

15. Humor often does.

16. Isn't that an irony?

17. Listen, Terri Gross, you're not. But to answer the question, yes, it is an irony. As anyone in an MFA program knows, irony is a major subset of humor. It is among other things saying A while meaning B; it is asseverating and being wildly misunderstood; it is one of the many products of people trying to get along, thinking they are in fact getting along, then discovering they aren't. It is the elephant in the living room that no one notices. It is underwater real estate masquerading as Alpine grandeur.

18. So you're saying that two people, describing the same landscape, note different details.

19. As long as we're at it, Heraclitus, you're not, either. But yes, that's right. We each have our own landscape with its own weather. We see things about us as complex bundles of emotion which, depending on our ability, we try to describe in writing, i sculpting, in poetry, in photography, in dance, in music. All the good description was written in the nineteenth century or before. The entire twentieth century was spent trying to make it seem that we know more because of our technical advances. The twenty-first century saw a number of artists grow tired of--bored, if you will--trying to describe feelings and so they have pointedly tried, each through the individualized landscape, to evoke the feeling so that it might be shared with others.

20. Would George W. Bush threaten to veto this proposition?

21. Without question.

22. So your landscape is--?

23. Personal relationships that appear to defy convention or tradition. Institutions, particularly the university.

24. MBA Programs?

25. Chris Wallace, that's who you remind me of?

26. Is that supposed to be funny?


x said...

No victimless humor or humor without pain? Is that supposed to be funny?

Anonymous said...

So you're saying I'm bored. Or afraid. Or angry. ;-)

R.L. Bourges said...

18 reminds me of a snapshot I wish I had grabbed: that of a busload of Japanese tourists all taking a picture of Notre-Dame Cathedral (better yet, can you imagine the composite picture of those 45, slightly different shots of that one place? all of them trying to avoid their neighbor's hand, or nose or funny barrettes?)