Monday, September 7, 2009

Aimless Reading: The D's, Part 25.10 (Philip K. Dick)

The Simulacra
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Dick, Philip K.
The Simulacra

Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books.

I was thinking that if I got really stuck for something to write this morning I'd just declare a holiday from my labors.

So, 2004, Spring. We went to Guatemala in the winter, as I said. I think when we got back I must have started planning for an event in the Fall of 2004, when we brought Arundhati Roy to Buffalo for several days. I'll save that story for when I get to her book, The God Of Small Things.

The election was gearing up. John Kerry? God, what a bad candidate.

I remember being very disheartened that election cycle because as much as I hated Bush, Kerry seemed like he probably would have been equally bad, even though I agree more with his politics. I felt further disheartened that so many of my liberal compadres became so blinded by their hatred for Bush that they didn't care who got nominated, as long as they could beat Bush, and that became the guiding logic of Kerry's campaign: I can win, vote for me. Truly inspiring, John.

God, that was a depressing election. I thought Kerry might win when my mother, a Reagan conservative, said she was voting for him. I thought, "Okay, if my conservative mother, who also happens to live in Florida, is voting democratic, there is hope." He probably did win, but it didn't really matter -- it was so close that flipping one state, Ohio, was enough to clinch a victory, which shows that Kerry was not interesting enough, and his ideas were not compelling enough, to break the scare spell the Bushies had cast upon the country after 9-11.

I remember being truly scared and thinking that I might want to leave the country. I think that was the year I began applying for Irish Citizenship, a process that has yet to come to fruition.

Thinking back to my post of the other day, in which I was complaining about the passage of time, how it seems to have sped up in the last few years, and how I associate that with the formation of habits: work, domestic life, etc., and perhaps to age and a changing relationship to time, I now look back on 9-11 as a kind of turning point, as a moment when time seemed to speed up because everything, the entire world, became focused on that one event, and remained so for most of the next several years. On one level, time was frozen, on another, it was sped up.

How can you notice the passage of time when you keep seeing the same event repeated over and over?

Answer: you can't. It just passes and then it is gone.

Happy Labor Day!

from The Simulacra

The interoffice memo at Electronic Musical Enterprise frightened Nat Flieger and he did not know why. It dealt, after all, with a great opportunity; the famed Soviet pianist Richard Kongrosian, a psycho-kineticist who played Brahms and Schumann without manually approaching the keyboard, had been located at his summer home in Jenner, California. And, with luck, Kongrosian would be available for a series of recording sessions with EME. And yet--

Perhaps, Flieger reflected, it was the dark, wet forests of the extreme northern coastal region of California which repelled him; he liked the dry southlands near Tijuana, here where EME maintained its central offices. But Kongrosian, according to the memo, would not come out of his summer home; he had entered semi-retirement possibly due to some unknown domestic situation, hinted to be a tragedy involving either his wife or his child. This had happened years ago, the memo implied.

It was nine in the morning. Nat Flieger reflexively poured water into a cup and fed the living protoplasm incorporated into the Ampek F-a2 recording system which he kept in his office; the Ganymedean life form did not experience pain and had not yet objected to being made over into a portion of an electronic system . . . neurologically it was primitive, but as an auditory receptor it was unexcelled.

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