This was 14 years, 9 months ago

it strikes me
that this this performs as

this mental tic that's inevitable. now, "strikes me" is this way of venturing forth into an explanation without having to put all of my weight behind it; it's possible, it strikes me, this idea slipped by me like haley's comet brushing by the earth (and maybe there's a further metaphorical resonance to be found in the oxygen-tank hoarding that occurred when people thought the tail contained poisonous gas), no responsibility on my part; I've just caught the ball. it struck me.

and performs. oh oh performance. it's beautiful, performs as, effects, appears. does it? it appears to do so. subjective interpretation couched in objective language. quiet interpretation of observed phenomena. your hands held behind your back.

but whatever. we "utilize the means at hand". we real cool. we bricoleurs.


1) I just watched pulp fiction for the first time yesterday
2) I just finished norwegian wood for the second time yesterday

It strikes me that violence in Pulp Fiction performs as a stand-in for literary license, or more specifically a license or flexibility that generates a logic of events absolutely one step removed from the usual twists and turns operating within the rules of typical movie plot. By violence I mean specifically acts of violation, events that threaten the usual order of things, the usual geography on which boundaries between specific regions of acceptability lie, etc. So, for example, when Uma Thurman's and John Travolta's characters start doing lines of heroin before their 'date', the space that's opened up through this use of drugs within the movie can be explained within real-world logic as a space that's outside of normal sobriety -- the resulting happenings can be explained literally in terms of this drug use ("they were acting weird because they were high"). It's the acceptance of the shallowest and most initial interpretation of the events going on that breaches your understanding and starts the gradual tear that rends disbelief into halves. My point is that maybe the logic of real-world narrative is dealt with on its own terms and then allowed to be subtracted from the movie because of these factors, maybe leaving something like a logic driven primarily by style and a plot aesthetic of what-the-fuck absurdity. Real-world events dealt on its own terms within logic so that Tarantino plays within the realm of this created illogicality?

I'm also reminded of the similar roles that radiation/genetic engineering and wealthy billionaires play in comic books and superhero stories: freedom, license, creativity spidering out from the notion that these "sufficiently advanced technolog[ies] are indistinguishable from magic" - creativity at the liminal edge of difference and strangeness initially allowed and explained through these technologies at the edge of our understanding, etc.


as for 상실의 시대/Norwegian Wood..

I couldn't help but laugh at certain parts and laugh again at my laughter. there were moments when I was certain that it was going to be like coetzee's youth, when watanabe, going on 20, talks about this sense of responsibility, and the older murakami filtering this all through his experience reflects back on this responsibility as something necessarily believed in but inevitably abandoned, and so on. resonating plot points for me, I thought. but no. no, it wasn't. two tiny thoughts:

one. I resent the moments at which murakami (or the narrator) tries to introduce these drastic changes in plot or deaths of a character (such as when kizuki dies, not a spoiler) almost too casually. It's like a steadied and deliberate remark you've practiced and finally introduced by a clearing of the throat and said in a tone too nonchalant to really be deadpan, blasé.

two. the last time I read it some four years ago I remember being struck at the specific point where the narrator turns from stoic description to action, and on reading this again I was somewhat surprised to find that exact turning point again. The phrase "I found myself doing" or "I heard myself say" and the accompanying sense of curious action spurred not by motivation but by something else is appropriate, maybe, for watanabe, words flying forward from somewhere behind distant from the horizon, passing overhead, that sort of feeling.


it's funny, lingering traces of travel. 'I am here!' so viscerally ignored when you're there really only sets in when you start to arrive or depart. magnetic fields generated only at the moment when current changes. you flow out, and everything resists and says "stay!" scraps of receipts and regional plastic bags and ticket stubs, in units of economic exchange that fly under the threshold of economic demand that would allow these things to be imported. hey, do you know that the plastic bag you're holding is the rarest, most unimported object possible? the city furthest away from seoul in terms of time, in korea, is somewhere inbetween seoul and busan.

travel; getting lost. to be honest I wanted nothing more than to wander around that evening in japan with a friend and through luck and thanks to couchsurfing that did happen indeed. brief one-off encounter with an awesome girl through koenji and shibuya. late night wanderings alone afterwards. music in my ears and listening to a city napping but certainly still awake. I think in boston these two months that's the thing I'll miss the most; this place grows silent after the T closes; where are the bright lights and the wicks burning around cups of drink inside? where's the room still lit up in some apartment or house somewhere? all of you, all sleeping at the same time. there are no windows high above these streets still lit; no distorted rectangles lit with an incandescent-bulb-yellow. we'll see.