Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Proceeding of the FIS 3: Sundries

Commenting on my post on Miami, James asks, 'What is art?' In my role as Supreme Failure, I affirm that art is that which provides the consoling illusion of infinite depth. In the same role, I would point out to Susan that I cannot be trapped by logic when I am trying to be funny. And, finally, the SF would like to make it clear that all intellectuals are failures. It is the nature of their calling, though, of course, some fail more spectacularly than others. Membership of the FIS is thus open to all intellectuals. However, only those with a healthy awareness of their ultimate ineptitude will be - or would want to be - admitted to full membership.


  1. Inept at what?
    And what's an intellectual?
    We're all failures - broken pilgrims, getting through life as best we can - so what's so special about intellectual failures?

  2. I'll squeeze in this extract from an interview of the genius Victor Pelevin on the flimsy justification of being a tangential response to the question, "What is art?". Here in interview he talks of Bulgakov's Master & Margarita, and contrasts with the effect of Solzhenitsyin.

    "There's an expression "out of this world." This book was totally out of the Soviet world. The evil magic of any totalitarian regime is based on its presumed capability to embrace and explain all the phenomena, their entire totality, because explanation is control. Hence the term totalitarian. So if there's a book that takes you out of this totality of things explained and understood, it liberates you because it breaks the continuity of explanation and thus dispels the charms. It allows you to look in a different direction for a moment, but this moment is enough to understand that everything you saw before was a hallucination (though what you see in this different direction might well be another hallucination). The Master and Margarita was exactly this kind of book and it is very hard to explain its subtle effect to anybody who didn't live in the USSR. Solzhenitsyn's books were very anti-Soviet, but they didn't liberate you, they only made you more enslaved as they explained to which degree you were a slave. The Master and Margarita didn't even bother to be anti-Soviet yet reading this book would make you free instantly. It didn't liberate you from some particular old ideas, but rather from the hypnotism of the entire order of things."
    The whole piece found here.
    Sorry for the flimsiness of the pretext for including this, but what a superb display of thought.

  3. I don't find infinite depth consoling. Infinity is just not a comforting concept. Give me the finite any day. You know where you are with the finite. With infinity, you're just asking for trouble.

  4. A great boost for the Failed Intellectuals. I've discovered a quote from Huxley that can serve as a society motto.
    "An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex."
    So perhaps a failed intellectual is someone who has failed to discover something more interesting than sex.

  5. The end of the affair (another failure):
    "How was that for you, darling?"
    "Mmmm, very interesting".

  6. I note that, satisfyingly, and perhaps predictably, proceedings #2 are missing.

  7. You know, stay away from the blogosphere for a couple of days and it has all evolved, moved on and left you standing.
    So apologies if you've been there, done that, got the T shirt, but have Noam Chomsky and Harold Pinter applied to join the FIS?

  8. Ah, "trapped by logic" -- that takes me back. Reminds me so much of being an undergraduate at Oxford. Everyone argues like that there (from the dons downwards) -- supremely irrelevant to anything, even if you win (in the logic-trapping, that is).
    I speak as a great admirer of the wondrous Susan, should she be reading this. I did not read her comment which inspired this post, Bryan, but "trapping by logic" struck a nerve.

  9. Oh, logic schmogic -- just throw the damn stuff out! Gimme a schnapps and this, our wondrous world of unreason.... I do think Bryan is one of the funniest dudes I have ever read, but jokes work *because* of logic, not in spite of it. They subvert what we logically expect.

    Where is Mr. Pinter when we need him? Attending a birthday party probably, and not a very good one! I'm gonna watch "House" with my daughter (now *that's* a great show and Hugh Laurie is divine. Moreover his English accent is spot-on).

    g'night chaps & chappettes,

  10. *American* accent, dammit! It's either the schnapps or Alzheimer's and one certainly would prefer the former.....

  11. Support of the Lou Zhu, Lou Zhu worked hard
    Nothing is impossible for a willing heart.
    ugg classic cardy