Wednesday, June 23, 2010

iMbecelic iDentity

There are two kinds of people in the world--those who believe there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don't. If, like me, you are in the latter group, feel free to move along to the Nothingworld, or Amorphilacious-Antaginons, or wither-soever thou please. After all, as a member of the latter group, you are at least moderately aware of your autonomy and therefore capable of directing yourself elsewhere. (If you see any crows, tell them to bugger off . . . just not this way. . . matter of fact, leave them be--I have work to do.) If you are in the former group, stick around, because I'm only going to say this once.

First some benign examples:

There are two kinds of people in the world--those who like World Cup Soccer and those who don't. Well and good. No real harm there (outside of being fallacious on at least two levels but no harm there either because everything, including this statement, is fallacious on at least two levels--call it a push.)

I'll go local:

There are two kinds of people in Alabama--those who root for Auburn University and those who root for the University of Alabama. Now, things are getting shakier. Still no harm (outside of being annoying) but one can begin to see a problem. To wit: obviously there are people in Alabama who don't really give a care, ya'll. To those who give mucho care, such a position is inconceivable and therefore, as we treat all things beyond our scope, the position is ridiculed and pressed until one randomly picks a team or simply leaves the room.

Now national:

Democrat or Republican

Now international:

Conservative or Liberal

Now galactic:

Matter or Dark Matter

Now (and here is my tipping point) the absurd:

Mac or PC.

So there I am at Best Buy a while back, checking out computers to replace the paleolithic one at home, when, as if from a trapdoor, a guy in a blue shirt appears, leans into my personal space, and asks, in the tone of voice I assign to sexual predators in my mind, "So, you must be a Mac-Guy."

I immediately dismissed the possibility that he had mistaken me for Richard Dean Anderson, for I look nothing like him. (My loss.) But still, the statement did not register. Three awkward seconds go by. He'd recently had onions and less recently showered, that much I did know. Then, my mind caught up with my situation and I realized what was going on. I was being labeled. And to make matters worse, I was being labeled an i. As in iPhone, iPad, iPod, iCarly, etc.

I shrugged him off and left him to his diametrical view of life, the universe, and everything. (props to Mr. Adams.) So, whatevs. No big biggies, I chalked it up to my metro-sexual eye-wear and post-modern (read unkempt) hair-do and went home with a PC. Not because I AM a PC or that I was beholden to Windows 7 as it was, after all, my idea. In fact, being a PC- guy or a Mac-Guy had as little to do with the decision as being a Bama fan or not. The primary aspect of my person-hood at play in the decision was me being a Poor-Guy--an actually measurable fact.

Since that fateful day, my ears have been a'keened and my eyes have been a'widened-- full of these instances of soul-smooshing, mind-cinching cubbies into which we flop the societally-bundled but otherwise variegated aspects of our Being like so many Buzz Lightyear and Tinkerbell tennies at the neighborhood Chik-fil-A play palace.

So, what's the big deal, J. Scott? Well, Kierkegaard puts it this way: "Once you label me, you negate me." That is, I am not such a thing as can be called a thing by you because to you such a thing is X and to me such a thing is Y. Or any other algebraic unknown as long as the value of the one can never equal the other because each are devised then deciphered by independent consciousnesses that cannot, by virtue of the universal rule of subjectivity in matters of mind, communicate perfectly with each other in perfect terms. Which is to say, to label me is to take a formula of your own devising, applicable only to you and fundamentally meaningless to others, and try to plug me in where I won't fit.

Aren't you exaggerating, Jonny? It's just a computer. True, until it isn't. And it isn't when not only am I not a Mac I am also the bundle of prejudices associated with my non-Mac-essence . So now what else am I? I am unsophisticated, boorish, crude. I am a relic, a lag-behind, a nitwit. And not for being any of these things in particular but for being one thing in general.

And that's just the superficial crud--objectification of a lower order. Technology, sports, interstellar matter.

But what about . . .

Politics. You are what your party is. Straight ticket, toe the line, no deviation or find yourself aisle-less, buddy.

No thanks, Madame President.

Race. You are what racists think you are. And not just regarding one aspect of your personality. Personality? What personality? You are your race. It's one thing, one object; it is all and you are it.

I'll pass, Cracker.

And the list of irrational anathemata goes ever on. But leave me out of it, please. And take a shower, Blue Shirt, you're giving all Blue Shirts a bad name. Don't sell me you, sell me a computer . . .

Because I am iNexplicable, iNeffable, iNdeterminate, and, above all, iNdividual.

Because I'm cool like that.

Roll Tide! Go Blazers! War Eagle! Whatevs. No biggies.

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