My Pen is My Scalpel

I could extend questions, string them one after the other, on and on and on until the last interrogative of recorded time. All the questions I ask followed by yet another string of other questions followed by yet still other questions–nearly perpetually, going on and keeping on . . . what is it that I am saying about the nature of questioning; taking the time to perform and act of social inquiry, of personal inquiry, of any kind of inquiry into any subject . . . what? Each could be extended, linked one to another and another every essay essaying what to essay–oral or literary–other forms of speaking or writing perpetuating itself into itself multiplied, replicated, de-formed, re-formed, all to continue informing, to put in form by information. To essay or not to essay, what do I essay when I do in an essay this thing about putting ideas on trial . . . I don’t now if I hate writing that is a parade of images for the sake of images, but I do know I know what Williams meant when he said it to Kazan.

If only to put what I think in a form suited, I would be happy. To accomplish this task of putting pen to page and saying something intelligent about something that begs to be discussed, again, to be essayed–I am fixed here on this trying out what I think, thinking not randomly passing images in the mind or playing hop-scotch with the names of ideas, the way most people do with the data of history rather than the matter of history.  Yes, put on trial by the ordeal of ideas, I am as well as what I think–what then must the judgement be on the writing. Beauty, I have already concluded, as the Romans understood, cannot exist without form, except in a modified Greek understanding of absolute forms. The Romans and the Greeks did differ on the representation of beauty; go to the Met and walk among the Roman and Greek statuary and see. But Beauty manifests as this beauty or that beautiful something we do not need to name at present. I could extend any of the questions that might be asked about what I intend in the pages I write, I am always writing beyond the limits of one of essay or another or story or poem–God the variations of form that happen there, in my poetry. I write and I write and I write, ah! the walking shadows. How do shadows talk? What do they say?

I have written many essays, stories, poems, critiques in a variety of styles for a variety of purposes for a variety of audiences–know your audience. I could continue any questioning far beyond where I take my inquiries in the essays I publish in the pages section of my website, fit only for those who understand what we once called literary tradition. Style shifts for need, of course. What more should I ask? I am the Review; I am everything and everyone there; every essay, every word, every title, every post, every video/film, each photograph you might see . . . could I apply this fore mentioned literary approach to subjects as diverse as from language and linguistics to epistemology and ethics? Yes. From history to law to then again historiography? For certain. Or to reading and writing in the most general application? I imagine so. From painting and sculpting to the state of theater in America? Why hesitate with a reply? From blogging, to Orthodox Jewish landlords in my building diminishing maintenance services correlative with the rise in Muslim tenants in the compound where these Orthodox Jewish landlords are allowed, by the City that governs the housing they own, to act as they wish, or do not wish, and with impunity? Yes. And I address all of these and then so much more, but how is always ever present. What is the rhetorical edge I am going to use and will it cut appropriately? Rhetoric must cut. I need to wield a scalpel’s blade. Surgery in satire is better than butchery. My pen is my scalpel, of course; memory at times is a knife that cuts.

Could I address in tones more sober that Mayor Frumpberg was a large Orwellian pig–in direct contrast to his diminutive staure and mousy nature before the media? Of course I could–but I would still need to tread gently. Did Frumpberg let landlords off thier leashes? I could say that he did, but to what effect when most of what we have in the media has conditioned us to be hyper polite to the extent that we are psychopathically polite? Frumpberg’s City policies did let them off their leashes to sink their teeth into tenants. Bloomburg did do for the rich and powerful in direct proportion to how he tried desperately to cut services and do less for The People. Frumpberg, without irony, was a Statist pig of monstrously grotesque proportions. This was undeniable from where I stood, a perception not to be lessened in its veracity or valency by my subjectivity.

Yes, of course we–that means I–could address all of these things, and I do understand that some might say that these conclusions are not matters of course; but I insist that there are self-evident necessities that must be phrased as we do, as I do–this review is not mine–it is me; I am the review. Thus, whatevfer it is that we will do, I will do; whatever we do, I do; whatever is done has been done by me. So, when I ask what I can do in my writing, I am of course posing the question as we like to say rhetorically. But as I have said before in other essays and herein, rhetoric is an edge that cuts. Is it though, the meat cleaver, or the surgeon’s scalpel, I will use. Surgery, I will perform; or, is it autopsy. Writers are sometimes coroners. But who am here: I am me, the man I am, but I cannot forget that the man I am is a plurality, not a singularity. I am we, of course, not just in the way I know that all the world is a stage, and like Jacques, I know that each of us plays many parts, not only the roles that advancing through age demand, but the roles created because I am not the same man when I speak to my neighbor as I am when I speak to my mother, nor have ever been the same man speaking to my mother as I have been speaking to my father, not the same man I am speaking to my father as I am speaking to any of my close male friends, not the same speaking to any of them as I am speaking to any woman who has been my lover, not the same speaking to one of them as to another or another or another of them, or speaking to any woman classmate in any college class I have had, not the same to any one of them as I am to any other one of them, nor as I am speaking to a woman friend who is not a lover or a lover who is not a friend, or to an elderly woman on the train, or a woman police officer, or a woman professor of my Victorian Lit class. How could we not be many, plural; each of us is we, a multiplication of selves by the plurality of them in each Self, each person building a Self of many selves out of the experience and the givens of his or her life, no? I am not the same man I was last week, nor will I be the same man tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, sometimes being an idiot, even.


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