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A Blog About Culture

Recognition, Situation, Identity, Reality

I just started a new internship. I get to learn about foreign cultures, and research and write about delicious foods that I have or haven’t tried before. (Yes, it makes me hungry.) Tonight I was writing a blog post about Parisian macarons when I realized how completely “me” the sentence I was typing was becoming. I was amusing myself with literary devices, going completely off topic, and my mind had already begun to analyze it as text. My own text. I g-chatted my friend Michele:

My post is getting self-referential;

I’m in trouble.

I’ve become almost unable to communicate without infusing my own stream-of-consciousness. The way I write now has become circuitous and almost irrelevant to people who are not me. My most often critiques are that I’m unorganized, that my jumps don’t make sense. But now I wonder if that kind of writing is preferred as the most honest, the most genuine text.

I remember learning about Christian bastardization of literature in high school (Beowulf, hello) and being forewarned always to consider the motives of the author. I remember being in a theory class at WM and considering some auteur who wanted to publish his manuscript with notes in the margins and crossed out words and wanted it to fade and yellow and tear in an attempt to represent the most truthful reality of the process and life. But it was still him saying he wanted that. Motives, motives. The corruption of reality by the creator.

So then part of me wonders, does the reality behind any production point to the creator? I mean, of course the production itself in some small  way attempts (insufficiently, if you know anything about my personal beliefs on the matter) to represent a felt reality, but isn’t there also a reality in the production the creator creates? And the perceived meaning behind that production?

All we did to Beowulf was say that the monks changed to story to make it propaganda. That does not only represent two realities (pre-Christian and Christian). It also reveals the realities of the monk’s need to change it, our need to analyze it, our need to reveal the change, and our need to call attention to the difference between that mindset and the practices of our own society. I guess that is because we are seeking — valorizing — truth.

What? I suddenly feel as though everything I just said is really obvious and I’m an idiot for just working this out now.

So if truth is such a big deal to us, wouldn’t we want the most genuine? Would we want the manuscript with the notes on the side? Would we want my sentence about French pastries to include the five hard “C” sounds I originally included, because my fingers decided to enjoy an orchestra of cacophonous consonance? Would we want my author’s interruption, pointing out that I’d done that? (Or this one, to say that yes, I’ve done it again because I’m on a roll?)

I guess I say yes.

Maybe not in professional or academic settings, though. Maybe just in prose. Here’s a snippet of something creative that I wrote fairly recently; you’ll see what I mean about the reflexivity:

She was in a hotel bar, leaning her medium frame on the dark granite top, glad for the way her curve cushioned around the edge. She was by no means a large woman, and “curvaceous” would be perceived as a euphemism for “fat,” when in fact she was not. … The number of above sentences about her body does not correlate to the amount of worry she gave her own appearance.

There were several more sentences that I did not include in the excerpt, all debating the pros and cons of certain word choices. To me, I feel like it both distracts and adds to the narrative. It’s as if the author (or narrator, I guess) is part of the story itself, serving as a point of connection between the characters and reality. But instead of that narrator’s point of view being a consciously constructed motive, as some literature features, the narrator is instead me, in my most raw reality. And that is worth more to me than any story about a woman in a hotel bar.

More considerations:

  • What about the people who subconsciously want the lies?
  • What are the differences in individual reality? (I believe they exist.)


Why I Changed the Name

1. Because “Cultural Recognition” was stupid and the first thing I thought of when I had to fill out the blank white box.

2. Because I don’t even believe in metaphors or names. I believe in honesty. Google “The Treachery of Images;” that will explain what I mean better than I can. Ok, I’ll do it for you. And yes, I know that points to Wikipedia and I said google; it’s an appellative now.


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