Time skating on ice

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2011 at 11:54 am

The appeal of stream of consciousness writers like Faulkner, Joyce and then Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway appears to be that they removed us from the tyranny of clock time.

“Clocks slay time. Time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.”  The Sound and the Fury.

In other words remove clocks and there is no time, it’s a social construct. Only the Eternal Now. Faulkner also slayed grammar and convention; writing in idiom and free from snobby rules that infect forms of expression. The import is that we are governed as slaves to external conventions; in the West we worship at the altar of Time, served by Progress, served by Convention. Hit these hard and all is good; we are Good…. some disembodied voice says. Watching Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Mirror reverses the exchange process; its stream of consciousness leaving chronology in the bin. YOU end up working hard to establish meaning rather than meaning being served up like sugar on a donut Hollywood-style.

Here’s a new twist from Derrida’s angle on time, from that newspaper’s Book Blog: “…Meanwhile, new technologies are dislocating more traditional notions of time and place. Smartphones, for instance, encourage us never to fully commit to the here and now, fostering a ghostly presence-absence. Internet time (which is increasingly replacing clock time) results in a kind of “non-time” that goes hand in hand with Marc Augé’s non-places. Perhaps even more crucially, the web has brought about a “crisis of overavailability” that, in effect, signifies the “loss of loss itself”: nothing dies any more, everything “comes back on YouTube or as a box set retrospective” like the looping, repetitive time of trauma (Fisher). This is why “retromania” has reached fever pitch in recent years, as Simon Reynolds demonstrates in his new book – a methodical dissection of “pop culture’s addiction to its own past”.”

Pop culture feeding on itself. TV analysing TV.  Suggestion is no-one is expressing the new as the trite and pulp-nostalgia is too available. Walter Benjamin’s striking observation 75 years ago that modern people cannot exchange experiences might re-apply as a modern people who prefer the regurgitation of past experience than embracing the new. Something here about new forms of expression being long-structures-of-thought as in autoethnographies; novels; essays. Essay writing reminds me of school. I never quite knew what an essay was but we always had  to write a lot of them. Do children still write these? Should they? The long-structures of writing slay clock time in a better fashion than listening to Madness and thinking of 1979 maybe?

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