21 April 2015

0 major historical dread

i'm in DC still, working at the national archives for my supervisor. looking at the information control department's files on denazification.

yesterday, somehow (probably because i dared eat lunch at 2:30 pm and there were fears i'd abandoned my trolly because "no one ever eats lunch at 2:30 pm), it got around that i'm working on denazification, so in the locker room, a dude said, "you're the one working on denazification, right?" and i was like THE FUCK?!?! then i remembered, yes, that is who i am right now.

it's an unfortunate time to be working on denazification. reading all these files about how our government intervenes with other people and tries to change their minds and impressions of their own country. i just lived through all of the national traumas of the 1960s and 1970s. i do not need denazification in my life right now.

my commute up to maryland is an hour and a half each way. i've downloaded buoyant dance songs of the last three years to try to blow the thoughts of we're all doomed out of my head on the way home. i'm not sure that it's so much psychological palliative as contributing to the fractured feeling of my recent experience (assassinations! watergate! jackie's death!) versus the current world (news programs composed entirely of questions!) wherein i seem to be city-hopping in such a manner that i'm taking the seasons in reverse.

i keep watching terribly unfortunate things before bed. a movie about 9/11. this hbo documentary on susan sontag which basically ended with her kicking and screaming and dying against her will, fearful of being extinguished.

extinguishment seems key. in writing the book, i've made myself see something deeply unsettling about extinguishment, which i'm not yet able to articulate and which i'mma have to articulate if the critical bit i've yet to write is going to be any good.

i read joshua cohen's the private life on the plane to memphis, wherein he suggests that celebrity functions to try to comfort us from the anxiety that we can never know other people and there are pieces of our selves that we keep hidden, even from us.

while i was in memphis, lainey gossip had a post on kristen stewart, wherein the idea was posited that, in our culture, celebrity has taken the place of having 8 kids and going to war and dying of TB. it is a luxury. a sign of a successful economy and country. that we have so much time to think about these people we do not know.

i initially saw these things as separate theories, but actually i think they're pointing to the same thing: anxiety. the anxiety of all we cannot know and the space that has opened up where we have nothing to do but think about that.

my brain has been idling in that space for about two weeks now, trying to figure out how to inhabit and think about and write about that anxiety. it is the weirdest possible time to be working on denazification.

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