This website has no other purpose than to display Chris Barclay's apparent lack of writing talent.

Okay Let's Un-Skin that Joke, I Was Wrong...

Okay Let's Un-Skin that Joke, I Was Wrong...

If you haven't been reading this writing portfolio (blog) I'll catch you up on my worldview as it has developed over the past 8 months:

  • There's this thing called Irony: it deconstructs literature, societal structures, political structures, art, etc.
  • Irony is good at pointing out the flaws/hypocrisies of these systems, but fails at offering meaningful solutions or alternatives
  • Too much irony, like too much criticism, ends up adding noise to the cacophony
  • The biggest factor in social/political change is money
  • We live in an age of information, social media, and ironic (meta) humor
  • Advertisement is good at deploying both simple rhetorical strategies—ethos/pathos/logos, association between buying the product and buying a lifestyle, using catchy buzzwords or phrases or slogans "Just do it!" "Eat fresh" "I'm lovin' it"—to sell their product.
  • Post-modern Advertisement deploys "meta-humor" to make the consumer falsely believe that they have "transcended" (Wallace's term, E Unibus Pluram) the system, and thus associate the product with that feeling.
  • There's a pervasive notion—perhaps prompted (or perpetuated) by modern or postmodern advertisement—that if we buy this house, or get this promotion, or get into this college, or live this way, that then, we'll be "happy," or "contented." That feeling is what we call "closure"
  • ^^closure is a myth, because we wake up the next day, and don't feel entirely fulfilled. Everything is in constant flux, and nothing is certain —"the only certain thing in this world is change."
  • If we're aware that we need to change, but don't change, then our self-awareness is in vain

Those realizations took me 8 months. And today, I've had my entire notion behind entertainment upended through an 8-page paper and a youtube video:

Trickster in a Suit of Lights: Thoughts on the Modern short story. (It's only 8 pages long!!!)

Youtube vid: "What is Post-Postmodern Literature? An Introduction"

The essay defines our perception of entertainment

Entertainment, in short, means junk, and too much junk is bad for you—bad for your heart, your arteries, your mind, your soul.
— Trickster in a Suit of Lights (pg 1)

And then explicates that notion, refuting that perhaps our conceptions of "high-class literature" are entertainment in and of themselves. Channeling the philosophy of David Foster Wallace as it concerns the purpose of literature, the essay mentions that entertainment is a form of bridging the gap of solipsism:

Yet entertainment—as I define it, pleasure and all—remains the only sure means we have of bridging, or at least of feeling as if we have bridged, the gulf of consciousness that separates each of us from everybody else. The best response to those who would cheapen and exploit it is not to disparage or repudiate but to reclaim entertainment as a job fit for artists and for audiences, a two-way exchange of attention, experience, and the universal hunger for connection.
— Trickster in a Suit of Lights (pg 3)

And that's what I've been doing for these past 8 months: repudiating and disparaging it (entertainment,) just like irony repudiates political systems without offering solution. I thought I had transcended the maze, but I had in fact just reached a bigger, more complex maze.

What now?

Well, in my last article, To Skin Alive the Joke, I proposed that we could "skin the joke alive" instead of stretching it. I used the viral video ""Shia LaBeouf" Live – Rob Cantor" (a.k.a. Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf) as an example of "stretching" the joke—stretch defined as "to amplify or enlarge beyond natural or proper limits"—and I suggested that the only way to truly connect (bridge the solipsism gap) on a genuine level is to snap the framework and react genuinely. In essence, I was evoking the same vocation DFW did at the end of E Unibus Pluram:

The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of “anti-rebels,” born oglers who dare to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse single-entendre values. Who treat old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point, why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk things. Risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. The new rebels might be the ones willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “How banal.” Accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Credulity. Willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law.
— E Unibus Pluram, David Foster Wallace

I've witnessed a similar change in my personal life, as well. I've tried to embody a "wholesome" worldview as opposed to the "cynical defeatist." I'm fixated by the fact that it's now considered "cool" or "hip" to say things such as "ME!" whenever the group mentions the following: [a meme about procrastination]; [a general flaw most people can relate to]; [something with "shock-value"]

Yet, being positive, and trying to be better and having it get easier every day, that is what people actually find "hip" and "cool." So what compels this notion to say "Literally ME!"? What is the barrier too irrefutably tough to break, or climb over, prohibiting us from reaching that wholesome beacon of light? What's the crux of this impossible cultural shitstorm mentality?

17 year old Chris Barclay arrives at a crossroads here.

It happened one day, at a crossroads, in the middle of a crowd, people coming and going.
I stopped, blinked: suddently I understood nothing. Nothing, nothing about anything: I did not understand the reasons for things or for people, it was all senseless, absurd. I laughed.
What I found strange at the time was that I had never realized before; that up until then I had accepted everything: traffic lights, cars, posters, uniforms, monuments, things completely detached from any sense of the world, accepted them as if there were some necessity, some chain of cause and effect that bound them together.
Then my laugh died. I blushed, ashamed. I waved to get people’s attention. “Stop a moment!” I shouted, “there is something wrong! Everything is wrong! We are doing the absurdest things. This cannot be the right way. Where can it end?”
People stopped around me, sized me up, curious. I stood there in the middle of them, waving my arms, desparate to explain myself, to have them share the flash of insight that had suddenly enlightened me: and I said nothing. I said nothing because the moment I had raised my arms and opened my mouth, my great revelation had been as it were swallowed up again and the words had come out any old how, on impulse.
“So?” people asked, “what do you mean? Everything is in its place. All is as it should be. Everything is a result of something else. Everything fits in with everything else. We cannot see anything wrong or absurd.”
I stood there, lost, because as I saw it now everything had fallen into place again and everything seemed normal, traffic lights, monuments, uniforms, towerblocks, tramlines, begggards, processions; yet this did not calm me, it tormented me.
“I am sorry,” I said. “Perhaps it was I who was wrong. It seemd that way then. But everything is fine now. I am sorry.” And I made off amid their angry glares.
Yet, even now, every time (and it is often) that I find I do not understand something, then, instincitively, I am filled with the hope that perhaps this will be my moment again, perhaps once again I shall understand nothing, I shall grasp the other knowledge, found and lost in an instant.

Another thing I'd like to share today is the fact that music, when paired with thunderstorms, sounds a lot different. 

An old thing becomes new if you detach it from what usually surrounds it.
— Robert Bresson

Listen to these both simultaneously

See you next week

Snakes: A Screenplay

Snakes: A Screenplay

To Skin Alive the Joke

To Skin Alive the Joke