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The Carousel of Progress

Page history last edited by The Carousel of Progress 12 years, 3 months ago


Thursday, February 13th



I love starting something and already being behind.


This is the fifth week of the semester and my first entry. After two weeks of procrastination, two weeks of not understanding how a wiki works, and a week of biotelemetrica telling me "The Carousel of Progress" does not truly exist... I have found my way to a blog entry.


Burroughs is rant. Naked Lunch is mindfuckery that exists to force an experience without actually explicating any specific experience at all. It works to create an atmosphere of mindless chaos - a controlled form of order that disguises itself as randomness (this is an important distinction for me) - by literally rearranging progress into an unnatural and unrecognizable form. The end is suddenly the beginning. and vice versa. But I think Burrough's doesn't mean to say that this at all - that the end is the beginning, but only perhaps at the end is in the beginning. What's the difference? There must be as difference. Fuck it if there isn't.


We have an assignment due for the class, to add something to some sort of online "Zine" about Burroughs and his work. I've been working through this assignment for a few weeks, thinking of something creative that could serve to both supplement the material as well as emulate it without plagiarizing it (the line between plagiarism and borrowing is simply the admission of doing so). I was honestly stumped for a while, what is the solution?


I can't believe that his writing is randomness. In "The Yage Letters," Burroughs tells a whining Ginsberg to simply cut up the words of his letter, rearrange them, and he will hear Burroughs' voice. But Burroughs must not exist under a banner of randomness, because no one can truly act out of unpredictability. The existence of time proves a fixed pathway. Choice is a myth. So, I will wish to study a text (let's go with "The Yage Letters") and punctuate the moments of fleeting nonsequitur with hard proof of interconnectedness and substantiality. None of that Six Degrees of Separation bullshit. This is real. This is the hyperreal. "A" cannot move to "C" for random's sake. "A" moves to see because it simply must move to "C." Moving to "B" was an option, but never really a possibility. It was always "C." So, hopefully with some weight of portentuousness, I will lift the palimpsest off of Burroughs' "Letters" in order to prove order disguised as randomness, not with any simple through line (simplicity bores us English majors). There is rhyme as well as reason. They are incestuous lovers.


I will write an entry a day for two weeks to catch up.




The De-layered Palimpsest



Welcome, De-layered Palimpsest,


mobius stands to applaud your ascent to the wiki level of consciousness. Ding! You now sprout new powers of intertwingularity in your epic quest to deliberately and creatively demonstrate that "choice is a myth". To wit: You may be interested in the work of Benjamin Libet at some point on this absurd path as you prove fake letters true. - Grasshopper (aka mobius)


P.S. For tips on increasing the rate of wiki logos flow, see http://biotelemetrica.pbwiki.com/our+pretty+faces%E2%8E%9Four+pretty+faces?SearchFor=habit&sp=6


especially 'writing as a habit". And remember: The Grasshopper Lies Heavy!




Sunday, February 15th


I would like to take this time to make an "Acknowledgements" section for my blog:


I would like to acknowledge those people in my life that have made this possible: my parents for that money for college and not making a big deal out of my switch from Math to Theater to English to Theater to English, my friend Johnna for also having a blog, the Liberal Arts department for having a computer lab that I crash all the time. I would like to acknowledge that I have trouble understanding a single fucking word of "Naked Lunch." I would also liek to acknowledge that there came a moment in "The Yage Letters" that changed my life. I would like to acknowledge that it doesn't take much to change my life, just something - anything - noteworthy and interesting. In that same vain, the television show "Lost" frequently changes my life. I acknowledge that you may take it as an insult if you don't change my life. This is correct. It is somewhat insulting. I acknowledge that it annoys me that Burroughs sometimes says "Junkie" and also sometimes "Junky." I simply do not understand why he has two different spellings. I acknowledge that sometimes, Burroughs is weird for weird's sake. This is a-okay in my book. My book has many things that are a-okay. I acknowledge that homosexuality is a-okay. I acknowledge that using junk is not a-okay. I would like to take this moment to acknowledge the distinction. I would like to acknowledge that I started writing this on the 15th and finished on the 16th. I realize that this time-gap cannot be recognized or acknowledged by the reader, and thus I have unlocked the supreme power of the writer, to fuck with time and get away with it. I acknowledge my fear of time and maturity. These are not the same, but they are related. I would like to acknowledge that all things are related, at least faintly.



The Carousel of Progress






Thursday, February 19th


I love studying Chaos Theory. Our conversation in class on Tuesday pumped me up. Determinism. Laplace. Schrodinger's Cat even got a quick reference.


I'm trying to relate this all to Burroughs. There is a question, there is a connection.


This is my intent.



Laplace's Demon






Friday, February 20th


This is what I have so far. I am, admittedly, running into issues making my claim:


“Nothing Is Random”
Burroughs would hate me.
He states the purpose and procedure of his cut-up method rather concisely in a fake letter to Allen Ginsberg:
“Listen now? Take the enclosed copy of this letter. Cut along the lines. Rearrange putting section one by section three and section two by section four. Now read aloud and you will hear My Voice. Whose voice? Listen. Cut and rearrange in any combination. Read aloud. I can not choose but hear1.”
There you have it, THE CUT-UP METHOD, both a rebellion against the methodology of writing as well as a technique to discover new meaning from old words. Many claim (one the back flap of his books, at least) that Burroughs’ genius lies solely in this idea, that by allowing a dose of controlled randomness (oxymoron) to penetrate his writing, certainly a life-changing meaning will emerge from the ruins. This seems simultaneously simple enough as well as idiotic. Why can’t anyone perpetuate this method to produce genius? Can we only cut-up Burroughs’ words in order to unlock this genius? Is randomness art?
How can Burroughs do this to us? Simple2. It’s not actually random.

1 William S. Burroughs, “The Yage Letters.”
2 Nothing is simple.






Sunday, February 22nd


I'll continue more with that up there as I go along.


Burroughs' style rebels against all convention of writing. Writing follows a series of events, one usually preceding the next, all headed towards a chronological masterpiece (there are of course exceptions to this rule, as there are to all rules, as there are to everything completely). Burroughs dabbles in normalcy (my personal favorite made-up word) for the first two novels we read "The Yage Letters" and "Junky." The former follows an almost complete chronological storyline, complete with letter headings that given the exact date of each entry, followed by an account of the events post-previous entry. "Junkie," minus the fleeting moment here or there that flashes back towards some past event, never allows convoluted story structure to take over.


Then there's "Naked Lunch."


Burroughs wants Chaos (controlled form of structure that attempts to mimic randomness - to no avail - nothing is random). Burroughs wants Confusion. Burroughs wants to overwhelm, to force, to push, to push back. He never asked for you to follow this moment by another to build a structure. He asked you to ignore structure and see what has always been right before your fucking eyes, but different, damn it. It's ALWAYS been there, you jsut never saw it. None of us did. But now that it is there, it is obvious, is sure, is unwavering, is new but old.


More to come. Always.




A Chronological Mess

My wiki space was destroyed but has now been ressurected.


Due to that disaster, I was keeping a journal of things concerning our readings and discussion in class. They will be typed up all for you to read in one cosmic mess of thoughts, unchronologically, and as they appear in my journal. If you wish to continue, please disregard time. Time is a trickster that we must ignore for the time being, in order to avoid the tricks.

From my notes about Junky:


Junky is a cycle. We read for two hundred pages the exact same story told in about thirty different ways. Bill Gains is on junk. He wants to be off junk. So he decides to get off junk. So he gets off junk. He no longer needs junk. But he does, because he starts the habit again on a whim, when he doesn't even want it that bad. It is a cycle. Even the most depressing novels offer an idea for hope by the end, but Junky refuses to do just that. Where is the hope? Nothing tangible. It's in Yage. The final fix. What is the final fix but yet another form of junk. It isn't a way off junk, which appears to be the hope. Once a junky, always a junky. So if there is not way off junk, where is there hope for the junky. At the final fix. Throughout Burroughs next novels, he appears to not concern himself with worries of getting off junk, because there is no way off junk. Once you lose your virginity, you cannot gain it back. It's innocence. It's gone.


 From The Yage Letters


After Junky, I was shocked in the first letter at the humanity involved. I found it somewhat ironic that the shocking bit of this book was the down to earth moments, those typical of a traditional narrative wihtout the Burroughsian twist of mindfuckery, cut up madness. In the post script of the first letter, starting with "Billy Bradshinkel got to be such a nuisance I finally had to kill him," contains without a doubt, Burroughs most romantic moment as a writer, according to me. What follows is an astounding anecdote about young love between Burroughs an a young man, and how this love was quickly lost. And as Billy Bradnshinkel dies at the end of the short three pages, Burroughs claims to be the one who killed him. The high incidence of gay love scenes in Burroughs books remains one of the most striking aspectsfirst discovered. It is almost as if the gay love scene is Burroughs "so it goes." It must be repeated over and over in order to lose its shock value. And one of the most disturbing things in the entire world is when we lose the ability to find disturbing what "should" be disturbing. We realize this the first time a gay sex scene appears in a Burroughs novel and have nothing more to say then... "meh."

But anyway, This sense of nostalgia appears in much more convulted terms in his later novels, but here, it apears untainted. Young love. There is something genuine and beautiful about the passage, not that this beauty does not exist wholly throughout the rest of his works. It just appears layered. But there is somethign beautiful about this starkness, this unadulterated truth. While I fear some Burroughsian scholar would pan this passage as an example of his early, unfinished work. To me, it may just be one passage to be read over and over again.


From "The Yage Letters"

The origins of Cut Up.


Comments (2)

arugula said

at 10:51 am on Feb 12, 2009

choice is a myth?

Anonymous said

at 11:20 am on Feb 16, 2009

As far as I can tell.

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