Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Passion for the tedious.

"But there are parallels between journalism and clinical psychoanalysis. Both the journalist and the psychoanalyst are connoisseurs of the small, unregarded motions of life. Both pan the surface—yes, surface—for the gold of insight. The metaphor of depth—as in depth psychology—is wrong, as the psychoanalyst Roy Schafer helpfully pointed out. The unconscious is right there on the surface, as in 'The Purloined Letter.' Journalism, with its mandate to notice small things, was always congenial to me. I might also have liked being an analyst. But I never would have gotten into medical school, because I couldn't do math, so it wasn't an option. I never went to journalism school, either. When I started doing journalism, a degree from a journalism school wasn’t considered necessary. In fact, it was considered a little tacky." 
- Janet Malcolm's 2011 Paris Review interview
Also from Janet Malcolm, here: "Memory is not a journalist's tool. Memory glimmers and hints, but shows nothing sharply or clearly. Memory does not narrate or render character. Memory has no regard for the reader. If an autobiography is to be even minimally readable, the autobiographer must step in and subdue what you could call memory’s autism, its passion for the tedious. He must not be afraid to invent. Above all he must invent himself."

*

I found myself inside a mystery this afternoon. One of the editors received an email that was very long but summarized perfectly by its final paragraph:

"Attached is a resume, cover letter, and my model of reality. According to one of the most advanced, yet subjective natural sciences is a subsidiary department of quantum theory known as superstring theory. This natural science claims to have identified 10 and yet 11 dimenions in the physical universe that would include space and time. Not only do I feel as if I have identified these dimensions from a social science perspective, but I can explain why, for example, it is 10 and yet 11, and not just 10 or 11, and I can use it practically to beakdown existence analytically and logically (through deduction, reduction, and induction).

If you would schedule me an interview then I will tell you how this all ties together and prepare further proposals if requested.

Sincerely, 
[REDACTED]

P.S. Marshall McLuhan & Media Ecology

P.S.S. Issac Newton is to John Milton as Albert Einstein is to who? 

Sent from Samsung tablet"

The sender originally submitted this (and the enclosed resume, cover letter, and model of reality) to another newspaper, but in a bid to cover all bases, forwarded that email to one of the editors here.

(I think, since the sender is pitching a column called "Media Innuendo," that it is only a matter of time before good fortune strikes, even with this method of inquiry.)

Googling the sender's name took me to a Wikipedia entry for a "fictional teenage detective" who shares a name with the sender and whose adventures are chronicled via an aspiring high school journalist, which leads me to suspect I've glimpsed a wormhole between realities.

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