Wimsatt and Beardsley

by trickywicket

I mean.

What did you think?

Right. The whole project, as I conceive of it, is supposed to mirror the feeling of terrifying existential boredom, in a sense, which is why there’s that droning multimedia aspect.

Yes! Ideally, the headphones do pinch your head. I’ve soldered them so they’re undersized. See here?

Did you catch the demi-echo in the opening section, though? I figured that, in particular, would be right up your alley.

Well, structurally at least, that part is supposed to mirror Wordsworth’s Prelude. Remember we had that conversation about it last year?

No, the 1805 version. It’s more germane to the unfinished opus sub-theme of the first section, I guess, because there’s the whole promise-of-a-young-artist thing to it?

Which is why there’s also all those references to the pink lasers, as a counterpoint.

It’s from VALIS.

It’s a Philip K. Dick novel?

Um. Well, it was his last book; he called it an exegesis. Some total wacko stuff about time travel and Christian revelation. From this really fragile moment in his late life where he was paranoid about FBI intervention, suffering all of the speed that he’d done earlier and having these illusions of grandiosity.

I guess, no offense to you specifically, but the ideal reader catches that, I think. It’s not like, the most obscure thing in the world, is it?

But anyway, that part ties up with the Pet Sounds reference in the fourth canto, and also how the narrator is called Hawthorne.

Well, it is sort of Nathaniel Hawthorne, obviously. Led Retter, the love interest from the penultimate aria-comic-strip, is a spoonerized jab at Scarlet, for sure.

But also, you know how Hawthorne is this palm-tree American Dream suburb where the Beach Boys grew up, right?

It’s okay. I think enough people will catch that one.

Don’t worry about it. It’s not essential to an understanding of the work. There are still plenty of in-text gestures in that direction.

How about this one: you know how the second section’s alternately titled Angels in the Infield?

Right, yeah, but also…

Well, Enfield?

Infinite Jest?

Hmm. Have you ever stood right under the Brandenburg Gate? Preferably at dusk?

No? Huh.

In the lighting design, yeah.

Remember, when you were a kid, those rumors about how Tropical Fantasy was actually controlled by the KKK? How it was laced with a sterilizing agent, and how it was sold almost exclusively in black and hispanic neighborhoods?

Tropical Fantasy.

It was like, a supercheap sugar-water thing in all sorts of colors. You’d get them at the bodega.

Corner store.

I guess that was a Brooklyn thing.

Anyway, that’s in there too.