So, I finally got round to watching Paranormal Activity today (I haven’t done the whole Murdoch media empire thing since the Wapping dispute all those years ago). I had to watch it in full daylight, with the curtains open, and I still found it terrifying, even as I was laughing at its gleeful torture of its audience (not to mention its characters). Actually, my over-riding impression of it afterwards (and I realise that this is probably a way off-centre reading of it*) is that it’s a very heartening film. Do you too have a boyfriend who won’t respect your boundaries or take you at your word and wants to film you in the bedroom all the time? A demon in the home could be just the ticket….
Anyway, I was really struck by all the invitations (camera, ouija board, microphone, threats, taunts…) that said boyfriend keeps extending to the entity. That reminded me of the rule that no vampire film I’ve ever seen contradicts: A vampire cannot enter your home unless you invite her/him in. Why is it that so much of the horror genre is obsessed with invasion of the home or body (and provides such rich pickings for psychology)? Why is it that boundaries and thresholds and invitations to cross them are so potent? Why do humans have so many threshold gods? (Sorry, Wikipedia, liminal deities).
‘We are physical beings, bounded and set off from the rest of the world by the surface of our skins, and we experience the rest of the world as outside us. Each of us is a container, with a bounding surface and an in-out orientation.’
Lakoff and Johnson, 1980, Metaphors We Live By, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, p.29.
Does it all come back, plain and simple, to the fact that we humans are made of meat?
*I know, I know. The film is still utilising that tired old trope of the permeable, corruptable (corrupted?) female (I refer you to Marina Warner’s writings about leaky sieves in Monuments and Maidens).
Which is that process in language use by which a verb is turned into a noun (if I understand the linguists correctly). So, to mystify becomes mystification, to irritate becomes irritation,to intimidate becomes intimidation and so on. It’s a process that seems to be used a LOT in theory, and I can understand why, I think. The need to give names to the processes you observe, or the effects you feel and so on must be powerfully strong.
But for crying out loud, does it have to be EVERY OTHER WORD?
Ok, maybe it does. Theory is knotty, complex; it has its own conventions and we learn to navigate the big words as though they were markers in the road up the hill. Fine. It’s just that it seems to have bled into other types of writing, too.
And speaking! Just the other day, someone on TV (USA-made, “reality” show – don’t judge me!) seemed to say something like:
My life is approaching normalcy.
What the hell is wrong with just plain normality? Maybe normalcy is a real word. Maybe it’s a term from the field of Psychology or something. But in this context, I suspect not.
I suppose it’s very seductive, this conferring-of-authority via nominalization (ye Gods! It’s happening to me, too!). But it seems to have been joined by a pointless use of additional or alternative suffixes ( -cy, not -ality, in this case). I’m starting to see the future – or rather My observationalitynizationness is such that the futurality of language usagecy offers an obscurational process by which misunderstandingization of meaningality is achieved.
…summer went. Brief summary of the last two months:
Had surgery on my lump. Am lump free! If you look at my new About Me picture, you can just make out the dressing on my neck. Saw the consultant a couple of days ago and he’s confident it wasn’t malignant and that they managed to cut out all of it. Yay! No more hiding my neck with my hair! No more enduring hot hair in the summer because I’m too shy to tie it up! Hooray for Whipps Cross! Hooray for skilful surgeons! Hooray for the NHS and State-funded education and Nye Bevan and socialism! Etc etc.
Gave a reading in Walthamstow:
Photo by Ruth Wiggins
Supporting Pascale Petit and Jacqueline Gabbitas – and reading alongside some talented members of “Forest Poets”, the Waltham Forest Poetry Society Stanza.
Great fun, great audience, great venue.
Went to Florence! A whole week! Was there on my birthday! With my beloved! I didn’t want to come home – especially as the Hairy Muse is still there, strolling around the Oltrarno, eating gelati and ostensibly attending a scientific instruments conference.
Was a Poetry Doctor in Clapton library yesterday, for National Poetry Day. It was organised by the lovely Anna Robinson. My fellow Doctor was the equally lovely Alice Northgreaves. It was great, we had a wonderful time.
Am now watching “Song of Lunch”, Beeb 2; the marvellous Christopher Reid’s poem made filmic.
That’s me. Promise to be more updatey in future. Ciao.
that domestic abuse increases during World Cup season? The BBC noted yesterday that
“During the 2006 World Cup held in Germany, Home Office data showed a 31% rise in domestic violence reports on the day of England’s 1-0 victory over Paraguay.”
WTF happens when England loses?
And in other news…. The Guardian First Book Award is allegedly going to start charging publishers £150 for each individual title entered. In these straitened times, that’s a pretty effective way of ensuring the judges see less from the smaller presses – and that probably means far less poetry.