Momentary Affects

a single emotion, each day in 2011

Posts Tagged ‘words

010.365 Tucson, Arizona

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‘Words are deeds’ was one of Freud’s famous edicts for the power of language. Words can change the substance of a moment, of a momentary affect.

In Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, a 22-year old, Jared Lee Loughner, stepped out and shot six people dead, and left others, including the US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, critically ill.

There is plenty of talk about Loughner’s mental state. He suffered from mental illness, and links are being made to his actions and his heavy drinking and marijuana use, social isolation and an inability to empathise with others.

Loughner also, it emerges, had a grievance with Giffords for not answering a question about grammar. Reported on the Guardian website:

Some, however, are seeking to connect Loughner with a fringe, far-right political thinker who shared the 22-year-old’s obsession with grammar and how it supposedly plays a central role in government mind control programmes.

Former friends have recounted that Loughner had a fixation for grammar and words, saying that he challenged Giffords at a previous public meeting with the impenetrable question: “What is government if words have no meaning?”

In one of his video diatribes posted on the internet, he said: “The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar. You control your English grammar structure.”

Some reports have connected this with the arguments of David Wynn Miller – or as he styles himself, Judge David-Wynn: Miller – whose near-impenetrable, capital letter-heavy website expounds the notion that grammar is used to control the populace, and that by inserting colons or hyphens into your name you can escape taxable status by becoming a “prepositional phrase”.

Miller appears one of those people for whom the subject has become too excessive a condition of experience.

It is a stark question: What is government if words have no meaning? Another stark question posed on US news channels, one asked by the woman who managed to take the second magazine of bullets from Loughner’s hand long enough for him to be overpowered: how can someone hate so much?

Or another question: what kind of grievance can a rejection spur? An unanswered question and a 22-year old man driven to kill.

I found myself caught up in an initial wave of indignant anger at Sarah Palin, the US governor of Alaska, who advocates “don’t retreat, reload” as political cant, and published on her website a list of congressmen and women ‘in her sights’ for political targeting; the symbol she and her campaign team used on the website for the targeting were the crosshairs of a gun target. (Later, I hear on the radio that another political candidate in the recent US election put the initials of his opponent on a gun target, and shot at them.)

On Twitter, I began re-tweeting the links to (and righteous vitriol towards) Sarah Palin’s website. A follower notified me that Palin had offered her condolences on Facebook. My response was facetious, short and crude. The next morning, embarrassed, I avoided looking at what response it may have garnered. There was none.

A grievance. We associate grievances with the world of work, of taxation, of unfair actions leading to long but often low-level resentment. For what was Jared Loughner grieving? Perhaps grievances are stronger emotions than capitalist corporate structures have allowed them to be. They are flattened into pancake emotions, stretched thinly over time, without the weight or substance to suffocate, but there, always, heavy and uncomfortable. But perhaps a grievance is a strong emotion, a consuming affect, something that undoes the standard chain of events. Perhaps too many grievances at work have extracted from situations the grief, and left only the resentment.

In David Wynn Miller’s Quantum Dictionary is this entry:

FOR THIS CLAIM OF THIS WORD: BABBLE IS WITH THIS CLAIM OF ANY TALK- COMMUNICATION, MURMURS AND SOUNDS WITH A VOID OF ANY MEANINGS BY THIS CLAIM.

Another typical entry is this:

HECTATOMB IS WITH THIS CLAIM OF A SLAUGHTER OF ANY VICTIMS BY THIS CLAIM.

There is no entry for grief, grievance, emotion, hurt, hate, resentment, or any other emotion. Only nouns of things, such as DROGUE (a sea anchor) and VASSALEE (servant).Sometimes words are deeds, and sometimes they are not.

 

Written by alockwood

January 10, 2011 at 4:13 pm