Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Terrible Twos


It’s Bouphonia’s second anniversary today, and believe it or not, I almost didn’t notice. It’s been a whirlwind year, after all! Between writing a monograph on antique oyster-tins, serving as a consultant and – I hope – trusted friend to civic leaders from Murmansk to Vorkuta, building a cruise missile, and lisping rococo blandishments into the fragrant ears of doe-eyed admirers, it’s a miracle that I found time to produce this exquisite body of work, alongside of which the most ardent scribblings of Edgar Saltus are a mere footnote.

There’d be enough honor in that, God knows. But I think we also ought to acknowledge my fortitude. Not so much because I wish your admiration – I’m quite certain I have that – but on the off chance that it will inspire others to greater efforts (if not – perish the thought! – greater accomplishments). Though I'm crazy with horror and rage over the events of the past year, I've still found the heart to busy myself with all sorts of abstruse speculative maundering, and to serve it forth in lumbering, affected prose that's as protective of my shattered nerves as Republicans are of predatory pedophiles.

But perhaps I protest too much. Honestly, it sounds harder than it is. Nine-tenths of the battle is having good working methods. Mine are modeled closely on the filliae acediae enumerated by Giorgio Agamben in his consideration of monastic sloth:

[P]usilllanimitas, the “small soul” and the scruple that withdraws constantly before the difficulty and effort of spiritual existence; desperatio, the dark and presumptuous certainty of being already condemned, and the complacent sinking into one’s own destruction, as if nothing, least of all divine grace, could provide salvation; torpor, the obtuse and somnolent stupor that paralyzes any gesture that might heal; and finally, evagatio mentis (wandering of the mind), the flight of the will before itself and the restless hastening from fantasy to fantasy. The latter manifests itself in verbositas (garrulity), the proliferation of vain and tedious speech; curiositas, the insatiable desire to see for seeing’s sake….instabilitas loci vel propositi, the petulant incapability of fixing an order and a rhythm to one’s thought.
See? That’s how we do it on our side, yo, so don’t none of u hataz be trippin’.

Anyway, thanks for putting up with the past year’s ramblings. The friends I've made while blogging are very dear to me; the education I've gotten from you is invaluable and humbling - invaluable because it's humbling - and what hope I have for the future comes from my everyday experience of your kindness, wisdom, and humor. Here’s hoping that we grow old together (I warn you, though, that I was born with a considerable head start).

Unless you’ve got a bottle or two of laudanum to spare, I ask for no gifts. But do drop in and say hello, especially if you’re a lurker, to assure me that we are good fellow creatures, and I am not contemn'd by you.

(Illustration: Skeletons Warming Themselves At a Stove (1889) by James Ensor.)

UPDATE: Thers has posted some home movies from the dear dead days. Oh, the times we had! Our like will not be here again, begob.

35 comments:

superstar said...

good picture

mer said...

Happy anniversary to you. Glad you're here. You know how I love those nudibranches.

West Lurkistan said...

Many happy returns, Phila.

¡El Gato Negro! said...

Felicitationes on jour bloggiversary,
and added hopes that next year joo can find sometheeng a beet more celebratory than Ensor.

(Perrrhaps Francis Bacon...)

Soprano said...

Happy birthday/anniversary, Phila. And many more.

Phila said...

EGN,

I did celebratory last year...

Tena said...

Happy Anniversary, Phila.

For you're a jolly fine fellow,
for you're a jolly fine fellow.
For you're a jolly fine fellow,
and so say all of us!

:)

masculine_monica_nyc said...

Many happy returns, Phila. I got you a gratuitous Agamben link.

Enjoy!

Phila said...

Many happy returns, Phila. I got you a gratuitous Agamben link.

Very nice! Matches my eyes.

Don said...

Happy twesies. I've only been reading a year, but have enjoyed it enough for it to have been two years.

Don

Don said...

Damn typing machine. Should have been "twosies", which is still a made-up word.

Nanette said...

Happy Blogiversary!

I'm new to reading your blog, but enjoy it immensely.

ntodd said...

Where are the fucking nudibranches, you goddamned objectivist puke?

NYMary said...

Congrats, buddy!

Interrobang said...

Congratulations! :) May you continue writing (and quoting me ;) ) for a long time to come!

whisker said...

Happy Blog'sday. And I hope to see some Fijian nudibranch's soon.
Peace
E

Wayne said...

There's not a post here that I don't read, and few of those that I don't think - this is wonderful writing. Why didn't I think of expressing it in that way?

I'm glad you told us how you do it :-)

Eli said...

Rock on, dude.

Of course, now your blog's vocabulary will pretty much be reduced to "NO!" and "MINE!"...

lahke said...

Came for the nudibranches, stayed for the writing. The links to amazing books has been gravy!

Thanks, Phila, and happy blogday!

rorschach said...

Woo is pitched!

And kudos to you, one of the most intelligent, articulate, knowledgeable, and sensitive people I've met on the Intertubes.

Thers said...

Two years... sheesh. AndI started blogging just as a joke since you started yours. So it's all your fault then!

Bless you.

Phila said...

rorschach said...
Woo is pitched!


[blushing]

Right back at ya.

Phila said...

At 9:26 PM, Thers said...
Two years... sheesh. AndI started blogging just as a joke since you started yours. So it's all your fault then!


My one claim to blogging greatness, quite honestly.

Thanks, friend.

Abie said...

Joyeux anniversaire, Phila!

I've been reading you for quite some time already, and enjoying every minute of it.

BTW, "the filliae acediae enumerated by Giorgio Agamben" : Wow. What a cruel insight into my, hum I mean *the* human soul...

And where on earth do you find your awsome pictures?

All the best

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the gorgeous pictures and the insightful writing. I always check in on Fridays (or Saturdays) to see the nudies and save them for my screen saver. I have over 100 now, thanks to you!
G in INdiana

charley said...

at least you seem well aware...

too many words.

cool pic tho.

seriously, i always appreciate your thoughts, at least when i can follow the references, and when i can't, i have the innertubes for help. keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary, Phila!

CKR

roger said...

time flies when you're having fun. congrats and thanks for all the stuff. to say that you find and bring us an astonishing range and depth of interesting and vital info, presented in exquisite (and acerbic when warranted) prose, is an understatement. do you ever sleep? how do you have time to find all the stuff you do?

the last year has been especially difficult to bear. glad you managed.

isabelita said...

Happy second year! I found this site on the dharma bums list, and appreciate it very much. Thank you for your writing.

Kurt L. said...

Nobody wields the long knife as well you do, Phila, and I mean that in the best possible way! Thanks for your continued sharing in this medium.

echidne said...

Happy anniversary. :)

Ripley said...

Congrats, old bean! Keep up the good work.

Matt said...

Well, Phila, as a "Surrealist" might say:

Tensile congratulations on your conceptual development of obliterative existence!

Here's to two years, and many more.

Anonymous said...

Please keep up the good work. I really enjoy visiting your blog. Thanks Philia for posting interesting and educational stuff.

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