Saturday, March 24, 2012

On Reference

"My child-like creativity, purity and honesty, is honestly being crowded by these grown thoughts. Reality is catching up with me, taking my inner child. I'm fighting for custody"

Don't hate.

Reference is an indispensable part of socializing. We must be able to say 'What do you do for a living?' or 'What kind of music do you like?'. There must be some kind of reference that we can make to the outside world. Reference is necessary.

But reference is also very damaging. Very dangerous.

We live in a very referential age. Internet, television, and radio circulates all kinds of images that are easily reproduced.

Referentiality in technological culture is one thing.

Referentiality in conversation is another.

Because in conversation reference can be so alienating. If someone wants to say something like oh 'I love Schopenhauer's such and such book,' or, Oh, 'This new band is so good because they are combining Nirvana and Pixies blah blah blah, they will kill a conversation.

In short, only a certain amount of referentiality is tolerable.

The problem is with referential density. How many layers of reference must I deal with? I can deal with references to work and cities, because I work, and I live in cities. But I cannot tolerate references to this band, this venue, this shit. Because you expect me to know too much. First I must understand the reference to the economic system, then the geography, then the local music scene, then the specific band. There can be too many layers to a reference.

Do me a favor, keep your references at a minimal density.

If you want to give me all this hyper-referential shit I'm going to laugh at you in my head.

Because this band or that bar isn't cool enough.

My hostility towards reference comes from my hostility towards Seattle.

I think this city is too referential. Too wrapped up in its own scene.

I think The-Dream is too referential. And man his music is amazing.

But he seems to be caught up with what 'the-dream' should sound like. His albums are so referential. He is trapped in his idea of himself.

Seattle, too, may be trapped in the idea of itself.

All this shit about the Seattle freeze, about the shyness, the awkwardness.

Self-fulfilling prophecies.

Oh, the pain.

Oh, the referential density.

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