Monday, January 30, 2006

Conversations with Guy Debord (1)

A whiff. A glance of catnip in my snout.

I rubbed my cheek against the bottom of the coffee table. I blinked. I was thinking something but I can't remember.

"I smell something," I said, blinking.

"The odor of the 'consumption celebrity,'" Guy Debord said. He was rolling a cigarette."Each of us believes himself to be a 'decision celebrity.' We think we possess a complete stock of accepted human qualities."

I licked my left arm. Debord stared at me.

"Official differences between stars are wiped out," he continued, "by the official similarity which is the presupposition of their excellence in everything."

A shadow rustled against the back bedroom wall and I rushed through the living room -- pounded past the bathroom, but not before checking a flash from the corner of my eye if the bathtub spigot was running -- and propelled one leap onto the bed.

Whence shadow? Where? What's that noise? A snow plow? Tow truck? Rock python? A Eugene Chadbourne CD with tin-can vibratto and scary screechy-peachy dissonance sabotaging my furry turret ears? A squeak, a cupboard opening, the slink of scissors opening a new bag of food? When was the noise?

Footsteps. French cigarette smoke. Who is Debord? The bedspread is red.

"Shimmy, the spectacle is the bottom line." Now he was leaning against the doorway of the spare room. I relaxed into sphinx posture. I sniffed the yellow air.

"I still smell something, Debord. And I saw a shadow rustling against the wall. I know what I saw."

"The spectacle has a tendence to make one see the world by means of various specialized mediations. It can no longer be grasped directly."

"It was the shadow of an eagle or a snake or a squirrel or a tow truck. Or a hawk." I stared at my paws. They are white with pumpkin trim and I know they are really gorgeous.

"Of course, Shimmy." He smoked. "The spectacle naturally finds vision to be the privileged sense -- for humans, anyway -- which the sense of touch was for other epochs. The most mystifiable sense corresponds to the generalized abstraction of present-day society."

It's catnip, definitely. My yellow mouse. Alito-mouse. They put him under the rug. I see the hump of the rug, a string of mint dental floss tied to his construction-paper tail and protruding from the carpet edge.

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