The Dim-Post

April 12, 2014

An accumulation of nameless energies

Filed under: books,general idiocy — danylmc @ 7:23 pm

This Herald piece by John Roughan about waiting to see the royals drive by:

We waited only 15 minutes past the scheduled time of arrival, 45 in total, a millisecond in royalist time.

Then, noise and fluttering flags down Jellicoe St said they were coming. First came police bikes, then a police car, another, followed by a real car. Could that be it? Hard to see through tinted windows. No.

The next Crown limo was the one. She was on our side of the car and not just waving, leaning forward, looking happy to see us all, really waving, genuinely smiling.

The cars had not stopped. She passed in a second. We would have seen far more on television but there is something about the briefest glimpse of real life that you never forget.

Reminded me of a famous passage from Delillo’s White Noise: 

We drove 22 miles into the country around Farmington. There were meadows and apple orchards. White fences trailed through the rolling fields. Soon the sign started appearing. THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA. We counted five signs before we reached the site. There were 40 cars and a tour bus in the makeshift lot. We walked along a cowpath to the slightly elevated spot set aside for viewing and photographing. All the people had cameras; some had tripods, telephoto lenses, filter kits. A man in a booth sold postcards and slides — pictures of the barn taken from the elevated spot. We stood near a grove of trees and watched the photographers. Murray maintained a prolonged silence, occasionally scrawling some notes in a little book.

“No one sees the barn,” he said finally.

A long silence followed.

“Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn.”

He fell silent once more. People with cameras left the elevated site, replaced by others.

We’re not here to capture an image, we’re here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura. Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies.”

There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold postcards and slides.

“Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We’ve agreed to be part of a collective perception. It literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism.”

Another silence ensued.

“They are taking pictures of taking pictures,” he said.

 

 

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10 Comments »

  1. “We would have seen far more on television but there is something about the briefest glimpse of real life that you never forget”

    And this is the sort of nonsense spouted by a former press gallery journalist and currently deputy editor. ?

    What ever it is the Royals are selling , someone has been inhaling too much

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — April 12, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

  2. Maybe Roughan was engaged in a giant social leg pull and channeling 1914, this being the centenary and all. Please tell me that is what he was doing.

    Please.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 12, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

  3. .Finally the Royals have a useful function, even if it’s only to distract Roughan from his festering fantasies of stabbing teenage taggers.

    a famous passage from Delillo’s White Noise
    .
    Outside of academia there are no famous passages from White Noise. Just because people appear stupid when visiting shopping malls or supermarkets doesn’t mean that they’re that way at all times. White Noise panders to the kind of snobbery that wants them to be that way. Put the word radio in the title or lyrics of your song and the pricks will play it. Set your novel in academia and they’ll make it a set text.

    Comment by Joe W — April 12, 2014 @ 8:53 pm

  4. “…White Noise panders to the kind of snobbery that wants them to be that way…”

    Personally, I find poetry an unutterably pretentious exercise in suspicious cleverness.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 12, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

  5. The cars had not stopped. She passed in a second. We would have seen far more on television but there is something about the briefest glimpse of real life that you never forget.

    I find that I’m glimpsing real life pretty much continuously while my eyes are open. It doesn’t usually feature celebs waving at me from passing motorcades, but that doesn’t seem like a useful criteria to apply to whether something counts as real life or not.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — April 12, 2014 @ 9:52 pm

  6. @Sanc: “Suspicious cleverness”? It was, what, two weeks ago that you were lambasting New Zealanders’ collective lack of intellectual curiosity?

    Not that this post wasn’t a bunch of wank, mind.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 12, 2014 @ 10:08 pm

  7. Personally, I find poetry an unutterably pretentious exercise in suspicious cleverness.

    Never trust anyone whose eyes you couldn’t poke out with one finger.

    Comment by Joe W — April 13, 2014 @ 12:52 am

  8. Personally I prefer the snobbery of someone who would dare to quote Delillo to the vacuity of the Royalist who thinks “the monarchy gives us generations of babies that we can watch grow up” is a thought that should be uttered out loud let alone printed in a newspaper.

    Comment by Sam Lowry — April 13, 2014 @ 9:58 pm

  9. Both however are pointless offerings in the end.

    At least DPF does some cool stuff.

    Comment by Stephen x — April 14, 2014 @ 7:39 am

  10. At least DPF does some cool stuff.

    As I’m so old that I can remember when The Civilian was funny, DPF’s stuff is probably a bit cutting edge for me.

    Comment by Joe W — April 14, 2014 @ 9:12 am


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