Showing posts with label text. Show all posts
Showing posts with label text. Show all posts


Analysis: Freud, Derrida and the Magic Slate

Do you remember playing with a magic slate as a child? Learn how Sigmund Freud uses this device to talk about the unconscious mind.
Photograph of “Iki-piirto” writing pad, a Finnish variety of Printator, known in German language as “Wunderblock”, as described by Sigmund Freud in his essay “A Note upon the ‘Mystic Writing-Pad’” from 1925. This writing aid has allegedly been used in Finnish schools circa 1950s when teaching mathematics, as there is a multiplication table on the backside (not pictured).
A Finnish Version of Freud's Wunderblock.
Do you remember this toy from your childhood? It’s charmingly called a “Magic Slate” or an “Etch-a-Sketch”. In German, the Wunderblock. I had a version of this toy as a kid. The novelty of the apparatus consists in the ability of the pad to retain impressions, such as drawings, and like a normal slate, the impressions can be erased, not by an eraser but by simply lifting the page. Presto. Freud and Derrida loved this thing. Freud liked it because the Magic Slate is a model for the human mind. Psychoanalysis! Derrida liked it because Freud's reading of it seems to suggest the unconscious is inhabited by writing and is prior to speech acts. Deconstruction!
The stylus is used to write, scribble, or draw on the transparent plastic sheaf which creates an impression on the middle thin layer. The magic slate I had as a kid was a simple plastic, red stylus. The slate itself was a flimsy plastic backing with the “magic sheaf” part lightly affixed to the backing.

When the sheaf is lifted, the thin papery layer which exists beneath it is erased of its impression. At the bottom, a resinous wax layer exists which retains etched into the resin the residuals, or traces of all the previous impressions.

Freud on the “Magic Slate”
Freud wrote a short seven-page essay called "A Note Upon The Mystic Writing Pad." He wrote the essay to explain his theory of memory via the working apparatus of the Wunderblock. The outer coating represents the protective layer of the mind. The layer protects the mind from too much excitation. Notice if the thin paper layer is torn or contaminated the Wunderblock ceases to work in the same way that trauma can irreparably damage the psyche. The stylus represents a stimulus from the outside world. The papery layer is the conscious mind and the wax resin is representative of the unconscious.

The memory of the present can be erased, but like the mind, retains the impressions in the unconscious. The Wunderblock can both destroy and create.

Freud thought the Magic Slate was the closest machine-toy resembling the human mind. The only difference between the Wunderblock and the human mind is the mind's waxy resin layer can come back and disrupt the psychic life. Notably in dreams and trauma.

Derrida On Freud
Derrida, in an essay called "Freud and the Scene of Writing" was astounded that Freud, as a metaphysical thinker, could have inadvertently stumbled upon a machine that is a metaphor for the techné (production) of memory.

Derrida wonders how Freud could have imagined the Wunderblock to represent the psychic life while not realizing that the fundamental essence of the toy, like the mind, is its reserve of graphical traces, not phonetic signifiers.


A Graphic Way to Text "Where R U?"


Fibonacci's Numbers: A Text Story

She saw now that Bill's car was parked behind hers and further down the
darkened street the night was punctuated by two soft beams.
A short story hammered out on a cell phone via text message — and it's called Fibonacci's Numbers!
Part I: Fibonacci's Numbers
Her first instinct was to duck. Her car sunk, then, without much effort on her part waddled level again. The car halted. For about three seconds she remained still. The world was quiet. She released her arms from her stomach and peered up to see what damage had ensued. Both airbags had deflated so she couldn't see past the thick, grey plastic. She felt the side of her mouth and rubbed the thick swelling that had grown there. Her mobile was lying next to the gas pedal. She wiped her mouth wanly. "What the fuck?" she thought.

The tapping annoyed her. Feeling as if she was going to vomit, she pushed open the front door. She stumbled out of the car. The night air stilled her. She touched her fingers to her lips. She was bruised. She looked up and saw Bill standing there. "What are you doing here?"
She saw now that Bill's car was parked behind hers and further down the darkened street the night was punctuated by two soft beams. "Alice and I followed you home. You insisted on driving yourself. So we followed you. Do you realize you hit a tree?" she turned to look at her car. Sure enough, it was huffing smoke, inserted into a nearby tree.

The realization that she had totaled her Toyota Sentra had not completely become a reality for Aggie. Bill was clearly agitated. He was asking her to leave her car. "you can pick it up tomorrow," he said.

Gathering her papers, Aggie stumbled to Bill and Alice's car. "Wait!" Bill called out. "something's been hit." Sure enough, underneath bedraggled front tire was the remains of a mangled mutt. The streets of New Found were accustomed to such things.

Part II Fibonacci's Numbers:
Almost as if on cue, the night patrol officer released his foot from the brake and eased his vehicle alongside Aggie's wreck. "What's going on here? You ran right into that tree. Flew into the air, really." When he spoke his belly ventured closer as if it were a large fed serpent.

Surely, Aggie figured, all of this is a nightmare. The patrol officer raised his eyebrow. "you're lucky that dog isn't a body," he remonstrated. "And," pointing to Bill and Alice, "what you doing letting her drive?"

Derek removed himself from the patrol car, the two headlights sour luminescence. He wrapped his sausage fingers around his waist and poked the corpse, "Yeah, you killed it, lady." Aggie, still quite not with it, unsure if it was alcohol pumping through her system or adrenaline, pushed her glasses deeper into her face, mimicking a child playing games way over her head.

She pressed her firm finger to her lip once again to both ascertain the damage and to also confirm her situation. The dead dog's face was crushed beneath her front tire. Damn, she thought, I really need to get that replacement hubcap. Derek, by now, had probed her with a breathalyzer and deemed her semi-intoxicated. In a strange intervention in which she was partly cognizant, Bill, Alice, and Derek huddled in the middle of the street to commiserate and decide her fate.

Aggie stared at the dead canine. Fucker, she said, Sticking out ger middle index finger.

I did that? Aggie half mused out loud. Yeah, you did that Derek said, putting the breathalizer between his knees to light a Natural American Spirit. Yur going to jail lady. What! Bi and Alice said in almost perfect unison. In fact, all three of you are going to jail. It's Saturday and you won't be getting out until the papers can be processed on Monday. Local tax cut fired weekend temp work and the man on our animal bereavement unit is in Tacoma whale watching.

We thought you were going to let her go, Alice quipped, the first time that night she had exerted any authority. Bill squeezed his lips tighter and his eyes twitched violently. Aggie crouched next to the mutt and cradled her knees. Yeah, Derek said, you shouldn't let her drive. State law says knowledge of a drunk driver on the road without intent to hinder carries the same weight as a DUI. You told me yourself that you let her get in the car. Now that tree is scrapped and I think that dog belonged to Sawyer Gurney, the sweetest little boy you ever did see. You think I feel like shit, having to tell him the tragic fact in the morning? The crushed dog still laid there, a silent witness to the evening's carnage.

The street was still eerily still. A car had not passed since Aggie had leveraged that dogwood. Her car, for a brief moment,

had flown into the air and Alice had been reminded of a scene from Back to the Future II. Aggie promptly vomited that night liquor onto the street. Bill helped her up and Alice thought it prudent to offer the officer her own Marlboro Slims.

In an effort to mollify the officer, Bill patted the burly man's shoulders, assuring him, "no one was hurt besides the dog. We'll take Aggie home and in the morning contact the pup's owners. No need to throw us in jail!" sticking the breathalyzer beneath his legs, so he could continue to smoke, Derek the patrolman ordered Bill to blow in between his legs to test for intoxication. At this point, Bill on his knees!, Alice crying, now and Aggie having serious hallucinations, a stylish Dodge Charger pulled up, overshadowing Detek's puny go-cart.

You're not drunk, damn it, so you can stand up. You three stand over there so I can discuss this problem with my partner, Seargent Smalls. Smalls bullied over, spitting what appeared to be Skoal Wintergreen. It was nearing three in the morning, coalescing into a freaky, criminal version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Aggie was the blonde girl who faked pregnancy and Bill and Alice were George and Martha. It was no kidding too because all three were University professors. Alice taught sociology and Bill was in immunology. Aggie was an untenured English prof, having everything except the dissertation. Her dissertation was going to be on the bisexual Byronic hero on prime television during the Persian Gulf War, but her advisor said it wasn't couth enough.

"Wait," aggie cried, suddenly. If you take us to jail, I have to find my phone first. It's in the car. Hold up, officer!" Alice and bill looked as ill as Scarlett O'Hara pulling turnips. Bill had unbeknownst to his wife had been jails as an adolescent for stealing a car radio with his chums. Alice enjoyed watching prison shows on cable. Aggie, while never incarcerated herself, was a fan of Kiss of the Spiderwoman.

She found her keys while looking for her phone. She had trouble opening the car door, but with some oommf she managed to pry it open. From the outside, she looked like the car was trying to eat her. Her upper body was in the car and her legs dangled from the car's lip.

She found her phone. The glass touch screen was shattered. It looked as if the phone had been crushed by her own feet. On all fours, the policeman still determining their fate, aggie prayed a silent prayer to Lord Byron. He would have loved this she thought, that silly motherfucker.

The tragedy, it seemed, laid in the way it all came to this point, thought Aggie.

Look, Aggie, Bill finally said; I'm not going to jail. Alice and I decided that it's in our best interest to just leave the scene of the crime."

Crime? Aggie said. What crime? The dog, Aggie, the dog. They're going to pin that dog's death on all three of us. You know now, with the law changes. Alice is frightened she'll lose her credentials at the SPCA and frankly, Aggie, ummm, I can't let that happen.

Aggie knew she shouldn't if taken that extra shot. The conversations at the lounge had been so interesting. She had felt lonely for such a long time: she thought maybe a drink with her colleagues would have eased the pain.

The two officers who had been talking on the side of the road suddenly stopped and turned their gaze to the three. By this time Alice was in the car rubbing her temples. Bill was looking at Aggie with a look of utter desperation. The whole scenario had been botched from the beginning.

Aggie smoothed her linen dress pants with her better hand. Gonna need a shovel, I think, Aggie heard the officer say. Got one in the truck. At that moment a van pulled up. In the entire time since the crash, no cars had come down this street. The homes were palely lit. Even with the disturbance, no one was awoken. With the new laws in place, most people stayed indoors after eight.

The smell of the street was fecund as the two cops escorted the three into the patrol car.

The civility that had held together on the street came undone in the patrol car.

You've got us in a fucking mess. Shit, Aggie. Who the fuck do you think you are? You might have been able to get away with this when the laws were lax like a year ago but times have changed. I've even heard that husbands by law will need to verify now. Can you believe this? Now, you killed a dog.

And you know what that means? You know the laws, don't you? And Alice and I are being drugged with you. How do you think Alice feels? She was one of the local SPCA board members.

I know, aggie said. I'm sorry. I think I blacked out at the wheel. I was fine when we left. Then, at the intersection I thought was almost home and the next thing I remember is you talking to me.

Among the number of citations, the six bottles of gin will surely bring me to the slammer, thought Aggie. Alice had become still and did not say a word. To clarify matters, ever since new statutes had been created by the legislature, people lived in fear. Aggie was among the few intelligentsia who wished to rise up. The part she, Bill, and Alice had attended was designed to rouse up support against the new regime. It sucked that she ran into a tree and killed a dog, possibly a capital offense.


Text Book: How to Text to Your Blog

I am Texting This Post to My Blog, Y'all!
Greig Roselli
"London Calling"

I just started this texting your blog thing. I thought it would be fun to text my thoughts on Blogger and Facebook. I read that in Japan "text books" are a big deal. A woman started texting from her cell phone these so-called text novels. Whenever she was waiting or taking the subway she would text the next plot point. Started out free but now the trend has caught on and people are texting like crazy. 
Where Am I When I Texted this Post: I am at Heavenly Ham with my mom!