Drain Brain

by rsbakker

Aphorism of the Day: “What the fuck just happened? is the true question of all philosophy.

Head cold. First snow of the year. And strange days at the Brain.

This post was intended to simply notify everybody of a couple additional posts I had made in the limbic basement. First, there’s “Parmenide’s Hinge,” a failed prospectus for the failed dissertation attempt I made prior to Truth and Context. I actually stumbled across it searching through some old files for an ancient short story I had written (back to that in a moment). The reread blew me away, not only because I had completely forgotten about it, but because it happened to end, I mean literally end,  with the question I had answered for another short piece, this one new, that I had written in response to a philosopher named Ray Brassier, whose excellent Nihil Unbound I have been using as a guide book for my safari through some of the more recent Continental philosophy. It still freaks me out how I could work for years on a question that I had forgotten.

Meanwhile, after weeks of intense back and forth on the comment board, the blog essentially falls silent. Except that it isn’t silent. The numbers are up (TPB now has literally twice the traffic it had even several months ago), but nobody seems to be posting. Since I let my temper get the best of me on a couple of occasions the last two dust-ups (Murph! Where did you go, brother?) I worried that maybe my thin skin was scaring potential commentators away. So I decided to check out what everyone seemed to be reading… I never realized that WordPress had so many tools for dowsing traffic.

Two big surprises.  The biggest one has to be my review of Infinite Jest. In a matter of five or six weeks it’s managed to become one of the most viewed pages on the blog short of the main page! Don’t ask me how – or why. It makes me think I should do more reviews!

The most significant surprise, however, is that my short reply to Ray Brassier is getting hundreds of hits. Then I get a couple of emails from friends out in the philosophy world telling me about the buzz the thing appears to have created. It almost seems like the rest of the blog has gone quiet in expectation. So I get this crazy Doctor Frankenstein feeling, that all these years I’ve been toiling in isolation, fearing as much as hoping that the world would discover my ‘work,’ only to wake up and find that my basement laboratory had been broken into!

It’s all good, I know. It’s what I wanted  to happen. But stay tuned: with any luck, you’re about to find out what happens when a fringe crackpot engages a foundational cultural institution.

But meanwhile, back to that short story I was looking for, “The Judas Tree.” I thought some of you might find it interesting to read something written before The Darkness that Comes Before. And then I made the mistake of reading the bloody thing – and realized why I had sworn off short-story writing altogether way back then. Peee-yewww! And once again I found myself two people sitting in one chair: the marketer saying, “Good God, man, who would buy any of your books after seeing that shite?”; and the decent  human being saying, “It would actually be good for some people to see how much writing was more a matter of work and craft than something you just lucked into at birth!”

Usually the decent human being wins out in these episodes, but I have been very, very hard on the marketer of late. And let’s face it, he’s the guy who pays the bills.

So I’m trying to think how I can have it both ways… And fire up the comment strings in the process!