In which are explored the matrices of text, textile, and exile through metaphor, networks, poetics, etymologies, etc., with an occasional subplot relating these elements to Iggy and the Stooges.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ragpickers cont'd.

Walter Benjamin was drawn to the figure of the ragpicker because he had the insight that Baudelaire was drawn to the ragpicker because the poet felt a kinship in their activities (thank you for following that raggedy, iterative chain of a sentence). Benjamin, a compulsive collector and chronicler, was himself a cultural ragpicker who wrote a sentence that has become doctrinal for me: "Nothing that has ever happened should be lost to history."

Collecting detritus as a profession and/or an avocation has, of course, different inflections in different contexts. See for an account of the ways in which Indian ragpickers form a foundational element of the functioning economy, but at the bottom rung of the social ladder. The upper and growing middle classes are encouraged to recycle as a growing social value, while the recyclers themselves are devalued. This reminds me of George Lipsitz's astute observation that the US values Black culture but not Black people.

In this blog, I'm collecting scraps of etymological detritus from low-level online sources, but as scrolled alliterative concatentations they have an anaphoristic, list-poemy feeling to them which dignifies them through iteration and accumulation. I'm collecting writings by others that have been sitting in a virtual file for a few years and stitching them with clumsy big seams into the scroll of the blog. I've been spewing random thoughtlets and half-raveled observations, as well as transfering my own writing from files to public bandwidth. Crudely stitched together into a long shawl of scrawlage, they unwind down the page for your pleasure and to see what happens. What new angle or angel will be revealed? what new language unconcealed?

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