Saint Uncle

by Yule Heibel on July 25, 2003

I’m still without a computer of my own, instead stealing moments on a borrowed desktop machine. It’s interesting to me to see how dependent I’ve become on my very own direct connection to the internet, on the laptop’s ability to “sleep,” meaning that I can wake it up whenever, by popping open its lid and have it be “on” without the hassle of logging on, of sitting at a desk, of focussing in that particular way. The laptop allowed me to peek at the world in bits and pieces: flip the lid and take a look; oops, Mrs Peel, we’re needed — now I’m off to quell some emergency, leap a tall building, whatever; back to the machine, open the lid again and pick up where I left off, exactly there; join the others in the living room while they watch a dvd or read and be part of the “pack” even as I do something else, with laptop curled on top of my lap: handy dandy gadget, no doubt about it. I’m going to cheat today: I’ll just point to some amazing posts on Making Light. Lately I’ve been thinking about allegory — nothing too well-formed yet, just something prompted by some bad art chosen for a public monument here in Victoria, a work by Mowry Baden that strikes me as somehow provincial, even though it’s dressed in the guise of cutting edge modern. But really it’s allegorical in the worst way, meaning that in less than a decade you’ll need a guidebook to make sense of it, very unlike the amazing nominal Wall by Maya Lin, which works now and will work in the future without a guidebook. I’m trying to reason why I think Baden’s piece is crap, and instead I’m looking at pictures of saints, which is and isn’t helping. Because I’m blogging in 5 minute increments here, I haven’t had a chance for a really deep look at all the links in Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s Dueling Icons post, but who would have thunk that paintings of saints (and those persons considered saints) would compel a modernist’s or a post-modernist’s (what’s the difference?) imagination? After all, didn’t Patricia Barber paint the portrait of product in her song Company, a portrait that we’re all supposed to aspire to? for company I like lots of MTV stylish imagery, advised, connived, and contrived to take me far away from me I like a cell-phone conversation short enough to slip in the cracks of the call-waiting-generation I like a foreign film or two if that’s what everyone else likes to do for company (…) for company I like french philosophy deconstructive obscurity formalized, canonized, and dignified by the university I like a trendy indecision weightless enough to forget the forgetting of which nothing bears repetition I like an expensive aperitif if that’s what everyone else thinks is neat for company (copyright Patricia Barber, 1998) So what makes the pictures of saints work? It’s worth thinking about. Thank you Teresa for that pointer and your interesting (and funny) commentary. The other Making Light post a person might want to check out is this one about Creative Loafing and Weapons of Mass Stupidity. Take a look. Finally, briefly, I went online early this evening and — highly unusually — actually had more than one or two email messages. A couple were from these strange people claiming to speak German and claiming to be an uncle. May I make a suggestion? Instead of Wutjunge, how about Raser, with the article (der) added if desired? (Hmm, do you desire Rageboy’s article? Well, do you??) Der Raser (short “ah” sound, incidentally) gets rid of “boy,” has the “er” quality of napster or bobster or whatever, and implies rage as well as frenzy, good or bad. Frank Paynter has the interview, and the Dionysus of Blogdom is not saying uncle, unless it’s spelled with an F. And on that note, I’m off to bed.


RageBoy July 26, 2003 at 2:40 pm

Ach! Vy didn’t I tink ov zis furst? Eggzellent zugestion!

Yule Heibel July 26, 2003 at 8:41 pm

You probably did think of it first!

Joel July 27, 2003 at 9:06 pm

I’ve always found saints to be a provocative topic in my work, representing forces of both good and evil. In the stories I’ve been writing this year, saints stand for both positive virtues and bizarre insanities, sometimes the one or the other, sometimes a fusion that baffles even more when I put them in the mind of an insane person.

Saints are often damaged lives which seek to transcend the wrackings of dysfunctional families and absurd societies, entering a place where angels talk to them and where they act in ways better suited for their imaginary worlds.

I’ve been a fan of Robert Lentz’s work for a long time. We have his Mother of the Streets and his Juan Diego up on the walls of our bedroom. Yes, I am an unabashed agnostic and do not attend church unless moved to take part for a holy occasion such as Easter or Christmas. Yet, I think it is a fine thing to commemorate the courage and the independence of most of the people who he depicts, their intense resolve to live life on its own terms, to listen to the voices in their head, and to act well with courage.

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