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February 20, 2009

this morning i saw the rihanna photograph on gawker.  even though i call it “the rihanna photograph,” i don’t like to call it “the” rihanna photograph because there are an awful lot of photographs of rihanna available online and an awful lot of them are not awful and the lot of them available show rihanna in ways that are not as awful as that photograph that i saw this morning on gawker.  there are not only photographs of rihanna but also a lot of different representations of rihanna available in sound and image and video and text, for example the song about umbrellas and also the video about them and how they protect us from rain and sun and offer other human comforts.  those are not awful and a lot of the sounds and images and videos and text available are not awful, though some are.  to give that photograph of rihanna which i saw on gawker this morning the power, even just in the form of ephemeral, topical idiom, to be the defining representation of her, “the” rihanna photograph, seems an awful thing.  ephemeral is a term which means phemeral on the internet, like email is a term which means mail on the internet; topical is a term which means applied to the skin.  rihanna’s skin in the photograph i saw this morning and which a lot of people received or sent emails about, is awful, which is not true in a lot of the representations available of rihanna and which makes it seem an awful thing that it is the defining representation of rihanna today.  yet even if it is an awful thing it is also a thing which is true which is that in idiom and in trends and in et cetera, that image is a defining representation of rihanna at least for today.  et cetera is a big and vague place which is hard to define like space or the internet but still if you are looking for rihanna today in the space of the internet that is the representation of her you will get, the awful photograph and et cetera.

rihanna

so this morning i saw the awful photograph of rihanna on gawker.  i saw the sun when i woke up and i saw the toilet when i went to the bathroom and i saw the cup of coffee when it was given to me and i saw the photograph of rihanna when i turned on the computer.  it was an awful photograph but i was glad to see it, just as i was glad to see the sun and toilet and coffee well perhaps not the toilet but it is a necessary thing.  in the morning in the past, people read newspapers but now they read blogs, which are somewhat like newspapers but different.  i was glad to be given the photograph by gawker which i read sometimes and which sometimes gives me things, sometimes things which are good and sometimes things which are awful.  sometimes it is good and necessary to see awful things although there are complicated ethics about whether seeing awful things is a thing which is good or awful, both a thing which is good or awful for the person seeing the awful thing and whether it is a good or awful thing for the awful thing being seen, which awful thing is sometimes a person like rihanna.  this has been discussed and debated by a lot of people such as tipper gore and diane arbus and frank zappa and susan sontag, several of whom are dead, which is awful.  susan sontag is one of the ones who is dead and after susan sontag died, many sites posted photographs of her to go with the things they wrote about her being dead.  they did not post any photographs of her being dead, which most or many people would agree to be an awful thing, but instead posted photographs of her when she was alive, before she was dead.  the photographs were taken before she was dead but still exist after she died and even now they are still there.  after susan sontag died, i read a lot of the profiles about susan sontag being dead which seemed like a thing to do and so i saw a lot of the photographs about susan sontag being dead, although the photographs were of her when she was alive, as i have said.  i saw a lot of the photographs and in most of the photographs i did not find susan sontag particularly attractive, but in one of them i did find her so, for some reason which is vague and hard to define. the photograph in which i found susan sontag particularly attractive was posted by the new york times, although to say posted is complicated because the new york times is a newspaper which is printed on paper and not posted on the internet but i did not see the particularly attractive picture of susan sontag on paper but on the internet, where the new york times is posted instead of printed because the internet is not on paper and therefore cannot be printed.  the new york times is sometimes called the paper of record.  record is a verb which means “to set down or register in some permanent form” and a noun which means the thing that the verb makes, the permanent form, which is permanent even though life is not.  here is the photograph:

suze

susan

i liked looking at that photograph of susan sontag which is a thing men do, an awful thing perhaps, according to some or a lot of people, mostly women, but a reality also.  reality is sometimes awful and men are too but only sometimes but that does includes sometimes also, which may be often or occasionally.  men do awful things sometimes and good things sometimes and sometimes things which are in between, which is what is called a gray area which means an area which is gray. i saved the photograph of susan sontag in a file on my computer and sometimes i would look at the photograph when i was what is called horny, which does not mean what you might think it means which is having a horn or being full of horns.  horny means wanting something you don’t have at the moment in a way which is less than thinking but may also involve thinking of some sort and which may or may not be awful. when i was horny sometimes i would find the file of the photograph of susan sontag, which was sometimes difficult because i did not name the file “photograph of susan sontag,” which would have been a smart thing to do since that is what it was.  and so sometimes because the file of the photograph was hard to find, when i was horny i would do what is called hunting.  in the past, hunting was  done with a gun but now most hunting is done with a box which you put letters in and click.  guns click too but when a gun clicks that means it is empty but when the box clicks that means it is working to be full.  i hunted for susan sontag sometimes when i was horny but also sometimes and maybe even often but at least occasionally when i was wistful, which means full of wist.  wist is a thing which nobody knows what it is but everybody wants sometimes or often.  i felt complicated about this looking and hunting and wist and horniness and somewhat awful about it, sometimes.  there is website called something awful where they reposit awful things, it is a repository of awful somethings, although it did not first reposit the awful picture i saw of rihanna this morning on gawker and neither did gawker, in fact, instead that was reposited by a website called TMZ, which is often awful but not always.  the website gawker is something somewhat awful sometimes but that is not the name of the site, the name is gawker, which means a person who gawks.  according to books and lectures, when men look at pictures and things and women they gaze, which is a bad thing, generally, but when people, who are not necessarily but may and can be men, look at pictures on gawker, they supposedly gawk, which is another way of looking and may be worse or better.  the difference between gazing and looking and watching and gawking is hard to say and has been discussed by many people but may involve length or context.

on gawker, a lot of people were being people who gawk, most were that, which is natural considering the title of the site, but also some were being people who talk, although talking is a thing you do with your mouth and they were doing it with their fingers, which can be a thing which is called sign language although that is a different thing than the thing that they were doing, which is called typing.  some people might say they were doing what is called writing but writing and typing are different things a famous quote about that is by truman capote who said about jack kerouac’s on the road that it was not writing but typing.  jack kerouac typed on the road on what is called a scroll which is a long piece of paper which proceeds out from itself.  to read the comments typed on gawker, which are sometimes and often many and a lot, though not always, you do what is called scroll, which is roll a wheel so that the comments will proceed vertically in on themselves.  a wheel is a simple machine which makes movement happen.  this morning, the gawkers were talking about the awful photograph of rihanna in the comments section of the page in which it was posted. mostly one person was complaining about the awful photograph being posted and other people were talking about his or her complaints and whether those complaints were valid or invalid or in the gray area and were doing what is called sharing about this.  sharing is something that is sometimes illegal on the internet but sometimes not and in this case was not.  the commenter who was complaining about the awful photograph being posted by gawker called him or herself minou which made me think of a small fish and which according to the internet in french means pussy.  pussy is a word which means many things including cat but can also refer to the female area.  it can also refer to a whole person by connotation of the female area, which is a part of a whole person but not the whole person.  when a part of a thing is used to refer to the whole thing, that is called synecdoche. in greek, which is its original language, synecdoche means “simultaneous understanding” according to somebody on the internet, although that is a translation which translations are not always perfect and sometimes things are lost which is the subject of a movie or at least its title.  minou and the commenters on gawker were sharing and complaining about the awful photograph of rihanna maybe to try to get “simultaneous understanding” but probably for a lot more reasons which may include narcissism and boredom which a lot of people agree are bad things although not as bad as hitting a woman in the face but somewhat more bad than things which are good, like kissing a woman on the face, although kissing a woman on the face can also be a bad thing if she does not prefer it, which they often do not.  but minou and the gawkers were not typing about hitting and kissing and whether they are good or bad but instead were typing about whether photographs of hitting or kissing and in particular hitting are good or bad and whether they should be gotten and given on the internet and in particular on gawker.  there is an old phil spector song which goes “he hit me and it felt like a kiss” which some people think is romantic but a lot of people do not, not at all or not mostly, which was recently covered by the band grizzly bear who a lot of people, especially people in new york where gawker is located physically (although of course gawker is on the internet which is not physical but also is) think are romantic but some do not. phil spector is a songwriter but he is also a man who had a gun and allegedly did very bad things to a woman with the gun, including killing her.  until someone can prove that a person did something, a journalist has to say that the person did it “allegedly,” even if the something involves a gun, unless that gun is smoking, of course.  a smoking gun is “something that serves as indisputable evidence or proof, especially of a crime” and the smoking gun is a website which posts public records, including a lot of awful photographs of famous people.  in the comments section under the awful photograph of rihanna posted on gawker, minou and the gawkers shared a lot of comments and typed them so that one has to scroll down very far vertically to read them all, although probably not as far as the scroll of paper where jack kerouac typed on the road, which is in a museum now and is very famous and a lot of people come to see it.  interior scroll is a piece of performance art from the 1970s in which a woman artist onstage pulled a scroll, which is a long piece of paper which proceeds out from itself, out of her female area, which is also called a pussy, which is also called a minou in french, allegedly.  that scroll may also be in a museum i don’t know but i do know it is not as famous as the scroll on which jack kerouac typed on the road, which some people might call phallocentric, which means centric on the phallo, which means penis, which can feel like a hit or a kiss, depending on length and context.

cindy

cindy

on jezebel, which is a site by and for women, which means not phallocentric, commenters also typed and scrolled about the awful photograph of rihanna. jezebel is a site which is by and for women although not owned by a woman but owned by the owner of gawker, a man, a gay man, and which is a part of gawker but not the whole. the editor of jezebel, anna, posted a post about how she knew about the awful photograph of rihanna and how she was not posting or linking to the awful photograph but only posting about how she was not posting or linking to it.  generally this pleased people, at least people who are talkers instead of only gawkers and could be reached for comment.

jezebel is a name of a woman in the bible who was thrown to dogs and eaten, although nobody took a picture of it then because that was in the past when they didn’t have cameras.  now jezebel means different things including slut but also the opposite of slut, which is called postfeminism, which means after feminism, which is about taking things back.  once a picture or thing is on the internet it is very hard to take it back, especially if it is a popular or famous or awful picture or thing.  in the past, all that was left of jezebel after she was thrown to the dogs were her skull and feet and hands.  if we found her skull and feet and hands today, we would be very happy about this fact and it would be a miracle of finding and seeing things and technology.  we would put the bones of her skull and feet and hands in a museum and look at them and everybody would want to come and look at them because they were old famous bones, which everybody likes to see in museums like dinosaurs, and also we would take pictures of them and put them on the internet so that people could also see them there.

the editor of jezebel who wrote about the awful photograph of rihanna is named anna.  anna is a name which is related to anne which is the name of a girl in the past who wrote a sad diary which lots of people read every year and it makes them sad and other things.  anne’s diary was sad and lots of people read it every year, mostly children, and they read it and it makes them sad.  most people think that being sad by reading anne’s diary is a good and necessary thing, a productive thing or a thing which makes you think about other things which are good and necessary.  according to somebody on the internet, “anne’s diary began as a private expression of her thoughts and she wrote several times that she would never allow anyone to read it.” that was forgotten, though, the private part, if not by anne then by someone else, and most people would argue the forgetting is a good thing because of the way that anne’s diary about sad things makes people feel sad in a good way. her diary was printed and posted and a lot of people have read it a lot of times and it makes them sad but they like it or think it necessary to be sad by reading her diary. jezebel, which is edited by anna, is a blog, which is like a diary but also like a newspaper, which is different but less different now than in the past.

in the past, a newspaper was prized for what it could give its readers that other newspapers could not, that it could get what could not be got anywhere else, that the good of news and newspapers was in getting and giving to the reader that which could not be gotten or given elsewhere.  evelyn waugh wrote a book in the past called scoop which i did not read but which the title seems important and a lot of people like to mention it often, some or many of whom who have not read it.  someone said the online newspaper the daily beast takes its title from the title of a newspaper in scoop.  the daily beast did not post the awful photograph of rihanna but did post a post describing the photograph, which is different.  in the past, journalism was described as yellow which is not as good as blue or gold but probably better than red although i suppose that depends on your politics.  journalism now doesn’t have a color probably because of political correctness although we are all trying to be green which involves paperless or at least less paper.  journalism now is different and partly this is because newspapers are different now, too.  one different thing is that the the newspapers are sometimes not paper, like the daily beast or the huffington post, that is one thing, that they are paperless sometimes, although there is still news, allegedly.

sometimes newspapers are called dinosaurs which does not mean that they have teeth or are in museums but means that they are old. a newspaper is only important when it is new which is today and when it is old it is only important for museums and perhaps libraries.  the rolling stones wrote a song once called “yesterday’s papers” which is partially about this but partially about sluts and how they feel about them.  this is called a metaphor.  one of the posters for jezebel used to be called slut machine and was proud of the name but then changed it later because she was not proud of it anymore.  sometimes time changes things, including time and the times. newspapers are old and existed in the past and they still exist in the present, though somewhat less so. in the past, the getting and giving which newspapers did was what they were prized for and they were given prizes for the best news stories that they gave or got and these were called scoops.  scoops are important sometimes even now but also important now on the internet is what news is not given, which is a new development though not a scoop.  on jezebel, the editor whose name is anna which is like anne who is frank which means true, did not post the awful photograph of rihanna and generally this pleased people, at least those who commented, which is similar but different to reached for comment, which is something they say in newspapers.  this is an interesting thing and a new thing, the not giving pleasing people.  maybe this a thing because of all the things on the internet, which is a net of sorts, because there are so many things available on the internet now, a lot of things, more things than we can think of.  there are so many things available to everybody all the time that the new newspapers online, which are sometimes called blogs, which are like diaries, somewhat, are sometimes more important for what they do not give us than what they do give us.  instead of getting and giving, they are more about selecting, which means choosing, which also sometimes means not choosing or choosing not and et cetera.  this is a gray area which is big and vague and hard to define, like space or the internet.  people agree or disagree about this choosing or not choosing and they type their agreement or disagreement into comments and post them and then those posted comments are placed under the choice or not choice and if you want you do what is called scroll to see all of them, of which there are a lot, an awful lot.

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  1. […] previously: 1, 2, among others) /(slate podcasts; previously: 1) Posted in Uncategorized […]


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