Boy, do I get caught up thinking about the strangest things sometimes (all the time). Just now, I was thinking about how fun it is to play with language. Use it, abuse it, twist its meaning, make it into something new (“that’s fun?!” - Yeah. It is. You probably do it everyday on facebook, unless you’re one of those tedious people who post things like “went to the mall today”). But its also how we progress intellectually, I think. Take the stale, literal meanings of words and connect them all over the place, everywhere they wern’t meant to be. Push forward, and language evolves with us, taking on the meanings that are most useful, most relavant to that place at that time. Words are like neurons: connecting and connecting; hopfully in new and unpredictable ways that expand our imagination. That stuff really, honestly, is rad to me. Bear in mind, I’m mostly just ripping off some philsophical ideas which I haven’t really read in detail.
This is just, I don’t know, an unfiltered stream of thoughts. If someone reads it, that’s cool I guess. I don’t expect most people to want to read a basically aimless, self-indulgant, whatever this is—I probably wouldn’t if our roles were reversed. More than that though, its good to get thoughts out, spew them all over the floor. And I don’t think it works quite right unless I actually send it out there. Otherwise, I’d just write this, keep it to myself, and here it would stay, trapped on my computer. That’s the best I can explain it. I know it sounds like I’m saying that I have to publish this, for my own sake, but that I don’t care if anyone sees it, reads it, likes it, or hates it. False, I hope for all of those things, I do, I do.
Also, lately I feel a sudden urge to speak impulsively, tactlessly, and without any sort of inhibitions. Incidentally, I find this immediatly relatable to what I started out wanting to say about language: break the rules, break em, break em, break em.
What was I saying in the first place? Yeah, yeah, a little vague; contortions, neurons, reshaping…blah, blah. Examples? Yeah. No. Ok.
Hip-hop, honest to god hip-hop, hits the nail on the head. Its all about quips and puns and metaphors and new sweet-sounding combinations and uses of words—all those devices and so on—which drill holes through the brick wall that is Webster’s Dictionary. In my head, its a landscape, or a grid or something; and the second we say” he (or she, ok?) actually thought of that, noone’s said THAT like THAT ever before,” the map of language in our head gets a little more complex. Every time you hear something that uses a word/words in a completely different way than you’ve heard before, that meaning extends into you, changing the word itself, in the sense of a great sprawling web of social consciousness. I think that’s great, personally. Maybe just because I’m used to uppity-types (snobs, quite possibly race/class-ists) correcting everyone on grammer and pronounciation all the time, when, in fact ITS ALL JUST MADE UP! I MEANS WHAT WE MAKE IT MEAN!
That’s its for the caps, swear. I’m not mad. NOT!
Now think of a relavent lyric or they’ll think you’re a fake. THINK OF ONE! Oh, ok, I was just talking about this:
“Like a green red blue reindeer, dead lying down with a fawn, Copulating having sex.” Okokok, a pretty goofy, good tune; you don’t have to like it to appreciate the creativity (recommended though, “I’m destructive” - Dr. Octagon). This whole song is outrageous (the chorus is just him repeating “I’m destructive” in his best butt-rock voice). But the main, small, clever-as-hell line I wanted to point out was “copulating having sex.” See, he says it in the conversational tone that you’ve probably heard someone say “contemplating having sex” (at at first, your head kind of just fills in the “mistake,” because that’s what our brains do). But that’s not what he’s saying. I can’t decide if its a double meaning, but copulating means to have sex, so he’s literally saying “having sex, having sex” while saying it like “thinking about having sex.” Am I the only one who thinks that’s neat-o? Basically, he tricks you at first, then you realize he’s making an obsurd, redundant statement. And the fact that the first time you hear it, you actually hear “contemplating”, really underscores the force that linguistic habits have on the way we interact (and also how languages inevitably evolve and break those habits, making new ones over and over and over again and until the oceans dry-up and we all die).
Big surprise, I’m not an obsessive hip-hop-head, I can’t lie. I like hip-hop, really like it, but i find myself chasing pretty, strange melodies too often (I can’t explain it. Sometimes you don’t know why you gravitate towards what you gravitate towards, I guess). Also, I think its gotten less and less relevant over the years—from a racial social justice movment, to pure shock value (which counts as social commentary nonetheless), to what a lot of it is now: fluffy, commercialized, watered-down pop-music. Sorry. And that’s not a blanket statement, thanks. Just saying, a lot of rappers talk more like Donald Trump than Gil-Scott Heron (by the way, great sample Kanye). Maybe its where I’m at poltically, but I think hip-hop is at its best when it indites mainstream society for all of its bullshit. But now it kind of is mainstream society, so there you have it.
Back to the point, I think hip-hop/rap makes up about 15% of my total music. And no fucking autotune. Not bad? Reguardless In terms of rewriting the invisible book that tells us what words mean, though, it outstrippes every other genre, and its that sort of thing that gets me. I think of rap as having replaced the influence that poety used to have in reshaping language, which it IS a kind of poety, really.
Phweeew, Do I sound way out of my element talking about this? Or, no, I’m ruining hip-hop for everyone by analyzing it to death. Hey, that’s what I know how to do. There’s got to be some use for that, please?
Well, as far as what I’m writing, this, I’m not trying to go crazy or anything; practice, really, is what I’m playing at. Looking for that spontaneous flow, you know.
But hey, by all means, if you want crazy, humbling word-wizardry, try reading the first page (or any page) of Finnegan’s Wake, by James Joyce. Its fucking apeshit, but to literatary scholars—or whoever has an extra lifetime on their hands to learn every obscure reference and nuance— its considered a masterpiece. Hold on, I think the book is around here somewhere. Ok, I’ll type a sentence of madness or two:
(pg.1) “riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings up by a commodious vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.
Sir Tristram, violer d’amores, fr’over the short sea, had passencore rearrived from North Amorica on this side the scragy isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his penisolate war: nor had topsawyer’s rocks by the stream Oconee exaggurated themselse to Laurens County’s gorgios while they went doublin their mumper all the time: nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to tauftauf thauartpeatrick: not yeat, though all’s fair in vanessy, where sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathanjoe. Rot a peck of pa’s malt and Jhem of Shen brewed by archlight and rory end to the reginbrow was to be seen ringsome on the aquaface.”
HOLYFUCKINGSHIT right?! That’s English (for the most part) folks. I couldn’t glean a thought from any of it. Thanks, Joyce. You like making people feel small and stupid? At the same time, if Joyce listened to rap, he’d be just as stumped as I am (and hopefully you are).
In two different contexts, the “same” language is made utterly unintelligible to itself. That contrast, I find it fascinating (maybe you do too, if you’ve read to here. Naaaw.) OH, not that I’m EVER going to try to read that abomination; I do intend on reading Ulysses soon though, I keep seeing it near the top on numerous “best books of all time” lists. Its The Godfather of books. Whoops, The Godfather was a book first huh? The movie. Movies are to books as The Godfather is to Ulysses. Uh. Ratings wise. The stories have nothing in common. Should I delete this?