Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Long Live the WAAGNFNP!

At least until the GNF comes!

This one is for Michael Berube's We Are All Giant Nuclear Fireball Now Party, courtesy of Paule Marshall's Merle Kinbona from The Chosen Place, The Timeless People (yes, here at Mostly Harmless, we don't make arbitrary distinctions between high and low culture; so what if literature and academia are relatively unpopular parts of popular culture, I say!):

"Oh, God, to kill the boy one month and shut down Cane Vale the next! They must really be trying to finish us off down here in Bournehills..."

At the thought of that double tragedy, something in her, the last vestige of her reason perhaps, gave way, and a darkness, as complete as on those nights in the village when there's no moon and the over-sized Bournehills stars are hidden by clouds, seemed to close over her mind, over her eyes, snuffing out all the light and sanity there. "Kill! Destroy!" The words issued shrill and incoherent out of the darkness. "That's all your science and big-time technology is good for. Don't think I don't see it for what it is. Why, you've even smashed the rose window in the church. Everything and everybody blown to bits, the whole show up in flames because you couldn't have your own way anymore. Everything flat, flat, flat. No--wait!" She paused, her demented eyes filling with another image. "No, they'll use that other one I read about someplace that they call the neutron or some damn thing, that they say only kills off the people--the people, everybody, just vanish into thin air, but everything else, the buildings and so are left standing right where they are. Yes! That's what the brutes will use. All the buildings will be there but there'll be nobody inside them. Empty. The cars and buses right where they were on the roads when it dropped but not a driver in sight. No passengers. Not even a dead body to be seen in the streets. The houses with the curtains at the windows like people are living in them but not a soul inside. Every living thing gone from the face of the earth. Oh, God, the silence! You can hear a pin drop the world over. Everybody gone. All the poor half-hungry people who never had a chance. The little children. The baby's gone. Everything in place but both of them gone. Oh, how could he have done that to me? I see it, you hear, I see it. The whole world up in smoke and not a fire to be seen anywhere!"

Her eyes were so filled with that apocalyptic vision, her words, reechoing endlessly through the empty building, had made it so vivid, that Saul, struck dumb on the steps, could almost see that flameless fire raging between them on the platform.

Now, I was once a WAAGNFNP heretic, who formed a splinter cell called WAGNFNP (We All Giant Nuclear Fireball Now Party) to appeal, as I put it at the time, "to all those Captain Caveman fans out there." But thanks to the CCST (Chris Clarke Show Trial), I was welcomed back into the Party's blast area. So I also have a special message for a certain ex-fugitive from WAAGNFNP justice, courtesy of Mahasweta Devi's Puran Sahay from "Pterodactyl, Puran Sahay, and Pirtha" in Imaginary Maps:

No, I have no right to touch you. Apparently one can still see prehistoric fish in the sea. But there was, there was a pterodactyl somewhere, the world didn't know, I am silent, I am defeated. I won't go near to see if there are feathers, if the toes and nails of the front feet are truly long.

Puran's eyes put a question.

--What will you eat?

What do its eyes want to tell Puran?

This body made of the grey dusk or this liquid darkness is quite still. Only an unfamiliar smell, sometimes sharp sometimes mild. When Puran or Bikhia stands, the smell becomes mild. Is this the instinctive feeling for self-protection against unknown animals?

There is no communication between eyes.

Only a dusky waiting, without end.

What does it want to tell? We are extinct by the natural geological evolution. You too are endangered. You too will become extinct in nuclear explosions, or in war, or in the aggressive advance of the strong as it obliterates the weak, which finally turns you naked, barbaric, primitive, think if you are going forward or back. Forests are extinct, and animal life is obliterated outside of zoos and protected forest sanctuaries. What will you finally grow in the soil, having murdered nature in the application of man-imposed substitutes? "Deadly DDT greens,/ charnel-house explosive bean-pods, monstrous and misshapen / spastic gourds, eggplants with mobile tails / bloodthirsty octopus creepers, animal blood-filled / tomatoes?"

The collective being of the ancient nations is crushed. Like nature, like the sustaining earth, their sustaining ancient cultures received no honor, they remained unknown, they were only destroyed, they are being destroyed, is this what you are telling us?

The dusky lidless eyes remain unresponsive.

Have you come up from the past to warn us, are you telling us this man-made poverty and famine is a crime, it is a crime to take away the forest and make the forest-dwelling peoples naked and endangered? Are you telling us that it is a crime to grasp in the stranglehold the voice of protest, and the arm of combat?

The eye says nothing.

How grey. What amazing news. It wants to say something, to give some new, Puran does not understand. No point of communication. Nothing can be said or written.

Is there a message in the smell of its body? Why do its eyes remain open? In the inner shrine room (the worshipped and the worshippers are gone) of the family god of a poor tribal (who is dead), you are sitting unmoving, oh ancient one, what do you want us to know?

The grey eye does not respond.

You have come to me for shelter, and I don't know how to save you, is that why I'll see your death? I don't know, if I knew I could have saved you, I don't know, if I knew I could have saved you, you would have left again on your flight, you would have searched out water, food, a resting place. I don't know, if I knew.... In this shrine room of stone and earth in the last years of this century an urgent message like this arrived and the news could not be given because human beings do not know or understand its language.

The grey eye wants to tell Puran something.

Puran shakes and shakes its head.

Don't you go following Berube's example, Myers, is what I'm saying.

[Update (1/21/07): He went and did it. Well, not quite: he's still posting at an insane rate after this announcement. Expect a cold turkey announcement soon.]


Anonymous said...

Maybe Michael's retreated to a secret lair deep in the internets there to prepare a place were WAAGNFNP loyalists can congregate. One can only hope.

The Constructivist said...

Jeez, first Floating Head Professor himself had me going with his "last throes" not-quite-jokes and now you're hitting me with a "secret undisclosed secure location" for him. But I guess reclaiming and rearticulating Republican dreck is what the WAAGNFNP is all about. I think we need to create a Tom Joad-like legend for our dear and virtually departed Fearless Leader. Maybe a blog called Adventures of Floating Head Professor? We can make it a group creative writing project for the Party faithful. What do you think?

BTW, Bill, for leaving the first comment on this site, I can offer you, uh, a visit to your site. Do you have one? Or do you do the Clarke/norbizness thing minus the actual blogging? (My impatience with the time I was investing in comments few would read made me start this blog and CitizenSE.) Seriously, if you would like me to pick up anything for you while I'm here in Japan, please let me know. It's the least I can do for a fellow WAAGNFNP hack. Solidarity forever and all that!

Oaktown Girl said...

This seems as good a place as any to party on, uh, I mean, hold meetings and stay in touch!

Anonymous said...

Maybe a blog called Adventures of Floating Head Professor

I'd lobby for it to be named Ceci n'est pas un blogue myself. (but I guess that's not really a name.)

The graffiti-bombing idea is the bomb, too, but we need a base of operations (maybe like the one you mentioned in the comment!).... [from a thread on that old bo-ring place.]

Yes, even Barger and the Angels always had a "safe" bar to regroup at. Back in the Usenet day, alt.tasteless helped pioneer the group invasion gambit - read to the end of this article for an account of their invasion of rec.pets.cats - talk about asymmetrical warfare.

Am half intrigued about the carrying on without. Pluses & minuses - more thoughts on that later, maybe.

Oaktown Girl said...

JP -
If it means getting regular doses of your fun, wit, and insight, I'd be more than happy to "carry on" in some fashion.

Now that all the big WAAGNFNP hold-the-space-while-Michael-grades-papers-and-such events are over (at least for now), everything else will be a total vacation by comparison... for the Minister of Justice, anyways!

The Constructivist said...

I'm honored that you all would consider this new place a worthy hide-out! But if we're gonna bring about that GNP, we're gonna need a hi-traffic site.

I'm thinking JP's suggestion is more a subtitle than a title. We have to appeal to the masses, and the US has more than France. I suggest, like Jesus' General, we have many such messages in many languages.

The Constructivist said...

Oh, I'm outta here till the 17th or 18th? Anyone want editor status so you can post in my stead?

Oaktown Girl said...

TC -
I'll volunteer to take the "keys" while you are gone. I've asked Bill if he will join me in this so we can have 2 sets of eyes keepting watch over the place while you're gone. (I just emailed him a minute ago, so I don't know his answer yet). Anyway, let me know if that works for you.

Oaktown Girl

The Constructivist said...

Oaktown Girl, send me your email address at b r u c e s i m o n 1 8 [at] y a h o o . c o m and I will invite you in when I get some time on an internet connection again!

Anonymous said...

The "party" was a very interesting exercise - it actuallly had a bit of the flow and trajectory of a real party in an interesting way. Having the playlist added a lot.

My wife and kids thought I was fucking nuts* - it was kinda hard to explain the allure for a grown man. ... (and then they saw the Twister pic ... that made it all better - not. )
*Well, just more fucking nuts than usual, to be accurate.

Thanks for organizing that and other WAAGNFP events - I have to go back to alt.folklore.urban on Usenet in the eary '90s for an online experience that was even close to as much fun.

Oaktown Girl said...

Hey JP -
thanks for sharing your thoughts. It really means a lot to me to hear that you enjoyed that. Your contributions made me laugh so hard you have no idea.

I've had no internet access at work the past several nights, which is where I usually have a moment to catch up on my emails and such, so I'm way behind. Right now I'm home, but completely zonked. I plan to put a WAAGNFNP message up on this thread as soon as I get a chance and I'm awake enough to be somewhat coherent. So please check back.

Anonymous said...

Well, and I'm still missing my shoes - my favorite pair!

You didn't see them lying around perchance?