"...and Johnny Clueless was there
with his simulated wood-grain (simulated wood-grain)
so I pulled up a chair
and started drinkin' by myself..."
School of Fish, Three Strange Days
It would be easy to dismiss this enigmatic statement as the mere babblings of a lyrico-rhythmically desperate alterna-newwave-rocker, were it not for the undeniable presence of the FNORD. The uneasy feeling that creeps across the nape of your neck as you hear the line, the singer drawing out the last word in a wail of frustrated ignorance of the world at large, coupled with the immersive beat structure (including rhythm guitars) makes it impossible to ignore the FNORD no matter what you do.
"Johnny Clueless was there..."
This iconized representation of aenima is no doubt the listener him or herself. Johnny- Johnny-on-the-spot, Little Johnny, Farmer John, Iron John, Johnny-Cat, Porta-John, demijohn. All. All ones with the FNORD stamped large; the reader/listener assumes the unease-making place of the focus of the story, as the storyteller, normally so informative, pulls up a chair and begins solitary self-destruction; this is threatening to the reader, naturally. Threats of unresolved threads, threats of endings, most of all, of all the Johnnys, the reader is Johnny-on-the-spot, standing at the mic near the bar watching The One Who Knows toss back another tumbler of wit-destroying Wittgenstein with no concept of what they, he or she are supposed to do next.
'Supposed to' - quick interlude - a clue as to the overarching power that lies behind FNORD. To suppose is to posit; to construct and put forth a scene, to offer up a possibility. Yet, when we in Mittelhimmel are 'supposed' to do something, it indicates that we must, that there is a a force which drives us. What are we supposed to do? This question, so innocent of purpose and plain of heart, posed by an abandoned muse or solitary listener-cum-storyteller: What am I supposed to do? They are not asking for a description of a state of reality; they are asking to be told the will FNORD which moves their lives has a part for them in the passion play. Even in this calm and material request for information, the betrayal of our vocabulary, calling for the Controller, the Director, the Interventionist God of Nietzsche's declarative death. Where are they? What do they suppose we are to do?
Return to the wasteland of the abandoned patron, then. Mic before them, they watch, and wait, and smell the ethanol coursing through everyone else's lips while they remain, waiting, looking foolish as they placehold before the microphone. Only after a reputable set of doubles (no ice) will the singer deign to rescue them; only then will they have had the chance to see the singer declaring himself to be FNORD on the Spot, the will, controller, great diviner, playwright, madman, God.
"...with his simulated wood-grain..."
Wood-grain, attempted preservation of the Real and Earth in our most Plastic places (on cheap countertops, in buses, on Chiisuta's car and underneath the mirror in the barber's shop). Reality bent conformed extruded stretched taffyed and finally set to our ends, only to laugh back by betraying its plasticity in the very conformity of its situation. Wood won't do that, can't do that; while it will curl and curve and spin, much much much patience and expertise are required to make it do so. A relationship of sorts must exist between the craftsman and the piece; a Phaedrean quality present in the motion of tool and hand and dust and grain. Plastic sneers at such pedestrian sops to the humanist in us, deigning to leave no powder, lacking character-based argument, conform at will. Wood has grain and structure and weakness and
strength and stubbornness and will to do as it wishes unless (unless!) you can convince it otherwise, and even then, the light bulb has to want to change. It must see and agree and feel and need to do what you ask it to do. Otherwise God (the Etruscan God, or perhaps He of the darkest depths of Catholicism) help you in your task, for none other can. FNORD tried and failed, and died, and was resurrected - but only in college town coffee shops on chilly nights amongst the wisps of chai and latte and good ol' fashioned joe with which parched young nervous throats lubricate themselves, going so far as to invoke these hallowed names of Mind for naught but a piece of ass that night.
What is a rationalist to do?
FNORD only thing they can do.
"...so I pulled up a chair
and started drinkin' by myself..."
...and the cycle continues.