H. bared herself for all she had been, the way a vampire bares his fangs before an open throat thrust back, the eyes horrified, the day she signed off with just a capital letter at the end of her tweet over the young man’s untimely death. This public little capital left at the end of the string of characters, like an initial scribbled on a napkin on a kitchen table, or at the end of a little note left behind for a colleague missed who’s already gone out to lunch, that sort of thing, where the truly genuine is present, the daily forgettables of intimacy, this little calculated gesture of authenticity at digital inauthenticity’s most uncalculated worst, now this shall have been the moment when all the chickens came home to roost.
The idea of using backdoor analytics is anathema if not altogether repugnant. It is to devise digital corridors, sluices, to fill the seats of a stadium that has not been built to be filled with fans who are not there to watch a game that has not existed. It is the difference between even those magnificent ones who begin by almost drowning, who become our precious Dutch uncles, and then sadly they lose us altogether—and complete despair. In the first, picture a writer who is seeking his voice, who in the next picture he altogether has it; and in the third one he pretends for the so-called sake of his listeners, to have had one. This is similar to the breakdown in the famous triad of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. We could also call this the private, the public, and the political (or poof!).
Imagine a snout rooting in your backyard. Picture the animal turning up grass, dandelions, and violets. See for yourself how everything now that you think has been carefully optimized. You want to catch this. You want to catch that. You put things you never thought of before in quotation marks before you put them down in what becomes print (of one kind or another). You are already quoting yourself before you have begun. And you force yourself to avoid the plus-que parfait, even though everything is basically jettisoned there anyway. Time is staked behind you. You know that. But you smile ahead, pretending that you are walking naturally, wondering to yourself how a friend is getting on. In fact you will use anything: ‘literature’, ‘Kafka’, words to get what you want. You became the Little Engine That Could, not in the sense of the conditional, which you had always understood that to be until now, but in the past tense conjugation, as in the past tense of what: I can, You can, She can do, or, did.