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The nuts in the middle

Conception theory

Om, you bloodthirsty dogs of war! Find the egg of an idea upon the inner lining of the collective dream. Give it spark. Inseminate it. Make it your individual progeny and the progeny of the era.

Farm theory

You’re following the rows of my sentences. They’re in formation. Each paragraph is a marching regiment that you review like a field marshal.

That’s not your nature? Maybe your nature is to be a shining sun. In which case these sentences are furrows of wheat. Our golden harvest. Am I mewing for Oprah or what?

Now you’re really reading me. Looking between the lines.

Ferretti is fidgeting in his seat. He hates counterfeit metaphors. They’re easy to print. They make everyone feel rich and cheap at the same time. They’re what a writer produces in bulk after his creativity has retired. Perfumed flattery. Embroidered flattery. Sweetened flattery. There’s a huge aftermarket for it.

In which case, these sentences can be viewed as a herd of fluffy sheep upon the plane of the page. You can shave their wool with clippers or a chainsaw. You can use your teeth to cut out their tenderloin and carve a fillet. You can set your wolves upon them. Or you can move on to other pastures. But as long as you’re with me, we remain where we started: In the dimension from which the Metro Times was created.

Tabloid theory

I’m inside your mind. But who’s inside my mind as I write? Opposing heralds of creation. Was the Metro Times raised in a day by an omniscient God? Or did it slowly evolve from the primordial muck?

The MT itself is 20 years old. Entering the age of adulthood. Which way will it go? Will it follow its noble heart? Its raging libido? Its artist soul or its animal oomph to fuck with every coin in the human register?

Why not a cooking section? A self-help section? A home-explosives section written by a Russian scientist with singed eyebrows?

Why not create a paper of infinite density that a reader can fold into an ink dot? Take like a pill with beer or red pop or pure Alpine spring water? That’s the way to digest information.

You don’t have the stomach for it? You want to move forward, yet linger in a nostalgic mode? Why not a clay tablet served by a robot in Spandex panties? That’s the way to render unto past and future.

Quack theory

Compromise. Compromise. Compromise. Where’s the purity? Most readers are a blend of conservative and liberal impulse. Holding on and stingy here. Letting go and generous there. What holds them together as individuals? As an audience?

Gravity. Atmospheric pressure. The centripetal force of the Earth’s spin and the collective blur of dreams. Dreams. Dreams. Like a river of memory flowing into the sea of space.

How to create a paper that rides with the dreamcast? As a sentinel. As a lover and pioneer with its nose to the wind.

It’s a question that’s worthy of Ferretti’s Language Division Deluxe. It’s easy. It’s free. It comes in a pill that rhymes with “bill.” Which everyone knows is the common denominator between a duck and a dollar. We divide bills into bills for our dream answer. There are rent bills and payroll bills and tax bills. There are social bills. Artistic bills. Ancestral bills and bills on hats feathered with love and anger.

This gives us a treasury of metaphor. Something to split into fractions of wisdom that will sparkle in our hair. But I can’t quite divide my duck into the half-civilized business of running a newspaper. I can only divide my duck into the Armageddon of total war.

So why not exaggerate the bloodbath of business for the sake of a pretty fit? Divide a duck into the sum of missiles and submarines and tanks. It floats. It flies. It treads upon land. By exposing each weapon’s limitation, the Mighty Duck reveals how it’s the best performer. Which may be why it should ride sentinel to the Metro Times dreamcast. As a lead actor.

Quack theory 2

I don’t know. I’m trying to align ducks in the bathtub of my brain. They’re covered with my silt and soap. This causes me great agony. Because one part of me wants the filthiest ducks in creation and another part of me wants the most pristine ducks.

For this I should pull the plug? Blow out the candles? Quit rolling in the ink like a pig in slop with the husks of philosophy and the ferment of decay and a tail like a cosmic spring exiting my ass?

It comes down to this for pigs with plans: How to have the duckiest ducks.

Furthermore, here’s the nightmare for writers and weekly papers: The formula for mediocrity looks just like the formula for excellence.

How can it be? And if it is? Why deal with it? Even a pig like myself knows some fundamentals of geometry. Between any two points is always a third. I’d like to use my pen to slice between the pair like a surgeon with a scalpel. Then slit the third point like a plum.

But is this compromise or incision? Can it be both? How can a paper with both nostalgic and anti-nostalgic readers find that nut in the middle? That button. That jewel.

More difficult yet, how can it find the fertile cut between liberal editorial bohos and conservative business geeks? The answer is the same and more.

Buddha teaches “The Middle Way.” It sounds like the formula for excellence. It sounds like the formula for mediocrity. Either can come of it. For this we should pull the plug? Send our ducks down the drain with a piss chaser? Make a toilet of our pet ocean?

Crotch theory

Snort. Grunt. Snort. I’m a pig in the ink tub. I want to be a rooster singing opera or a prowling tomcat singing the blues. But instead I’m scoring a sonata and hoping it plays well in your brain.

English is my instrument. You’re breathing life into it like nobody else. Hitting a high note? Approaching hog heaven?

I know. I know. I know. Too much metaphysics and not enough tits and ass. That’s the formula for success. It brings us back to geometry and Buddhist wisdom.

Talk about splitting points in space. Talk about finding the Middle Way. Why not talk about entering the soft crotch? The fertile fold?

One can say that the Metro Times stands on the legs of the old and new. One can say that it stands on the legs of culture and business. Why not say that it stands to prosper according to what gestates at the Mother of All Junctions?

Separate issues go in: Numbers and politics and art. Whole issues come out every seven days. You’re reading one of them now. A prize baby. I may be its rattle or I may be its goo-goo and ga-ga. Which is difficult to reconcile with being an old sow.

In any case, you’re riding piggyback atop these sentences in a mutual dream. We’re saddled with language. Why not make it drip like paint or stick like bubble gum?

I have one more piggish thing to say about the MT funny farm. Sometimes it’s the editors screwing the accountants. Sometimes it’s the accountants screwing the editors. That’s how it must be. Because when only one faction is continually on top, then the MT itself will reach bottom. And slide down the drain.

Jerome Przybylski writes. Jerome Ferretti illustrates. E-mail both at letters@metrotimes.com

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