The Point is a Dead End on a Big Map


In the 50's & 60's, TV was still new, but we all knew it operated on the basic principles of radio waves. The TV antenna proved this when we hooked our short-wave radio to it to receive broadcasts from Havana and Moscow. What was the point in that, not speaking Cubano or Russian?

Not "point", "reception"!

Receiving the new and different was better than dying of frantic boredom from the same old, same old we got in our own transmissions. Not fluent made it sound less frenzied, more human, less hostile. They didn't play these tunes back home. A different way of being was suddenly possible. Radio was still where it's at! Point was, the math teachers and map makers only talked about lines and points "can you connect these dots?". We talked about waves and frequencies, and they said we were talking "weird"! What's the point?

"Well, it's a bit", Gregory Bateson was trying to tell us. "A bit what?" we replied: "You've a bit of a point, but it's not coming in loud and clear". "Let me adjust my set".

But if our wave was righteous dada, a point could be no point at all but the region in the wave, a frequency, a sideband or harmonic we were tuned in to. Region brought us back to maps and then we were inspired to move, to distribute ourselves all over the page. Here or elsewhere, it didn't matter, as long as it was new, out-there or in-between. This meant "Experience"! Dead ends are for dead beats. There's something hip in the word, "experimental" music, drugs, it's all the same scene. The wave is a groove but not a rut, which is worn out and meaningless. Experimental is radical or it's dead.

The generation to follow, unfortunately, re-invented the bit and disproved Bateson's general theory on the importance of being different (Didn't he mean "dada"?). They proved the specific theory, but only as it reinforced their hostility to difference itself. They invented political networking, but could never explain why, in Tron, when the hero actually found a bit and tried to get some questions finally answered, the bit could only answer "yes" and "no". If he wanted a heftier answer, he needed to find another bit set to the "heavy/light" function. Where's the sense in that? Crazy, man! Stay tuned, don't adjust your set, don't touch that dial, don't be square!

In the re(li)gion of square Establishment, point is a functional piece of property. What's the use? "Point, use, same scene".

It's fruitless to go on about points and their getting. The message is in the wave, not the particle. Isn't the point the signal? The modulated amplitude of heft? Let me point you in a different direction, just to illustrate my point. Turn up your hearing aid grandma, and put on your shades, I want you to see this too! If you open your book and turn to page 425, note the color of the image at top left. Now that's what I'm sayin', Dig? The color seems to be fading but that's an optical delusion. Now we've lost my point entirely!

Oh yeah! Like, it's in the shade. The point is the wave, and the wave is a transmission, and the transmission carries loads of informaparaphrenalia, but not in just any old haphazard array. Like, it's Phrenolic Substance! There are subcarriers, sidebands and harmonics. The message moves with the frequency. Depending on what frequency your dial is set to, and whether your set digs sideband, whether your amp is tube or solid state, whether your speaker is adequate to resonate with the tune, you will receive a message, maybe not the message, but a message. The message only resonates when we're in the groove, on the same frequency. The surfer wants only to "catch a wave". That cat, Donovan, caught the wind itself (or at least he gave us a good gesture, an act of pure patamimesis!).

The point of the needle is to stay in the groove without skipping, but that ain't the point either. If the map is not the territory, the song is not the stylus. Can you dig it? Get in the groove and let the good times roll. A rock 'n roll tune by The Mother of all Inventions, the weather report, the public service announcement, station identification, those bad commies out to get you, buy this and then buy that. Hey daddyo, absolute noise corrupts cool absolutely! So you change frequencies like you'd change your underwear, just because of the crap they're trying to sell to drown your own cool with the signal: "Don't you try'n put your shit on me! Wo-oh. If I can't tune in, I'm tuning out! Dig?"

But it's all in the wave, and the wave is the transmission, and the message is measured by our ability to groove. The right frequency, we can say "I get the message", or "I dig your point". But the point we get is sometimes not the point they thought they sent. Sometimes we get a bigger point than they intended or even knew of themselves. Sometimes the point is lost on us all and we have a psychedelic experience. The point is a joke. What a kick!

The Use is only where you go from there, man, and that's relative to where your head's at here. Where you go and what you do with it ... if it don't soothe your soul, what's the fuckin' point? Don't get the blues, blow 'em!

And that's the biggest kick of all.

A. Runnion Polisson

 


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