Have you ever found yourself running down the dream and suddenly realized you’d lost your self-awareness? The answer is no, because, if so, you’d be self-aware and already know you’d lost it. See how that works? (The key there is “if so.”)
I mention this because I have just stumbled across a new favorite word that is oh so perfect for decorating the despair in our times: ladies and gentlemen, give it up for deindividuation.
Because I took Greek and Latin etymology in college in a previous geological epoch (Plasticscene) and because I did not have to cheat that much on the final, I am qualified to ease your understanding of deindividuation by hitting it with a hammer and breaking it into little bitty etymites:
De: “away from” or “out of it,” sometimes “out to lunch.” Alternately “the” or “de” as in “de feet dey hurty, oh dey doody do.”
indevid: short for “in de video” (Duh). Not to be confused with inna-godda-devita.
u: as in You Tube; alternately “u” as in u.
a: as the Canadians pronounce it, eh?
tion: a formal setting where you are required to dress up (to have de tie on) but not to look up de dress.
Put it all together and you have a word that literally means “a short movie about a natty, out-to-lunch Canadian haberdasher, looking for a lovely dress in all the wrong places, especially Guelph.”
Of course, language is very elastic and sometimes if you stretch a word too far it will snap in your face like a pair of edible undies in a tug of war. Today, deindividuation has come to mean “You aint nothin’ but a hound dog,” with the full implication that “you aint never caught a rabbit and you aint no friend of mine.”
What you’re probably thinking right now is “What is the meaning of this? I’m texting the cops.” To which, I reply “Keep your tion, pal.”
Because, look. Whether writing, painting, dancing or writing about a dancing painter, we artists don’t start out to make a point or send a message. For one thing we’d have to think up something sophisticated, punchy and glib. And it’s hard enough assembling the damn easel and getting the top off the paint cans without spilling. If you’re smelling me.
Besides, most artists don’t know how to use the message function on their device and they end up sending E-MAILS IN CAPITAL LETTERS which, as they are repeatedly warned by their sophisticated, punchy and glib nephews, nobody sends anymore, no how, no way, you geezing hashtag@whatthehellisahashtag.
Thus, in the grand scheme of things, just as Mr. Big planned it, we artists are required only to be artsy. Fartsy, however — finding meaning or beauty, or cooties — is like falling bird-do: totally on you.
So stop trying to figure out what the artist meant. He/she has no idea/idea. Your job is simply to check the box that says “Saw, read, heard, got down, got funky on art: □Yes □No □Um.”
And here’s a little secret. Whether the artist knows it or not, under the Constitution there are only a handful of things any piece of art can legally mean. Seriously. Clip this list and keep it in your sock for easy reference.
What art means:
- Life Sucks
- Death Sucks
- Limbo sucks
- See that guy over there? He sucks
- Look in the mirror. Kinda reminds you of a Turbo-charged shop vac, no?
Meanwhile, good luck sucking up to your self-awareness.
1.Come on, everybody knows it’s in Ontario, (and not the one in California.)
2. Not quite Heartbreak Hotel, but then what is, eh E?
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2017, all rights reserved.