Columnist gets super meta and weird with final column

“Who gets to speak and why? […] is the only question,” (Chris Kraus, “I Love Dick,” 1997).

Dear Reader: I want you to read this like it’s for you. I want you to respond to it like it’s for you. Because without you, I would be wholly trapped within my myopic psyche of self-denigration, first-guessing and second-guessing.

Does that make sense?

When I first tried writing my last column for the Misc—this column—I tried to make it some massively polemical manifestation of a swelling rage. I wanted it to focus the amorphous blob of anger that pushes around within me whenever I have a chance to think about anything for an extended period of time.

(To clarify, I do not want to lose that blob. I want to understand it. When I feel without it, sometimes in its place is the silent bleed of apathy. That scares me far more.)

(Anger I can sometimes direct. Apathy is a fog.)

I wanted this last column to cause something. I wanted to feel as though the words I have careening around in my brain could be concentrated in such a way that brings about tangibility. I wanted to feel as though the things I spend all day thinking about are more than the solipsistic turmoils of an overtrained, utility-less, 21-year-old brain.

And selfishly, I wanted my last column for the Misc—this column—to organize my mind. I wanted it to be what all final things are supposed to be: comprehensive and closure-providing, definitive and impassioned, melancholic and hopeful.

So when I sat down in the library to write, I partly expected to be overcome with emotions and thoughts more profound than what I’ve otherwise sat with. I partly expected to be overrun with the conclusive ruminations of a somebody whose brain works teleologically—constantly rushing toward some moment of clarity.

But that isn’t what happened. Instead, I was confronted by the same fear and hollowness that confronts me—and maybe everybody—every time I am asked to create. Because in forums like this, creation is a social project. This is something that is written to be shared. It is something that is written with other people, even when it is not written with other people.

Or else it is just a journal. And journals are supposed to be for us (singular). This writing is supposed to be for us (plural). The problem is, I’m not sure that either us exists.

Does that make sense?

II.

“Study’s good, because it microcosms everything—if you understand everything within the walls of what you study you can identify other walls too, other areas of study. Everything’s separate and discrete and there is no macrocosm, really. When there are no walls there is no study, only chaos. And so you break it down,” (Kraus).

Dear Reader: I want you to read this like it’s for you. I want you to respond to it like it’s for you. Because without you, I would be wholly trapped within my myopic psyche of self-denigration, first-guessing and second-guessing.

Does that make sense?

Unsurprisingly, I have been asked more than once this year why my columns appear in the sports section. Surely, this particular column—my last column in The Misc—would raise the same eyebrows. The answer to this question is revelatory of more than just my own comfortability with the discussion of sports.

The answer to this question also might not be all that interesting, but that’s not for me to decide. I will roughly sketch the reasons out plainly, because that makes sense to me, and maybe makes more sense to you, too:

I like Myles and he is the editor of this section. I like writing knowing that Myles is going to be the one who edits the column because Myles is smart and good at editing and good at talking.

Refer to the quotation that begins this section.

Further contemplation of the quotation that begins this section is crucial to understanding these answers. Because these answers support two guiding philosophies of my life: (1) that relationships undergird all thought, feeling and communication, and (2) that to understand big things you must look at small things—you have to “microcosm everything.” Without microcosm, there is “only chaos.” The multitudinous contradictions of society and the interpersonal, then, become more lucid through an analysis of sports and the metaphorical walls that surround them.

That is not always a good thing. I have written about how white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism exist within sports. I have written about how these same phenomena are reified by sports. I have written—not enough, I might add—about the ways in which the very competition that is constitutive of sports is so steeped in different forms of toxicity that maybe the very existence of sports should be called into question.

But regardless of your belief in the potential of sports to be a crux of progress, the presence of structurally influential phenomena within and around them is undeniable.

Perhaps I think that sports illuminate fundamental elements of the human condition. Perhaps I think that, in this way, they may even transcend the idea of human plasticity—an idea that is so often affiliated with critical theory and the idea that “politics means accepting that things happen for a reason,” (Kraus).

Perhaps that’s true.

Perhaps it’s not.

III.

“To perform yourself inside a role is very strange,” (Kraus).

Dear Reader: What is funny about these columns—funny—is that I can never go back and read them. Every time I do, I shrivel; embarrassment reaches from the words towards my scrunched visage, and I decide it feels safer to read something else. To read something that doesn’t involve my own grapplings.

In writing these columns, I am quite cognizant of this stifling fear. Maybe that is why I write about sports and politics and the personal. Because for whatever reason sports are the only thing I do not feel at all inadequate discussing. (Reason(?): Much of my masculinity has been constructed in such a way that sports were the only place where it was okay to express unbridled emotion.)

Tethering my conscience from running among a world of imposter-dom, then, is my knowledge of sports. And thus, drawing a line between those two worlds—one world in which I am comfortable, the other in which I feel out of place—is the only way that either world does not consume me; one by way of comfort, the other by way of elitism, delusion and emotional detachment.

Does that make sense?

I’m not sure.

IV.

“You are trying to find some way of living you believe in. I envy this,” (Kraus).

Dear Reader: Does that make sense?

It does to me.

V.

“I hate ninety percent of everything around me! […] But then, the rest I really love. Perhaps too strongly,” (Kraus).

Dear Reader: Thank you for reading.

I’m out of room.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.