Peripatetic Postcards

Picture (this), without Words

This was the photo that should have gone with the drive talk entry a couple days back. It isn't necessarily the best -- and certainly not the only -- image moseying on by at 30 clicks an hour on the congested LA freeways . . . but it unquestionably one of the more self-explanatory.

Besides, it was the one most readily available. The one just outside my windshield today heading home from work. Availing itself of my phone-camera.

Opportunity being the blessed child of expediency. Success the golden fruit of dumb chance.

Enough with the half-baked philopsophy. What of the picture? Can't quite make it out? Me and my shaky hand action. Well, it's a bulldog clenching a steering wheel, sketched in blue paint, on the back of a cargo truck. Challenging -- even taunting? -- would-be passersby. That sign growling:

I'm a brute, a fighter. Pugnacious, not pusillanimous. Want to try me? Think you're up to it? Hey Joe! Give it a go.

Over here, on the LA freeways, there are thousands such signs, slogans, ideas, assertions, beliefs, wishes, and threats stenciled on the backs, sides, fronts, and tops of passing vehicles . . . each in its own way declaring:

This is how we drive, this is who we are, this is how we live, over here. You don't have a problem with that, do you?

Well, perhaps not in those words. And, actually not in many -- or even any -- words. Often just in images.

And . . . with images like those . . . who needs talk radio?

Just ask Peter Gabriel. As in:

this is the picture, this is the picture

this is the picture, this is the picture

Which is there for anyone to see. Assuming they follow the advice of Bruce Hornsby:

Look out any window

See what's going on in the world around you

Hey! There goes the soundtrack. See it chug on by. Roll down your window. Catch it as it breezes by.

Picture this, without words.

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Still from Whiplash (2014) (Photo by Daniel McFadden - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute) (IMDB)

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Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

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