Category Archives: roar-shock

roar-shock cinci, part 3

this isn’t really a blogging, it’s more a small momentum push so maybe i soul-find the energy to do a more serious sermon on something Real at a later date.

this is a incidence trajectory to share a random connect-a-dot. i won’t even grant this narrative because i haven’t the heart.

The Setting: my head

The Actors: two novels, and cincinnati.

i’m just going to list clause-less facts in disorder [internal, before-the-blog’s-even-published update: there are a lot of facts] , and then maybe put them together.

  • in the newspaper freddy durkee promises adult eduction will revitalize careers
  • sinclair lewis wrote babbitt in 1920s [23?]
  • sinclair lewis particularly liked the Optimist Club
  • ferdydurke is named after freddy durkee
  • witold gombrowicz was a polish author
  • sinclair lewis was not a polish author
  • babbitt fictionalizes civic boosterism
  • freddy durkee is not the main character of babbitt
  • witold gombrowicz wrote ferdydurke in 1930s [37?]
  • babbitt is the main character of babbitt
  • sinclair lewis liked to do “fieldwork” on a topic before writing a book
  • zenith is the city in babbitt
  • sinclair lewis is neither upton sinclair nor oscar lewis
  • zenith is a mishmash of many cities
  • in ferdydurke a man is shoved back into humiliating youth and schooling
  • danuta borchardt translated ferdydurke recently
  • zenith most closely resembles cincinnati [oh we all knew this was coming]
  • babbitt grew up in catawba
  • catawba was the wine cinci was famous for
  • longworth wrote “catawba wine” about cinci
  • danuta borchardt wrote that freddy durkee was the main character of babbitt
  • there are other good clues for babbitt being set in “cinci lite”
  • but i forget them
  • sinclair lewis did most of his “fieldwork” on boosterism in cinci
  • ferdydurke is named after freddy durkee
  • freddy durkee is not the main character of babbitt

the arc that i drew out of these facts was (or is) basically:

Cincinnati’s absurdity [disclaimer: not that cincinnati is more absurd than any other city, it’s just the point of articulation for this trajectory]  —-> inspires sinclair lewis to write babbitt ——> babbitt in some odd way inspires ferdydurke

delete the middle, which i think is acceptable in logic [maybe in symbolic reasoning it’s called transmutation?] and you have the following fact:

cincinnati’s absurdity inspired ferdydurke

what do you call that? it’s real, but it’s not intentional or observable or provable in any way.


that was ok fun.

i hate positionality. well it’s ok. but it’s not a puzzle; it’s too deductive as explanation

bruno schulz drew that cover. bruno schulz left his small town as little as possible. almost never. he did go to school in vienna though.

i can feel it building in a hum around me, the genial machine. i’m going, sleeping on the train


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roar-shock cinci, part 2

this is a non-fiction tale:

oh how to start? i don’t do this often, try to tell a narrative of people in situ (as opposed to in print, i love telling stories of the holy words of different persons). hm.

this thing is limitless, where to cut the boundaries? let’s say i was at home, studying feverishly, wane yellow light, snow out the window. it’s december 2007, a day or two before an exam. blah blah this part isn’t very important. let’s quicken the pace.

received a text via my cinci grapevine (which i don’t think i knew existed until this moment), stating, in satisfied tones, that there was a script reading that night for a play titled: “Cincinnnati at Rest”. for free. OH WELL, I WAS HOT AND BOTHERED by this, but i stayed the course and studied for my exam. good for me, pat on the back.

shortly after that exam, i did decide to hunt for this play though, to find out exactly what it was about. followed a bizarre little rabbit’s hole chase through theater collective websites, and off off broadway actor listings. after many odd and unanswered emails on my part, i finally received a response and was connected with the playwright and the email chain of my dreams (um kinda like this, remember? [honest question: how did I ever come across this?! i have no recall])!

well, to cut to the eager-ness of it, according to the play-wright, it wasn’t  about cincinnati, sorry. ACK right? wrong. it was about (the title was, as they say in the biz, working title, and i believe was changed) aaron burr chilling, killing, and pimping (but mostly about hamilton dying).

well “purportedly”, hamilton and burr were both superfanaticos of the Society of the Cincinnati, and the play plays with that idea. big whoop. “did i want him to send me the script?” of course not, why in the world would i want that. go away

EXCEPT, reading his email, and chewing on the cud of my disappointment, i came across this little epiphany: cincinnati is plural.

duh. i took latin. 1 cincinnatus; 2 cincinnati, 3 cincinnati, 4 cincinnati, etc. = 1 tom, 2 toms, 3 toms, etc.

BUT THINK ABOUT IT. we (*ahem* you?) have a city that is in the plural form. weeeeeEEEEEeeeEEEEeeeellllllllllllll. i don’t know, but that’s rare. that’s downright bizarre.i remember growing up, someone would occasionally ask: “name all the teams in the NBA that are not plural”, or someone would ask: “name all the fruits that have a pit”. well to them i say: “name all the cities that are plural” presto: cincinnati.

possible conclusions:

  • at the time, and still, i think this is a very bizarre name for a city. it’s like naming a city after the followers of a great person, instead of the great person mismo. anybody ever heard of George Washingtons, WA? it’s mixing up the act of “believing” with the thing that is believed in.
  • oh this gels weirdly with the whole “cincinnati is a city with dual souls” argument that taylor, jr. puts forward. predestination and jeepers creepers son, that’s all.
  • aren’t we (*ahem* you) just cincinnati instead of cincinnatians? i mean, isn’t cincinnatians like a third-order naming? cincinnatus –> cincinnati –> cincinnatian. is there something debasing in this?
  • this might have some affect on ideas of citizenship in the city. really. hm.

for some reason if i think about this too long it makes me head hazy, and my stomach a little like my head.

society of the cincinnati

society of the cincinnati

post-script: anyway, i communicated some of this to him (in a slightly more restrained manner), and did end up asking for the script. he never replied. shucks dang shoot. life goes.

pps: oh the play was a comedy

ppps: this is one of the stranger blogs. pynchon lurks somewhere here (if i refer, i am pretentious, but literary instead of weird). maybe the chorus.

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roar-shock cinci, part 1

i was looking at cinci today and i realized it looks like a temporal bone:

from my osteology notebook. [temporal]

disclaimer: i drew this, and uh, i don't draw so accurately, so there's that. plus it's possible i may have subconsciously made this look more like cinci than merits

and for comparison:

from wikipedia, attribute to wholtone, and there are some other rules

from wikipedia, attribute to wholtone, and there are some other rules

also i used this map because northside also looks like a cincinnati/temporal bone. boy!, nested metonym potential!

rorschach inferences

  1. cincinnati is the bone that supports the temple. which is vital, so we have that to be proud of.
  2. cincinnati is the bone that houses the ear stuff. which is also vital, so we also have that to be proud of (but i don’t feel like cinci is such a good “listener” [especially hyde park, which would be @ the auditory meatus {just saying}])
  3. temporal as an adjective means basically “of this present world”, either in terms of time or “secular” interests. um. lots of urban inferences we could draw from that one.

maybe other associations are out there. if i get to make a temporal bone/cincinnati pumpkin i would be happy


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