November 5th, 2008

Unfamiliar Ceiling

And Now . . . The Larch

I knew Obama was going to win California in any case so, when I voted yesterday, it was mainly to vote against Proposition 8, the proposed amendment to the Californian constitution to deny homosexuals the right to marry. It passed, so I'm back to feeling angry with society.

Not helping is that convicted felon Ted "Bridge to Nowhere" "Internet is a Series of Tubes" Stevens looks likely to retain his seat in the senate. Democrats did not achieve the filibuster-proof majority in the senate, which means we're likely to see plenty more of the senate gridlock we've been seeing since 2006 and it's probably not going to help President Obama's image.

And already Obama's made a decision that's disappointed me by naming Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. Emanuel has long struck me as a particularly slimy politician. At least ever since his appearance on Bill Maher where Maher essentially got Emanuel, head of the Democratic Caucus, to admit Democrats were keeping impeachment of Bush off the table because he thought it would make the election of a Democratic president more likely.

I hope Al Franken eventually wins in Minnesota.

I was so happy last night, and here I'm already finding all these rusty linings.

This morning I read the first portion of Caitlin's Sirenia Digest, a vignette called "I AM THE ABYSS AND I AM THE LIGHT". It was a very nice little Science Fiction story, doing what good Sci-Fi ought to do, taking concepts of scientific theory and making them intimate with psychologies of individual characters. This particular story reminded me very strongly of Neon Genesis Evangelion for its engaging with the idea of fundamental isolation. The idea that all humans are, in essence, alone as no two people can ever truly connect. Caitlin says explicitly this is what the story's about in her prolegomena.

As I read, I couldn't help comparing Caitlin's treatment of the concept to Evangelion's. In her prolegomena, Caitlin says she doesn't know if there is a word for the particular fear of isolation that led to the vignette's inception, but Evangelion begins with separation anxiety disorder, only to have Gendo Ikari re-diagnose the condition as the unavoidable, unbearable separation between all human beings. It is what the series refers to as an "Absolute Terror Field", a force field initially only seen as surrounding the Evangelions and the monstrous Angels, the puncturing of which leads to death. So the dissolution of self to combine with the dissolution of other selves is seen by the protagonist oriented factions of the series as something bad and, to Gendo, who might potentially be seen as a series antagonist, as something good and intensely necessary.

The protagonist of Caitlin's story, Ttisa, certainly sees this dissolution and unification as a good thing and, interestingly, the condition is portrayed as far more narcissistic than it is in Evangelion, though it makes a lot of sense. The protagonist's isolation is coupled with an extreme self-absorption that prohibits her from even attempting to empathise with other people. At one point, she is described as not even finding it worth the effort of interpreting the emotions on her boyfriend's face.

The end of the vignette sees the woman dissolving into a communal consciousness with alien entities and she seems to become a wanker of astronomical proportions. In fact, the story seems to suggest that, to people like Ttisa, at least, masturbation is the fullest experience of which a human being is capable.
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