Day TwoIt has been suggested, to me, broth… It has been suggested to me by the HHPPPC that I do not address you as “brothers and sisters”. I have no clear idea what the HHPPPC is, but I guess we can assume that the letter C stands for committee rather than the other thing, and they have suggested that the style of address “brothers and sisters” is in some way offensive — they supply the details, I forget what exactly — and that something less discriminatory would be apposite. Bollocks, I hear you cry, the phrase has the authority of antiquity. They suggest Sethren. You can see where it’s coming from. There is, I believe, an archaic form of sisters, sistren. As in children. Or oxen. What? No, gotten is a verb. No, if you want a grammar lesson… Okay, okay. Yes, but apparently the chairperson of the HHPPC has a relationship. No, I don’t know what kind, I imply nothing, with the chairperson of the Highways Committee, and this layby… Good. Let us turn our minds to higher things. Much higher things.
Sethren, we are gathered together. More or less. To dwell upon the matter of misogyny. And demons, if you recall. And what is a demon? Thank you Sether Thomas, but no thank you. Wings? No. Pitchfork? Nope. Not the fucking horns either, sether. None, I’m afraid.
Ah, sether Pritchard-Achebe-Wajda? Oh, you delight me, sether. It is. It is indeed. It so is. A demon is an irreducible locus of meaning. But gird your loins, sethren, for we must address the deeper question, the, I throw it back at you, the existential interrogative, the “what is the mad bugger on about?” To say irreducible is easy. Well, sether Albert, perhaps not easy, but the least of our woes. And I to say locus is even easier. And I think we can all manage meaning, and no doubt define it with devastating precision as “it’s what something means”. Of course. Of… course.
When we think of misogyny, all sorts of things may come to mind. Many, many things. They are like the cohorts of the damned; close too, in horrid detail, pallid, cruel, sunken, wide eyed with hatred and terror; but then diminishing into the distance, until on that far escarpment beyond the plain they are smaller than flies, smaller than things painted with the finest camel hair brush. And we know that beyond vision, they go on for ever. Gang rape at a bus stop, immolation in the kitchen, stabbing and butchering to suitcase size for dishonour, the nightly back from the pub punching, broken teeth and a face like a gorgonzola, tits in the Sun, a porn site of your choice, silly cow, silly bitch, calm down dear. They go on for ever.
But that, sethren, is not what we are considering here. What we are considering here is the demon misogyny. No wings, no pitchfork, no horns. An irreducible locus of meaning.
Misogyny is, like everything else in the metaverse, oh sethren, distributed. It is neither here nor there. It is both in the places I have just mentioned, the face like a gorgonzola for instance, that is to say places in the world, and it is in our skulls, our brains. And it is in the vibrations of the air between us, spoken language, and in the shut dark of closed books, and in the non-existent ether, radio, TV, cyberspace. That’s what I mean by distributed.
But if I give you a list, misanthropy, mislaid, Ms Pritchard-Achebe-Wajda, misericord, gynaecology, gin, missionary, misogyny, queen, queynte, miscreant, Missy Lee, Mister, mist, androgynous and so on, and ask you to remember as many as you can, then misogny will have flickered through you mind along with the rest, not as gorgonzola and so on, but as the irreducible meaning of the word and its distributed existence which differentiates it from all other irreducible meanings.
An irreducible item of difference. That is a demon. What you recognise as one thing not another in its minuscule particularity.
Sethren, I notice a glazedness about the eyeballs, and I infer from the general direction that MadamMeMe’sMagicMeatyBits, in all its vile decrepitude, has drawn up in the layby opposite, and hunger for what may have once been protein has superseded hunger for the distributed and the intangible. Same time after the weekend, sethren, for let me remind you that tomorrow begins our three day feast when abstinence from alcohol and drugs of your choice is not demanded. Difference, sethren, and la vista.