(the Hebrew version after the fold)
I lost my identity card /Yehuda Amichai
I lost my identity card.
I have to write out my curriculum vitae
all over again for many offices, one copy to God
and one to the devil. I remember
the photo taken thirty-three years ago
at a wind-scorched junction in the Negev.
My eyes were prophets then, but my body had no idea
what was happening to it or where it belonged.
You often say, This is the place,
This happened right here, but it’s not the place,
you just think so and live in error,
an error whose eternity is greater
than the eternity of truth.
As the years go by, my life keeps filling up with names
like abandoned cemeteries
or like an absurd history class
or a telephone book in a foreign city.
And death is when someone keeps calling you
and calling you
and you no longer turn around to see
who it is
A Skype chat log from 2007.
Me: Hey, listen – do you think any of the net-savvy literary theorists that you’re connected to has ever mentioned the connection between Bakhtin’s phatic function of language and things like twitter and other instances of ambient intimacy? [link, now broken]
She: could be, but I’m on the phone and then have to run. I’ll get back to you. Hi, by the way!
The most successful Israeli viral video of all times (so far, and probably by far), is Tasha’s lip-sync of “Hey” by The Pixies . This video received about 30,170,950 million views, and counting. There probably isn’t an Israeli TV show watched by so many in history, a film or a book seem an unfair comparison.
Lip-syncing was one of the genres which indicated the rise of YouTube and rising dominance of user-created video content. But why did so many people find it engaging as viewers or performers?
On a semiotic level, I find lip-synching fascinating, as it emerges as such prominent “sign of the times”. So this is my go at some “history of the present”…
Lip-syncing seems to me like the child of karaoke, it is the next step in a series of social activities centred around music. Additionally, both of them are socially acceptable ego-trips. Before both, we had sing-songs, with people coming together to sing in a group (The T-mobile singing flash-mob campaign looks more like a mass karaoke than a traditional sing-song).
With karaoke, the original performance remains the central subject of the performance. The performer becomes bigger as she connects with the original cultural artefact. Simply: I sing Bowie’s “let’s dance”, friends and strangers cheer, and for a moment – I touch glory.
The original self melts away, I’m now a vehicle for the song, and my gestures signify the original’s concept of stardom. I’m a prophet and my god is the original pop-culture artefact.
Many karaoke moments are compromised of people getting together to celebrate their mutual cultural history, performing the anthems of their youth, whilst celebrating their chance at feeling the kind of attention saved for pop-icons.
So I remember this kid I used to know, and we’re talking mid 80’s, yes?
And this kid was 7, maybe less. And he had this thing, for years, when he’d walk up to the mirror and watch himself for a while, and he’ll make faces and concentrate, and then he’d start crying. With big, round, wet tears. Often he’ll be truly bawling.
All this time he’d be staring at his own reflection in the mirror, and I seem to remember him having this intense look. Like he was amplifying and looking through it the same time.
Like he was trying to understand.
Who is this kid?
Why is he crying?
Whose body is this?
Why is it crying?
Whose kid is he?
What do those “crying” signs mean?
Who do they belong to?
And so on…
So lately I’ve been thinking this kid was a pioneer. It seems a lot of kids are doing that these days.
Or maybe he wasn’t and they always had.
Anyway, for some reason, nowadays kids are often quite happy doing it.
And in London they say: jyouknowhaamean?