Saturday, January 29, 2011

So Much Information

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
 -Gertrude Stein, Reflections on the Atomic Bomb (1946)

Is it my imagination or is the news cycle becoming more and more hallucinatory? Not just the news coming out of Egypt, which is mind-fucking enough ("Plumes of rancid, thick smoke billowed over the Nile River as, by nightfall, chaos reigned in the bustling metropolis," describes a feverish CNN wire dispatch) but the fluffier news as well; I presume my readers have been following, at least casually, the saga of the Florida piano? Abandoned atop a Biscayne Bay sandbar by some pranking teenagers, the dilapidated grand piano had become 2011's most Dadaist conversation piece-- until the authorities, playing their expected part, ordered it removed. Now the latest twist, yielding one of the most linguistically bizarre headlines (CNN again) in recent memory: MYSTERY PIANO IS NOW WAITER, TABLE. I don't recall the line betwixt breaking news and high-modernist poetry ever being so blurred--what a queer epoch is upon us!

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