ask palinode: blindfold edition

If you post this question, please do not link me. I am very ashamed.

I often dream that I am best friends or having sex with famous people. Often when I wake up I feel repulsed--such as when I dreamed about having an intellectual chat with Tom Cruise or being George Bush's mistress. What is wrong with me?

Very Ashamed in -----------

aka Sue


Sue, if you're dreaming of having an intellectual chat with Tom Cruise, I cannot help you. I talked to a priest, a rabbi, an imam and a rabbit, and they all agree that you are sick. But I can provide some advice on the celebrity sex dreams.

Media figures lead lives in two worlds. In the real world, they get up in the morning, piss in a bowl, pick scabs, think about death and car payments. In the hyperreal world of the media, however, the life of images, they are a series of assembled fragments, an inhuman flickering that our brains splice together into a complete, if imaginary, human being. Out of the raw stuff of images, celebrities are made by us, in the involuntary film lab of the brain.

Erotic fantasies often rely on involuntary arousal, the intrusion of an overwhelming force that shoulders aside the rational and pushes into your hindbrain. Since we live in a culture that prizes the rational to an irrational degree, almost any signifier of power can be associated with the erotic. The boot, the whip, the glove, the prof, the nurse, the soldier, the Swiss Guard - you name it, someone out there can get off on the power dynamic.

What this implies is that the visual itself is inherently erotic, even though there are images that repulse us. We cannot help but see what we see. The fragmented images of celebrity enter the brain without our consent and begin to join themselves together, borrowing associations and memories, generating a being. Our families, friends and loved ones end up sharing space with little psychopathic Russell Crowes, swooning Kidmans and manic Richard E. Grants. George W. Bush smirks endlessly from a neuronal Oval Office. Scarlett Johanssen and Thandie Newton give each other an eternal sponge bath.* Oh wait, we're not talking about my brain.

Sue, the only way to keep these dreams at bay is to cut new input off at the source. You must keep your eyes covered at all times. Wear a blindfold day and night. As the years go by, you'll forget the world of appearances. You'll forget that objects have a look to go with their shape. And from what I understand of the subject, your sense of smell will sharpen to the point where you can sniff your way around. You'll be like Daredevil, but with your nose.

In order to help you adjust to your new sightless but scented way of life, here's a strange public domain image of a wingless bird with a little bag over its head. After thirty minutes of looking at this, you'll be happy to put the blindfold on.

*I predict many google hits from this sentence.