SECOND SKETCH: THREE Bs to “BELONGING” (conclusion)
“B Three =
“The apparition of these faces in the Crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough.”
If there is a second sustained metaphor in the post other than that of pointing fingers, it is that of a bowel movement. That metaphor tracks as follows:
“Here are some initial thoughts, on the plastic tags and related crap, that flashed through my head. . . . I give these thoughts to you half-baked. . . . Are we back to thinking of our students as ‘customers’? What does that make me? I feel dirty just thinkin’ ’bout it. . . . [T]hat sounds like a stinkin’ excuse and not a proper rationale. . . . Branding: I’m waiting for the day when I’ll walk into the college and be asked to bend over so I can have HW branded on my assets. . . . All this crap started when the district said we needed new colors. If [I] focused more on the purpose of education, [sic] than reinventing the rainbow I think [I]’d find gold sooner.”
That dense, non-linear final sentence presents several challenges for the reader. The “reinvented rainbow” image not only refers to a change in CCC colors or a myth regarding found riches, the roundness of the image also refers to the figurative “mooning” that takes place in the lobby of Harold Washington College when “I” bends over so that “I can have HW branded on my assets.” The “found gold” refers not only to some kind of academic or financial success as Realist conceives it, it is yet another tag/badge intended to signify some worthwhile quality: the found gold marks the end result of the post, arguably the pleasure and value Realist places on having “re-branded” Reinvention.
The metaphor is unpleasant. There is no other way to say this. One characteristic of demonizing rhetoric is the use of vile imagery to describe the “Other.” (See https://haroldlounge.com/2013/03/08/why-i-blog-anonymously-part-ii/)
The post closes with an italicized address to the reader: “*If I come across as bein’ flippant, it’s only ’cause I’m tryin’ to get my message across any ways I can. I’ve tried polite in the past. Humorous e’ery so often. Formal when I thoughts it apropos. Silly when sensible was not called for. And now? Perhaps if I appeal to the lowest common denominator of intelligence, maybe, maybe, someone might pay attention. When in Rome…”
This direct address to the reader is supposed to create the illusion that the “real,” sincere person behind the “I” has stepped out from behind all textual effects to speak candidly with the reader; instead, in the wake of the “rebranding,” a self-infantilizing persona is left standing in the lobby of HWC.
“I’m tryin’ to get my message across any ways I can,” declares Realist.
On the one hand, Realist denies responsibility for the post in general and the bowel movement in particular, essential claiming that “District Office made ‘I’ do it.” On the other hand, Realist makes a plaintive demand for attention: “Perhaps if I appeal to the lowest common denominator of intelligence, maybe, maybe, someone might pay attention.”
The demand for attention is profoundly conflicted. “What would [my] founding fathers say?”
“It’s about that reply Kamran and others left on PhiloDave’s post. I need not expound on it here. . . . [G]o back and read those thoughtful words…about education and academics and students. Ain’t no gimmicks there,” writes Realist. The reader will note that Realist simply avoids any attempt to summarize or paraphrase “those thoughtful words.”
Therefore, Realist’s post is redundant, unnecessary, and opportunistic after all.
(End of Second Sketch)