Yes, no and pomo…

Last Sunday I picked up a book by Edward deBono. I was in town trying to find a farmers market that had been on the previous week and ended up browsing for books. It was called ‘Po: Beyond yes and no‘ it argues that thought can become stuck between linear patterns that are prescribed by our position in society etc, etc… leading to inevitable, stale thought. He suggests an alternative answer such questions might be ‘po’; a kind of neither nor response rather than some kind of synthetic compromise. Po (as I understand it) represents the opportunity to be creative, lateral or down right silly. It is the transparent, to what colour should I paint the house colour? The banjo quartet in the metal anthem. The grow more legs, to how can I run faster on snow. Po doesn’t have to make sense, it isn’t governed by the structures of right or wrong, success or failure; its from the 70s and I love it.

I stumbled upon Po by accident, whilst looking for something displaced by time and distracting myself for a few minutes before walking home. The product of random chance, another area of creative brilliance. Douglas Adams speculated on the ‘fundamental interconnectedness of all things’ in DGHDA far better than I could, his detective relied on this methodology and was probably my first introduction to the hard-boiled egg of noirish, PI fiction. I will write another time about the hell of unconscious plagiarism / tribute / inspiration into which I inevitably descended.

{I just saw a mother pulling her child along a train station on a three wheel scooter, a happy little suitcase, experiencing the safety of his mothers hand and the thrill of fair ground speed, surely a bit of ‘po’ in that arrangement.}

This all leaves me in a terrible, post modern mess. Discussing the post modern interview, Mats Alvesson rejects ideas of objectivity and positivistic certainties, in favour of context and relationship, trying to give the subject voice rather than worrying about any bias or partiality on part of the researcher. The interview is the product of two people meeting and talking about some stuff. It represents that meeting, between those individuals and what they said. So far so wonderful, the critics naturally question its scientific usefulness, but hey, that’s the game. Bloody science fascists, with their quests for the twin dragons of reliability and validity; I hope they find them in the forest of facts. One bit I think I understand about post modernism (a shaky claim at best) relates to an aim to sever ties between language and meaning, meaning and object. That somehow, the oppressive naming of things binds us in rigid ways of thinking that keep us in our place, nicely. That by subverting prescribed meaning and allowing for the many truths, we can escape the shackles of definition. (A recent dalliance with George Bataille’s Encyclopaedia Acephalica, by way of the ME4 writers and CitAEcephale, allowed some fun with this.) Unaware of all this nonsense, Chavelle was of this world. A non-tective, he was a PI in actions rather than job. His investigation accidental, pulling at a string and hoping to find something useful at the other end, perhaps obscuring more facts than uncovered with ‘pomo’ self indulgence.

***

A man lies dead surrounded by roses. The detective walks in and points at the butler.

‘Why him?’ Asks the bumbling representative of authority.

‘Because he’s wearing red trousers.’. Mutters the man in the dirty mac as he chews the remains of his stogie.

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About Roy Smith

Roy Smith lives in the Medway Towns, where he works with young people and spends a lot of time writing nonsense and enjoying himself. Most of his writing happens at night and other inconvenient moments, when he is regularly interrupted by his dog and the desire to play old video games.

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