Amerika Online: The Rhetorical Gesture Amerika Online

The Rhetorical Gesture

Mark Amerika

This is a story that is creating its vision.

It can be perceived in electronic reality or print reality or whatever other reality you choose to receive it in just receive it.

And when you receive it, feel free to play with it, because this story is already certain of its dynamic vision, of its sense of play, of its need to continuously produce an experimental humanism.

Mold it, shape it, manipulate it, sample it's digital "thereness."

But where is there?

Here is there too.

Here is where "there" can become a place to create collaborative vision: a public domain narrative environment that defies intellectual property and the need to own and/or be owned.

Place as placelessness, blank fertility of the apparatus dreaming its own seclusion yet opening itself up to all kinds of social relevance by writing itself out into the pixellated semiosphere.

It is a place where the art of rhetoric flourishes, a virtual environment system that expands the conversation our edified codes of meaning have always created for a network of literate subjects who, acting out an essentially de-characterized sense of consciousness-posing-as-self, learn the tricks of the trade and bring all of this persuasive currency to market.

It's when we come to market that the vision thing becomes a kind of war on ourselves and once everyone has fought similar battles against their improvisational "selves," then the linear logic of the stories that grow out of these related experiences become normative and grounding, ready to be torn apart and re-vised into new boundary spaces by the cyborg-narrator whose forever shifting nodes of collective self-consciousness become decontextualized into even more innovative and marketable figures of speech (deterritorialized fields of writing) that the supplemental modes of decorum choose to deliver our way as hype (this is how we create value: perhaps we could have started this column "This is a story creating its value...").

As our vision of our cyborg-selves, of our network-value, becomes more grounded, our relationship with the gravity of culture, its material well-being, becomes more intimate.

We (literally) fall in love (with our cyborg-selves, our network-value, real and potential).

We fall in love with our vision thing (the thing that got us here, that made us infinitely-connected).

Our vision thing temporarily blinds us and soon we find ourselves investing heavily in the potential play of our corrective in-sights.

Before you know it we're changing the way we read the humanities, no longer able to just see THROUGH the text and transpire meaning from its hidden depths but now envisioning the text's natural abundance AS pixellated "print" foregrounding the narrative content, utilizing a prosthetic set of amplified spectacles that play into the Devourer of Time's hairy hands.

These hairy hands, seeing out the ends of its fingertips whose retinal secretions taste like a bad wet dream emitted by second-rate poets posing as marketer-legislators taking over the public domain, strangle us to near death, but as soon as we are about to give up breathing and let ourselves pass into the oblivion of an interiorized darkness, something else takes over our devourer, and this something else takes us over as well, it's a kind of nuked-desire, an endless nuked-desire that facilitates our need to believe in something besides our vision, something/anything that can still protect us from ourselves.

It's a something else that always adds itself on to the plus of our story, the creative vision expanding.

It's the plus of our story materializing an endless nuked-desire forever pursuing its creative vision.

But is the plus of our story, its creative vision (its value-added), finally ready to deliver?

Deliver what?

Moments of significance?

A deeper understanding of the world in which we live?

Let us not forget that The Net was originally developed to protect us too.

Protect us from nuke-desire.

And now, as with so much multinational-military-media technology, we have "consumer applications" and ways of seeing that simultaneously defy gravity ("soaring expectations!") while grounding us in the accredited culture ("...they have successfully established firm footing...").

Can we afford not to decentralize the distribution of power throughout the multinational-military-media matrix?

The fact that you're reading this here, now, and not in some academic journal or commercial magazine, suggests the difference.

This is how the art of electronic hyperrhetoric in a scrolling environment works.

The first thing it does is it catches your drift.

It points you in what it thinks is the right direction.

All you have to do is interact.

Be there.

Follow your eyes and push a button.

Watch it all unfold before your very I's.

Your very many I's that want to find connectivity in the social semiosphere.

Do you want to link?

Do you want to link to me?

Where will that get you?

This our-you-me speak is converging toward vision again and it reeks of a vaporous politics.

The vision thing is "site-specific" and promises pennies from heaven.

Yet could these moneyed heavens be nothing but havens for the rich?

One sample problematic: how to proceed with a visionary rhetoric without feeling totally indebted to all the historical accounts.

But then who is it that says "I want..."

Any child.

And so we learn to speak, to write, to build web pages, to network our avant-avatars into oscillating states of presence and absence while the wave forms that "represent" us create new portfolios of meaning that others, should they have access to our pixellated semiospheres, can download and/or virtually incorporate into their own data structures.

As this data infiltration seeps into our operating systems we have no choice but to reconfigure our vision even as we see that same vision lose itself in the rhetorical gesture.

This is when our story becomes a kind of musical decomposition.

Mark Amerika is Director of the Alt-X Publishing Network. He is the author of many books including The Kafka Chronicles (Black Ice Books) and Sexual Blood (Black Ice Books). He is also editor of various anthologies of fiction and nonfiction including Degenerative Prose: Writing Beyond Category (Black Ice Books) and In Memoriam To Postmodernism: Essays On the Avant-Pop (San Diego State University Press).