Rant of the Day:

BLOK 6: THE CHINESE SMILE, is now printed, and available on Amazon’s UK site (clicking on the cover images leads to each title’s site). The Blok Saga, 30 years in the writing, is now complete. Long, isn’t it? This cements my own personal crime against publishing: to be an uncommercial writer. For a while (as long as fiction goes, the movie books are another category) I made my path in the acceptable mode of the artisan graced with a contractual permit to supply what the lawyers now call “intellectual property.” But somewhere down the line, after Blok No. 4, I ceased to fool them, and was found out in the full glare of my literary treason.

But, as Humphrey Bogart pointed out to Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca,” this whole affair don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world… since we find ourselves at a twist in the real story of human madness and over-reach, a moment when the full consequences of technological triumph become apparent, and at a time when great waves of political, social and economic crises are fracturing the “global village” delusion. That which was trumpeted as a great liberation, the fabulous internet, stands exposed as an open ward prison, in which George Orwell’s invention of “thought-crime” becomes a reality – and we are all suspects. Simultaneously, great social movements of rebellion against tyranny, “people power” and the “Arab spring,” hit the buffers of state bullets and the reality check of a world still ruptured between rich and poor, the power elite and the powerless mass, with many old schisms of ethnicity and religion re-emerging in their ulgiest modes.

Is this world really there, or have we made it all up? The Blokkian solipsism, based originally on the historical detail of the battles of Palestine-Israel, is familiar both to the deranged and to authors, to fanatics and scribes. Freud noted this from his most spectacular psychiatric case history, that of the imprisoned Judge Schreber, whose madhouse philosophy stemmed from the principle of: “Everything that happens is in relation to me.” We can only deploy our own perception, and the rest is either acceptance of what the “other” informs me about, or the world of Philip K. Dick, where any insight could equally be a delusion.

Where then, is the world of the “cloud”?? I am part of the last generation, it seems, that wrote either laboriously by hand or on a typewriter, that primitive instrument which infuriated neighbours at midnight. Now babies respond to a book by trying to hand-flick its pages I-pad style. The world is seen as virtual, which according to my dictionary derives from “virtue”, another conceptual dilemma. Modernity made us used to communications that rush about in unseen energies, but these have so far been transient, till stored in some actual medium. And if the “cloud” is not kept in the actual, gigantic servers closely guarded by the internet corporations (some of them, I understand, plumb over the San Andreas Fault), then, as any child might ask – where is it? What happens then to our perception of what outside the madhouse is accepted as the Reality of the Other, including all the pain, suffering, oppression and mass murder of innocents that is relayed to us by 24-hour news, in the split-second of a keystroke search, or the immediacy of a camera-phone clip?

I did not foresee these fool’s questions, what are called in Yiddish “klots-kashes,” but I think Avram Blok did, in his refusal to be “properly” sane. I have left him in the “cloud,” somewhere. The rest, I am afraid, IS reality. Be aware…