Friday, June 20, 2008

Buford Highway

This is a twist on Ken Kesey's 'you are either on the bus or off the
bus.' (I think that's what he said.) Anyway here in this southern city
we have buses and they almost all now have elaborate advertising
wrapped on them, photoreal stuff in many colors. If you match up the
scenes around the bus with the interior there is an interesting
contrast. You have people traveling to Doraville on a bus painted
with pictures of the Savannah beach. You have people slouched on
cracked plastic seats in a bus advertising BMW convertibles This
hardly counts as paradoxical since the advertising is emphatically NOT
for bus riders.

Yet the scene is a unit, combining truth and falsity, all
philosophical variants pushed together, all opinions folded into one
phrase, all colors in one blaze. The guy zipping past the public
transportation may think, can I manage a new Jaguar this summer, while
the person inside the bus wonders if he is getting any later. A unity
which laughs at any philosophical distance, which knows to specify any
school is to miss the point. A unity which exists to declare

At the level of the person all are surrounded by ignorance and
(thankfully) ignorant of it. Yet the bus provides a sense of
destination to convertible driver
and bus passenger both, to distract them from the adjacent abyss.
Buses are like words. The bus points beyond itself, hints of things it
cannot deliver on. The bus will not be making any surprising stops.
The bus suggests travel but prevents any meaningful journey. Like

If you accept ANY label whatsoever, you are at a bus stop. But how do
you express that you have to be both on and off the bus AT THE SAME
TIME, to get any discount on gravity?

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