Obscurism

Obscurism: The practice of peppering daily life with obscure references (forgotten films, dead TV stars, unpopular books, defunct countries, etc.) as a subliminal means of showcasing both one’s education and one’s wish to disassociate from the world of mass culture.

–as defined in Douglas Coupland‘s ponderific novel, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture )

Something about setting up a new site saps the creativity out of me. Too much process and not enough presence. So, for my flagship post, I’ll just quote something obscure and self-referencing, because meta.

One of the things I love to romanticize (and there’s a long list) is obscurity. But of course, by drawing attention to it, trying to define it, we undo it. That quality, that ephemeral can’t-quite-catch-it-or-pin-it-down-will-‘o-the-wisp-ishness, is what enchants me. I read a book a few years ago called If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor, and the entire book was basically a fly on the wall of the everyday lives of a handful of unremarkable people in an apartment building. But the act of novelizing their experiences, remarking upon them, made those experiences by definition remarkable.

Things are only unremarkable when we fail to recognize them. The most remarkable events in our lives are the obscurities that we bother to remark upon.

And so, a blog. About obscurities, self-awareness, and reflection–as well as about all the other unremarkable things in my life about which I wish to remark.

ob·scure
adj. ob·scur·er, ob·scur·est

  1. Deficient in light; dark.
  2. So faintly perceptible as to lack clear delineation; indistinct.
  3. Indistinctly heard; faint.
  4. Linguistics. Having the reduced, neutral sound represented by schwa.
  5. Far from centers of human population: an obscure village.
  6. Out of sight; hidden: an obscure retreat.
  7. Not readily noticed or seen; inconspicuous: an obscure flaw.
  8. Of undistinguished or humble station or reputation: an obscure poet; an obscure family.
  9. Not clearly understood or expressed; ambiguous or vague: “an impulse to go off and fight certain obscure battles of his own spirit” (Anatole Broyard). [from dictionary.com]

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