My name is ‘Mincing’ Alex Ettling and this is a blog of lists.
The ‘Alex Ettling’ part of my name is very authorly sounding. The ‘Mincing’ part is all about stage name. If you verb up your name, it makes you more compelling.
In the context of this blog of lists, the ‘Mincing’ could be read as the title of the project, rather than the name of the person doing the writing. Perhaps you see the ‘Mincing’ in this context as representing some sort of dismembering of the writer’s identity? And a reconstitution through the archetype of the list, a form distinct in that it is both separate and contained, a framework in the semiotic system that can represent complexity, but has reduction at the core of its functionality?
But I totally wasn’t thinking about any of this at the time.
Perhaps you read the ‘Mincing’ as the display of overly-confident performance. A strutting of knowledge completely unsupported by objective research, participation in the field or demonstrable skill, or any claim to a sanctioned position of expertness to cast judgement on the ‘top’ or ‘best’ of anything.
But that would be unkind.
They are now better than novels! It’s a question of scale as much as a qualitative assessment. And I make the point because you are thinking ‘how could a tiny, little list compare to an epic tome?’ But add up all the lists and gum them up on one side, and then you’ll see. And then think about the most significant novels of the last year, or the last 40 years even, and think about whether it’s really the artform that shifts consciousness in any significant way. And yet people are still impressed by novels and authors. I don’t get it.
I like lists because they are practical. And ‘practicality’ tends to be overlooked in discussions about writing in this contemporary e-age. I guess many people feel that, in general, ‘writing’ is the most accessible art form around, given that all you really need is to be literate and have a pen and paper. But it actually is an art form which requires SUPER skills to do well, and so not everyone can participate, really. So when you look at it that way, not…very…practical.
But with lists, you can absorb the content in a very short period of time. This is why we don’t write a novel when we go to the supermarket. We write a list! Lists are the ideal form of communication within late-capitalism. They are like, THE BEST for encouraging commodity fetishism.
But here’s what I’m saying: all the books that need to be written have been written. The Communist Manifesto is already written and pretty easy to find a copy of, but it’s not getting read very often. And it’s short! I would like to see the important thoughts of our times communicated in a series of dot points. Potentially with some clip art on the side.
I hope my argument has been as compelling as my name, and you are convinced that modern times should be listed.
Like it or draw a line through it,
‘Mincing’ Alex Ettling