Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nude Neutrinos

Today, the newspapers and blogs were full of chatter about CERN's disputed discovery of neutrinos that travel faster than the speed of light.  A number of learned commentators opined that this could not be so, since if it WERE so, we would have to change our understanding of how the universe functions.  Isn't that what people once said about Galileo?  And what they're now saying about Facebook?

Well, anyway, I'm rather hoping that CERN is right:  I was getting bored with E=mc2 and I have always felt that one-directional Time is totally unfair.  Hence, if something can move faster than light, that must mean that things that are happening now have, in fact, already happened--right?  And, if time is just a matter of human perception, then it would follow that, in some sense, I am getting younger.  The Past is the Future.

(This is going to piss off the math teachers who invent those Train A and Train B word problems:  now we know that both of the trains arrive before they left.)

OK.  Enough musing about relativity.  The REAL topic of this blog is San Francisco and how it, too, seems to "get there" rather before it has ever "left anywhere."

I.e., San Francisco is ahead precisely because it is so self-consciously, so theatrically and so immodestly behind.  Indeed, in its carefully studied decadence, dissipation and disdain for convention, San Francisco reminds me of the "nudes" in  Robert Graves' "The Naked and the Nude."  Slyly projecting an image of Gold Rush (or at least Turn of the Century) refined immorality, San Francisco delights in flipping off  the authentic, innocent "nakedness" of tourists from Oklahoma City and in embracing artifice, gimmickry and retrograde camp.

So we have "real" out-of-date cable cars, "real" previously-junked streetcars from other less affectedly old cities, "real" street fairs of leather- and fetish- dilettantes celebrating Barbary Coast pseudo-debauchery, "real" 21st Century Victorian architecture, "real" organic dog treats made from free-range chickens raised on the foggy slopes of Mt. Tamalpais.

In other words, nothing real at all.  It's all a wonderful pile of steaming artifice, as surreal as the preposterous hats in "Beach Blanket Babylon."  Pure nudity, winking broadly at the spectator and saying "take a break from convention!  Join us in this upside down, backward World of Naughtiness and Happy Hallucination. Give up your pathetic, honest nakedness.  GET NUDE.  BE A NEUTRINO:  GET AHEAD BY GOING BACK.  YOU'VE ALREADY BEEN HERE ANYWAY.  THE PAST IS THE FUTURE.  BUY A TIE-DYED LOIN CLOTH , GET A PRESCRIPTION FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA AND FREAK OUT, DUDE.  NUDE.