Wednesday, February 10, 2010

FAKE Life vs. Real Life

In honor of my friend, Ryan Rasmussen's recent move to New Zealand, I've got something to share. I thought I would mention how satisfying it is to have a friend follow his dreams, and to see how far he's come. In the interest of archaeology, I've dug up an 'essay' we worked on together, and whose form and philosophy I now renounce utterly. It was the opening salvo of a zine we were working on called FAKE Life. I'll let Ryan tell it, as he did on his blog, Holy Embers of Dreams: "It seems that in a former life I worked with my friend Eric and a scrappy undergrad to assemble one of those pre-blog thingies called a zine...But I moved and got a real job, our junior partner vanished with the majority of our files, and the zine never happened." So, now, faithful reader, you can read this and see how far I've come, as well.

Welcome to FAKE Life: Journal of ThoughtCulture

Our mothers like to ask us, "So when are you going to get a real job?" Since at least two of the three of us have been found unfit for further graduate study, and since nothing real has prompted us to leave our fake teaching positions, we decided to launch a magazine. Oh, we continue to lurch in quasi-academic circles, but we needed something else to put off. Hence, FAKE Life, a record of what we aren't doing.

We find that "fake life" is not only the commodity that everyone shares, but also an imperative. To fake it is all anyone can do. You read the right books, scorn the right political figures, wear the right clothes — maybe even get the right job.

But who, really, ever gets it right? (Make your life a call to action.) The challenge, as we see it, is to celebrate glorious Artifice, in all Its wondrous forms, and all Its phony perpetrators. Create something. Make it go. That's the Spirit.

Our intention at the outset is to promote a decidedly undemocratic forum, one that is overtly biased, but one that is nonetheless open to all. The forum of FAKE Life should incite riots of neural activity. Avoiding methodology may help, but to continually challenge is optimal, whether by breaking limits or placing new ones. Certainly, regularities will surface; after all, something that looks like a magazine is desirable. Or perhaps the simulacrum of a magazine will replicate itself at regular intervals.

What do we interact with everyday, with whom do we communicate? The fake life witnesses the coalescence of cultural forms in all sorts of media and genres: consumer products, psychotropic biotechnology, public health policies, advance screenings of film trailers — all intersect, all stream through, the nodes we call individuals. How are these nodes defined, limited, separate from everything else? Where do we make the cut between Self and Other?

In this inaugural issue of FAKE Life, we reflect on the Limit. When we say "limited," our speech act invokes a negative connotation, relegating the concept to the abyss. But this does not yield function. The fake machine produces limit, along with masses of orbiting conceptual satellites: borders, failures, frontiers, freedoms, transcendings, and schisms. Subsequent issues will tread other waters.

We might talk about the science of FAKE Life, the formulas that an individual can follow to achieve a specific, repeatable result. Each ofthe contributors may have performed his or her own experiment, have found "what works" in a particular context, a precise set of circumstances. Some may have failed. There are no guarantees. We invite you to add your own recipe.


Ryan Rasmussen said...

Renounce utterly? But we had the shirts, Eric, the shirts!

Thanks for the tribute, the glimpse of the past, and the shared impulse to move ever onward.

Eric D. Lehman said...

Haha, well, I renounce the aesthetic of FAKE Life, at least. How's that?

Ryan Rasmussen said...

Consider me aesthetically mollified.