ethereal? you betcha!

September 25th, 2008

      The raindrops
      run slowly down
      the window pane.
      Sadly I sit
      and think of you,
      the hours we
      sweetly shared
      and the time
      we got naughty
      in the sand dunes
      with a goat.

Charles Roche-Bobois

PERSIFLAGE is updated on Thursdays.


For sale: Jazz Music! Not sure what the tune is or who did it but I heard about half a minute of it while I was walking by a club last night and I am willing to hum what I remember of it to you for five bucks. Box 1917.
For sale: one slightly used condom. Now before you get all grossed out let me just say that all I did was take it out of its little packet and unroll it to see, you know, how big it was then when I tried to roll it back up and put it away, I found I couldn't get it back in the packet. Right now it's in a Safeway bag but if you want it you can have it for 1$. Box 19.
For sale: gentle summer breeze. Best before September 29th. $45. Box 114.
Will trade any photos of apparitions or super-natural phenomena for a really good photo of Claire Danes in skimpy attire. Box 398.
Come on down to Uncle Walter's House of Biscuits for some really fine biscuits. This week Haddock and Turmeric Biscuits half-price.



Comments? Questions? Vitriol? Flattery? persiflagemag@hotmail.com

Public Service Announcement

On September 25th at 7pm in the Videopool Studio located on the 3rd floor of Artspace (100 Arthur Street in Winnipeg) there will be a lecture entitled "How Technology Ruined Art". Sadly the person giving the lecture will be Glen Johnson. Now, Videopool is a fine organisation and don't they deserve your support in spite of their poor choice of lecturers? Sure they do.

The Undercover Genius

I am a genius. This has proved to be something of a burden for me. It has, unfortunately, become necessary to disguise the very fact of my overwhelming intellect. I see a few startled faces in the crowd. You need not impugn the veracity of my statement, it is quite true. But why you ask. You are confused. Why, you want to know, would one not revel in the stunning superiority of one's superlative sapience? It is clear to me that you are not a genius. If your imaginative powers are so limited that you are only able to fathom the upside of a somewhat ferociously overdeveloped cognitive ability then you are obviously not of my intellectual class. Don't beat yourself up over it, few approach my lofty standard. In fact, many of the denizens of this sorry earth are only a slight improvement over our chimp cousins. (I speak here only in regards to the simian intelligence. Chimps are possessed of many other fine qualities in which they are in no way inferior to the hopelessly misnamed homo sapiens sapiens. They are, for instance, excellent riders of tricycles.) In fine, I forgive you your ignorance. I will now endeavour to alleviate it somewhat.

First of all the sad fact of the matter is that there are very few geniuses stumbling about and so the solitary genius is forced to work, converse, date and socialize with the non-genius. This alone would be bad enough in that these people tend to be terribly dense and uncomprehending, their "ideas" could best be described as childishly simple and their language never much elevated above the level of the crude and simplistic. But what makes the situation almost unbearable is that, in addition, these people are, in fact, openly hostile towards the man (or woman) of genius.

Simple minded folk, it seems, can not bear to have their simplemindedness pointed out to them no matter how nicely you do it. Quite frankly, the very existence of a genius in their presence seems to point this out to them and works not unlike a red flag in front of a bull. It's sad really. They do not realize how much they could learn merely by basking in the second hand glow of our brilliance. The scraps from our cognitive banquet would feed a large family of them for a decade but they are, to put it simply, too dim to see it.

But it was not my intention to explore the problems of the stupid here. I am more interested, not surprisingly, in the how the genius himself (or herself) may learn to deal with this situation. I have found, through bitter experience, that the best policy is to conceal one's startlingly high IQ from the general populace. This is done in a number of different ways. Let me explain.

What generally gives the genius away is not his or her unique fashion sense, daring haircuts, precipitous overbite or indeed anything at all about his/her appearance but, pay attention to this, what comes out of his mouth (I got tired of using his/her and since, really, we are talking about me here, from now on I will just use he, his, him etc. – my apologies to the lady geniuses reading this). To clarify, it is what you say that marks you as a genius (or indeed, conversely, as a dullard).

Now the most obvious and indeed simplest way to avoid betraying the truth of your godlike intellect to the hoi polloi, is to keep schtum. If you can restrain yourself from flapping your gums then all and sundry need not know of your omniscience and you will avoid the painful public rite that is a tar and feathering. Unfortunately the taciturn genius is a rara avis. For those of you somewhat less than keen on a vow of silence here is some advice.

Quoting at any length (and I do mean any length) is frowned upon by the vulgus. It shows a type of "book larnin'" despised by a citizenry who, as a general rule, read nothing once they leave school and, if they do read, retain almost nothing of it. If you really feel you must quote then quote song lyrics as even the most slack jawed cretin can sling together a line or two of some popular song. Best to stick with something that is currently on the radio (and I don't mean the CBC).

Another thing to studiously avoid are the obscure references that are so dear to the genius (especially in his guise as pedant). When talking to your fellows on the loading dock about management’s attitude towards labour it is best to steer clear of any mention of, say, Philip the Fair and the Knights Templar. Or if you see someone making short work of the buffet don't laughingly bring up the Rape of Nanking (which would be in poor taste even if you were surrounded by sinologists). The Seventh Seal, August Strindberg, dialectical materialism, all are off limits. And while I'm at it, use simple terms. I can't stress this enough. No mention of heliolatry at the beach. Someone is fat, not monstrously corpulent. You are hungry not "a wee bit esurient". And for god's sake stay away from foreign languages. There is no quicker way to piss off the multitude than by throwing snippets of German, French or, god forbid, Latin into conversation. If you were to pull out your dingus and piddle on the floor most people would be more forgiving.

The key to staying undercover as a genius is to be guided in all your endeavours (another word to avoid) by the behaviour of the LCD. What the chimpiest, unibrow wrestling fan finds entertaining should be welcomed into your loving embrace. Try wearing tshirts with funny things written on them. Adopt the mannerisms of a character on one of the more popular television programmes (not Antiques Roadshow). See if you can't develop a flatulence problem. Scratch yourself continually. Take a page from Don Cherry's book (I don't mean that literally). You'll be okay.

Hugh Briss