Friday, May 15, 2009

spacial neglect

Just getting around to this now, but the New Yorker profile on neurologist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran and mirrors and phantom limbs from a few weeks ago was pretty fun, especially all the slams at Freudians!

(And as a sidenote, the Rotating Charlie Chaplin mask mentioned in the article is truly fucked and will surely be the prion-laced fodder for many sleep disorders to come. But how much better would a rotating cortical homunculus have been? Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, you have dropped the ball. Resurgent Community of Brooklyn Artists living near the Gowanus, get on this.)

We found this phantom limb article to be a nice expansion on the other time The New Yorker talked about phantom limbs in “The Itch” (mostly memorable for the proximity of the word “itch” to the word “annals”, but still). It also dovetails nicely with the July 2007 article about phantom limbs that was in The New Yorker, oh and also that Richard Ford story that was in the March 2008 New Yorker where he talks about phantom limbs and the Edwidge Danticat story that talks about phantom limbs in last November’s issue.

By our estimate this is the 704th time The New Yorker has talked about Phantom Limbs since mid-2007.
Just what is going on here?

While the Freudians have theorized that David Remnick wishes his mother had a penis (source: Janet Malcolm), the coördinated (diaeresis joke) effort on display implies someone on high is trying to cry out for help!

We therefore helpfully posit that the following is what we’re talking about when we talk about phantom limbs:
  1. That feeling that overcomes the guest chair across from Charlie Rose on the two nights a week that Gopnik is not a guest
  2. Calvin Trillin’s copy editor since 2001
  3. Anthony Lane Week during David Denby Week (felt by everyone)
  4. The “Shout” part of “Shouts and Murmurs” whenever Steve Martin phones one in.
  5. The little bit I crumble inside when they fill the whitespace with a “Block that Metaphor” (bump up the leading; only Tobias Frere-Jones is going to notice and Sasha’s three years older, so he’ll keep him in check)
  6. Something about Malcolm Gladwell pulling off his wig and it’s really been Christopher Walken this whole time but he still feels like he has crazy hair or something I don’t know
But these have all been with us for a while now, so there must be some other reason for the up-tick, and we now get to the point where we light a candle instead of cursing The New Yorker’s darkness; i.e., we have a solution!
  1. Hold up a mirror to the Dan Baum Twitter.
  2. The pain will all soon go away.

No comments: