By Omer Wissman
(The Constitution) It’s like a foreign languageDonald Trump
When words aren’t enough, the music of nonsense is more sensual than the words ever were.
Take for instance one hypersubject, naming.
The family is a house held together by nicknames. As Dadaists, Google, and Yahoo know well, dada and mama accepting what name the child can offer at early development is a way of continuously infantilizing it into the hierarchy. For before the child is named it is nicknamed, and the use of this epithet will forever feel associated with an endearment beyond terms. And like dada and mama, the nicknames of children often involve a doubling of vocables, sounds outside language, for instance I call my BFF ber-ber, and trump calls covid19 cov-fe-fe.
Romantic nicks are also given outside common language, in-talking each other’s otherness to make it more familiar, demarcating a private linguistics around the couplehood, and the combination of these creates an evolutionarily useful result we call intimacy.. Often the doubling vocables evolve to nicknaming doubled, each partner receiving the same name, blurring borders between oneself and the call of calling on intersubjectivity.
In the Hebrew Bible God, big other, takes on various beyond lingual symbols, the most common being a single letter followed by an apostrophe. Another is a syllable, yah, another the word that dares not speak its name, Jehovah. These metaphysical nicknames are the clearest examples of this religion’s tradition of written vs. read, by which, for instance, one of these nicks is spoken as “the name.” Nothing could be more nameless and unnamable.
Finnegans wake, like Trump’s Constitution, may as well be a foreign language. But as I learned from a book of math which my pre-mathematical self used to cast spells that bombed imaginary countries, this is where Finnegans’ strengths lie. One page of Joyce’s wake is more potent to me than the entirety of Beckett’s unnamable. But Godot still stands, because people will always turn toward what isn’t there, via naming unnameables, through the endearing of terminology, by the constructive constitution of millions of subjectivities.
When all’s nicked and writ, what is the legacy of covfefe?
From a moment extracting an essence of four years in a political theatre of the absurd, it will be the unspoken nickname of that toupee in chief of foreigner policing, his over the top faux tan marking him the 1% outlier chosen to be big brother, as though social mobility and trick dam economics were still there and a matter of viral contagion, that you can catch by symbolic association, like corona, like covfefe, like fake news, like language itself.
Covfefish is the ideolect of an ideology that dares not speak its name, which willed those millions of subjects to put in their whitey household a symbol, more or less than a man. Because like God, Godot, Trump views, the enemies within, the foreign language virus, covfefe could be anything, anywhere, an ultimate and paradoxically intimate other.
Omer Wissman is 36 years old, single, a multidisciplinary artist. Omer narrowly escaped high school, but not junior high. He barely graduated from university, albeit with some honors. His soul was partially saved by a book of poems that opened up into a life of writing. After exhausting local publishing opportunities, Omer returned to the queer’s English, and thus far has been accepted for publication in Sensitive Skin, Serotonin, and Overland, among others.