Esther’s Space- journey through my life

November 10, 2007

Apex ~ Number 1

Filed under: p()5t^^()d3,~]\[ — estherspace @ 3:15 pm

I am soooooooo excited to read Apex Hides the Hurt.  It was one of those books that I saw it hit the ‘new’ shelf at APL, but never could find the time to consume it.  So, thank you KM for the forced reading!

Oh, where to begin.  Structurally, this looks and acts very much like the novels I am used to reading.  There are chapters, an obvious plot, and a fairly smooth narrative.  This book does not make itself at all inaccessible to the ‘average’ reader.  Perhaps this accessibility is an important aspect of posmodern ideals, since it is not reserved for consumption by the elite. 

Now to the good parts.  Nomenclature consultant- it’s one of those jobs that can seem really dumb, but wowee, if they do it well it is really frightening.  Let’s just think about the globalization we are currently experiencing. 

globalization.gif This cartoon speaks to the power of a name.  What are these (markedly colored) natives being bombarded by?  Not by ideas of free trade and democracy, but instead by (markedly white), easily identifyable representations of America.  Obviously, we are winning the people through imposing the ‘American lifestyle’ upon them until they become as equally dependent upon their daily regime of Coca-Cola and McDonalds as we have. 

Back to Apex, the primary character admits that, “it was not the first time he had been saved by the recognizable logo of an international food franchise, its emanations and intimacies” (37), attesting to the fact that everyone develops this (psychosomatic) dependency upon the familiar and, in many ways, controlling ideas of what something can represent.

So, what if there was a breakdown between sign, signifier, and signified?  Because, while the re-naming of a town can have the economically advantageous outcome of boosting community morale and encouraging investment, it can also go the other direction if the wrong name is chosen.  What if the word ‘chair’ no longer represented our understanding of what a chair was?  What if New Prospera is not an appropriate new name for Winthrop?  Is it possible that by re-naming the town New Prospera it could result in not a revival and rebirth of faith in the town, but instead it would produce a breakdown between the idea of what something is and the reality of what it actually is, which would ultimately create a loss of faith and goodwill between the consumer (citizen) and the coordinator (the government). 

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1 Comment »

  1. Esther-

    That is a really great cartoon, and one which is extremely applicable to what is going on in the novel. Muck like Mickey Mouse is leading the charge to impose among these people the greatness that is Coke, McDonalds, Microsoft, etc., so too is Lucky bringing the same type of onslaught to the people of Winthrop. The townspeople do not need these supposed improvements and upgrades to their town, but in order to draw in the kind of people Lucky is interested in, he needs to draw the recognizable brands like that of the coffee establishment and the Outfit Outlet. This is giving new defintion to a town which does not need it.

    Comment by Ryan — November 29, 2007 @ 12:41 pm


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