Repartee inhabits the footnotes in Samuel R. Delany Phallos.
The prose of Phallos — even in the three extraordinary scatological chapters toward its end — is written in the past tense of most normative fiction. In order to achieve what registers with me as a more contemporary mode, I have put my own synopsis into a neutral present — to mark it current, if for no other distinction. (10)
10. “Come on, Randy. The present tense hasn’t been ‘current’ since 1974.” (Binky)
This is the first time that the synopsis-maker is invoked by name. Telling that it is in a calling out about bullshit. It’s an apostrophe which invokes a dialogic moment; it cuts across the monologic discourse of the monograph which is inscribed under the synopsis-maker’s name appearing on the title page. Interesting turn.
But what did happen in 1974?
A little Canadian Content: In the Present Tense is a Canadian current affairs television series which aired on CBC Television in 1974. I mention this because Delany’s novella is dedicated originally to a Canadian, Christian Bök. Not that this connection is intended. It may simply be fortuitous.
It was one of the first CBC shows to make substantial use of videotape, which offered the producers more flexibility regarding the timeliness of the subjects they discussed.
O that’s “timeliness” not “time line ness” (or mess)!
And so for day 1757