The Null Device
Psychoceramic artefact of the day: "Man For Young Girl To Become My Wife", the web page of a 53-year-old man looking for a wife to meet his exacting requirements:
Hello, thanks for visiting my profile (This Blog), however, so as not to waste your time, if you are not a girl (born female) who wants and is ready to marry a man in his fifties then don't bother reading this profile and move on. I am not accepting any more friends on here, I have plenty already. Besides, when I find and marry the one I'm looking for, I will delete all my Yahoo accounts and no longer visit here, for instead, it will be my wife my time will be spent on.And it goes on at length; the author outlines his requirements (his wife must be under 30, must match exacting physical criteria, be educated and have financial means, and willing to give up everything and totally submit to her new husband; also, being a vegetarian or going to the toilet too often on a date will result in immediate disqualification), and lays down a rigidly defined procedure by which hopeful applicants can request an interview with him and a chance to prove their worthiness of his firm hand, as well as a marriage contract they must agree to prior to the interview. Further sections are devoted to stern, almost Biblical, prohibitions against lying, and the author's professions of "True Christianity" and denunciations of "rebellious witch whores" (such as women who withhold sex from their husbands), a few paragraphs at his disappointment with the BDSM scene, as well as a commandment not to fall in love with him until he says so. Though this summary doesn't come close to describing the psychotic quality of the actual text; some have described it as the romantic equivalent of Time Cube or Francis E. Dec, Esq.
And as amusing as such screeds are to connoisseurs of the psychoceramic, there is an undercurrent of tragedy and human despair beneath the surface. Upon reading it, one pieces together a likely narrative of the author's life: his marriage and divorce (though one does wonder how he managed to marry in the first place, or why his wife waited until they had had four children to leave him). His hidebound, inflexible mindset, further rigidified by the certainties of absolute religion, having left him unprepared for dealing with real women on equal terms, subsequent attempts at dating were failures, each one prompting the addition of more denunciations and proscriptions to his list of requirements. (Certainly, some of the "disqualifications" hint at traumatic failed dates.) And he doesn't seem to have the people skills or historical insight to recognise that his vaunted strict Biblical values would only work in a world where one could buy a bride from her family without her getting a say in it.
There is a definite whiff of despair emanating from this document; on one hand, one feels pity for the poor, trapped wretch chronicling his futile struggle, knowing where this is likely to end in a way that he lacks the insight to. On the other hand, one hopes to God (literally or metaphorically) that he doesn't get to crush another human being beneath his rigid rules.
A few weeks ago, officials in Lancaster, California allowed the Honda company to grind grooves into a stretch of road, so that the wheels of cars driving along would play the melody of the William Tell Overture, at least if the cars were similar in dimensions to the Honda Civic, as part of an advertising campaign. Now, faced with complaints from nearby residents, the officials are planning to pave over the musical grooves:
The road is tuned to a car just exactly the length, and equipped with tires the same size, as a Honda Civic, a spokesman for Honda said. But other vehicles are also successful in playing the notes, if a little off-key.
That noise is not exactly music to the ears of persons living in a nearby subdivision, who are telling the Daily News that the notes blend into a cacophony that keeps them awake at night.
"When you hear it late at night, it will wake you up from a sound sleep," said music critic Brian Robin, who lives a half mile away from the project. "It's awakened my wife three or four times a night," he told the newspaper.There's a video of the musical highway here. You can probably imagine how, with several cars traversing it at different speeds, it could sound quite cacophonous.
I wonder how feasible it would be for guerilla art pranksters, MySpace band self-promoters and/or viral marketing scumbags to surreptitiously cut their own grooves into roads without any sort of permission. I imagine a device that lays down grooves whilst driving innocuously along, and doesn't attract the attention of the local road police, would be infeasible.