Practicing Etiquette, Issue I.X
Robert Hayes Kee,
Department of Polite Aesthetic Praxis

Greetings, once again, dear readers. I write to you during this most leisured time of the academic year. Without the assumption of the productivity of the summer sabbatical, this really is our time to detach from our academic trajectories. Its assumed commitments to one’s consanguinity can be minimized and a fruitful period of unfocused reading and praxis is possible. I have personally put my Nietzsche back on the shelf and taken time to absorb some scientific and dramaturgical literature. This shift in focus has been refreshing and I recommend a similar approach to one’s reading over this time.

This time of year is also thought to be the most polite, and the topic of seasonal etiquette seems ever-present. The handling of gifts, their exchange, and the overrun of one’s abode by the most peripheral relations and their injudicious partnerings all stress the esthetic praxis of one’s etiquette.

This overwhelming output of etiquette and advice would seem to obviate the need for my monthly missive, were the praxis put forth by these dilettantes not so unforgivably and unremittingly awful. The typical suggestion is for one to submerge one’s complaints to an ocean floor of ressentiment with comestible or alcoholic appeasement. This continued suggestion, to make a camel of oneself, we know it is in error. We must always seek to be children, or at least lions, in our outlook and actions. I write to you today to buttress your efforts to maintain a strong esthetic praxis in the face of the onslaught of distaste and ressentiment that is the holiday season.

May your new year be the most polite on record,

Robert Hayes Kee

December 28

Atlanta, GA

I tire of the regularity and inveterateness of evanid annulated resolutions amongst my acquaintances. I feel this practice of altering one’s life for a manufactured goal is disingenuous and irrelative of the desires in one’s true will. I wish to mock the failings of interlocutors as their resolve dissolves in the coming year. May I do so politely, given the absurdity of the enterprise?

With the annulated resolution, we are dealing with a despicable enterprise on its face. We enlightened ones have not made a constant compromise of our lives, nor is our aesthetic praxis vulnerable to these periodic and manufactured times of reckoning with the soul. There seems to be nothing further from tasteful esthetic praxis than voice of capitalism assuming the role of the superego to encourage intolerance of one’s own body. This suffering of the soul of the lumpen proletariat is a struggle more to be pitied than censured.

We should emanate a grace and tolerance for those without either the education or awareness to avoid this alienation from one’s labors and body. We, dear readers, have our worn copies of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Marx to help illuminate our periods of doubt and questioning. It is with this opening onto a plain vista of thought that we can recognize this event for what it truly is. This is possibly one of the most irrational customs of western civilization.

Any human being who resolves, because their habitat has imperceptibly passed through roughly the same location in space-time, to upend their life is a potential ally in the creation of a fresh world of nonsense. Nothing could be more absurd than to commit to the standard series of specialized and scheduled partial movements offered by the gymnasium, and this step in the right direction should be praised. To rearrange one’s schedule, don atrocious garb and repeat simple gestures is usually the domain of the performance artist. Yet the fact that a substantial section of the entire population becomes performance artists annually goes unremarked. I could scarcely think of a more delightful occurrence. Do nothing to impede this beautiful transformation. Instead, we must seek to recognize and extend it.

The audience of the gymnasium is a recognized necessity in motivating the practitioners of regular exercise. I feel this myself. I swim regularly at a local facility, and large amount of the joy of this process is displaying the grace of my movement to my athletic interlocutors. We must recognize this audience with all the consciousness and sincerity of the audience of our own stage and gallery work. We must recognize that every insincere workout has the potential to transform into an act of tanztheater.

Recognize the potential for artistic conversation in each over-specialized motion your interlocutors will make from now until their standard termination around the time of Lupercalia. Help your interlocutors recognize the significance of this timing. Training oneself and developing one’s physical presence in a public gymnasium prepare one admirably for the Lupercalian rituals of laughter and nudity instead of the standard midmonth fare of sentiment and confectionary sugar. We could destroy two of the most egregious moments of soul preprinted on our calendars with this simple substitution.

My routine esthetic praxis does not occur in a state of consistent sobriety. I find a number of states useful in creating my work. Is it rude for me to continue this praxis of enthused work amongst my relations who do not?

To maintain some of one’s domestic customs elsewhere is quite desirable. I rarely trust my hosts, despite their prodigious acumen and impeccable hospitality, to have the correct translations of needed texts for the work of my stay. I bring these volumes with me and quietly act as my own Prometheus. It is not at all unreasonable to view one’s chemical intake in a similar fashion. This missive you, dear readers, can only be written nocturnally and in an enthused state. Take a great liberty in sating your own needs in this area, dear reader.

Forgetting is ‘a form of strong health’ and ‘an upholder of etiquette.’ We take these lines from the first page of the second treatise. We must recognize and empower this faculty to most prepare ourselves to be intensely present. To prepare one’s present requires a strong faculty of forgetting. There is no reason to overcomplicate this matter, readers. It is through psychoactive ingestion that we are able to most easily forget a great deal and to focus on the present with indefatigable focus. Go forth and stumble, dear readers.

My most recent Saturnalian family gatherings have revolved around the actions and antics of the youngest members of my consanguinity. I find this lack of adult conversation tiresome and infantilizing for all its undignified participants and dread its recurrence. Am I rude to attempt to steer our gatherings away from its focus on the minor inanities of the unfledged?

I can sympathize with your desire for intelligent adult conversation, but I have never sought such a partner amongst my consanguinity. The regularity of our interactions and the likelihood of my taste for emphatic sentiment make this infertile ground to grow the fruit of reason. One must only look to Will to Power to see it transition from infertile to hostile ground. I would sooner seek financial advice from my barber as I would a debate partner in my family.

I advocate regularly that one seek to advance from the lion to the child. This is not meant literally since I do not wish to infantilize my audience, rather to bring all of us to our most powerful esthetic praxes. But to reach this point, we must realize that deep human emotion is founded on a wellspring of absurdity and contradiction.

Children are the most unpredictable humans. Their lack of experience and social training allow for a greater chance of bizarre action. I am quite attracted to art that can be also described in that manner, and thus see great potential in the actions of children (does the parallel become too pronounced if it is spelled aktions?). Try to find similar enjoyment in the your smallest and youngest interlocutors. Guide their inquiries in the most amusing and bizarre directions. All the other adult voices in their lives will advocate on behalf of reason and respectability; feel no need to do likewise.