Robert Hayes Kee,
Department of Polite Aesthetic Praxis
This month’s column
was delivered as a Kee-note address at the second annual summertime
foregathering of the staff of this magazine in Baltimore, Maryland. I
would like to once again thank the editors of this magazine, the
hosts of the event, and the present audience for making such a
presentation possible. It is a genuine pleasure, one rivaled only by
the blooming of a favorite flower or the suffering of a vile nemesis.
May both of these events
find their way to you in the near future, dear readers.
Robert Hayes Kee
I am thrilled that, for a
second time, I can, here, present my missive for an annual audience
of listeners, this delightful audience. To be here today, you all
have accepted an invitation, for this time and place, and I thank you
for this polite action. This basic etiquette unites us all here
I am pleased to take a second
polite action to acknowledge my indebtedness to the hosts of this
event and the editors of this magazine for making my continued
involvement in its monthly outpouring possible.
Last year, I began my Kee-note
speech, in earnest, by describing the goals and esthetics of this
magazine and of the specific purposes of my involvement. I do not
feel the need to restate our manifesto this year. Having tilled the
soil under which we buried the putrid corpse of reason, we now have a
bountiful garden. The flowers of absurdity have proven to be the most
beautiful of all.
This second recurrence, the
basic step in repetition, speaks to the willfulness of this
assemblage of humans dedicated to absurd esthetic praxis. Inaudibly
the world revolves, but we gather here today to make a resounding and
joyful noise for this revolution, for this new day where heavy
becomes light, all body becomes dancer, all sprit becomes bird.
As a human with a developed
creative praxis, I wish to share my praxis with my consanguinity,
particularly my progenitors. I have always enjoyed their support, but
I wish to concretize this support with their attendance at an
esthetic conflagration of mine, to spark their engagement with my
mature, developed praxis. Is it an imposition to make this request or
is this within the bounds of fealty?
one sense, I understand this desire to include one’s
progenitors in the audience of one’s praxis, but it seems
strange to act on this desire. It is the duty of each generation to
push the conversation across centuries forward, strongly forward. Our
work should seem alien, even unintelligible to our progenitors. We
should be addressing the readers of the next century, not the
things are less polite that to force our interlocutors into a
conversation in which they have no role. Should you truly desire to
inflict impolitely upon your progenitors, their superannuated
infirmity should offer ample opportunity. If you lack the creativity
to find such a mollia tempora
fandi in the
plentiful season of their winter years, then I doubt the strength of
your praxis, reader.
we may wish to bathe in the nostalgic waters of our progenitors’
approval, such an action is infantilizing, a baptism in putrid and
standing waters. You must throw out this foul liquid, and be certain
to include your infantilized self with it.
have recently inherited a seignority of substantial value. What
obligations do I have as a newly pecunious member of society? I do
not wish to merely enjoy material luxury, but I am unsure of what
action I should take in a social sphere.
not evade your newfound noblesse,
but use it to the ends of greater absurdity in the world. Find the
deepest well of unreason in yourself and let it gush forth like a
geyser. This is the greatest time to break from the human, all too
human. It has been an assumption since the beginning of philosophy
that humans were the sole bearers of reason. We must recognize this
not as unique gift of the unfolding of the universe, but as the chief
hurdle separating us from potential becomings.
for one, have never seen a walrus ride a moose. I have never seen an
emu, or a bird of any kind, steer a gondola. In my time on earth, I
have never seen a bear direct traffic. Use your newfound plenitude
to populate the human word with animal actors. Steal these animals
from reputable zoological institutes with a gusto only seen in
fiction and employ them casually in a major metropolis.
great frequency, I prepare and present esthetic conflagrations of
many kinds. A recent event went very poorly. The audience constituted
very few, the performers were recompensed very poorly, and the
venue’s staff were clearly uninterested in the program. Their
disparaging comments were even audible over a particularly profound
cello solo. What can I do to redress this failing with the
performers? What recompense can I expect from this contumelious
down this venue.
recently offended a colleague. I was informed of this breech of
politeness by another interlocutor. I did not take this transpicuous
indication to initiate an apology. I have, in fact, done nothing to
address this incircumspection.
Now that a number of weeks have passed, is a verbal apology too
little? What can I do to redress my deviation from decorum?
exists to prevent us from standing on such spindleshanks
as your finding yourself, dear reader.
Etiquette is the court of anarchy. The observation of politeness
prevents the necessity of a stronger juridical structure.
are correct, reader, than an apology will not do at this hour. The
window is closed, and it cannot be reopened. It must be broken into.
must find another way to injure this party, well beyond the scope of
your original faux
a strong and severe action; induce some kind of cranial trauma. That
may be the only way to guarantee that your interlocutor no longer
remembers your initial infraction. You may then promptly apologize