Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Conceptual Poetry Feature—Issue 41, May 2014)

Mathew Timmons

An early version of Complex Textual Legitimacy Proclamation by Mathew Timmons was originally published as an edition of Parrot by Blanc Press in Los Angeles (2005-2010). Insert Press has been reissuing facsimile editions of each title from the Parrot series (1-23) since 2010; Parrot 23 Complex Textual Legitimacy Proclamation is forthcoming from Insert Press in May 2014. The version that appears here is composed of excerpts from an unfinished re-write of the original, which will appear as a foreword and an afterword in the book Terrifying Photo by Mathew Timmons forthcoming from WONDER.

Complex Textual Legitimacy Proclamation: A Foreword

Normal photographs are made by using the ordinary light reflected from objects to burn patterns into photosensitive chemicals on a piece of film, and then enlarging and reversing that negative image, burning it into a piece of photosensitive paper, and chemically ‘fixing’ it. It is an explicit, or explicate representation; with differing degrees of accuracy, you can match up one square inch of the picture with a corresponding area of the object depicted, in a one-to-one isomorphism.14

Then came the theatre with its scenarios. But soon people no longer wanted to hear other people talking, they wanted to make images speak.... This is human nature, to go to one extreme then come back to the origins. That is what happens, man comes back to the beginnings, once again to shadow play.12

More beautiful than fabulous pictures.12

All events are film events; viewing pleasure may largely be a part of the passive yet emotional response that typically accompanies media consumption.10

Even after their release, the pictures cannot be properly exploited because of the absence of adequate scope for their maximum exploitation.12

You shall not make any images of me.11

The ability to produce the intangible is always dependent on a specific cultural faculty of perception and apprehension.7

The origins of the word lead us back to ritual action performing the work of consecration or hallowing.4

In the beginning was the Word, in all of its permutations.14 

As I sat there on the edge of my bed, I wondered whether I was dreaming.9

You are young. You have grown up after the fall of the Berlin wall.11

The term mark has its origins in the traveling carnival, where magicians would baffle audiences with sleight of hand tricks under the umbrella of “magic”(Brosnahan, 2006). Particularly gullible members of the audience were identified by the magicians as marks, or easily fooled members of the audience.8

The more you know, the better. … But the converse is also true: a book for those who know everything is a book for those who know anything.14

Each text, laboratory, author and discipline strives to establish a world in which its own interpretation is made more likely by virtue of the increasing number of people from whom it extracts compliance.1

Esoteric literature presupposes that there are basic truths which would not be pronounced in public by any decent man, because they would do harm to many people who, having been hurt, would naturally be inclined to hurt in turn him who pronounces the unpleasant truths.7

He therefore writes esoterically with the result that his true meaning can only be understood by a small number of talented and careful readers.7

To write a book is essentially to give a public teaching…7

The seemingly infinite variety of ways in which a given teaching can be understood does not do away with the fact that the originator of the doctrine understood it in one way only, provided he was not confused.7

In the context of this book, we are profoundly aware how much has been left out. There are a host of important writers who receive little or no attention in the ensuing chapters, including, among others, Jane Austen, Alfred Tennyson, George MacDonald, Mark Rutherford, and Mrs Humphrey Ward. Further, it is not only important writers that are missing from the chapters that follow. The list of topics that we might reasonably have considered in this book is endless.0

It is the opinion of many historians of the written word that the development of the 22-sign alphabet in Byblos (Phoenicia) in 1000 BC put Western man on the linear fast-track, narrowing and focusing his methods of perception by means of the phonetic writing.14

Standardized phonetic alphabets and symbolic language and mass-production of texts made possible the explosion of knowledge that built our world of televisions and hard drives. Now, the complexity of that world—and this book that most fully represents that world—has advanced to such a degree that the only way to deal with it is to execute a reverse, to reimpose a simpler order over the vast landscape of information across which we move.14

...take hold of ink, pen, and tablet. Realize that you are about to serve your God in joy. Begin to combine letters, a few or many, permuting and revolving them rapidly until your mind warms up. Delight in how they move, and in what you generate by revolving them.14

All the data in the world stacked up like one big neon city, so you could cruise around and have a kind of grip on it, visually anyway, because if you didn’t, it was too complicated, trying to find your way to the particular piece of data you needed.14

Hidden amongst the rushes are myriad small forms of life.10

I can hardly open my mouth to speak without feeling as though the sea burst its dams and overflowed. How then shall I express what my soul has received? How can I set it down in a book?14

As I write these words after completing the protracted task of organizing one huge pile of notecards into successively smaller piles of notecards, I cannot avoid the relevance of the above image in describing the task at hand.14 

The piling of incommensurates upon incommensurates that stuffs these pages, the attempted shotgun wedding of many disparate sources, is intentional.14 

One mark of an originality that can win canonical status for a literary work is a strangeness that we can either never altogether assimilate, or that becomes such a given that we are blinded to its idiosyncrasies.14

The text is an element of the ritual process and necessary to its logic and completion.4

You will see nothing subtle where everything is subtle. But if you take the trouble to look very closely, and penetrate with your eyes to the secrets of the artistry, you will notice such intricacies, so delicate and subtle, so close together, and well-knitted, so involved and bound together, and so fresh still in their colourings that you will not hesitate to declare that all these things must have been the result of the work, not of men, but of angels.14

A shift in modes of cognition, from typographic straight-line marching to aural omnidirectional floating, is necessary before the ears can grasp what the eyes can never see.14

The term of polysemy refers to the idea that there are an infinite number of potential readings for a particular text.8

The specific contextual articulations may contribute to the same chorus, but each contribution is a unique variation of the general theme.11

This might be, at least in part, a construction and the projection into the past of a personal project.7

When I worked in the studio, it was like being in my own house. I felt I was working for myself. I never felt I was working for money.12

What a wonderful feeling of goodwill and happiness permeated the studio. We would enter the studio in the early hours of the morning and would not leave till our work was complete. Since discipline and adherence to principles regulated our lives, projects were always completed in time. What intimate bonds held us together.12

If you be pleased to accept this gift our hearts will rejoice with exceeding great gladness.10

Conserve this precious document which will be useful to you one day. However, if you do not need it pass it on to someone who might. You know them.12

When Brancusi drew his Portrait of the Artist as an Abstract Spiral, he captured his subject well.14

This appropriation is the essence of textual poaching.8

The ‘new’ in such a cultural figuration must be a continual sophistry of new beginnings, new births, new origins which effectively conceal the truths of its formations and its means for arrival into the new ... the psychic aversion within the dominant society to its own moment of migration and hybridity still lives with it despite using ‘contemporaneity’ as a shield, as a form of forgetting and rewriting of the consequences of its own ‘traditions’.10

It is a pseudohybridity characteristic of the ideology of complexity found in postmodern groups and classes that want to think of themselves as being on the cutting edge even as they no longer support and even suppress new and alternate ways of thinking.10

Commercial cultures aim for immediate impact and possess a high likelihood of obsolescence. The very thing that makes market cultures so exciting and vibrant—the search for the new, the dramatic and the novel—makes substantive intellectual and cultural exchange difficult to achieve.10

The ‘brand new’, once dated, tends to appear nostalgic, since it represents material aspirations that have generally been surpassed. What we lack is the wonder of seeing those things for the first time—an experience that has been diminished by the spread of communications technologies that provides immediate simulated access to places and times other than our own. In these times of visual media saturation, objects themselves may not possess the same ability to imaginatively transport viewers to earlier times and faraway places.10

A In the twentieth century, concern over the loss of aura of original objects saw simulation give way to more rigorous concerns about authenticity.10

As Walter Benjamin famously observed, the aura of originality that surrounded the art object prior to mass production was threatened in the modern age, due to the ability to separate an image from its object, hence displacing it from its particular time and place.10

Another apposite quotation, this time from Walter Benjamin: “...the history of every art form shows critical epochs in which a certain art form aspires to effects which could be fully obtained only with a changed technical standard, that is to say, in a new art form.” The ‘new’ and ‘unheard of’ never is; to forget this is to reinvent the wheel, over and over again. The ‘new’ and ‘unheard of’ critic is a modern-day incarnation of Sisyphus—only Sisyphus never asked for applause.14 

Complex Textual Legitimacy Proclamation: An Afterword

“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.”

—T. S. Eliot11

Thus, the pendulum returned to its original position.12

A text is the result of a complex process; it arises out of a dialogue with the myriad of other texts that precedes it, and on its pages a dialogue is conducted between the writer and his or her anticipated audience. A text is a physical product, but a peculiarly dynamic and interactive one that loses its purpose and meaning if it is not read and commented upon. If the discussion a text invites is discontinued, that text suffers the destiny of yesterday’s newspaper—fit for nothing but wrapping fish. Some texts have an ability to maintain relevance across space and time, to fascinate generation after generation of readers and to remain central to discussions about the subjects with which they deal. Other texts are fleeting, meant to be read once and immediately replaced by other interventions. Two patterns of textual dialogue emerge from these extreme cases: one of circularity or recursiveness, the other of linearity or perpetual progression.11

The recursive dialogue, on the one hand, is structured around issues with lasting relevance whose main problems and possible solutions are embedded in central texts around which other texts evolve, on which they comment, and to which they repeatedly return for inspiration. The progressive dialogue, on the other hand, moves from one utterance to the other without looking back, stringing each statement together to form a dynamic process the aim of which is less important than the movement as such. The recursive dialogue is characterised by spatiality; it is conducted in a well-known context and directed towards the examination of issues whose resolution may be the professed goal of each utterance, but whose lasting relevance actually ensures the continuation of the dialogue. The progressive dialogue is primarily temporal; it develops through time by means of a gradual solution of problems that simultaneously spurs new issues to be dealt with; each statement is both an answer to earlier utterances and an invitation to further responses.11

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.4

You don’t like those ideas? I got others.14

Hear a range of voices from past and present... The floor is open for discussion.10

In the first place, I believe in democracy—in the triumph of the will of the people, in freedom of thought, of speech and in other freedoms which ennoble mankind.12

It is as if those who founded the United States had spent hours arguing where some tea might be dumped in Boston Harbour and had ignored details of the Declaration of Independence.11

I have seen the promotional material...and I think that what they are doing there is fantastic.10

I am the emperor, and should ride upon this canopied chariot!6

How many I’s are you?6

If you should ever need my life, then come and take it.7

No, really. I mean it.9

When I want it, I’ll come take it.8

I’m sure a lot of other people thought the same way.9

I know why people are angry and upset.9

My argument is not uncontroversial.7

I just can’t do this.9

Don’t make me say it.9

I Quit.8


This is a highly significant development.10


And Now This.14

As we speak, another revolution is taking place.11

It’s very fragile.10

What has survived during the last 150 years?10

Who cares?9

We have no understanding of history in depth, but instead are offered a contemporary creation, more costume drama and re-enactment than critical discourse.10

Aren’t we all messed up?9

Haven’t we all made mistakes?9

Where should we go?12

We can choose not to be there; but no-one should doubt the consequences of that choice and it is wildly unrealistic to pretend those consequences are not serious.11

We are hardly short of challenges.11

There will be more of us in the future, trying to do more.11

We’re fun, we’re fascinating.9

We yell it, they whisper it.9

In this way you could easily cause a rebellion.12

You’ve been denied for so long.10

That’s why you’re so dangerous!10

You must get that.10

That’s the concept that we are trying to develop.10

A vision of peaceful co-existence, or the cause of disharmony?10

Each new ‘angle’ provides an increase in the resolution of the overall picture.14

A reference to Bugs Bunny does not have to be intended to be contextually meaningful. Neither does a reference to the atomic bomb.14

I would like to propose that we do this in a far more organised and structured way.11

My speech today is an attempt at such bridge building.11

It is this textual creation of meaning that I shall now seek to explain.11

From the very first page everything is organized in perfect order, exactly as I would have wished!6

And I’m trying to figure out why it was so easy for me. Because I did, I gave great detail. I don’t know. Can you say I work well under pressure? I don’t know.9

A few years ago I was afforded the opportunity of reading the original version, and so I edited the text.6

Within the narration of events there are inserted poems, and this should be an exquisite part of the literary style.6

Stylistic changes range from the pruning of inappropriate classical particles and minor alteration in the phrasing of the text through to the wholesale deletion or rewriting of passages.

Furthermore the original ascriptions of authorship for most of the poems have been eliminated.

The literary particles of the vulgar edition are mostly incomprehensible, and the language long-winded and repetitive.6

I once wished to investigate its wonders in order to establish its rightful position to the world, but social engagements filled my days, and furthermore I was often away traveling and had little spare time. In recent years I wanted to get on with it, but I became ill, and nothing materialized.

However, that never came to fruition, and now my commentary version of the text … can truly be described as “the foremost book of talent.” For this reason I am republishing it in order to make it available to those who appreciate things of old.6

Here, the debate is presented as “…the only positive event of the last year.”11

This scheme aimed to explain patterns and ideas by ordering objects in one horizon, be it spatial or temporal.10

Disturbing or not, the process will continue and indeed, the pace of cultural change it brings about is likely to quicken.10

At some point in the text’s history, it was given its overarching and undergirding chiasmic form and what I have chosen to call its “dialectical style.”3

Combining so many records suggests a great deal of concern in writing.3

This sustained ubiquity signals its importance.2

And it is distinct in its duration and effect.4

It represents an assertion of “holding the world in the palm of one’s hand”.3

The people who will influence the course of events will be those who have become aware of this change of scale.11

This is the ultimate hubris, evidence of a desire to swallow not just all literature, but all creation. Interestingly, it is also true, in many cases.14 

It should be noted that the conventional English understanding of finality as something completed and irrevocable is at odds with the French and German usage of the term, which refers to the aim or purpose of something.11

And how does the creation of these texts become possible? In what ways do the declarations function as turning points? How do they both bind past and future together and redirect developments?11

They fail.12

They exist out of place and time.9

It is an alien form, invading the world and contaminating it.9

This is my wakening up, my camp, my resting place along the never ending lines that cross my world.10

All perspectives are created equal, but some are more equal than others.14

It was not intended merely to fossilise a status quo, but to provide a direction for future growth and development. The broad and general nature of its words indicates that it was not intended as a finite contract but as the foundation for a developing social contract.10

However, at this juncture it remains quite indeterminate.10

There are some quality issues that need to be addressed.10

The language is a great draw-back.12

No answers to this were forthcoming.12

Sorry, we cannot bail you out of the mess you are in. Yes, there is confusion about values, about the meaning of ‘being human’, about the right ways of living together; but it is up to you to sort it out in your own fashion and bear the consequences in the event that you are not happy with the results. Yes, there is a cacophony of voices and no tune is likely to be sung in unison, but do not worry: no tune is necessarily better than the next, and if it were there wouldn’t at any rate be a way of knowing it (Bauman, 2001, p. 124).11

These figures are based on my own calculations.6

I, however, remain responsible for all the shortcomings herein.12

This self-disclosure is meant neither to sabotage the critical analysis that follows nor to attempt to validate the genre.8

Isn’t every man and woman responsible for his or her own salvation?3

And what would be the consequences of this?11

What negotiating positions are available?11

A qualitative leap is necessary.11

It is in this framework that I inscribe my remarks today.11

The commonplace book was a tool for storing examples of various argumentative and stylistic forms and for arranging them in a proper manner so as to have ready recourse to fixed formulas and fancy formulations to suit any occasion.11

Any one of these aims, moreover, may be expressed and pursued either publicly or privately; with great conviction and inwardness or as a matter of unremarkable routine; on behalf of all people, or of some, or of just one.4

The ‘you decide’ invitation positioned the viewer as having already-formed tastes and opinions.10

Prioritize, communicate what’s important to you.9

Says Burke: “you persuade a man [sic] only insofar as you can talk his language by speech, gesture, tonality, order, image, attitude, idea, identifying your ways with his” (Burke, 1969, p. 55).11

Why should we listen to him?4

His producers are they not his consumers?14

“Readers,” said the reporter, “have become more interested in soundbites or wordbites”9

However, he does not really discuss the sceptical position.11

To literary people, the practical joke with its total physical involvement is as distasteful as the pun that derails us from the smooth and uniform progress that is typographic order.14

What you really see are teams of athletes fit and smiling, and ready to knock the hell out of the opposing teams.11

Rather, they speak of these as if they were a unified whole.11

This created a tension.12

Needless to say, it was a veritable galaxy, and clashes between the titans were inevitable.12

All this is history, but its effects live on.11

Diversions, diversions.14

Due to the nature of this study, its results may be difficult to duplicate.9

What struck me, whilst reading through some of his work, was his anecdotal style of reportage, which, whilst offering enlightening opinions, also, ironically, seemed in a way to mirror his main disgruntlement with ‘mainstreamism’.1

Although taken together this constitutes a highly useful resource of references and literature, the presentation of such concepts was at times confusing and arguably (even acknowledging the introductory status of his offering) lacked the necessary depth in dealing with what are often complex issues.1

Many of the allusions, in fact, escape the author himself, who has prepared a machinery of suggestion which, like any complex machine, is capable of operating beyond the original intention of its builder.14

Additionally, a more explicit development of his own theoretical position through treatment of the literature beyond introductory level, would have in my opinion, offered more value to the text. I would argue that it may have provided a stronger basis for his scholarly intent, as well as facilitating the reader’s ability to comprehend and engage more fully with the analysis later in the book.1

Despite the undisputed power of textuality, discourse alone cannot, and does not, produce spatial possessions.2

Despite this, I believe that the book through its introduction of the topic, constitutes an important foundation and statement for the discipline in general.1

Life goes on. Endowed as we are with a seemingly endless capacity to reconcile our dissonant cognitive states, we continue on, much as before.4

In for a penny, in for a pound—who needs factual or historical validation anyway?4

Textualists would still pursue close readings; the hunt for original intentions would go on as before; Posner and Dworkin would not call a truce.4

Rather, this must instead be read as an invitation, or provocation, to immanent critique.12

Glorification and irony make strange bedfellows.10

It is of course a flawed record; but the world has no better record and can ill afford to lose this one.10

Agreeing personally with ‘going after the after’ (in the sense of pursuing open critique towards progressive ends), this book, by setting out to explore marketing academia in such a way, held undoubted appeal and promise.1

Generating understanding into how various texts have been worked up, sustained and defended through language and other symbolic practices allows for space, I argue, within which creative and increasingly valuable research can ensue.1

So I invoke unities like ‘marketing’ and ‘social construction’, and indeed ‘mainstream’ merely in order to destabilise and then reconstruct them in the pursuit of my own literary marketing agenda.1

This distinction is not just a matter of splitting hairs: a process is dynamic whereas a container is static.11

Material is presented, juxtapositions are made, conclusions are not hammered home.10

In its final form it is thoughtfully structured and written, and it is evident that conscious planning, not chance, went into its composition.7

He has not come up with all the answers, but he made a good start, with all the right questions.11

It will be a mould-breaker internationally.10

It is both word and thought, both an idea and its symbol and manifestation—it is both abstract and concrete.12

There is only one way to prevent our intelligence, our heart, and our sensibility being sold off on a daily basis for a pittance: we must consciously, forcefully, dynamically and totally become precisely what we ourselves are.12

None that is raw understands the state of the ripe: therefore my words must be brief. Farewell!12


0Knight, Mark, and Emma Mason. “Introduction.” Nineteenth-century religion and literature an introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
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1Ferguson, Pauline. “After Marketing and Social Construction.”Ephemera: Critical Dialogues on Organization 2 (2002): 258-262.
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2Collis, Christy. “The Proclamation Island Moment: Making Antarctica Australian.” Law Text Culture 8 (2004): 1-18.
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3Thomasson, Gordon C.. “Kingship in the Book of Mormon.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2 (1993): 21-38.
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4Garet, Ronald R.. “The Last Full Measure of Devotion: Sacrifice and Textual Authority.” Cardozo Law Review 28 (): 277-299.
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5Frosh, S.. “Interpretation and over-interpretation: disputing the meaning of texts.” Qualitative Research 5 (2005): 307-324.
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6West, Andrew. “The Textual History of Sanguo Yanyi.” BabelStone : : The Mao Zonggang Recension. N.p., n.d. Web. .
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7Unattributed. Various Websites which have been taken down since they were originally accessed.
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8Toepfer, Shane. “A Community of Smarks: Professional Wrestling and the Changing Relationship Between Textual Producers and Consumers.” M.A. Thesis: Georgia State University (2006): 1-125.
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9Harris, Nichola Reneé. “Tabloidization in the Modern American Press:
A Textual Analysis and Assessment of Newspaper and Tabloid Coverage of the ‘Runaway Bride’ Case.” M.A. Tesis: Georgia State University (2005): 1-171.
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10Williams, Paul Harvey. “New Zealand’s Identity Complex: A Critique of Cultural Practices at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.” Ph.D Dissertation: The University of Melbourne (2003): 1-360.
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11Nørholm Just, Sine. “The Constitution of Meaning: A Meaningful Constitution? Legitimacy, identity, and public opinion in the debate on the future of Europe.” Ph.D Dissertation: Copenhagen Business School (2004): 1-363.
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12Various Authors. Various Articles. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (2003): 234-344.
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13Hamrick, Stephen. “’Set in portraiture’:  George Gascoigne, Queen Elizabeth, and Adapting the Royal Image.” Early Modern Literary Studies 11.1 (May, 2005): 1-54. Web. .
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14Weiss, Dan. “Understanding the (Net) Wake.” M.A. Thesis: Trinity College, Dublin.
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