Each of us has been there, if by “each of us” there can be a cohort, a bubble, a tribe of like-lived folk – not an easy proposition to document.
There we are, ass-sitters in the crowd, come to hear the the Speaker, the Name, The Lecternist. We have watched the pre-former, heard the intonements, now it’s Question Time. There a mic up ahead, people around us see and hear us break down the Fourth Wall. How can elevate ourselves from lowly, impenitent nobody to challenge the imperious Face and Voice to get across that we, too, got something to say. Do we come across as all restless lunacy, jabbing the air to make a point hat no one else in the hall can comprehend? There is only an allotted minute or so to rise from the madding crowd to fly off into the airspace of the designated mic-hogger, so we/you had better find brilliance within the wholly subordinate position, temporarily breached.
The Name looks at you intently – what the fuck is this gibbering stalking horse going to come at me with? Outright subservience, painful but obligatory, from this ragged troop of creepy fans? A disquisition on his own stupid treatise, as if this whackjob thinks he could ever rise from the sea of stupidity to be anywhere near the presence of Me?
There is never enough time for the question-and-answer period, and never in recorded history has there been any genuine, democratic exchange. Never anything so substantial as dialogue, never an honest explication of trenchant, vibrant views between a faceless drone in the audience and the honored Big-Top Billed Talent. It is always the alpha up there on stage, scratching his or ass ass, throwing his or her feces around, while the lower-hierarchy scans his or face from below for that all-important sign of favor or fortune.
A social nihilist can try to breach this enforced oblivion, to try to establish some sense of commonality of humanism and expression with the ass-clown on stage, and if the Speaker Name cannot get why “rational futility” was somehow on the mind of the questioner, then we, the hoi pollio, can always remember that both Mark Leyner and David Foster Wallace once attended an event together with a Name on stage, and neither said single word during the question-and-answer session. Better to have tried the impossible, then to have sat mute during yet another phony Q&A snake-oil performance.