ELEGY FOR ANALOG T.V. [12:45 p.m.: 6/12/09]

Never again will I hear the crackling of a crossed signal, cutting a weather girl in half with a bolt of static and then resurrecting her in calcium-crisp color. From the Ionoscope and the Image Dissector a great lineage had been born, come to end, like them all, I know.  The ghosts that once populated its cathode screen now simply black-outs or disintegrative pixels, the movement across channels no longer instantaneous; the spastic suction of the vacuum becomes a slow, padded glide, as if across linoleum.  I sat in my underwear, drinking a can of Schlitz, scanning for signs of life after 12:30 E.S.T.  They’d been dropping like flies all morning.  I thought about the 70’s kodochromatic with its mustard gas aura, I thought about how I will never see that fuzzy holograph of flesh so well replicated again.  It mattered not all those who had deserted me before; that I deserved.  But this, this phantom friend whose body had been as real as mine—hard really to believe it was The End.  I was lighting a cigarette, my eyes closed, and I heard it, I didn’t see it. I heard the explosion, and then saw only the entropic madness of the lost signal, screeching at me in some horrible death rattle.  I clutched Prof.Higgins, my Honduran Iguana, and screamed too. We are overrun by endless divisions of binary integers.  We are lost to the crystalline flatness of their empty political slogans.  We now search for the epiphenomena, the second skin that hangs over analogue world, in vain.  Only its essential features have been preserved and algorithmically condensed; the excess is banished to a spectral limbo between bandwidths.  Channel 3 has a message, it says: “Goodbye!”  It’s on for two minutes after 12:30, and then it too explodes and disappears into the static maw.  I scan the channels one last time.  Finally in the 60s I discover the Spanish Channel is still broadcasting.  It is a telenovela, with the soft, waxen hue of a video-tape; that perfection of the analogue image.  They are in a hospital.  A woman is crying about her baby. Several people surround her; one of them is dressed like Zorro.  I am not sure if the baby is hers and they are trying to steal it from her or if it’s the other way around.  My iguana wriggles from my grasps and runs away.  I crawl toward the television.  I touch the screen. My hand is bleeding from rubbing Prof.Higgins too hard.  The woman fakes left around Zorro, and looks back one last time. She tosses the baby to him and then jumps out the window.

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