Why? Pourquoi? ¿Por qué? Warum? Naze?
Has there ever been a more poignant question? ‘What?’ is easier to ascertain. ‘When?’ comes after there’s an understanding of everything else. ‘Who?’ is just a sentient ‘What?’ with an ego. ‘Where?’ like ‘When?’ is a single detail. But ‘Why?’ that sole syllable goes on forever, branching out, reaching ever onward, growing and building upon itself. Why does it matter? Why does that matter? Why does it work? Why does it exist? Why does it change everything? You can learn more from asking that one word than any of the others. It is matched only by its inquisitive twin, ‘How?’ and really, they’re so similar, so innately linked that the duo may well be conjoined, as the answer to “Why?’ so often brings about an explanation of how.
But, I suppose you’re wondering why I’m so fixated on these elementary questions, which brings us to analysis. I know, it’s a dirty word: clinical, academic, judgmental, pretentious. Analysis is the divining rod of scholars, the scientific narrowing of focus upon a subject. Analysis is to entertainment what make-up math homework is to a Friday night. Yet, that’s more a symptom of the art, rather than its purpose. Infected by academese, analysts often forget to write to be read, that is, they abandon their audiences in favor of hoisting their own knowledge up in all its studious and incomprehensible glory.
As a life long student, smartass, logophile, writer, communication connoisseur, and self-proclaimed literati, that drives me absolutely, positively, bloody batty. When we release our words into this chaotic, cluttered world, it is our responsibility to arm them appropriately, to translate and describe, to delineate their density and complexity into an elegant clarity, that those words, and more importantly, their concepts, might survive and multiply in the minds of others. When you write narrowly, walking the tightrope of ultra-specified disciplines, and never bother to teach those watching, they cannot follow you. Not everyone is comfortable crossing a net-less chasm, calcified in erudite stalagmites. Thus, as writers, communicators, and analysts, it is our job to cross first, to traverse the perils of our discipline’s terrain and then map out the best ways to maneuver around it, building bridges and pathways as we go. It is across these that our audience may move with us to our conclusions, gandering at our points along the way, and seeing if our theses successfully follow.
When I delve into the pages (metaphorical and literal) of the various works I read and write about, I intend to reveal rather than conceal them, using academic terminology to enhance rather than obfuscate my ideas. Each will be different, from comics to slam poetry to classic novels to philosophical concepts. Some may resemble reviews, others will ring of old academic and the modern essays, while others still may simply be twitchy, enraged rants. However, all of them will be analytical, and, if I’m successful, digestibly entertaining.
So here’s to words, wondering, and peeling back the pages.
Because why not?