Remember Firestar Doesn’t Like Waffles, Jane? I remember Firestar Doesn’t Like Waffles. Fuck the picture on this post, I want to talk about Firestar Doesn’t Like Waffles. Warriors videos were simpler back then, in 2013. They stood for something. And that something was nothing. Warriors videos just were. “Firestar doesn’t like waffles.” An undeniably true, self-reflexive statement. Water is wet, fire is hot, and for the last time, Graystripe, Firestar doesn’t know what a waffle is. Warriors videos were floating signifiers without signifieds, meaningful in their meaninglessness. Nobody made Warriors videos, they just arose through spontaneous generation; Athena being birthed, fully formed, from her own skull.
You could talk about them around the proverbial water cooler, taking comfort in their absurdity. “Hey, flightfootwarrior, have you seen that animation of Firestar? They call it Firestar Doesn’t Like Waffles because Firestar doesn’t like waffles!” “Ha ha, sounds like good fun, tribbleofdoom! That reminds me, I need to show you this series I found the other day; it contains numerous animated fighting cats in the forest. It’s called — you’ll never believe this — Warriors Of The Forest!” And then flightfootwarrior and tribbleofdoom went on to have a wonderful friendship based on the comfortable banality of self-evident animated animals.
But then 2014 came, and along with it came MAPS, and everything was forever ruined. It was hubris, Jane. We did it to ourselves. The minute we added collaborative narratives and artistic direction, it all went to shit. Suddenly warriors videos had an excess of information to be parsed. It wasn’t just a six frame animation of a cat, perhaps with Gerard Way bangs and default Windows Movie Maker title text appended to it; now the cat spoke to us via unified color palettes and painstakingly animated, visual allegories in the frame itself. It referred to narrative depth that existed in our world but not in the world of Erin Hunter, rupturing the boundary between the two. The cat wanted something. Which forced us to recognize that what it wanted was us, was our labor. WE are the MAP parts, Jane, and we always were. But by the time we realized this, it was too late. We were slaves to the very MAPs that we had created. We toiled to earn the privilege of being distracted by them. They fiddled while Rome burned, and we threw ourselves into the fire so that we might watch a Warriors rendition of the entire Hamilton soundtrack. The MAPs had us. Or, rather, they had us animating Onestar like tomorrow won’t arrive, like we need it to survive, every second we’re alive, every second we’re alive.
It goes right back to Phaedrus, really. The Plato dialogue. (You read that, right?) Back in the innocent days of 2013, we naïvely thought that the grapheme had subjugated the phoneme, that the belief in the primacy of the spoken word was an ancient and backwards folly on par with MS Paint recolors, or practicing phrenology, or thinking that Three Days Grace was good. Fucking Three Days Grace. But we were wrong. About the phoneme, I mean. The trickster god Theuth came to us again, this time in the guise of an open, 45 part MAP. The MAP hungered, and so did Theuth. We’d already taken Erin Hunter’s writing, so this time he offered us a new choice disguised as a gift. And we greedily took it, again oblivious to the consequences. To borrow the parlance of a contemporary song, his pharmakon was the animal we have become.
Pharmakon, φάρμακον, the Greek word that means both “poison” and “cure,” but, because of the limitations of the English language, can only be translated one way or the other depending on the context and the translator’s whims. No possible translation can capture the full implications of a Greek text including this word. In the Phaedrus, writing is the pharmakon that the trickster god Theuth offers, the toxin and remedy in one. With writing, man will no longer forget; but he will also no longer think. A double-edged (s)word, if you will. But the new iteration of the pharmakon is the MAP. Specifically, the post-Reflektor MAPscape of 2014 onward. And it was the MAP language that did it, Jane. The addition of parts and deadlines and artistic direction twisted the remedy into a poison, flipped the pharmakon on its invisible axis.
Firestar doesn’t like waffles. Language is language. Pharmakon is pharmakon. The phoneme topples the grapheme, witches ride through the night, our skulls hide secret messages on their surfaces, Three Days Grace is good after all. I will not die, I’ll wait here for you. I feel alive, when you’re beside me. I will not die, I’ll wait here for you.
In my time of dying.