Wednesday, May 15, 2013

“Make My Jotter Quit!”

If I didn’t already have several Jotters around, this advertisement would inspire me to buy one, no joke. Charles Newman was right, and remains right: a Jotter refill lasts a long time. How long? As yet I do not know: my black and blue Jotters still have their original cartridges. But given this circumstance, this as-yet-unknowing, it is appropriate to ask: are these “original” cartridges themselves refills? And if so, of what? Which is to ask: what is the nature of the now-lost plenitude that they attempt to re-fill? And the Jotter in my hand: was it itself a pen as such before it came to possess a point? These questions take us to the boundary, beyond which we cannot proceed. Yet if we remain on this side of that line, it is nonetheless permissible to ask: how does one tell the difference between the so-called refill and the cartridge whose place the refill takes, the “original” cartridge, the pen’s “point,” as it were, imperial, serene, solitary, or so it would seem, yet always to be displaced by a New-man, an identical impostor, one in a series of impostors, each claiming the work of inscription as its own? We “miss the point,” we say, but the point at the same time misses us, eluding our grasp, leaving us to scrape and scratch like an inferior writing instrument — some not-Jotter — against metaphysics’ corrasable bond. [Translated from the imaginary French.]

Other T-Ball Jotter posts
Five pens
Last-minute shopping (A 1964 ad)
Parker T-Ball Jotter (A 1963 ad)

Related reading
Eaton’s Corrasable Bond

[Advertisement from Life, August 27, 1971.]

comments: 6

Matthew Schmeer said...

Dude, you are going all "Ship of Theseus" on us!

Michael Leddy said...

I recently watched a couple of clips from the documentary Derrida, and I . . . I can’t help myself.

Geo-B said...

So...what you're saying is... if you give a T-Ball Jotter to a chimp, it will throw it at someone, if you give it to a gorilla, it will use it to scratch itself, and if you give it to a college professor, he will use it to write itself out of a jam (which he has probably just written himself into)?

Elaine said...

I was just going to post that I now feel very, very tired....but the great comments already posted have cheered me up no end!

Michael Leddy said...

George, yes, more or less.

Elaine, I read hundreds of pages of this sort of stuff, having come of age in the age of “theory.” You’re gettin’ off easy. :)

Michael Leddy said...

Oops — I’ve read. Not anymore.