ordinariness - the quality of being ordinary
quality - an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone; "the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare
mediocrity, averageness - ordinariness as a consequence of being average and not outstanding
expectedness - ordinariness as a consequence of being expected and not surprising
commonplaceness, everydayness, commonness - ordinariness as a consequence of being frequent and commonplace
In an e mail today one of my students asked me why I keep a blog. Of course we all get asked this all the time. But why do we record our ordinary daily lives? Do we seek to narrate their ordinariness or do we shape out of each day a little something extraordinary?
Do we look to narrate ourselves on a daily basis out of a desire to self affirm? I think Giddens would say yes.
The existential question of self identity is bound up with the fragile nature of the biography which the individual ’supplies’ about herself.A person’s identity is not to be found in behaviour, nor - important though this is - in the reactions of others, but in the capacity to keep a particular narrative going. The individual’s biography, if she is to maintain regular interaction with others in the day-to-day world, cannot be wholly fictive. It must continually integrate events which occur in the external world, and sort them into the ongoing ’story’ about the self.
(Giddens 1991: 54)
I think we continually try to turn the mundane in to the exotic. Yesterday I showed the beans; the onions;the garlic; the mug; as if worthy art forms. They were each a 'still life'; they were shown as other than the mundane items of food or crockery.
They were no longer functional, but aesthetic. Maybe this is a way in which we enrich our existance - through creative acts that resist the mundane.
Is that what a blog is? A creative, resistant act against the mundane? Is it an attempt to subvert ordinary and re-create it as extraordinary?
maybe we are saying, that we know we are ordinary.
This is it.
This is our ordinariness.
That is who we are.
And we are OK with that.
I was given a copy of 'Boring Postcards' for Christmas last year and it is really interesting (and funny) to see the boring places depicted there in all their drabness. The pictures, (of motorway cafes, motels, carparks, airports and so on,) show the backdrops that belong to the 'inbetween' parts of our lives, the bits we want to ignore. The liminal spaces. The margins between the events.
But these are the spaces in which we spend a LOT of time.
(Hence the great sales of ipods and walkmans to take us through these spaces.)
These marginal spaces, or 'mythologies' apparently unworthy of attention are the focus of Moran's book, which I have returned to, this week.
These mythologies are so buried in unnoticed habitual spaces and routines that they are relatively resistant to the kind of analyses undertaken by Barthes. I want to find a critical strategy that acknowledges this boredom in everyday life, raher than one that simply seeks to transform it through resourceful readings that strip away the veneer of what Barthes calls the 'falsely obvious.
(Moran, 2005: page 22)
The iterative routines of office life, the ritual phrases and actions and reactions, the habitual inertia. These are the stuff of the everyday that come under the spotlight. And I think these are the things I see Vitriolica deal with; Bitch PhD and many more. But I think we exoticise them; I think we are creative about them and it takes a brave person not to try and make the rdinary a bit more perky than it really is.