I‘ve been granted an interview with Lugretta, 8-month-old daughter of a friend. Lugretta’s name is not, however, Lugretta; it‘s Evie, short for Genevieve.
This is where Lugretta lives. It’s still light outside, but it‘s getting close to bedtime. With a look of wonder and almost without sound, Lugretta crawls toward me across a friendly hardwood Silver Lake floor. Lugretta’s mommy offers me a glass of beer in a shiny glass, which I place on the floor beside me, seven or eight feet from Lugretta.
Shiny thing making faint sizzling sound!
Lugretta makes a fast crawl for it. I lift the glass away and immediately replace it with something less toxic and more colorful — a chewable toy, looks like. Lugretta follows my eyes to the toy, picks it up, test-chews, and puts it back down. She seems to have forgotten about the beer (now hidden behind my untouched reporter‘s note pad). Lugretta smiles slightly, sitsfalls directly in front of me, looks at me as if she’s recently lost something shiny and faintly sizzling and intends to find it.
Lugretta‘s mommy reminds me that this will be Lugretta’s last interview of the day.
“Let‘s get started then. Lugretta, in the last century, dozens of personal-care products have been named after your demographic group’s alleged regard for them, or perhaps after the inclusion of various baby-extracts in the production process — baby powder, baby food, baby oil and so on. Now, without commenting on specific brand names: Of these sorts of products, which ones do you favor, and why; and to what extent and in what way do you respond to so-called chromogenderalizational marketing strategies — pink for girls, blue for boys?”
Lugretta stares at me.
“Lugretta, at some point long after your biological need for mother‘s milk has waned, a well-paid authority figure of some kind — an actor or a basketball player, perhaps — will offer you a nice cold glass of cow’s milk. This person will not tell you where the milk came from, and will refer to it only as milk, not as milk force-suckled from the teats of genetically modified bovine slaves. But by then it will be too late. Everyone you know will be drinking the cow‘s milk; many will have moved on to cheese. To what extent do you favor more stringent federal regulations of dairy products, and why?”
Lugretta stares at me.
“Lugretta, as you know, I work for a weekly newspaper that sometimes runs advertisements featuring bare-chested women whose nipples are censored with solid black squares, stars or rectangles. Hypothetically speaking, if natural nipples were to evolve from their present circular pinks and browns into solid black squares, stars or rectangles, should my employers censor them with pink or brown circles — or stars — and why?”
Lugretta crawls to her mommy, and the two of them sit and stare at me. I finish my beer, thank them both and leave.
There are, Lugretta reminds us, plenty of good reasons not to talk.
That night little Lugretta slept like a baby. She had lots of very exciting dreams and remembered one of them for about five minutes after she woke up the next morning. In that dream, a big fat cow bounced across a meadow. Beside the meadow, in a space all their own, images flashed bright and fast and meant nothing. In the background, Lugretta heard the sound of machinery and Lugretta’s Arabesque (actually Claude Debussy‘s Arabesque, but she didn’t know). It was a lovely dream, and you can watch it right there on your computer monitor by following these simple steps: Download (1) a MIDI file of Debussy‘s Arabesque, borrowed from a server in Green Bay, Wisconsin (http:netnet.net~dciangoarabsq.mid); (2) an AU audio file of several cows speaking cow (www.gl.umbc.edu~dschmi1soundscows.au), courtesy of Big Dave’s House of Madness; (3) a bouncing-cow QuickTime movie (copyright 1998 by computer animator Matt Wilde, currently or formerly of the University of Teesside, Middlesbrough) (www.fortunecity.comvictorianuniversity250cow.mov); and (4) Lullabye (for postmodern children), a piece of genuine video art, in AVI format, by genuine video artist Aaron “Dr. Yo” Ross (http:emsh.calarts.edu~aaronRweb_vidlull160h.avi). From within your registered QuickTime Player (won‘t work unless it’s fuggin registered) (30 bucks, I believe), open all four files. Enlarge the genuine video art to the size of the cow. I recommend placing the cow on the left, the genuine video art on the right, and the audio formally beneath them. Set everything but the Debussy to Loop, and select Play All Movies. Nighty-night, little Lugretta. And thanks.