Luke Niebler

The /B/ Word.

Luke Niebler

Q: What's wrong with the letter B?

 

A: So much. First, we must understand the letter B divorced from its relationship to sound. Indeed, the false relationship between so-called “phonetic” writing and spoken language has long relegated written language to a second-place form of communication. In this false system, many people see the written word as a mere reflection of the phoneme, always imperfectly rendering the complexities of spoken language. The letter B can never encompass the full experience of the voiced bilabial stop. In this conception of the wor(l)d, experience and communication only take place in live, voiced expression and are then inexpertly transcribed, as if by monkeys at a typewriter.

 

However, closer inspection reveals that the voiced bilabial stop is just as imperfect a representation of experience or thought. Indeed, the written word—and the letter in particular—reveal the unbridgeable chasm between signifier and signified. A sound is simply nonsense, noise without meaning, unless it is within a conceptual system that eternally displaces the underlying signifiers: it displaces them into sounds, into letters, into movement, into anything that is not the thing itself. Our infuriating capacity for language has eternally alienated us from meaning, and B is just the beginning.

 

Spend the rest of the day alternately blowing raspberries and writing out the letter B in a moleskine notebook; you will either be driven mad by the (im)possibility of communication, or come to a greater understanding of your own doom.

(Courtesy of Yahoo!Answers)