Floozman is a Multimodal Platform
by Bertrand Cayzac
|Table of Contents|
Fred Looseman used to be the head risk assessor at World Wide Credit Corporation and the chairman of the Anti-Money Laundering Commission. Now he works as an automated teller machine repairman.
Sometimes he hears voices, and sometimes what he hears moves him to tears. His bank account overflows with the money of deliverance, and he becomes a financial super-hero: Floozman.
[Editor’s note: the following is not an episode in the ongoing story of Fred Looseman and his role as Floozman, the financial freedom fighter; rather it is an explanatory chapter.
As such, it is a kind of dialogue with the author. Readers who have come to know Floozman through the episodes already published will surely find that this deliberately belated preface confirms what they have already deduced about the character of Floozman and the scope of his mission.]
Relax: in spite of its mystical and industrial pretensions, Floozman is a hyper-cool concept. Like light, it is both particle and wave. It lends itself to decomposition into primary colours. You can put it in your pocket and take it everywhere.
Rejoice: Floozman is alive and young as the world is young. He transcends the categories of the real and the imaginary: he sells and gives of himself; he percolates freely into all areas, and he travels in a condensed form in which he is perpetually reborn beyond the reach of anyone who calls him.
Find wealth, then: while Floozman prefers to cast his bread upon the waters, he also knows how to put in place more reasonable business models. He thus invites you to create wealth on your own by means of the image described in these pages.
Indeed, as part of the technical paradigm, which we shall discuss in due course, this concept and its treatment will constitute a “platform,” that is, an organized set of functions that authors and producers will capitalize on to generate a large variety of intellectual works — œuvres de l’esprit (pardon my French).
We will use the language and the tools appropriate to our industry to describe it, while waiting for the spirit to blow where it will. But before this, with the liberty we still enjoy, let’s see what can be said of the central idea.
“By a scandalous abundance”
Floozman’s expansive and inextinguishable cash flow has its source in a point beyond understanding. Thus, the heavenly source of his power provides him with the most material and mercantile fluid that can be.
This paradox echoes the famous scandal of the Incarnation. Can we imagine the Divine Presence not in the flesh but in money? Would the Eternal choose to invest rather than become incarnate?
There is also a scandal of logic: nothing justifies the overabundance of assets at Floozman’s disposal. This conundrum will offend those who labour in the work force or are subject to economic constraints; the injection of such wealth into the financial system is a crime before the law and a threat to the stability of the establishment.
Indeed, Floozman is dangerous, like a revolutionary or a prophet. With him, the familiar finiteness measured by money is threatened by the outpouring of the incommensurable, which heralds the end of scarcity and the end of time.
At last, in spite of its load of bitterness and evil, money circulates around the world as a universal equivalent. As the value of values in the empty, purposeless heaven of our times, its power constantly extends to new domains and seizes everyone’s attention. We love money. Nothing is more fascinating than to watch its unveiled workings in the raw light of commerce.
For that reason, the superficial meaning of some of Floozman’s adventures will sometimes seem to take a grotesque turn: it will often be hard to believe that the hero’s prodigality reflects the grace of God translated to a lower plane.
The foregoing suggests that Floozman lends himself to different levels of interpretation. However, is it really possible to describe completely and coherently such a symbolic giant? He is an unstable synthesis born of a fusion of elemental forces. As a word animates the Golem, as lightning brings Frankenstein’s creature to life, money unchains the slave. We suspect that the ending will not be a happy one.
“He brings deliverance”
Why does the epigraph have no complement? What sort of deliverance are we talking about? To whom is it offered and from what does it free anyone?
A joker Floozboy says, “Evil, that is what the soul is delivered from.” But then can it be delivered from good, as well? Is good not simply deliverance itself?
A learned Floozboy replies, “Answers would alter the transcendental scope of the idea, because there is only one deliverance.”
Nonetheless, Floozman’s adventures have protagonists and a purpose. Floozman hears with compassion the lament of captives who sincerely aspire to freedom. Like an angel, he traverses worlds to grant their prayers. Money is the sword in his hand cutting the bonds. Like a Messiah, he delivers men from darkness and spirit from matter. Money is the superior light with which he glows.
Floozman is modern, and yet we feel we are in a very ancient world, one rooted in antiquity, a universe from which the demiurge was cut off at the dawn of time and to which he seeks to return. Or has a cosmic catastrophe occurred, and has the spirit fallen with a shower of sparks into the thickness of matter?
Floozman knows only that prisoners need him and that he has the power to help them. He confronts evil without ceasing to be vulnerable; he is by turns strong and weak depending on the outcome of this combat in which he struggles like a mortal in spite of his divine nature. He does not know the ultimate meaning of his presence in the world, but he will certainly provide the basis of an answer in arguments as yet unwritten.
Most of the time, the captives are “real people,” and Floozman may happen to deliver a pet dog or an iron for pressing laundry. The captives’ slavery and sufferings are quite common.
It should be noted that the hero is more often faced with lassitude than bodily corruption, against which his power must still assert itself. However, we shall see that in certain circumstances Floozman does not hesitate to descend into Hell.
Now that we have outlined the concept, it is time to address the way in which it is developed.
With all his powers, his mission, and his cape, Floozman is, conveniently, a superhero. Now he needs a standard operating mode, mostly for screen and television versions. Here are the essentials of this scheme. It is described further as a formula that will facilitate adaptation to visual media.
Floozman lives mostly in a waking state where he is merely Fred Looseman, a poor, half-dazed fellow who can hardly remember his fateful contact with the inner sanctum of banking. His story is unveiled in the initial episode.
Sometimes, Fred Looseman hears a prayer from a desperate creature. At this moment, he falls into a trance and is transformed like his counterparts in comic strips. His response to the call is the first turning point in the narrative.
As Floozman, he has at his disposal infinite cash and a virtual team that supports him in spending the money almost instantaneously. In the field, these Floozgirls and Floozboys help him organize the salvation of the unfortunate.
Each Floozman episode takes place with the utmost urgency in a mood of increasing messianic elation. Depending on the success of the operation, Floozman, his helpers, and the persons he saves can accomplish miracles or even attain superior states of mind that trigger cosmic processes such as the dissolution of the material world.
But evil is not defeated once and for all. More than the police or bandits whom Floozman opposes with constant determination, reason, calculation, the spirit of seriousness and of idolatry undermine his forces until the link is broken that unites him to the inexhaustible source. Floozman is often surprised to fall into a mundane trap.
Sometimes Floozman faces real difficulties or the perverse effects of his own actions. The trap consists of limits, failures and irreducible elements that thwart the hero’s mystical momentum. This contact with base thoughts, doubts or resistance constitutes the second narrative turning point.
The spell is broken. Contaminated by evil, Floozman experiences anew the Fall of Man. He becomes Fred Looseman again, while a different order emerges and achieves stability. The freed slaves enjoy liberty; Fred Looseman returns to his gloomy life and his anonymity. It is the end of the cycle.
I will reveal the essentials of Floozman’s origin although they are of no great interest. Floozman can do his work without referring to the circumstances of his creation.
I imagined the first version of the character in the loose chains of common slavery. It is produced in the interstices of servitude, it is the result of fleeting, intermittent thoughts, of subterranean elaborations hastily gathered in the fear of the morrow.
Floozman had to turn into a monster in order to exist. To be heard, he had to prove he was alive, moved by the most brutal necessity, a force equivalent to the one that forces me to work in the steerage decks of technological structure.
To keep myself from falling into dizzy forgetfulness somewhere on the A4 highway, Fred had to talk crudely of money until the reality of his existence dragged me back from sleep. A vaguely grotesque abstraction took shape as a burlesque hero calling for hope, and he was armed with the hyper-real fluid of money.
At the outset, then, I had to give up the idea of a novel with a coherent concusion in order to release Floozman’s liberating word. I was aware of his resonance in exile traditions, and I have endeavoured to give him form and meaning in my universe while bearing in mind that the poor clothes I have given him will never be worthy of his transcendent greatness.
I would like to borrow from the skillful chemistry of the spider, which secretes its web, or from the genes that make the pupil in a cat’s eye. These living systems organise the poor molecules of the environment into complex forms. They assemble long polymers and produce unique tissues so beautiful that they are immediately pleasing without preconception (excuse my Kant).
A similar capacity would enable me to spin a truly original story. Now, I use only prefabricated materials to construct an episode. When I am not transplanting a whole sequence of life, I go to the public world and take away ready-made elements, much as one might construct a rude cabin: the basics of mythology, shavings from great writings, samples from serials, comic strips, fragments from the classics, managerial recipes, etc.
I intrepidly sew the pieces together. I always have with me some baling wire to keep it from falling apart. In reality, I am having fun, but am I not just a poor hurried tramp, a rolling stone gathering no moss?
Tinkering is always at work in cultural creation, but I will not invoke Levi-Strauss’s ethnology to justify my plundering. Rather, I invite the reader to visit my shantytown and point out borrowings I make no effort to conceal.
Floozman is steeped in intention, and he shall be a hero. Most of the time he is clumsy and tongue-tied, yet he will tell the misery of the captives.
And once the seed is sowed and I drift away into the haze like a bowlegged peasant, Floozman will become what he is.
So there we have a platform. It is partly literary, because — Merdre ! — it is multimodal. The word sounds nice, and it implies that creations could spin off in a multitude of genres and activities, most of which will not pretend to art: theological gadget, TV obscenity, charity, financial product, social movement...
I propose Floozman as a starting point to all the talents who wish to exploit it. God willing, I will continue to write Floozman as I enjoy it, while remaining attentive to those who are in exile and waiting to return to the heaven of ideas.
Copyright © 2009 by Bertrand Cayzac