https://iiiimag.com/articles/the-500-br-f-f-f-foreign-man-andy-kaufman-and-the-stutter
(transition)
(transition)
About

iiii Magazine is an independent arts and culture publication, based in London and Manchester. We talk about culture in the sense suggested by Francis Bacon, when he said of intellectual enrichment: 'the culture and manurance of minds’. Our approach to culture is the same: that something bright and engaging may be derived from detritus. We love cultural ephemera in particular, and despite Bacon’s near-perfect turn of phrase, it is the position of the magazine that it is not sufficient. We publish articles that stretch our assumptions of what culture can be, so long as they are forged with originality.

We place no limits on subject matter or form — we have published incisive criticism, personal essays and memoirs, humour pieces and odes to oddities — but we take as a guiding principle this from Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman (1967): 

‘Always ask any questions that are to be asked […] Turn everything you hear to your own advantage. Always carry a repair outfit. Take left turns as much as possible. Never apply your front brake first’. 

¶ Visit Our Shop

Support the magazine by visiting our SHOP.

~ With the help of Studio Hyte, we created a football (scarf) with no crest, no local, nor national allegiance — a garment that challenges the ugly attitudes that alienate so many from the beautiful game.
~ As well as looking fresh, your (scarf) is also doing its bit to address the aforementioned issues, with 10% of all profits raised donated to LGBT charity Stonewall (Charity number: 1101255)

¶ Work With Us

iiii Magazine is a non-profit organisation, and our modest team of editors, reporters, and social scribes work on a voluntary basis. We do have plans to address this in the future. As it is we are looking for a creative, driven individual to join the team, to help shape future editions. If you would like to work for iiii Magazine, do send a CV and a cover letter outlining the sort of role you would like to take to hello@iiiimag.com. We will do our best to get back to you quickly.

Callout

¶ Forthcoming Editions

(crest)
A Publication by iiii Magazine: A look at football culture through twenty classic kits

(crest) is a book that entwines history, design, and football culture to enliven debate about belonging — both local and national — in a fractious British and European moment. Classic football kits are artefacts highly sought after by collectors and fans alike. Is this a question of design, of a club’s success, or of nostalgia? Can it be all or none of these things? In twenty short essays by twenty writers, (crest) charts the peculiar histories of each of the 2018/19 Premier League football clubs through the lens of a prized classic kit from the past decades. The book takes football seriously at its root, and looks at how larger forces drive the sense of allegiance of football-loving individuals — what hidden personal stories make the Beautiful Game beautiful when it can seem so ugly?

Produced by iiii Magazine, (crest) will feature quality photography and minimalist design. iiii encourages deep and engaged archival research, as well as idiosyncratic and strange personal stories. Whatever the mode or the form, iiii Magazine is committed to providing generous editorial support to writers.

To pitch a text, please email: submissions@iiiimagazine.com
To be involved in any other capacity, email: hello@iiiimag.com

¶ Online

The online publication continues all year round, and publishes articles in three broad categories:

  1. Esoterica and funny writing [the stranger, more parochial, the better]
  2. Long-form interviews and features
  3. The 500 [react, respond in 500 words to an artefact, a lyric, a piece of punctuation, anything]

If your text does not fit into one of the above categories, don't fret, we just need a pitch. Please send a query or an extract from your text to submissions@iiiimagazine.com with SUBMISSION in the subject line. Work should be previously unpublished; but we will consider work under consideration elsewhere if you let us know. We are run by a team of volunteers, and thus we are unfortunately not yet in a position to offer a fee.

Please provide a short author’s bio-line which will be published under your piece. 'Algenon Overling is a fictional writer based in 12th Century Denmark. He likes to relax with his kestrel and his crossbow. Good with kids’.

Style Guide

Please defer to the short style guide. It not only saves on editorial nit-picking, but illustrates commitment to the publication.

  1. Oxford commas, yes. In lists of three or more things, include a comma between the final two, before the ‘and’ (Manchester, Leeds, and London).
  2. Titles of books, films, exhibitions italicised. Titles of artworks ‘Like This’ (2018).
  3. One space after full-stops. Always.
  4. ‘Use single quotation marks “except for quotes within quotes” at all times’.
  5. Include spaces before and after em-dashes. (I wouldn’t — but for in unlikely circumstances — consider a teacake).
  6. Dates: 5 May 2016 / Decades: 1980s.
  7. Special formatting requirements are difficult to manage on an optimised website, but we will always try to meet a writer’s needs.
Subscribe

(Click)

(Click)

The 500
F-F-F-Foreign Man: Andy Kaufman and the Stutter

Jordan Harrison-Twist

17.01.19

Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

A man walks in front of a velvet curtain. Immaculate side-parting; eyebrows flirtingly close over the nose; swollen, scurrying eyes; turtleneck under shirt under sports jacket — sleeves too short, drawing attention to hands held vertically down at both sides: awkward, mechanized — trousers: legs too short, drawing attention to white socks and black shoes: foalish, puerified; shifting weight from left to right, right to left; slight alteration of the jacket as if it were suspended independently of his sway, lacquered onto the hot air. The fingers on his left hand curl up in sequence and then fall to rest. Again, again. He looks terrified.

‘It was… three people… and dey carried the biggest cennon… in the world to Spain…’

Indefinable accent, broadly Eastern European. Singular third person pronoun ‘it’ with matching incorrect conjugation of the verb ‘to be’ for a noun phrase containing a quantity ‘three’. Who is this man, this twerp, who cannot grasp basic grammar? Who is he — you know — the foreign man?

‘So… it was two boys and one girl and dey took the-the cennon to the highest mountain… in Spain…’

The word ‘foreign’ can simply mean ‘dealing with or relating to other countries’, or ‘strange and unfamiliar’ and ‘coming from outside’. This is the role, the position, of the stand-up comic. As critic Philip Auslander writes of the originators: ‘urban, immigrant, outsiders […] confined to the cultural ghetto’. The self-deprecating subject uses herself, outré, outside of society, to reflect the ills of the inside.

‘So, the first boy, you know, they on top of the mountain… and the first boy, he point the cennon to thees castle, and so-so-so-so he… so he say to the second boy, “alright, hend me the cennonball”. So-so-so-so-so, the second boy say, “eeeeer, I thought you had dem”. So-so-so wait, listen, so-so-so-so listen, so they both turn to the girl, and she say…’

Spasmodic repetition of the discursive marker ‘so’ is in fact not spasmodic at all. With each fell sibilant swoop, Kaufman stabs the building tension, killing the communion in the room, making an audience individuals.

One wonders what the best method of transcribing this stutter would be:

‘S, s, s, so—‘ is different from
‘so-so-so-so—‘ which is different from
‘So’, stuttered Andy Kaufman.

The first is an internal physiological struggle: the material production of phonemes failing its host. The second is a plea for attention, quiet, respect. The third demonstrates fear.

Foreign Man’s conceited stutter reflects an attempt to regain control: empty signifiers repeated in stretched time, a satire of the comic ignorant of his audience. Speech is intransitively reaching the moment at which it communicates nothing but noise — the body, and the body alone, speaks.

Kaufman’s Foreign Man is the outsider twice-removed: the performer from society, and the delusional from the performer. He, as Freud writes in Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious, ‘completely disregards his inhibition, because it is not present in him’. And when the punchline arrives:

‘Don’t look at me!’

the belly of the joke is pierced, and it squeaks away to a flaccid wiggle. Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me. Don’t look at me. The foreign body is making itself sound as foreign as possible to agitate the audience’s immune system.

Archive
Archive
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram