“The superman is the man who passes over, away from the man as he is so far, but away whereto? Man so far is the last man. But if this manner of living being, ‘man,’ in distinction from other living beings on earth, plants and animals, is endowed with ‘rationality;’ and if ratio, the power to perceive and reckon with things, is at the bottom a way of forming ideas; then the particular manner of the last man must consist in a particular manner of forming ideas. Nietzsche calls it blinking, without relating blinking explicitly to the nature of representing or idea-forming, without inquiring into the essential sphere, and above all the essential origin, of representational ideas. But we must nevertheless give its full weight to the term Nietzsche uses for this kind of ideation, namely, blinking, according to the context in which it appears. We must not take it to be the same thing as the merely superficial and incidental wink by which we signal to each other on special occasions that in fact we are no longer taking seriously what is being said and proposed, and what goes on in general. This kind of winking can spread only because all forming of ideas is itself a kind of blinking. Ideas formed in this way present and propose of everything only the glitter, only the appearance of surfaces and foreground facets. Only what is so proposed and so disposed has currency. This type of representation is not first created by blinking, but the other way around: the blinking is a consequence of a type of representation already dominant. What type? The type that constitutes the metaphysical basis of the age called the Modern Age, which is not ending now but only just beginning.”
-Heidegger, What Is Called Thinking?
1. Some people’s fame and success is really just a barometer for what a mess the world is.
2. “A text is not a text unless it hides from the first comer, from the first glance, the law of its composition. A text remains, moreover, forever imperceptible.”
Derrida, Platos’s Pharmacy
3. “We forget too easily that a thinker is more essentially effective where he is opposed than where he finds agreement.”
Heidegger, What Is Called Thinking?
4. “One of Cassavetes’ strengths, which he had in common with many great artists, was his stubborn phobia about being ackowledged by any form of right-on thinking, no matter where it came from.”
Olivier Assayas on John Cassavetes
5. In Outlaw Culture, bell hooks points out that we should be suspicious of any film (its politics) that wins an Oscar, for whatever gets unanimous praise is rarely progressive.
6. “A man for whom nearly all books have become superficial, who has kept faith in only a few people of the past that they have had depth enough—not to write what they knew.”
Nietzsche, Notebooks, GW XIV, p. 229, Aphorism 464 of 1885.
7. “They all talk about me…but nobody gives me a thought.”
Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra
Who says things like “Passionate for the appropriate?” Robert Bresson does.
“‘Craft’ literally means the strength and skill in our hands. The hand is a peculiar thing. In the common view, the hand is part of our bodily organism. But the hand’s essence can never be determined, or explained, by its being an organ which can grasp. Apes, too, have organs that can grasp, but they do not have hands. The hand is infinitely different from all grasping organs—paws, claws, or fangs—different by an abyss of essence. Only a being who can speak, that is, think, can have hands, and can be handy in achieving works of handicraft. But the craft of the hand is richer than we commonly imagine. The hand does not only grasp and catch, or push and pull. The hand reaches and extends, receives and welcomes—and not just things: the hand extends itself, and receives its own welcome in the hands of others. The hand holds. The hand carries. The hand designs and signs, presumably because man is a sign. Two hands fold into one, a gesture meant to carry man into the great oneness. The hand is all this, and this is the true handicraft. Everything is rooted here that is commonly known as the handicraft, and commonly we go no further. But the hand’s gestures run everywhere through language, in their most perfect purity precisely when man speaks by being silent. And only when man speaks, does he think—not the other way around, as metaphysics still believes. Every motion of the hand in every one of its works carries itself through the element of thinking, every bearing of the hand bears itself in that element. All the work of the hand is rooted in thinking.”
< -Heidegger, What Is Called Thinking?
“We thought, let’s get as much silence in there as we can.” Arto Lindsay on DNA
What has this been like?
It has been like turning you (X.) into music. It has been like listening all the time. They say: listen to your heart, not feel your heart. They say: what does your heart tell you? Your absence is loud and clear. Love is all ears. The word heart has the word ear in it.
My ears have been hearing things, things which aren’t even words, or messages, while my eyes, along with everyone else’s, are forever telling me that nothing is there. That nothing is happening. It is the difference between inward and outward. Between me and everyone else.
Sound is often the beginning of horror. In horror movies the non-believer often tells the believer: “I can’t see anything. You’re imagining things,” which means that there is nothing there. By the time the non-believer actually does see something (what’s happening)—the horror made visual—it’s too late. In The Exorcist the Devil starts off as just a sound (rats?) in the attic. In The Entity, the poltergeist that rapes Barbara Hershey over and over, makes a sound but never materializes. It remains unseen. But what it does to her is real. The bruises and cuts are real. The rape is real. The horror is real. The Entity is the misogyny of “it’s all in your head” (or in the case of The Exorcist, it’s all in your female body) taken to a horrific extreme.
In his book Listening, Jean-Luc Nancy writes:
“After it had designated a person who listens (who spies), the word écoute came to designate a place where one could listen in secret. Être aux écoutes, to ‘listen in, to eavesdrop,’ consisted first in being in a concealed place where you could surprise a conversation or a confession. Être à l’écoute, ‘to be tuned in, to be listening,’ was in the vocabulary of military espionage before it returned, through broadcasting, to the public space, while still remaining, in the context of a telephone, an affair of confidences or stolen secrets…One aspect of my question will be: What secret is at stake when one truly listens, that is, when one tries to capture or surprise the sonority rather than the message?” What does one risk feeling, discovering, when one listens as though everything were a secret?”
The ear hyper-extends. Goes in and above and beyond, and out of its way—defenseless, the only opwning you can’t close. The ear is also a spy listening for clues. Elaine and I call ourselves, call each other, spies. Detectives. The way we don’t just think (about books, movies, songs, love—people), we press our ears to things.
“The sonorous outweighs form. It does not dissolve it, but rather enlarges it; it gives it an amplitude, a density, and a vibration or an undulation whose outline never does anything but approach. The visual persists until its disappearance; the sonorous appears and fades away into its permanence…What is the reason for this difference, and how is it possible? Why and how can there be one or several difference(s) of ‘senses’ in general, and also difference(s) between the perceiving senses and the perceived meaning, ‘sensed sense’ [les sens sensibles el le sens sensé]? Why and how is it that something of perceived meaning has privileged a model, a support, or a referent in visual presence rather than in acoustic penetration? Why, for example, does acousmatics, or the teaching model by which the teacher remains hidden from the disciple who listens to him, belong to a philosophical Pythagorean esoterism, just as, much later, auricular confession corresponds to a secret intimacy of sin and forgiveness? Why, in the case of the ear, is there withdrawal and turning inward, making resonant, but in the case of the eye, there is a manifestation and display, a making evident? Why, however, does each of these facets also touch each other, and by touching, put into play the whole system of the senses? And how, in turn, does it touch perceived meaning? How does it come to engender it or modulate it, determine it or disperse it? All these questions inevitably come to the forefront when it’s a question of listening…Here we want to to prick up the philosophical ear: to tug the philosopher’s ear in order to draw it toward what has always solicited or represented philosophical knowledge less than what presents itself to view—form, idea, painting, representation, aspect, phenomenon, composition—but arises instead in accent, tone, timbre, resonance, and sound…What does it mean for a being to be immersed entirely in listening, formed by listening, formed by listening or in listening, listening with all its being?”
The ear strays, is a pharmakon luring the eye away from what it sees or doesn’t see. While the ear stretches and cranes its neck to hear, the visual is either there or it isn’t. And depending on which, we’re either interested or we aren’t. We see or we don’t see. What you see is what you get. Out of sight, out of mind. Yes or no. The visual filters, cuts, leaves things out. Composes. Sets limits. Denies.
“The visual persists until its disappearance; the sonorous appears and fades away into its permanence……Shouldn’t truth ‘itself,’ as transivity and incessant transition of a continual coming and going, be listened to rather than seen?”
In Brian De Palma’s Blow Out, sound is spied. A microphone that is there to witness something else discovers a secret (sound) that no one was supposed to know (The Blow Out trailer informs: “It began with a sound that no one was supposed to hear.”) . The sound in Blow Out is a “murder that never happened,” and had Terry not been listening at the moment he was, that sound would have been lost forever. The murder (instead of a death) would have been a tree in a forest.
In “Notes on Sound,” from his book Notes On The Cinematographer, Robert Bresson states that one should know “what business that sound (or that image) has there” and “What is for the eye must not duplicate what is for the ear.”
So what is for the ear in Bresson’s Lancelot du lac? What kind of ear and/or eye must one have for this film? What is sound doing in the empty forest of Lancelot? Why should we look at it when there is “nothing” there? When the visual is incomplete—missing something? Missing action, missing presence. What is the purpose of showing us how the forest sounds? Feels? The way it looks when it isn’t full of warring bodies. The forest as a silent witness, a repository; a space that hears and sounds; picks up on things like a microphone (inverting the acoustic schema of Blow Out). Records the sounds that bodies make and leave behind. Or rather, is that sound.
Both Blow Out and Lancelot invoke the idiom “for your ears only,” bringing us back to espionage and secret. Radical listening. “While music flattens a surface, makes it into an image,” Bresson explains, “sound lends space, relief. It arrives and the screen deepens, thus bringing on the third dimension.” For Bresson, sound should never duplicate an image with a sound (“a sound must never come to the aid of an image, nor an image to the aid of a sound….the image and sound must never reinforce each other, but must each work in turn in a sort of relay”). Perhaps Brian De Palma’s ideas about the verisimilitude of sound in Blow Out came from Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar (1966), and not just Blow Up’s meditation on the image (also 1966). In Balthazar, the first car accident is seen, the second is heard. Bresson, who recorded all his sounds separately to be able to “mix them in the correct proportion,” believed that “a tape recorder captures true sounds, whereas the camera greatly deforms the real.” It is significant, then, that with Blow Up and Blow Out, we start with the lie of the camera and end up with the truth of (recorded) sound.
How should we read Guinevère’s blue scarf in Lancelot du lac?
She has been there in this spot. Lancelot has too. As well as a third person, who is neither Guinevère nor Lancelot. This cloth has in it the vibration of Lancelot’s touch and Guinevère’s body. It means something to Guinevère, and to Lancelot who greets Guinevère by putting her cloth to his mouth as if it were a mouth—hers. In Notes on a Cinematographer, Bresson quotes Cezanne: “At each touch I risk my life.” And so, the scarf, laid there, left there, is the distance between Guinevère and Lancelot. But it is also the proximity. Their intimacy. The touch and the risk.
In her “blog”, Elaine Castillo quotes Bliss Cua Lim’s “The Ghostliness of Genre”: “The ghost film’s core conceit, visualized in its mise-en-scène, is that space has a memory.”
A forest has a memory. A room has a memory. A scarf has a memory. The sound of touch. The ghost of touch. The touch of sound. Both Bresson and Elaine make ghost films. That is, films that are informed by the ghostliness of living. “…What has being and has been in being” (Heidegger).
In What is Called Thinking?, Heidegger writes: “What keeps us in our essential nature holds us only so long, however, as we for our part keep holding on to what holds us. And we keep holding on to it by not letting it out of our memory. Memory is the gathering of thought. Thought of what? Thought of what holds us, in that we give it thought precisely because It remains what must be thought about.”
The impression (as in pressing into, or indenting) a person makes when they come, and leaves behind when they go—when they appear/disappear—is not, after all, a presence/absence that you see. It is one that you feel. One that leaves a dent in you. In Lancelot du lac, Guinevère knows that Lancelot isn’t dead even though everyone insists that he is. How does she know this? Because Lancelot’s life is (makes) a sound that Guinevère can hear. That is for her ears only.
Elaine Castillo’s film Holy Forest is an example of what Nancy calls “visual sound” or “vision that is sonorous.”
In Holy Forest, green is born, grows, unfolds, vibrates. It is the whole world’s sonority; “the whole system of the senses” (Nancy) touching and shuddering at touch. Holy Forest is like the secret sound that Lancelot du lac’s forest makes. It is also the mourning of all its dead bodies.
“To be listening,” writes Nancy, “is thus to enter into tension and to be on the lookout for a relation to self: not, it should be emphasized, a relationship to ‘me’ (the supposedly given subject), or to the ‘self’ of the other (the speaker, the musician, also supposedly given, with his subjectivity), but to the relationship in self, so to speak, as it forms a ‘self’ or ‘to itself’ in general, and if something like that ever does reach the end of its formation. Consequently, listening is passing over to the register of presence to self.”
Arto Lindsay: “We thought, let’s get as much silence in there as we can…”
Bresson: “Be sure of having used to the full all that is communicated by immobility and silence.”
The sound of you (X.) coming. The sound of you not coming. The sound of you wanting to come. The sound of you not wanting to come. It’s not that I can hear you exactly—the message of you, or us. It’s not even that there’s a message to hear. Though I think there is. It’s that we make a sound even if the picture looks empty.
For the one who needs it. Lines I strung together from Bresson’s A Man Escaped or The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth:
“In this world of cement and iron.”
“Your door. I’ll try again.”
“I unconsciously prepared myself.”
“To fight. To fight the wall. The door.”
“The door just had to open. I had no plan for afterwards.”
“Thomas Hardy wrote about people failing to meet as if these failures are scandalous occasions. What didn’t happen astounded him…How can it happen and how can it not happen? If a person has said he will be in a certain place, shouldn’t his body be as good as his word?…A chance meeting is a meeting that seems to exist with a great probability of not meeting circling around it. As we all know, almost everything doesn’t happen.”
Fanny Howe, The Wedding Dress
This is an old interview I did with Creative Aggression about Beauty Talk & Monsters and the (my) writing process in 2008.
You can read it here: “Patterns of Creative Aggression”.
I was ten years old when I first heard this track shoot out of my walkman. I was in a car, driving down St Mark’s Place in New York with my parents. I thought the song was sexy and tough. Untamed. The song was called “Tattooed Love Boys” and I was already dreaming, obsessing, about boys in that way that only a passionate teenage girl does. With a chip on her shoulder. But I had all the attitude and lust of a teenage boy. I felt cool—-alive—-listening to this song on my way to some East Village art opening or party with my parents. I was their only kid. We were a close-knit family, and yet a part of me still felt like Jim in Empire of the Sun. I liked feeling that way though, imagining myself as some lost drifter. Loner.
My parents were cooler than everyone else’s parents and they were young and smart and in love, and I had this whole life—my whole life—mapped out in my head, coursing through my body. I couldn’t wait to meet the first boy of my dreams, and that summer, I did. I already loved The Pretenders and Chrissie Hynde. Her punk-bravado. So when I first heard “Tattooed Love Boys” I recognized Hynde’s fire-underneath-the-ice toughness because I had it too.
“Tattooed Love Boys” shows up as soon it starts, like the most exciting person at a party. The person who walks in the door, into the room, and changes it—fills it. You.
And you may not even like this person at first, but your life has shifted because of them. Changed directions. Gone somewhere else. They’ve hit you like a drug.
There is no warning when something—someone—like this happens; shows up. And “Tattooed Love Boys” is like this person. The person who suddenly, and without warning, appears in your life, as well as the person who recognizes the person who appears. This song is both of those people. Both of those things.
“You…are…that” are the last three dragged-out words of this song.
The lyric, “I, I, I, I found out what the wait was about” conjures a time-jump. So what is this wait? This wait, still. This wait, again. How do we know when we’re waiting and not simply living our lives? That we’re doing something extra, in addition to living. That there’s an added element involved. The element of something future coming. Something not-yet.
I’m waiting to find that out, but to do that I have to wait some more. It’s possible that I don’t understand “Tattooed Love Boys” at all. Maybe Hynde is singing about something else entirely. Not boys, not love, not dreaming. Not waiting. Maybe what she’s singing about is already happening. Already here. There. Maybe the words and the vim (charge) of the song are two different things. Or maybe the sound is the meaning.
But I love how hungry and free the track is. The way it rushes in unexpectedly. The way it can’t catch its fucking breath. Is the time of your life.
“First wedding night.
But first mourning night?
-Roland Barthes, Mourning Diary
In her book Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence, Judith Butler writes:
“I am not sure I know when mourning is successful, or when one has fully mourned another human being. Freud changed his mind on this subject: he suggested that successful mourning meant being able to exchange one object for another; he later claimed that incorporation, originally associated with melancholia, was essential to the task of mourning. Freud’s early hope that an attachment might be withdrawn and then given anew implied a certain interchangeability of objects as a sign of hopefulness, as if the prospect of entering life anew made use of a kind of promiscuity of libidinal aim. That might be true, but I do not think that successful grieving implies that one has forgotten another person or that something else has come along to take its place, as if full substitutability were something for which we might strive.”
Butler is mostly talking about political violence and death in Precarious Life—the sphere of political marginalization, persecution, subjugation, occupation, erasure, annihilation. But given that her book is about “who counts as human?” and “What makes for a grievable life?,” who and what gets (deserves) to live, I think one can talk about love here, too. How love (and lovers) survives in the world—gets to live—and how it doesn’t. How love gets beaten out of our system (ours and the greater systems at large), or never taught to begin with. When does one let someone or something go and what does it mean to do such a thing? When should one let go and when should one hold on? And how do we let go rather than simply replace, which only fills (or pretends to fill) a space (gap, person) symbolically? How do we grieve what and who we’ve lost in a way that let’s us love more, not less?
Knowing when to go and when to stay has been a major struggle in my life. Therefore the greater question for me is: are we becoming the kind of people (culture, world) who can never really let someone in to begin with, and so can never really mourn a loss? Who never truly risk being wounded and affected; who never allow themselves to get to the point of being imprinted or dented, or god forbid, hurt. For what do we do—how do we live, love—once, after, we’ve been wounded? Once we’ve been left and once we’ve left. Once we’ve loved and lost. Let go or not let go. And do we love again? As Butler puts it at the beginning of Precarious Life, “Let’s face it (the face being an important ethical trope here, as Butler’s final chapter looks at Emmanuel Levinas’ theory of the face and human sociality), we’re undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something.” The question of replacement, as Freud defines it, becomes much easier if you never risk such losses and imprints at all. If you fill yourself up with an endless cycle of people (watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Reality TV shows are themselves predicated on an on-going replacement cycle). Butler’s reading of loss here is especially interesting to me because it suggests that it’s the inability to miss or grieve—to be, or admit to being, undone—that’s missing. That missing itself is not a sign of lack or loss, it’s the not-missing (not acknowledging our precarity and the precarity of others) that’s the real danger.
As a teenager, one of my favorite remarks about suffering was by the Romanian poet, E.M. Cioran from his book On The Heights of Despair: “I owe to suffering the best parts of myself as well as all that I have lost in life.” When it comes to love, it takes a lot of time and mourning for me to let someone go. If it isn’t even going to hurt, and if I’m not going to live with the hurt, why even let someone in? If there isn’t even a chance of being hurt—undone? So much emphasis is placed on narcissistic individuation as a sign of health and function. My needs, my space, instead of our needs, our space living together. Entering each other, mixing, communing, so if the two spaces (hearts and bodies), the “ties and bonds that compose us,” were to ever split apart, the tear would be unbearable. Would have to be. Rather than focusing on and emphasizing our delicate and complex proximities and vulnerabilities, we focus on the illusory delineations (boundaries) between people. But, as Butler notes:
“Loss has made a tenuous ‘we’ of us all…Perhaps, rather, one mourns when one accepts that by the loss, one undergoes that one will be changed, possibly forever. Perhaps mourning has to do with agreeing to undergo a transformation (perhaps one should say submitting to a transformation) the full extent of which one cannot know in advance…Maybe when we undergo what we do, something about who we are is revealed, something that delineates the ties we have to others, that shows us that these ties constitute what we are…It’s not as if an ‘I’ exists independently over here and then simply loses a ‘you’ over there, especially if the attachment to ‘you’ is part of what composes who ‘I’ am. If I lose you under these conditions, then I not only mourn the loss, but I become inscrutable to myself. Who ‘am’ I without you?”
As a culture we have become much more preoccupied, if not solely preoccupied, with a precautionary formulation of relationality; a relationality that is built on a hermetically narcissistic subjectivity: who am I when I am with you and what would I continue to be, or be able to be regardless, and in spite of, whether I am with you? How can I act as though we are never really together (part of each other); as though we are always-already split, or as though we might break apart at any moment? How can I always be prepared to lose you?
But what constitutes a break? An end? And what needs to happen in order to love again? Love another and anew in a way that isn’t simply about erasure, recuperation, and replacement? Hardening and cynicism, so that the next person you love never gets to experience or have access to your original thrall and openness. There are many reasons to hold on, not least of which to do for others, for the other, what others may not do, may not have done, for you—hold on. What if you give up (let go) too soon? What if you hold on for too long? When should you leave and when should you stay? When are you pushing someone away and when are you letting someone in? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I am always wrestling with them.
“For Levinas, coming face to face with the Other is a non-symmetrical relationship. I am responsible for the Other without knowing that the Other will reciprocate…Thus, according to Levinas, I am subject to the Other without knowing how it will come out. In this relationship, Levinas finds the meaning of being human and of being concerned with justice” (from Face to Face).
What if I stay and you don’t want me to? What if my loving you despite you telling me you don’t want me to is what will ultimately bring us together? What if waiting and holding on is part of what makes a love possible? What if one person has to learn to let go and the other person has to learn to hold on? What if that’s the bond at stake? What if that’s the road to, the test of, love?
In Robert Bresson’s Lancelot du lac, Guinevere, who is stronger than Lancelot, who knows more about strength, and therefore love, than Lancelot does, and who knows that God is love, not death, tells Lancelot, “you can use my strength.”
Guinevere, who can feel Lancelot even when he isn’t there, who knows that he is with her, even when he isn’t. Guinevere, who can feel—-love—-through the distance. See through the invisible.
Guinevere, who says, “I know he’s alive” when everyone tells her Lancelot is dead.
So much depends on just the right pressure, just the right time, just the right amount—not too much and not too little. Faith, when then there’s no reason to have it. Love, when maybe there’s no reason to give it. To know these things, we can’t rush—can’t be in a rush, with ourselves or with others. But we are living in a culture of disposability and speed, after all, and in Consuming Life Zygmunt Bauman writes about how this precarity and liquidity (the dissolve of bonds) also applies to love in a society of consumers, where subjecthood is increasingly defined by consumption and consumerism.
I treat the whole idea and task of “moving on” with suspicion and rigor, and always have. Mourning is often synonymous with forgetting and denial. So I think I will always prefer (trust) people who mourn—even people who can’t “get over” someone or something; who take too long—to people who don’t mourn or take any time at all. Or, who promiscuously and indiscriminately claim to do everything in the name of love; who call everyone a lover.
I want to hold on and I like others who do the same. Character is formed there and devotion is made possible. I’ve always been bad at the exchange part, partly because I never wanted or set out to exchange or be exchanged in the first place. The whole process terrifies me. I’ve been called an obsessive and a die-hard romantic because of it. And it’s true, I am one. I want to wrestle, grapple, stay, linger, hold on, remember, recall, retrace, ruminate, honor, know, understand—hold on. So when it comes to what Freud refers to as incorporation, I take (absorb) everything in order to fiercely guard what comes in and what stays out. That is, the relation between the two, for you can’t do or understand one without the other. “Perhaps we can say that grief,” writes Butler, “contains the possibility of apprehending a mode of dispossession that is fundamental to who I am.”
After the break-up of my first adult love (H.), the constant command for me to “get over it,” move on, love and/or fuck someone else, was just as traumatic as the dissolution of the relationship itself. I was simply talked out of my mourning. Talked out of holding on. I was constantly being told to let go. I refused this command though, and even wrote a story about it Solace when I was nineteen, the same year I read Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse:
In a 1977 interview called “The Greatest Cryptographer of Contemporary Myths Talks About Love,” Roland Barthes states, “Love-as-passion (the love I talk about in Lover’s Discourse) is almost ‘frowned upon,’ it’s considered to be an illness from which the lover must recover, and no enriching aspects are attributed to it any longer.’”
So much of love—and mourning—is about language. The way we handle love and loss in words. The way we get talked into and out of love. The way we say things we don’t mean and don’t say the things we do. What we say and don’t say about love and what we let others say about it. But if it can’t come out, where does mourning go—happen? This silence and internalization only further isolates us and privatizes our suffering. Maybe that’s how and why replacement works, is so reassuring. There is simply no place for real, and therefore radical, heartache in this culture. No time and no place. We teach ourselves and each other what it means to love by what we say about it. What we’re allowed to say and what we’re not allowed to say. What we’re trained to say (our ready-made vocabularies and cultural discourses) and what we’ve already said. Women have historically been permitted to say more about it, but that’s because of the trivialization not just of women, but love in general. When it comes to love, we circulate either a repressive and reactionary set of values and narratives, or disposable platitudes. Sometimes we give up too soon and sometimes we don’t try at all. We miss the opportunity to try. We don’t say enough, when we should say everything. As Heidegger points out in What Is Called Thinking?, “Words are constantly thrown around on the cheap, and in the process are worn out. There is a curious advantage in that. With a worn-out language everybody can talk about everything…To speak language is totally different from employing language. Common speech merely employs language. This relation to language is just what constitutes its commonness.” Which is what James Baldwin meant when he noted that true rebels are as rare as true lovers. This is also what I was trying to talk about in “Solace.” Love and grief as something rare and precious and difficult and necessary. As Butler puts it, “…I am speaking to those of us who are living in certain ways beside ourselves, whether in sexual passion, or emotional grief, or political rage.”
More of the full wolf moon: