Kristeva died for your sins
Somebody I just met, through a complicated snafu involving their blog and the anonymous comment function, asked me how the weather was out here. Well, I’ll tell you. We don’t have air conditioning. And though, right at this moment, the weather is as pleasant as jasmine, by day in my room it’s been too hot to live. I don’t even have a fever anymore, and it’s all I can do to keep the sweat contained with a Panama hat and a long cigarette holder. I sort of peek through my window to see where all the heat is coming from, but it’s too dark, and the sky is having sooty fits.
The future of writing will be embarrassment. Continual, gut-shaking, unmediated embarrassment of the kind that no man, not even Jack Sparrow, can venture and live. For example, here’s a transcript of a discussion between Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Genet, from The Collected Ignominies of Jean Genet.
Sartre: How are you, Jean Genet?
Genet: I’m doing great. It’s deliciously cool in France and the cafes have air-conditioning. It was so pleasant today I had several cups of warm absinthe with lemon. I hope critical theorists like you, Jean-Paul Sartre, never have to live or teach in Southern California. What are you writing about?
Sartre: I’m writing about the predominance of nothingness. It’s terribly abstract, and I’ve had to take horse tranquilizers in order to keep going. In small doses horse tranquilizers work like amphetamines.
Genet: I just got out of French reformatory. What’s an amphetamine?
Sartre: It’s sort of like the twelve-hour Sudafed which is totally legal for people with West Nile Bird Flu. My writing is so abstract that I will soon go blind. Afterwards I will be widely misread. What are you writing about?
Genet: Well, I’m writing about a time when so many people spit on me that I was covered in slime. It was in prison. In order not to go mad with shame, I imagined that I was being covered in roses.
Sartre: Ha ha, Genet. You are so entertaining. I’d be grossed out, but since you’ve been totally honest with me, neither of us are embarrassed. Whereas you and I are both feeling weird about my book on nothingness and the fact that, after so many years squinting at Heidegger, everything I see looks like Introduction to Drawing.
Abjection is truth and it is delight.
Which leads me to my next important thought. Despite its awkwardness, the Proteus chapter of Ulysses is genius because it’s inconsistent in an abject fashion. I was reading through an old journal of mine today, and I found the following sentence:
The sun is setting and the water turns to oils and the bright sunshadows of massed flowers.
After which this appears:
I don’t know how to fix the problem indicated by the bee dream.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING INSTANT JOYCE: Put the two sentences together. Replace “the bee dream” with “Aristotle.” Then add one more sentence about something physical, like snot or getting buried.
I hate having to go to sleep. It’s like walking out of a concert. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in love with waking life either. I just think human beings should get to choose one or the other for all time, because the transition makes you sad as hell.
Goodnight to you.