Social media politics are a sort of ludic etiquette more concerned with monitoring the line between what is offensive and pleasurable rather than embracing the paths of analysis they could possibly open.
Desperate HungerBy T. DiCianni
I recently saw Jacques Rivette’s L’amour fou [Critic’s Choice, December 9] at Facets. I enjoyed the film. I don’t know if it “captures the dreams and desperation of the 60s” better than most films. But when two young men returned to their seats during intermission with a small pizza, that may have said more about the 90s than most films.
(William Pisarri & I were the two young men and I’m still confused by what this person felt they were trying to say by writing into the Chicago Reader about our pizza. I also don’t understand how they missed us spilling two open bottles of beer on the floor, spilling a healthy portion of a good fifth of whiskey on the floor, and the fact we reeked of body odor, weed (mostly because we spilled that on us as we rolled one in preparation for intermission, but we also walked in rightly zooted), and cigarettes. We were a fucking wrecks because we were excited as hell for this movie. I forget if that was the same week we also saw Celine & Julie projected or if that was the week before. There was an embarrassment of Rivette riches in Chciago for a brief period in 1994-95.) (Still haven’t seen Out1/Spectre though.)
Entertainment does not…present models of utopian worlds, as in the classic utopias of Sir Thomas More, William Morris, et al. Rather the utopianism is contained in the feelings it embodies. It presents, head-on as it were, what utopia would feel like rather than how it would be organized.
—Richard Dyer, “Entertainment and Utopia”
The heterotopia is capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible. Thus it is that the theater brings onto the rectangle of the stage, one after the other, a whole series of places that are foreign to one another; thus it is that the…
What’s interesting to me about My Life is the tension between the relative autonomy of every sentence—in the sense that Hejinian empties out explicit narrative “content” in a way that allows us as readers to take each sentence one at a time, so we can read it sentence by sentence if we like, which I do like to do, being an Apollonian rat and all—and Hejinian’s own epistemological investment in everything’s fundamental relationality which leads her to repeat sentences, phrases, fragments, and figures, which in turn contributes to the sense that one can read My Life in more than one way (in terms of its sections, in terms of strings of sentences, in terms of the repeated material, or sentence by sentence by sentence, etc. etc.). So in some sense what is interesting is how reification—in a value-neutral sense, which I shouldn’t have to say but I’m going to say because Moral Marx is everyone’s favorite Marx on the internet—plays out in My Life, and its specific consequences in the transformation of social spaces, especially domestic spaces, where Hejinian frequently situates the activity of reading, writing, observing, and remembering—not that she “represents” these in any straightforward way but that they are constant topoi that characterize how My Life unfolds. They’re repeated just as much as the sentence fragments and full sentences are repeated. And repetition is more important than, say, narrative in moving from one part of the poem to the next, or even within a single sentence. But repetition makes me think about different temporalities of reading insofar as depending on what one reads for, in an “open” text, one’s reading will have different speeds. And the ideal speed for Hejinian, in a book like this, is that everything is happening simultaneously—the worst possible thing is “linearity” or so it feels for Hejinian, at least in the sense that one thing happened and then another thing happened in a way that causally, or, which is the same thing, for My Life, narratively, they are connected. And even as this whole method of proceeding is really compelling and allows Hejinian to move through social spaces and attempt to interrogate if not grasp their transformations, specifically their movement from open to closed, I wonder about the limits of it, specifically when the things whose total relatedness we are everywhere encountering in My Life are “things” by virtue of their likeness to the commodity form, so that the kinds of language practices that make Hejinian’s writing possible are contingent on, specifically, living in a world where our relationships to everything are conditioned by and shaped like our relationships to commodities. Which isn’t anything damning in terms of like what My Life does but I suppose I find its proposed epistemology sort of beside the point—she would probably find this thought about My Life sort of beside the point, too—and am more interested in it aesthetically insofar as it enacts and mediates neoliberalization as it manifests itself in our relationship to space (and Hejinian is especially interested in, although more so in the revised versions I’ve read of My Life, DOMESTIC space, and interiors play a big part here, too, but I’m not, I say to myself, doing a reading of the book right now, I’m making a point about one facet of it, so I don’t have to say EVERYTHING, although I do, and all at once, whether I think I can or not, I suppose). My favorite part about My Life is all the stuff about gardens and fog.
Thank you so
much for sharing
the tomatoes. They