JOVE GOES RABBINIC - and a horse's ass
On my way to Finland, I find myself exclaiming: by Jove, I'm done! What I'm done with are two conference papers that I've managed to write in two days. Not bad.
The first one, a cultural studies paper on Cadillacs, took longer, as it traces some history, which always requires more documenting, more archive work, more checking facts. The 'uh' sound that you can hear coming out of me, makes me feel like a scholar, however. The other paper, on a favorite writer, Raymond Federman, is purely theoretical. Ah, this one makes me feel like a poet. It took no time whatsoever to write. In case you want to know details, here they come.
Theory has always been my thing - just ask my first semester professors at Aalborg University. They'll corroborate, especially as I'm sure that they remember me. They all felt exasperated by my abstractions. Except for one. I live with him now. And just for the record - as was also eloquently established in my short collection of prose poetry, Eight Senses Plus One, (which also for the record, has nothing to do with my academic book on prose poetry soon coming out) - no, we're not married - you can't marry a hard-core Marxist as I - but we've been keeping each other company for the past 12 years.
Now, my partner here, who has a thing for language, and - who also for the record a third time around - is the best wit Denmark has ever produced - wow, you'd say, but by Jove it's true - is accompanying me to the said conferences. In fact we're going to be in the same panel on Cadillacs. Nice work if you can get it, you'd say again, and by Jove, ditto, it's true. It is very amusing to be able to share intellectual thoughts at such, and other close proximities.
So, in this case here, when it comes to conferences, we like to disclose our punchlines to each other. We take them as an indication of the extent to which what we've written has the potential to be a classic. My test is this: if you can lift a sentence of yours from a certain context and place it in another context all together to greater effect, then, what you have written in the first place is a classic. This also means that I believe in reprise, recycling, and self-appropriation. The only problem this time around is that he won't tell me what his last line is. My gut feeling has already told me that our session is simply going to be a smash - stay tuned for a confirmation on this, though I can tell you that my intuition has never failed me - but there's something in the air that makes me anticipate, with a special kind of eagerness, what the whole thing is all about - my other paper, by the way, is all about 'what's this all about' in Federman's pla(y)giarizing of Beckett's line: "the laugh that laughs at the laugh". My sister, the psychoanalyst, would say that the 'all about' is no doubt about transference. But I'm a theorist, and as such, for me the 'all about' is not only textual - that the unconscious can also be read like a text was Freud's biggest insight - but also contextual - if you can afford to think, then you can think, was Marx's biggest insight. By Jove, I love these guys, and the fact that my partner - to whom I refer to as my husband, by the way - makes me guess, excites my curiosity.
So, I'm on my way to Finland to do some cultural studies - even the theory paper wraps around some very good cultural examples that exceed Beckett's philosophy and modernism - and I feel like a rabbi. I permutate what the various possibilities on last lines may be that such goddamn smart - like cardinals in Richelieu's time - partners can invent. At this point a comforting thought crosses my mind: if I'm not a good writer myself, then I like to believe that I'm at least a fairly good reader. Knowing my partner, I should also know that he doesn't write for subtle readers - he prefers culture to philosophy and has none of my über-intellectual and insufferable arrogance. Which reminds me of a note Cioran once wrote on Nietzsche. Says Cioran: "good writers, Nietzsche observes, don't write for 'die spitzen und überscharfen Leser...' It's true, a truly great writer has nothing of an aesthete in him" (Caiete, 1957-1965). I venture to guess that my partner's last line on Cadillacs is going to be similar to the one Audrey Hepburn delivered in the movie My Fair Lady when she coudn't help herself but notice, by shouting, Dover's, the horse, elegant, and fast ass at Ascot: "C'mon Dover, move your bloomin' arse!"
After philosophy then, culture it is.