October 25th, 2010 / 1:24 am

Mean Week is This Week What Does that Mean

All writing is pigshit.
People who leave the obscure and try to define whatever it is that goes on in their heads, are pigs.
The whole literary scene is a pigpen, especially this one.
All those who have vantage points in their spirit, I mean, on some side or other of their heads and in a few strictly localized brain areas; all those who are masters of their language; all those for whom words have a meaning; all those who are the spirit of the times, and have named these currents of thoughts — and I am thinking of their precise works, of that automatic grinding that delivers their spirit to the winds —
are pigs.
Those for whom certain words have a meaning, and certain manners of being; those who are so fussy; those for whom emotions are classifiable, and who quibble over some degree or other of their hilarious classifications; those who still believe in ‘terms’; those who brandish whatever ideologies belong to the hierarchy of the times; those about whom women talk so well, and also those women who talk so well, who talk of the contemporary currents of thought; those who still believe in some orientation of the spirit; those who follow paths, who drop names, who fill books with screaming headlines,
are the worst kind of pigs.
And you are quite aimless, young man!
No, I am thinking of bearded critics.
And I told you so: no works of art, no language, no word, no
thought, nothing.
Nothing; unless maybe a fine Brain-Storm.
A sort of incomprehensible and totally erect stance in the midst of
everything in the mind.
And don’t expect me to tell you what all this is called, and how
many parts it can be divided into; don’t expect me to tell you in
weight; or to get back in step and start discussing all this so that by
discussing I may get lost myself and even, without even realizing it,
start THINKING. And don’t expect this thing to be illuminated and
live and deck itself out in a multitude of words, all neatly polished as
to meaning, very diverse, and capable of throwing light on all the attitudes
and all the nuances of a very sensitive and penetrating mind.

Ah, these states which have no name, these sublime situations of the
soul, ah these intervals of wit, these minuscule failures which are the
daily bread of my hours, these people swarming with data… they
are always the same old words I’m using, and really I don’t seem to
make much headway in my thoughts, but I am really making more
headway than you, you beard-asses, you pertinent pigs, you masters
of fake verbiage, confectioners of portraits, pamphleteers, ground-floor
lace-curtain herb collectors, entomologists, plague of my tongue.

I told you so, I no longer have the gift of tongue. But this is no
reason you should persist and stubbornly insist on opening your mouths.

Look, I will be understood ten years from now by the people who
then will do what you are doing now. Then my geysers will be recognized,
my glaciers will be seen, the secret of diluting my poisons will
have been learnt, the plays of my soul will be deciphered.

Then all my hair, all my mental veins will have been drained in,
quicklime; then my bestiary will have been noticed, and my mystique
become a hat. Then the joints of stones will be seen smoking, arborescent
bouquets of mind’s eyes will crystallize in glossaries, stone aeroliths will fall,
lines will be seen and the geometry of the void understood:
people will lean what the configuration of the mind is, and
they will understand how I lost my mind.

They will then understand why my mind is not all here; then they
will see all languages go dry, all minds parched, all tongues shrivelled up,
the human face flattened out, deflated as if sucked up by shriveling leeches.
And this lubricating membrane will go on floating in the
air, this caustic lubricating membrane, this double membrane
of multiple degrees and a million little fissures, this melancholic and vitreous membrane,
but so sensitive and also pertinent, so capable of multiplying,
splitting apart, turning inside out with its glistening little cracks,
in its dimensions, its narcotic highs, its penetrating and toxic injections,
all this then will be found to be all right,
and I will have no longer further need to speak.

— Antonin Artaud, (circa 1924 – 1937)

Translated by David Rattray

Tags: ,


  1. Jrands

      I fucking love mean week. Fucking shit. Fuck.

  2. Right

      Hey Jrands,

      Shut the fuck up.

  3. lily hoang

      Come on, Blake, Artaud? Seriously? There’s no excuse for that. You’re not 21 anymore.

  4. Sean

      Hey fuck off, all of you. I’m trying to sleep.

  5. Right

      Sean, god your mother is such a cunt….she is sucking my dick now…..so shut your ass up….I’m trying to make a little brother for you.

  6. Sean

      Hey that’s mean.

  7. Amy McDaniel

      this is a stupid choice of quote to set the tone for mean week, for artaud is all wonder and awe and for real. but you– your bestiary will never be noticed, blake. your mystique, if you had any, won’t become a hat. nobody will understand how you lost your mind.

  8. Blake Butler

      you went to the New School, what could you possibly know about Artaud

  9. All pigshit is writing. | HTMLGIANT

      […] after Artaud blog comments powered by Disqus […]

  10. lily hoang

      Come on, Blake, Artaud? Seriously? There’s no excuse for that. You’re not 21 anymore.

  11. Blake Butler

      that’s not what i heard about me

  12. Amy McDaniel

      that doesn’t even make sense. besides i read him at pomona where you so wish you went.
      artaud would think “mean” is a dumb way to try to talk to/about pigs, and that “week” is weak. though really he wouldn’t think about it at all.

  13. Blake Butler

      i don’t wish i went to a school that cost as much as a house

      artaud is dead as fuck

  14. Amy McDaniel

      yeah much better to spend your poker winnings on a “nyc-style” studio loft that costs as much as a house. smart.

  15. Monch

      Wow, I’ve seen pictures of Artaud before and always thought it was Kevin Kline.

  16. alan

      “Mean” is such a gay word.

  17. deadgod

      Artaud would think […] though really he wouldn’t think

      Mind-reading from the Cato Institute Carny Promenade, Mme. Scalia?

  18. Adamjmaynard

      this is so fucking boooring!

  19. jereme_dean

      as usual, there won’t be any actual mean until thursday. meanwhile, it’s a bunch of tap dance with my friends bullshit.

      making a joke that exposes a reality that doesn’t want to be acknowledged is mean.

      making sarcastic asides towards your friend isn’t mean.

      you carebears fail as usual.

      actually leave your precious ivory towers, come down here and get dirty.

      otherwise mimic the sky and shut the fuck up.

  20. efferny jomes

      Mean week rules
      hopefully it’s REAL mean and not just sarcasm-in-circlejerk

  21. Amy McDaniel

      what’s wrong with circlejerk? seems like a potluck, with less green bean casserole and more…gravy

  22. deadgod

      Artaud would think […] though really he wouldn’t think

      Mind-reading from the Cato Institute Carny Promenade, Mme. Scalia?

  23. Laura Carter
  24. darby

      mean can only exist within a context/expectation of nice. the existence of mean depends on its butting heads with nice. within a context/expectation of mean, the only truly subversive act is to be nice.

  25. jereme_dean

      i am well aware of how mean works, darby. it is nice week 51 fucking times a year. being “nice” during mean week isn’t subversive, it is cowardly.

  26. Will Clingan

      I swear to God… I click on one fucking picture of Artaud and get sent to this cluster fuck. I’m really glad I found this outside of this “mean week” bullshit–hopefully you pretentious hipsters can understand it’s not sarcasm I’m working with here. I’m quite sure Artaud would have hated y’all and your stupid fucking website of, “Oh, hey… I paid lots of cash and think I learned something in college because somebody gets paid to tell me about things!” Fuck all of you.

  27. reynard

      will you be our mean weak hypeman this year?

  28. will c.
  29. Guest

      this is true, you make me laugh will, i hope you stick around and give people hell

  30. reynard

      this is troo, you make me laugh will, i hope you stick around and give people hell