A month or so ago, I was asked to write a response to the work of John Cage. And then, 21 other authors and I stood in a big circle around a crowd and read our responses. I thought I’d share mine with you.
3 OBSERVATIONS ON SILENCE (FEATURING HARPO MARX)
Imagine a long line of people, and a very important person—possibly with his wife, possibly with his security, possibly he is a she. The very important person is walking down the long line of people shaking hand after hand. Three quarters of the way down this line of people, the very important person comes upon a man in an overcoat and top hat. When the very important person sticks out his or her hand, the man in the overcoat and top hat does not in return stick out his own hand, but instead lifts his leg and deposits it in the hand of the very important person. READ MORE >
LECTIO V: Forget This Memory–Édouard Levé’s Suicide
LECTIO VI: Torture Porn is Capital– Reality & “Solitary”
LECTIO VII: Guy Bourdin’s Spread Legs
LECTIO VIII: The Cinematic Space of Lust
Dear Kevin Smith,
You have a fucking radio show? That’s kind of hilarious because you were always the silent one. You were Silent Bob. You went from being pure body to pure voice. Why’d you do it, man? There was something philosophical about your silence, they way you were so expressive without saying anything. We all liked to imagine what you were thinking, how you were perceiving everything that was going on around you. There was a profound quality to your sparse interjections (because you never spoke, because of the scarcity of your words). The law of economics says that when demand exceeds supply, value increases. Maybe I should shut up. Maybe I should retreat into silence like you once did. Maybe then—only then—will people give a shit about any of this. Any of these words.
When you did speak, we felt lucky to be graced by your wise words. Because you never spoke, we felt like you were enlightened, like you were beyond language, like language was something the petty people did, and you did not need it. You were above all that, the way spiritual gurus are above food, the way they no longer need to satiate those earthly desires. You didn’t need to feed the part of the body that longs for recognition. You were a watcher, an observer. Everyone around you was always blabbering on and on, but you didn’t feel the need to fill up space in the same way. You know, most people feel anxious about silence. It’s the hardest thing, to live in silence. You can’t just “be” next to someone. It makes you totally nuts to feel like you don’t know what they’re thinking. Maybe their silence means hatred. Maybe I’m fucking boring. So we talk on and on because we are afraid, because we need to know where the other person is at, because silence can mean anything and we need our interactions to be anchored in certainty.