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blanchot / everyday / backwards

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Maurice Blanchot on “everyday speech”:

The everyday escapes. In this consists its strangeness – the familiar showing itself (but already dispersing) in the guise of the astonishing. It is the unperceived, first in the sense that we have always looked past it; nor can we introduce it into a whole or “review” it, that is to say, enclose it within a panoramic vision; for, by another trait, the everyday is what we never see for a first time but can only see again, having always already seen it by an illusion that is constitutive of the everyday.

Right. But… what if he has it exactly backwards. What if it is not that the everyday allows no hold, but simply that we dare not hold it? Or don’t want to hold it? Or cannot hold it, given what we’re usually up to when we’re trying to do this sort of thing? Novels without turns, essays without argument, simply do not sell. It’s frightening to put yourself out of work. And the everyday loves not turns, arguments. So you make it disappear into a protean blur.

Do you see the anxiety there? Why do things have to be dressed in the guise of the astonishing? Why do we have to look panoramically? Who is it that worries about things seeming like we’ve seen them all before?

Moving forward, we should try not to ontologize that which is locally, historically caused, and in particular that which is caused by the functional dysfunctions of our disciplines.

(Of course, of course – I myself am trying to be astonishing, right now, to work panoramically, and to say something new… Big problem, hard to fix the performative inversion when working this way and on issues like this one…. Translate Spivak’s “strategic essentialism” into “strategic performative inversion” and go from there… make it marketable once and for all to abolish the market… the new to abolish the new… the argument to end all arguments…)

Written by adswithoutproducts

July 31, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Posted in everyday, simplicity

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