Sunday, February 01, 2004

On Blanchot's The Writing of the Disaster

...tragedy is not the disaster, has nothing to do with representing the disaster, and is not recollected out of a well of forgotten form. Although the falling into form that is the writing of tragedy is a kind of destruction that straddles the difference between rational interpretations of tragedy and the utterly helpless acceptance of the disaster only the other can experience, leaving the rest of us unharmed and shamefully so. That is haunting in Blanchot: that disaster is always looming, distant and never realized not because the disaster never happens but because death comes first. Someplace within the rent between the tragic representation of disaster in tragedy and the looming disaster on the horizon refusing representation arises a painful sublime followed by an irritating desire to cultivate a narrative of my being in relationship to that event--and regardless of my telling, history persists. The disaster happened; I look back and see it always happening. Technology allows me to rewind it to replay it; I still have nothing to do with it, about it, for it, or to it. Is it because no matter how much I yearn for it to be so, the disaster never has anything to do with my being? Or is it because I cannot recall nor represent my relationship to it--the distance it maintains between me and its occurrence--no matter how experienced I may be? Virtuosity falls away, dissipates, nevertheless, with each attempt...On the news they give the disaster a soundtrack, tympani and flourish, as it recedes further away from us. I suppose we all want to sell it--for the exchange value--to wring out some surplus--something to keep in our pockets, warm and comfortable, touchable, and known.

No comments: