Thursday, September 27, 2007

Archive Series: Locus #12

Title: Notes

from "Falling Towers and Postmodern Wild Children: Oliver Sacks, Don Delillo, adn Turns Against Language" PMLA March 2005

343 "These powers [of discourse] are engaged, I would argue, in rolling back the dividedness, multiplicity, and ambiguity that, according to my midrash, God authorized when wthe Tower fo Babel fell. Undivided absolutes of Good and Evil, which were exposed as politcally untenable, if not ridiculous, as the cold war ended, were welcomed back by the Bush administration with relief and delight...This is the characteristic post-apocalyptic symptomatic response: the world of semantic and moral ambiguity has fallen and been swept away; the world of simplicity and clarity has taken its place."

"The logic and desire both of terrorism and of antiterrorism are to restore the imagined former state: of social harmony and perfect correspondence between wor and thing--to rebuild its tower, in no matter how grotesque a form. Every historical catastrophe replays the destruction of Babel, for not only are buildings and lives lost but ways of thinking and speaking are transformed."

344 "Even apparently nonlinguistic entities--the unconscious, the body, nature, sexuality--attain all that they can of identity and ontological and social standing insofar as they are signifiers"

Read Benjamin, "On Language as Such and on the Language of Man" in Reflections
Levinas, Otherwise than being
Pinker, The language instinct
Sacks, An anthropoligist on Mars, The man who mistook his wife for a hat