Thursday, September 02, 2004

Further proof of the affinities shared by Derrida and Bob Dylan

"Deconstruction is America," Derrida says somewhere. But then he drops it. This is what they miss, the droppings...

Being driven away from the Royal Albert Hall in London, Bob Dylan sort of mutters, "yeah, that was some kind of thing." "Do you want to know what they're calling you now," someone says, reading from the paper, "an anarchist." "An anarchist, oh my God," Dylan replies. (From the more than a little ironically black and white and also not so acoustic film, “Don’t Look Back.”)

<"We constantly need to say (to think): that was quite something (something quite important) that happened to me. By which we mean at the same time: that couldn't possibly belong to the order of things which come to pass, or which are important, but is rather among the things which export and deport. Repetition." (Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster, 7)>

<"'Something' took place, we have the feeling of not having seen it coming, and certain consequences undeniably follow upon the 'thing.' But this very thing, the place and meaning of this 'event,' remains ineffable, like an intuition without concept, like a unicity with no generality on the horizon or with no horizon at all, out of range for a language that admits its powerlessness and so is reduced to pronouncing mechanically a date, repeating it endlessly, as a kind of ritual incantation, a conjuring poem, a journalistic litany or rhetorical refrain that admits to not knowing what it's talking about." (Derrida, Philosophy in a Time of Terror, 86)>


Holzweg said...

It took me about ten minutes before beeing able to comment this post. Technics may be the new god that makes anarchy difficult to set up or to write... The concept of “répetition” in French is very alike the concept of “rehearsal”, and not only repetition. So... an anarchist making is own show, is that still an anarchist ?

Matt said...

Well I don't think Dylan, for one, ever liked the word (anarchy) much...Just one more label that people --as always--tried to pin on him, a proud frame to make themselves feel part of some creative movement, rather than listen, for instance, or engage in mimetic rivalry. The resistance to lables on the part of some people, back in 1965, not having become the mere labels, ready-made language or "fashionable nonesense" often posing as resistance today.

What made the Royal Albert Hall concert a (non)event is precisely that it wasn't rehearsed, prescribed for a primetime camera, every phrase market-tested for maximum impact. People (particularly Brits) had never heard such lyrics. It was a truly political moment.

(It took a few joints with Dylan for the Beatles to go from "she loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah" to Sgt. Pepper.)