Sunday, June 04, 2006


Sometimes I feel like I’m walking on this transparent glass floor where the great humanist principles form a narrow bridge with no safety railing, and it must be crossed while pretending to feel neither fear nor vertigo. Going forward in life, fists clenched, eyes terribly knowing and vibrant with identity. Once we’ve acknowledged lying and violence as part of the survival and domination kit, once we’ve understood that the idea of progress is a handy way of eliminating the smell of shit without eliminating the odiousness of pain and death, how can we claim to adequately reflect on the meaning of life? How can what’s going so well in my life and what’s going so badly in the world coexist before raw consciousness feels like just cancelling the appointment?

People around me talk about the war and frown like professional actors. Yet in our everyday life war has no smell or taste. But it’s there, occupying a part of our lives in real time as if time devoted to doing the work of humanism were simultaneously devoted to understanding war. Can one exit humanity without entering fiction? Some talk about war as though it’s a scandal. Others as notta nother choice. Arguments fray in the course of the conversation. Only television images remain. The non-stop movement of salaried mouths, those of female presenters, journalists, specialists and diplomats. All that’s left now is to add up the profits from the next Humanitarian Salon in order to reinvent war as real suspense, a powerful soap that cleanses the tiresome smells of everyday life.

-- Nicole Brossard, Yesterday at the Hotel Clarendon (trans. by Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood)

1 comment:

357martini said...

Amazingly the anagrams too.