12 October 2008


It’s not that I don’t know that I’m neurotic. Neuroses is an inevitable result of human existence. Most of the time, I can keep them (yes, there is always more than one!) in some kind of check; they are, so to speak, respectably controlled. Oh, they are evident, but unobtrusive, merely amusing peccadilloes to be chuckled over with a sympathetic, tolerant and dismissive smile. They are the bumps on the road which disturb the smooth ride in the car, the wind gusts which jolt the plane (and cramp my tensed toes); my neuroses are the acne on the model’s clear skin.

Of late I have refrained from carefully hiding or disguising my neuroses: I hypothesized that the energies it would take to hold myself together would be better employed engaging with my neuroses in a relatively honest life. I leaked, and sought out those who would tolerate my leaking and be comfortable leaking right back at me. It has been a tolerable strategy.

But sometimes my neuroses become unbearably oppressive to myself. Oh, I could call a friend and leak, but I am not even comfortable doing that to my friend or myself. I don’t want to look at the blemishes; I’m tired of tensing my toes and hobbling about on cramped feet; I’m getting car sick.

And so I get rid of the weight, the oppression, the burden, by transforming all of the neuroses into strengths (itself a neurotic response to neuroses), and I assume that these idiosyncratic characterological (sic?) manifestations are appropriate responses to a neurotic world. I am not neurotic, I assert, but everybody else is. I am not wrong, I respond, but everyone else is.

And that is my state this evening. It was a difficult week, sitting at meetings where people declared me a fool, only to be told by a participant, albeit, sotto voce, that my position was, indeed, the honest one. Sitting at meetings where participants denied the serious intellectual developments of the last fifty years, developments on which I have built my life and my work, and where they pretended that the works and words of say, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gayatri Spivak, Clifford Geertz, Hayden White, Evelyn Fox Keller, John Dewey never existed. I got up from the meetings a bit unsteady and very dizzy and thought, Where am I? Am I on this planet still?

Oh, there is more, but then this post would become complaint, and I have already written about that in the new book. So, I’m going back to the third season of Weeds. They couldn’t sustain it: it isn’t even good farce anymore. I need to find another series.


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