Wednesday, May 08, 2013
is it because we no longer have art that people are forced to have cathartic responses by way of other people's testimony about real things in the world, I ask. but art is real things, about the real, art evokes our responses because we relate. but when three women are held captive and abused for ten years we cannot relate. the (what we call performative) testimony (which to me resembles real, a formally productive articulation of events, a relation between form and content) becomes the aesthetic process and product. tragicomedy. witnesses of the testimony don't know whether to laugh or cry. witness say stupid things because they are ignorant. white witnesses do not relate to black culture and respond like audiences at a minstrel show. have we not come any further than this? we are ignorant about art. we are ignorant about race in america today. we are incapable of acting like humans in response to human pain and emotion. did the man only going about his business expect to set free a woman who had been held captive in the house across the street for ten years? was he supposed to articulate the experience in some other, white america way (minus expression minus narration minus his blackness) so as not to be the subject of ridicule. nothing that he says is funny. but everyone is laughing. his testimony, in content, disturbs. his articulation genuine, and excited in a way that i mean excited to mean emotional but not without words, maybe still with the adrenaline rush that must come with running across the street to break down a door and rescue a victim of abuse and then running back across the street to call the police. i was just eating my mcdonald's he explains and then the screaming started... who wouldn't be "excited" and how long would that "rush" take to dissipate. i feel sorry for myself and for people when we react like ignorant idiots to traumatic events. is there no compassion for these women, no respect for this man who broke in the door not knowing who else might be in there with a gun or a knife or some other potential violent situation. can we not act as people who understand that we live in a world of violence but also in a world of many people who talk and believe and sound and express and walk and exist differently. is it really possible to live in this world of continuous diversification and ignore the textures of expression, culture, language, personality, color, emotion, understanding. still we continue to abuse each other even when some instances of abuse are agreed to be illegal or unacceptable. we find excuse for abuse when we can call it something else instead. we feign ignorance when we should act better. we reelect politicians we can't trust, we blame the vulnerable for our own shortcomings, we give money to the entities that oppress and control us. we hate ourselves and so we hate each other. we know there's really no such thing as freedom or security, that cameras that catch criminals also may one day catch us or our sisters or our parents. we believe we love our country but our country is killing us. it is killing the least of us and the best of us and we know, somewhere we do know, that there's not actually a distinction between these. there is no least or best or other, but there is only how we all suffer the consequences.