Sunday, February 19, 2006


Dear Adorno;
I have been reading Deleuze and Guattari all morning. How am I supposed to make the transition to my assigned reading in _Aesthetic Theory_? I am totally afraid that my head is going to explode.

-- Am I a Monad or a Rhizome in Detroit

Dear AIaMoaRiD-
Not to worry. Nothing is going to explode. But this is a tough one. You might want to consider my critique of psychoanalysis, wherein I propose the inadequacy of "pleasure principle"-like scenarios, in which "the negative element is held to be nothing more than the mark of that process of repression that obviously goes into the artwork." So this is how, you know,

"The psychologism of aesthetic interpretation easily agrees with the philistine view of the artwork as harmoniously quieting antagonisms, a dream image of a better life, unconcerned with the misery from which this image is wrested."

Yawn. Underdetermined psycholanalytical interest renders art totally boring. Can I suggest disinterestedness as a dialectical position from which the enervation of art may emerge as a kind of Bersanian ironic distancing?

"For disinterestedness immanently reproduces - and transforms - interest. In the false world all [greek word] is false. For the sake of happiness, happiness is renounced. It is thus that desire survives in art."

Yes, desire. And you know, I'm sorry about the gap left by the untranslated Greek word. I think this contributes to my paratactical style, where, according to my translator, Robert Hullot-Kentor:

"Every transition must be a transition in the object itself if it is not to unhinge the text. Thus the text is deprived of a major technique for building on what has been, or of explicitly organizing itself toward what will be, developed elsewhere; and it cannot take the sting out of repetition by acknowledging it. Instead, Adorno is constantly compelled to start anew saying what has already been said. The text produces a need for repetition that is its innermost antagonist. Thus Adorno throughout repeatedly restates major motifs: that the artwork is a monad, that it is a social microcosm, that society is most intensely active in an artwork where it is most remote from society."

I guess you could say that my text "falls back on itself." But no matter what you have read prior to _Aesthetic Theory_, you ought to keep this idea of transition in mind. I promise you it will help keep your head in one piece.

Thanks for writing. By the way, some guy named Jonathan called. He wanted me to remind you that you also have a lot of reading to do for his class, and you might want to, like, get on that.


(see pages 8, 12,13, and xvii for more)


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