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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Normality

As much as I am suspicious of exceptionalism, appeals to normality are far worse. García Montero's "poetry for normal people,"* for example. So I am caught in between. Normality implies a norm, an ideological standard.

I am collecting statement about exceptionality. Here is one:
Nada más insidioso que nuestra pretensión de normalidad lograda, esta ficción de que esamos ya insertos en una cultura. No permite alabar al que ha sido excepcional, pues lo primero en la alabanza ha de consistir en decir que lo ha sido, y que por lo tanto no es parte de la normalidad que fingimos. Y no permite criticarle, ya que el sueño de la normalidad cultural es tan precario que no puede prescindir de elemento alguno ni aun durante el plazo ideal de la necesaria epojé cultural.
Carlos Piera, Contrariedades del sujeto 119.
In other words, if Spanish cultural pretends to be normal, it cannot recognize anything truly excellent because that gives the whole game away.

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*Normal people don't read poetry, even normal academics. Reading an entire book of poetry is weird even for a graduate student in Spanish literature.

2 comments:

profacero said...

Well, this is on exceptionalism:

There is an article mss. on our dept. printer, "L'exception louisianaise" and I was really tempted to steal it for your museum (I could ask for a copy of course).
Exceptionalism is so right wing, bleah.

This is on Spain:

You should read Joshua Goode, Impurity of Blood. He is a historian. Has very good research on models of Spanish identity and so on. It is causing me to want to write a book about this: Spanishness, Hispanicness, Latinness, and so on.

Jonathan said...

It's on my list now. Thanks. I've seen you refer to it on your blog.