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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Productive Boredom

We think of interest as being productive but not boredom. Curiosity is productive, but not incuriosity, we think, and rightly so.

Yet a dissatisfaction about the dull way things are habitually done can be productive. Boredom is like pain, it tells us that something is wrong and requires a change. After all, if we don't think the materials we are studying are dull, then something is wrong if our approaches have no spark of interest.

Very dull texts can also be mines of interest, if looked at in the right way. I'm thinking of things like Rousel's long poem La vue, with its interminably flat descriptions. These evoked the interest of Foucault, Ashbery, and Robbe-Grillet.

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