The student sitting next to me is writing his paper in Lyx. I have stopped for coffee on the way home to take note of the discussion of historical reenactments I heard on WWNO as I drove upriver. What history is it considered palatable to reenact and what is not? Why do people want to reenact history? Reenactments reflect the present-day issues with which the reenactors are concerned.
Most interesting was the discussion of contemporaneous reenactments or stagings. Buffalo Bill was onstage when he heard of Custer’s loss at Little Big Horn, and left immediately for the frontier to avenge him. He rode off in a stage costume so that when he got back onstage he would be able to say he was wearing the very clothes he had worn to scalp Custer’s enemies — and have that outfit be a perfect stage costume. Is this some form of self-plagiarized authenticity? There must be some rhetorical figure or category to describe it.
I thought of Jens Andermann‘s work on representations of historical events — specifically staged battlefield pictures. I have talked about this before and I will again, as it has to do with originary violence and the need to half represent and half conceal it. I thought also of lynching photography, people wanting to be photographed next to the bodies, and also getting photographed next to natives and next to animals at the zoo.
This is a café where serious people study and that I once frequented as well. I have avoided it since because I was no longer intelligent and the place made me nostalgic. Now, on the other hand, I have sought an excuse to come even though it is somewhat out of the way relative to Maringouin, where I have been living since the storm.
Driving along the stately Highland Road I thought about my double life. I used to write these really well crafted, very conservative seminar papers in school, and save my more interesting ideas to use as comments on lectures at the French Library or to help me organize my thoughts during examinations.
This was a true split, I notice; I had no writing problems except insofar as I refused to commit my actual ideas to any form of writing that might be as lasting as bronze. I wonder whether it was that tension between what I thought and what I was willing to write down that, at a certain point, could no longer hold. I wonder whether the terror I am only recently has to do with bridging this gap, coming out as myself at last.
Later, crossing the river and the bayou everything seemed so pristine, the air cold and dry with stars and moon, but back in Maringouin I found a window broken. The washing machine, bicycle and pump are gone.
I am quite irritated about the bicycle and pump but do not understand the interest in this ancient washing machine. They turned off the water to remove it and inept for country living, I do not know how to turn it back on.