falling and dropping

May 3, 2008






-e. e. cummings



Derrida Queries de Man, Mark Tansey

“And instead of talking to you about French theory in America over the last twenty years, I would have preferred to spend more than an hour reflecting on the desire and work of Mark Tansey, who has me either dancing dangerously at the edge of a waterfall, or growing like a tree, but still at the edge of somber and menacing water, to the bottom of which, in the autumn, in the fall, I could sink. In the fall, into the falls, falling down into the false. I will not speak of these simulacra any longer.” 

-Derrida, “Deconstuctions: The Im-possible”


III. Bird droppings: “A real fake thing that sells a real product”?


According to this website, this popular viral video is a complete hoax–made to sell “Fromundah,” the fake Nigerian soda the reporter drinks after the bird poops in his mouth. So I guess it was all just made for the sake of being funny. “Falling down into the false.” In a shifted context, perhaps Derrida’s phrase speaks to this video’s fakeness and its production of fakeness. 

And to bring it all back home to parentheses, you might like to check out the fake spin on the fake video, “Dog Poops (Not Bird) In Reporters Mouth.” First “Bird,” then “Dog (Not Bird).” Here the parentheses are in communication with the parenthetical-less first phrase, correcting it, updating it, becoming even more ridiculous. If you’re standing under a tree, a bird dropping his business on you is feasible. But it is much less feasible for a dog (not bird) to





his bus



2 Responses to “falling and dropping”

  1. bre said

    A very fine provocative blog!

    I hope there are more parentheses on culture and discourse in the offing.

    Is the thin and vertical shape of your blog also part of it? Like falling, like a l and a 1 (a just discernible difference that is joined in e. e. cummings)?

    You will want to see the Orson Welles film, *F for Fake* (1975). Hmm, time parenthesized. As it is, conventionally, in film scholarly discourse.

    What happened to the verb, anyway? in *F (is) for Fake*? Omitted, fallen to the background, for the time “being” I would guess. But never for long. What is the being of time said to be, anyway? What image, what height perhaps is apposite? The “river of time” turned on its end to become a waterfall, Derrida falling afoul of the falls?

    For Derrida, F is for Fall, falls, falling, false. Peter Greenaway’s *The Falls* (1980) is your ticket to ride. Experience Greenaway’s structure. That’s what I imagine Derrida was trying to say. Greenaway shows that imagery, too, can percolate in unpredictable directions, i.e. beyond cause and then effect, beyond grammar. The Thing is that lying below, or down the corridor (as a garden path sentence perhaps illustrates), are the resources, the substratum tangle that we take in order to make. To make smooth for our visit up to the rational and procedural and orderly (from which a fall is fate). The subterranean im/possible indeed, since what falls must rise.

    Greenaway’s *Drowning by Numbers* would be another case in point.

    Which makes me think that you might augment your photo on the blog of the high, high cliff. Not with an angle looking down, far down (as several times in *Black Narcissus*, which predicts that someone later in the film must fall), but with the upward angle (much less common – wonder why?). I also think of certain corridor shots in Hitchcock and *Last Year in Marienbad* that look plenty dangerous, steeply receding, in a forced perspective to suggest its artificiality, i.e. artificial to the “normal,” not artificial and false. Such corridors appear to point out that desire in its wanderings against an inner insistence must make of us our very own labyrinthine constructeurs. To spin our heads, to fall upon Vertigo, as falling in love. Or so notes Hitchcock. Or Kubrick in *The Shining*.

    An example from the dialogue of *Last Year in Marienbad*:

    “It was last year. Have I changed so much then? Or are you pretending not to recognize me? A year already – or perhaps more. You, at least, haven’t changed. … Remember. It was in the gardens of Frederiksbad….

    “I tell you it’s impossible. I’ve never even been to Frederiksbad.

    “Well, then it was somewhere else, maybe, at Karlstadt, at Marienbad, or at Baden-Salsa – or even here, in this salon. You have followed me here….”

    The viral video on your blog (out of time) is the precursor to Hitchcock’s *The Birds*.

    If truly “out of” time, then I guess one has already fallen down.

    Other films perhaps to watch: *Falling Down* and *Fearless*, the latter where a plane falls and lives change subsequently.

    As for Derrida: it seems he has fallen into a standard metaphorical structure where “up” is good and “down” is an unfortunate state, in this case the murk of the false. Sadly, to declare firmly that one has met the false, one needs “perspective,” if not to be “up,” at least to know which way it is. However, I fear that clarity about the contours of any “abstract” height or landscape are not easily obtained, as the Master of PoMo should surely have known, he being the (de)constructeur of even the deconstructed. Thus there may be resident in fiction a truth more elusive, a truth obtained only by *apparently* falling into the false. Many fictions are not merely “false.” Witness: “if I were to drop a pear out of my office window, it would fall at 32 feet per second per second.” I have no pear and intend no dropping. There may be an unexpected mouth open below, after all. Still, my counterfactual is true. And so it goes with more complex and real cases of falling seemingly. One must open parentheses in order to see.

    Laurie Anderson has a song about “walking” and with each step thereby, “falling.” As we go about presumably our busy-ness. Though falling, still one step at a time is taken to ward off the more permanent fall for the future.

    The viral video on your blog is parenthetical on “Local News” and the actual faux-enthusiasm of local reporters trying to dare go where no man has so far gone to make good.

    On your blog also: Lingerie brackets the woman, holding in place an unseen place, a hidden undertone to word and gesture, an undertow.

    You offer most suggestive comments on parentheses in Dylan and Lennon. “Sighing” replaces “bleeding,” though whether prior to or as a consequence of bleeding, or even present with bleeding, is not said. As you imply, bleeding may be metaphorical as well (as in radiating unaccountably) [a fallible parentheses for “as well as” – meaning that “bleeding” here may be a twice-true metaphor, as is “no man is an island”]. As you show, Dylan is moving in fits and starts and not in a straight line, not a straight fall as imagined by Derrida, but imagining possible moves by giving them a parenthetical trajectory. Lennon, too. For he gives “Norwegian Wood” a second title from another slant, from the side, with the promise that there is a space where “woods” and “bird” meet other than the forest.

    What a wonderful start, a first step, walking while falling, you’ve made with this suggestive blog.

    Very truly yours,


  2. N said

    undertow. off of islands. pulls you away and under the water. this is being sucked down. undercurrents.

    pulling vs. falling vs. sinking vs. being pooped on vs. washing down the poop.

    i think bataille might be useful here…

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