i saw a bell shakespeare production of Hamlet once – the only one i’ve ever seen. i can’t even recall a movie version. in this production the actor playing hamlet gave particular emphasis to a word. it was the word ‘words’, the second half of a response uttered when hamlet is asked what he is reading. it’s the beginning of his descent into madness, sure. for no other reason would one say one is simply reading ‘words’. it makes a mockery of the meaning that language [can] signify. & yet it’s humorous on many levels: the play itself is just words, & we are somewhat silly to indulge it the time; but also, the emphasis i saw given to the repeated ‘words’ was sarcastic – you, the interlocutor, know i am reading words, thus my response is perfectly null & void, &, i myself (hamlet) know i am reading words, & i am mocking you becuase your question provides the chance to do so – it is part of a grander idea i have in mind [plot / narrative / death]. the point is, how much credit can we give to conclusive statements that are born aphoristically? these things are just words too, part of some grander plan or not. the ownership of sentiment is vague at best.
there was, possibly still is, a Respect program in my local region, spearheaded by well-meaning members of the communiy. i allowed it space in the way that one ignores such movements that are well-intentioned but don’t seem to touch upon things vital. but someone did voice to me that perhaps this group’s interest was semantically warped – did ‘respect’, as they saw it, mean respect for other’s private property? were they trying to encourage the younger generation to ‘respect’ the goods the older had accumulated? i was surprised. damn, & then adorno writes:
‘…it is part of morality not to be at home in one’s home. This gives some indication of the difficult relationship in which the individual now stands to his property, as long as he still possesses anything at all. The trick is to keep in view, & to express, the fact that private property no longer belongs to one, in the sense that consumer goods have become potentially so abundant that no individual has the right to cling to principle of their limitation; but that one must nevertheless have possessions, if one is not to sink into that dependence and need which serves the blind perpetuation of property relations. But the thesis of this paradox leads to destruction, a loveless disregard for things which necessarily turns against people too; & the antithesis, no sooner uttered, is an ideology for those wishing with a bad conscience to keep what they have. Wrong life cannot be lived rightly.’
is that final sentence (emboldened by me) seductively true? if not, if we see through it or around it, why end with it? the preceeding logic is logical enough i suppose. these are the ‘words, words’ uttered for a potential multiplicity of purposes. like hamlet’s shady sarcasm it’s kinda good to see.