I have come against a brick wall for the first time since I began engaging in this conversation quite a while ago.
It is a big, metrosexual, macho, mirror-loving, muscly, masculine brick wall.
These days I am forever asking myself, when faced with walls in discourse, and in my own writing and life, what would Foucault do? What would Foucault’s daughter do?
I think they would try to knock the wall down, or to dismantle it, or to climb over it, or to loosen the mortar between the bricks, or to find a hole in the wall and make it bigger so they could look through.
This is what I am going to do.
But the unusual thing about this wall is that it knows it is a wall. Most walls don’t have this self-knowledge. They just are. I rarely come across such an interesting and beguiling example. This wall won’t lash out like other walls do as it knows better. It probably really wants to be knocked the hell down. But I will be gentle with it. Dialectics is a delicate art. I think I can see a chink already.
Shakespeare knows what I am saying. Genet would probably approve as well.
It’s only a wall after all.
A Midummer Night’s Dream, Act V Scene 1
- Flute. [as Thisbe] O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
For parting my fair Pyramus and me!
My cherry lips have often kiss’d thy stones,
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee. 2035
- Bottom. I see a voice: now will I to the chink,
To spy an I can hear my Thisby’s face. Thisby!
- Flute. [as Thisbe] My love thou art, my love I think.
- Bottom. Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover’s grace;
And, like Limander, am I trusty still. 2040
- Flute. [as Thisbe] And I like Helen, till the Fates me kill.
- Bottom. Not Shafalus to Procrus was so true.
- Flute. [as Thisbe] As Shafalus to Procrus, I to you.
- Bottom. O kiss me through the hole of this vile wall!
- Flute. [as Thisbe] I kiss the wall’s hole, not your lips at all. 2045
- Bottom. Wilt thou at Ninny’s tomb meet me straightway?
- Flute. [as Thisbe] ‘Tide life, ‘tide death, I come without delay.
Snout. [as Wall] Thus have I, Wall, my part discharged so;
And, being done, thus Wall away doth go.