Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quote of the day

The orator of violence is merely an instrument of dictation by tics and reflexes. There's nothing gratifyingly original about the language of attack, in which old speech plays through the accuser; it's the one who speaks the damage who becomes its sounding board. (I'm not inching toward a sneaking sympathy for the utterer of hate: that he himself is not remotely in possession of his language does nothing whatsoever to soften his words as they streak through him to crash onto their target.) Rage speaks monotonously. The righteousness of wrathful diction's vocabulary sorely restricts it, the tirade marked by that lack of reflection which alone lets the raging speaker run on and on. Once any awareness of his repetitiousness creeps over him, rather than feel vindicated by the tradition which is driving him, he's more likely to feel embarrassed enough to stop. His fury may be exaggerated by his helplessness at being mastered by his own language (whether or not he gives this description to his subjugation). For the language of anger is so dictatorial that it won't allow him to enjoy any conviction that he's voicing his own authenticity. Meanwhile, my very existence as the butt of his accusation is maddening to him, since under his onsalught, I'm apparently nothing for myself any longer but am turned into a mere thing-bearer of his passion. --Denise Riley, Impersonal Passion: Language As Affect

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