Monday, January 11, 2010

London Bridge

A person so pungent, so overripe, that after you pass by him in the grocery store, his smell stays with you for hours, refusing to leave your nostrils, making you look twice at the food you’re about to eat, reminding you of dead animals on the farm, or worse — all of which, despite the shock of revulsion, seems familiar and even appealing, the call of the wild, a glad primal leap.

Forum update: tweeting our way through the schools: a viral ad campaign.


Conrad DiDiodato said...


you seem to be describing what French philosopher Gilles Deleuze called a 'becoming-animal' experience, the person in the grocery story emitting particles of the animal he's ingested, been transformed into.

American philosopher Jeanne Haraway wrote a very influential work called "When Species Meet" in which she seems to describe the same sort of "primal leap" envisaged here.

Interesting reflections today!

William Michaelian said...

Thanks. I’m not familiar with Deleuze and Haraway beyond their names and your references here and on your blog. About all I can add is that this little episode is taken from “real life,” the definition of which, in my strange world, is subject to change without notice. It happened a couple of days ago. But of course, in writing about it, I remembered similar instances, which in turn brought many other things to mind — a process you reveal and continue here. For instance, it’s quite natural for me to envision someone emitting ingested animal particles, as well as particles of an entire lifetime of malodorous thoughts and deeds. But the person could just as well be clean, well-dressed, and “successful.” Or he could be me.

Elisabeth said...

Sometimes terrible anxiety can cause a person to 'stink' as of their fear comes out of their pores. It might have nothing to do with their cleanliness or otherwise. It might not even connect to what they've eaten. Fear can be a powerful conductor.

William Michaelian said...

Quite true. Although, in that case, the smell would have to be described in some way other than “pungent” and “overripe.”