Friday, October 10, 2008

Name Drop 2.2 [bereft of the burden

"I don't know -- there were more, but I don't remember all of their names, or what order they came in." --Michael Kimball, Dear Everybody

"It's such a small thing to remember someone's name." --J.D. Riso

"One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name." First line of a forwarded email from my mother.

"Listen--is there anything more useful as a means of control than names? Names aren't hopes--they're commands. Don't you see the danger in your calling it? In your giving names?" --Peter Orner

"But I passed away along with my name nearly two decades ago." --Mia Cuoto

"47. Dear god, make this list reflect the names of prayers I couldn’t fit. Include the prayers that have no name." --Blake Butler, List Prayer


"The most powerful person is he who is able to do least himself and burden others most with the things for which he lends his name and pockets the credit." --Theodor Adorno

"I don't even correct people when they mispronounce my name now." --Ann Beattie

"It's not name dropping . . ." --Jeffrey Bernard

" . . . her dead father, after whom the baby is named . . ." --copywriter for back cover of Hélène Cixous's book The Day I Wasn't There

"Her names were Beatrice, Margaret and Jane. Margaret was the feisty one." --Richard Froude, The Margaret Thatcher Trilogy

"There are a lot of people who really abused sampling and gave it a bad name . . ." --Beck

"Far from calling things up and bringing them to us, names seem to alienate us from things by negating their singularity. Names only repeat the incurable fracture, the laceration, the death that separates us from the world. Indeed, could they be the cause of death itself?" --Stefano Franchi

"He won't get far. He's got no mummy, he's got no names, he's got nothing. What happens to a bum like that, a nameless, mummyless asshole? Why, demons will swarm all over him at the first check point. He will be dismembered and thrown into a flaming pit, where his soul will be utterly consumed and destroyed forever. While others, with sound mummies and the right names to drop in the right places, sail through to the Western Lands." --William S. Burroughs, The Place of Dead Roads

". . . a name . . . itself is always already a homage to the namelessness or anonymity that makes all names both necessary and unnecessary, possible and impossible as such." --Leslie Hill, ""An outstretched hand . . ." From Fragment to Fragmentary", p. 2

"All the characters in this tale are given [OF COURSE] false names.

"All places have their true names but could [INDEED] be given other names." --Raymond Federman, Take It or Leave It

"Can he smell that new name they give him? Can he smell bad luck?" -- William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

". . . she claimed not to know any names." -- Brian Evenson, "The Sanza Affair", Altmann's Tongue

"That the name also expresses one speaker's phonic fantasies is made apparent by another coined word . . . in which the same phonemes are obsessionally disseminated." --Jacques Lecercle, Philosophy of Nonsense

". . . it was perhaps not entirely frivolous to consider the question of naming with some care." --Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Television



very nice

ryan call said...

william gass says somethign really good about naming characters

something like 'to name a character is the authors first act of giving that character meaning' or somethig

that is a bad paraphrase
i left fiction and the figures of life in my office - it is in that book of essays

chris said...

Fantastic post.

Has the feel of a lyric essay.

I would gleefully read ten more pages like this. I love the pile-up, the bricolage, the rhizome of it.

DOGZPLOT said...

the night was quiet and it smelled quiet... huck finn

Brandi Wells said...


Ortho said...

great post! love the quote montage!

Ortho said...

I apologize for the back-to-back comments, but I wish to add to your montage ...

"As seems very proper in a book of transcendental poetry, the author withholds his name from the title page, and presents his portrait, neatly engraved on steel, instead. This, no doubt, is upon the principle that the name is merely accidental; while the portrait affords an idea of the essential being from whom these utterances proceed." -- Charles Eliot Norton

"The author is Walter Whitman, and the book is a reproduction of the author. His name is not on the frontispiece, but his portrait, half length, is. The contents of the book form a daguerreotype of his inner being, and the title page bears a representation of its physical tabernacle." -- Walt Whitman

Michael Kimball said...


Josh Maday said...

thanks, y'all.

i remember you saying that, ryan, and i keep meaning to find and read that essay. gass is good.

i keep wanting to write an entire essay like this, chris; legend has it that walter benjamin always wanted to write an essay that was completely composed of quotations. i want to do that. i am going to do it. yes, the rhizome allowed to grow wild and unchecked.

right on, barry; you know somethin's up when it smells quiet

thanks for adding the quotes, ortho. those are excellent. the idea that the image says more than the name by not 'saying'; of course, the names themselves are signs/images, too.

ryan manning said...

ultimately life-affirming

prathna lor said...

sick yo

jereme said...

how people internalize the misspelling or mispronounciation of their name is interesting to me.

most act like it is a deliberate affront of their existence.

80% of strangers do not pronounce my first name correctly.

95% of strangers cannot spell my name after I vocalize the spelling of it.

i think my name is the root cause of my alienation and overt hostility towards society.

i bet guys named 'bob' don't have these issues. even the ones who prefer to spell it backwards.