falling man

I’m finally reading “Falling Man” — the article about the photo of a man falling down the line between the two towers on 9-11– and the complexities around looking or not looking at the images of people leaping from the buildings.  There is a lot of stuff in my book about looking or not looking– it’s something I write about all the time and I keep wanting to be done with it– it’s of those metaphoric landscapes that is so commonplace it can’t ever be old news, it’s like “nature” or “love”–  basic to life and so if you write you will write about it and if you are writing in the 21st century you will definitely write about it b/c of the way eyes have gotten especially bigger than other senses– (though taste is having an interesting era).  Today I am struck with virtue of text as a medium for depiction that requires “viewer” participation.  Text can’t assault you without your permission.  This is just another way of saying you have to be an active reader etc but what I am in tune with in this context is that text is so visually benign and that is what I love about it so much.  That’s its “invisibility” that is always in flux in the real if artifice vs the continuous dream.  But its nature is invisibility– the reader’s brain, like an alchemist’s ingredient, has to be there for anything to come of it.  That’s another version of “seducing the reader” a phrase that always grossed me out– not when Susan Sontag says it, but as I’d always heard it before I read her little intro On Style.  Maybe because it sounds manipulative– and that is b/c the idea of sexual seduction was narrated to me as a form of devious coercion.  Anyhow b/c you can see without choosing to see, the desire to control sight is really powerful.  I wonder if I want to shift the metaphor of knowledge as vision to knowledge as text/reading.  (not = to analysis).

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