Saturday, February 26, 2005

The same day

Death, like punctuation, is the writer’s stock in trade. Writers respond in various ways to this predicament (but not various enough, really). For this reason, it's peculiarly inappropriate (and thereby appropriate) that Hunter S. Thompson killed himself on February 20th, two years to the day since Maurice Blanchot died of very old age.

Both Chris Mitchell and Paul Theroux refer to the epigram to HST’s most famous book: He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man. Unfortunately, neither a "hellraising lifestyle" or shooting the typewriter brings about the desired condition. Nor, according to Blanchot, does suicide.
Nerval, it is said, wandered adrift in the streets before hanging himself. But aimless wandering is already death; it is the mortal error he must finally interrupt by immobilizing himself. Hence the hauntingly repetitive character of suicidal gestures. He who, through clumsiness, has missed his own death, is like a ghost returning only to continue to fire upon his own disappearance. He can only kill himself over and over. This repetition is as frivolous as the eternal and as grave as the imaginary.


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