12.12.2002

Darling Sterling,

Couldn’t help but read your last post with a Derridean eye, as I recently dusted off my copy of *Dissemination*. Strange to think back on how novel his writing seemed to so many: now most of them have joined me in (gently) poking fun at his overwrought deconstructionist “style”. I guess emulating Derrida’s hyphen and parenthetical laden texts is something you outgrow after college, like ironical haircuts.

Where D is at his best is as a reader. His long essay, “Plato’s Pharmacy” is an amazingly close reading of Plato’s dialogue, the *Phaedrus*. Your post brought to mind the first part of the essay, in which D examines the seemingly insignificant discussion between Socrates and his young student, Phaedrus, about the myth of Orinthyia. It’s early in the dialogue, and they are getting comfortable on the riverbank (hands in each other’s laps, no doubt, getting a short freak on). Phaedrus points out that according to myth, this was the spot in which the virgin Orinthyia was playing happily with a strange kid named Pharmacia, when suddenly Orinthyia was caught off-guard by a strong wind and blown into an abyss…whereupon she met her death. D takes a closer look at the scene:

“…let us in any case retain this: that a little spot, a little stitch or mesh (*macula*) woven into the back of the canvas, marks out for the entire dialogue the scene where that virgin was cast into the abyss, surprised by death while playing with Pharmacia. Pharmacia (*Pharmakeia*) is also a common noun signifying the administration of the *pharmakon, the drug: the medicine and/or poison…Through her games, Pharmacia has dragged down to death a virginal purity and an unpenetrated interior.” (P 70)

A Pharmakon is a “medicine” which is at once a poison and a remedy—like booze or a vaccine or the gas guzzling but oh-so-convenient automobile. Some guys have dicks which are Pharmakons--making you feel sick one minute and cured the next…And then sick again. A Pharmakon has the power to make “one stray from one’s general, natural, habitual paths and laws.” (ibid) Later on in the essay, Derrida will make the point that writing itself is a Pharmakon—unlike speech, which is immediate, in-your-face and fully present, writing takes you out of the everyday. When someone’s talking you can try and look them in the eye to see if they’re bullshitting you or not. Writing lets you lie, the anonymous little letters encourage you to make things up—it’s hard to get at the real person behind the strung together words and lines.

Imagine your fave blog writer standing in front of you, speaking aloud the content of their latest post… “Excuse, me yes…where was I? Right, ‘Nothing in here is true…’” Doesn’t quite work, huh?

We’re all virgins when we blog—that includes you, Sterling. Typing quietly with a wet pussy at fuck o’clock in the morning…your unpenetrated interior falling into the abyss. You and E. played around, but you didn’t take your clothes off—she didn’t see you naked—you remained untouched, both literally and metaphorically. E. doesn’t get you and you don’t trust her. She offers you Percocet, a Pharmakon if there ever was one—party drug and pain killer, medicine and narcotic. She leads you astray, keeps you up all night when you should be resting—leads you to find solace in another Pharmakon—Raymi’s deliciously naughty blog, the perfect pill for an unsatisfied “interior.”



Sterling and your girls…taking you away from yourself and then leaving you alone. You’re the one who told me that the only thing you do is fuck—an imperfect act in mimicry of a perfect circle. I think you want to be led astray from being led astray—and you’re right when you say the girl doesn’t matter: it’s about you trying to lose the feeling of losing yourself. Problem is, the only way you know how to do this is to lose yourself again.

Watch out for the wind, my dear—you never know when your playtime will be cut short...R.I.P. Mary Hansen of Stereolab.

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