The past is a notional construct, a hypothesis, a poem. I hold on to its passport because it was issued at my birth, without any possibility of my assenting or not. It’s not so much a document as it is a brand or a scar. I don’t really endorse the past, mind you, and I don’t intend to go back and settle there. My actual relation to the past is ironic, if anything, even if the irony is poisoned with sentiment; I can laugh at the past but the laughter sticks in my throat. I certainly feel more affection for it from a distance. And only from within the past can I appreciate the present, which is all things considered a dispiriting place to live. Each is a shabby, passive-aggressive dictatorship of compromise and self-delusion. Under the rhetoric, we all know this. I'm not alone because every one of us is an alien. That makes us us all compatriots.
Monday, November 30, 2015
"I can laugh at the past but the laughter sticks in my throat."
The final paragraph in Luc Sante's absorbing memoir The Factory Of Facts: