“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.”—
Pale, nervous girls with black-rimmed glasses and blunt-cut hair lolled around on sofas, riffling Penguin Classics provocatively. A blonde with a big smile winked at me, nodded toward a room upstairs, and said, “Wallace Stevens, eh?” But it wasn’t just intellectual experiences. They were peddling emotional ones, too. For fifty bucks, I learned, you could “relate without getting close.” For a hundred, a girl would lend you her Bartok records, have dinner, and then let you watch while she had an anxiety attack. For one-fifty, you could listen to FM radio with twins. For three bills, you got the works: A thin Jewish brunette would pretend to pick you up at the Museum of Modern Art, let you read her master’s, get you involved in a screaming quarrel at Elaine’s over Freud’s conception of women, and then fake a suicide of your choosing - the perfect evening, for some guys. Nice racket. Great town, New York.
The black cab will move away, unrecallably and for ever, its driver paid, and handsomely tipped, by the murderee. She will walk down the dead-end street. The heavy car will be waiting; its lights will come on as it lumbers towards her. It will stoop, and idle, as the passenger doors swing open.
His face will be barred in darkness, but she will see shattered glass on the passenger seat and the car-tool ready on his lap.
She will lean forward. ‘You,’ she will say, in intense recognition: ‘Always you.’
“There looms, within abjection, one of those violent, dark revolts of being, directed against a threat that seems to emanate from an exorbitant outside or inside, ejected beyond the scope of the possible, the tolerable, the thinkable. It lies there, quite close, but it cannot be assimilated. It beseeches, worries, and fascinates desire, which, nevertheless, does not let itself be seduced. Apprehensive, desire turns aside; sickened, it rejects. A certainty protects it from the shameful—a certainty of which it is proud hold on to it. But simultaneously, just the same, that impetus, that spasm, that leap is drawn toward an inescapable boomerang, a vortex of summons and repulsion places the one haunted by it literally beside himself.”—
Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection