Catching Up With…

November 28, 2007

I’ve always thought that it would be fun to do interviews at this site. Mostly I envisioned asking various presidential candidates for their opinions on the issues of the day, c’est a dire Little Rock Streetcar expansion, Brandy Taylor/Anne Hathaway/Pretty Feet/all the other favorites of Salad actualia, new items at the Senate cafeteria, and the Treaty of Westphalia. Unfortunately, it’s been very hard to get any presidential candidate to commit to giving an interview (mostly because they’re all of the opinion that Heroes Season 2 is as strong as season one, and that they will be president) so I’ve had to come up with something else to fill this space. So I present Yesterday’s Salad’s first ever conversation with the living challenged, Jacques Derrida.

But before we begin, allow me to deal with the objections that are no doubt being raised as I write. First, this is not Yesterday’s Salad’s first engagement with the no longer living. Shel Silverstein has been suggested as a Superman author, and some of my favorite neighbors are Zombies. And, a reason before the reason, as I mentioned in my comment to JT in the Shel Silverstein piece: “While the [wikipedia] undead page is totally unhelpful, it does remind me that Derrida used the myth of the undead to break down the binary between life and death. But something tells me Derrida was reaching on that one.”

While I’m not one to regularly disagree with so wise a scholar as Mr. Dailysalad, leading luminaries would. Yosef Hayyim Yerushalmi ends his excellent Freud’s Moses with a monologue addressed to Professor Freud, Isaac Bashevis Singer believed in demons, and Messers Freud and Derrida (who now gets a chance to argue his case) would certainly disagree with me. As Derrida explains in Archive Fever (at least in part, a reading of Freud’s Moses), Freud has made references to “real” ghosts in his writing. This has to do with the fact that there is a “truth of delusion, a truth of insanity or of hauntedness.” (87; emphasis in the original) This is analogous to the difference between a “historical truth” and a “material truth.” Something can have a real effect without having ever existed.

So without further ado, a few questions for Mr. Derrida:

1) Did you ever get a chance to watch Seinfeld? Or, do you still hold to your opinion that Deconstruction has no sitcoms, and people are wasting their time doing things that don’t involve reading Deconstruction? (see here for some background, and don’t see Derrida)

2) What is the superior word, “E” (def: 22 n. The third note in a C-major musical scale), “E” (26 n. a Roman numeral for 250), or “E” (38 n. a number whose hyperbolic logarithm is equal to 1. “It seems unlikely that Euler chose the letter because it is the initial of his own name, as occasionally been suggested: he wwas an extremely modest man and often delayed publication of his work so that a colleague or student of his would get due credit”)? All definitions are taken from One Letter Words: A Dictionary by Craig Conley. What are the deconstructive implications of such a dictionary?

3) Did you ever ride the German Railway Intercity Hannah Arendt Express from Karlsruhe to Hannover, or hang out on Hannah Arendt street in Marburg, or use a Hannah Arendt postage stamp, all of which led Walter Laquer to say that, “Hannah Arendt has been more successful than any other German philosopher, living or dead”? Do you think there will ever be a Derrida street in Irvine, or a branch of the TGV named after you? How should we measure success for a philosopher?

4) Are you upset that “Emeril Live” is going off the air, or are you of the opinion that he wasn’t much of a chef? You’ve certainly inspired a lot of modern cuisine. (Believe it or not, a deconstructed dish actually has to do with deconstruction.) How are we to cope with the loss of Emeril in this time of writers’ strike induced crisis?

I promise not to reveal your answers to anyone.

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2 Responses to “Catching Up With…”


  1. […] 11, 2008 We’ve mentioned Jacques Derrida’s Archive Fever before, the book in which he so eloquently argues for […]


  2. […] Moses, is almost too easy. Bonus: the movie would prove exceedingly marketable; as I mentioned last week, Archive Fever sort of allows for the existence of Ghosts. As I see it, Archive Fever: The Movie […]


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