I'm going to blame it on the drugs. I thought she was dead. But she's looking awfully chic, with adequate blood flow, and is only in her 70s. She is one of my favorite people but I had put my "connaissance" in stasis, just sort of stopped reading her, stopped learning.
This represents one of the more wonderful, even if humiliating, aspects of Twitter. An artist that I "follow" retweeted something from Kristeva's account. "Harrumph," I snorted. [In case you did not know the organic steps necessary to the creation of a/an harrumph -- "a/an" depending on whether you choose the "'h'-aspiré" or not. Think back to French One and "un homme" vis-à-vis "un héros."]
That harrumph-snort came from my certitude that she was dead. Duh.
Anyway, she has done a nice piece on the death penalty. If you are a regular Dear Reader, you know that I am a longtime death penalty abolitionist, and consider the USA as yet uncivilized, at the very least, for not yet having done away with it. I also no longer fight with people about it, rarely going beyond stating my opinion. But that doesn't preclude forwarding to you a work with which I agree (mostly -- I am considerably more intense and clear in my opinions than Kristeva) by someone whom I greatly admire. Well, more clear. She might have me beat in the intensity department.
[What the heck. I toss this out into the info-sphere and remind you that there will be a fourth vote at the UN General Assembly this December on the imposition of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. I know, I know, don't even bother me with the comebacks. Just don't. Just check out THIS WEBSITE, maybe sign a petition and be quiet: The last vote garnered this result: 109 votes in favour, 41 voted against and 35 abstained. The first attempt, in 2007? 104 UN members states voted in favor, while 54 voted against and 29 abstained. Change, like peace, "comes dropping slow." Apologies to Yeats.]
Even if I thought she was dead. If you don't speak French, take a few minutes and learn some, or use one of the wunnerful, wunnerful translators available on the web. At least watch the video! There was a time I'd not hesitate to translate the piece... but this is Kristeva, folks. I'm not going to risk screwing up something by her!
Aw, man. She's giving a doctoral seminar on Colette at Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7, open to the public. I guess it is probably over, as it began in January. But shoot, you know?
You know, I think these meds are working. Even though I'm seeing double and am somnolent to the tune of Rip Van Winkle, I have developed the itch, the urge, the longing to... stroll the Boulevard Saint Germain, taking a right onto the Rue des Fossés Saint Bernard, for a late morning of "La révolte intime : Colette."
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So here she is, all my ado aside, her work stolen in its entirety from her "site officiel," but with so much respect that I hope not to be sued, simper-simper-respect-awe-simper:
De l’inviolabilité de la vie humaine
Je ne suis ni juriste ni spécialiste de l’abolitionnisme. Je n’ai jamais assisté à une exécution, et aucun de mes proches ne fut victime de meurtres, d’abus sexuels, de tortures ou de violences dégradantes. Je ne vous lirai pas ces rapports médicaux détaillant les supplices de la guillotine, que Camus lui-même recopiait pour nous communiquer sa nausée. Je n’ai pas non plus ressenti cette empathie romantique qui emporte Hugo, comparant sa douleur d’exilé à celle du proscrit. J’estime que les douleurs sont incommensurables, plutôt incommunicables, et que la pulsion de mort qui nous habite nous menace tous... au singulier.
Tête coupée de Louis XVI
Victor Hugo, Justitia
Les abolitionnistes avancent trois arguments principaux contre la peine de mort : l’inefficacité de la vengeance et de la dissuasion ; la faillibilité de la justice ; la douleur piégée par l’élimination.
Anonyme, Acte de justice du 9 au 10 Thermidor
J’entends votre question dont je partage l’indignation: et alors, les abolitionnistes veulent épargner la mort à ces criminels-là ?
Andy Warhol, Chaise éléctrique, 1971
Permettez-moi de finir sur un ton plus personnel.