Fall 2010

Legend / Man Hugs Doll

Heidegger, Adorno, Pee-Wee Herman & Co.

Wayne Koestenbaum

“Legend” is a column by Wayne Koestenbaum in which he suggests one or more possible captions for an image provided by the editors of Cabinet.

Winnicott gives Pee-wee Herman a pep talk.

Ferenczi invades a perv’s playpen.

Men’s well-shaved cheeks epitomize Cold War uncanniness: meaty theorists suffer razor burn, a fetish I refuse to transcend.

Adorno browbeats Benjamin to relinquish mysticism.

Benjamin clutches a fantasy of learning Hebrew; Gershom Scholem eggs him on.

Heidegger feigns appeasement, but Celan shuts his eyes to preclude detente.

Frank O’Hara won’t renounce fey attachments, despite Lionel Trilling’s seductive pontifications.

We hug hand-me-down well-wrought urns.

Poulenc weans Schoenberg from the teat of tone rows.

Two cosmeticians on the set of Trog show Joan Crawford how to retire.

Phèdre clings to Hippolyte, even after Thésée returns from the dead.

George Platt Lynes and Caravaggio remake The Miracle Worker, The Boys in the Band, and Johnny Belinda—a disability trilogy.

Fairies play Pièta: “Mary,” foreseeing the denouement, won’t surrender the corpse.

Firbank can’t finish his novel: he squeezes its sentences too tenaciously.

Heine steals Hegel’s bagel.

I hesitate to typecast or shun the man with the doll.

The doll is the nuance—Barthes’s “neutral”—that the enamored subject refuses to disavow.

Team spirit depresses the anti-relational aesthete.

Emerson: “I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me.”

The doll-clasping perv looks like my eleventh-grade history teacher, who sucked hard candy.

Wittgenstein: “I could imagine a logician who tells us that he has now succeeded in really being able to think 2 × 2 = 4.”

I missed out on seeing Edwige Feuillère as Phèdre, and so I’ll kibitz instead with my avant la lettre Cabbage Patch Kid.

Soon to be a clairvoyant voyager, Rimbaud hugs alexandrines: “A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu: voyelles, / Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes.”

I missed out on seeing Edwige Feuillère in Blé en herbe, and so I’ll dandle my Hervé Guibert doll.

Guibert on blind children: “First of all the little ones … were taught not to sway their upper body and not to stick their index fingers in their eyes, which they always did. Those who refused to stop were tied up until they had learned the lesson of immobility.”

Triangulation cures nerves.

If you confiscate my Phèdre doll, I’ll boycott your Ruth-St.-Denis-derived performance of Dirty My Knickers.

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