Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Every Suit Has A Following

Back in the fall of 1994 I was taking my first class -- there would be two more -- with the brilliant theorist Kaja Silverman. It was a historical survey of film theory, from Vachel Lindsay and Bela Balazs all the way up to the manuscript of her upcoming book. I learned an astonishing amount. I can honestly say that it was my most productive class ever, both because of her pedagogy and because of the single-minded devotion I gave the readings. When the time came to submit my final paper, I polished it to a brilliant luster and express mailed it, together with the paper of her favorite student Amy, to Kaja's Winter Break address in Berlin. Afterwards, I gave Amy a ride back to her place, the rain leaking into the rust-bored holes in my silver Honda Civic wagon. When we arrived, she showed me the absurdly extensive collection of plastic-sleeved classic pulp novels possessed by her housemate, then introduced me to their owner. "This is Jonathan Lethem. His first novel is coming out soon. Some day he'll be famous."

That day would have been the perfect conclusion to a perfect course, but for the fact that the San Francisco Examiner brought me a second dessert ten days later:

What are the odds that, after spending weeks pondering the film theoretical concept of "suture," that one's favorite cartoonist would reference it, adding his own inimitable surreal touch and a philosophical twist to go with it? It was even better than hearing Chris the DJ quote Foucault approvingly on Northern Exposure. This remains my favorite comic strip ever. I'm so glad I unearthed it the other day in the process of rearranging my archives.

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