Here’s the rest of the essay….was coming in smaller bits, but now an explosion.
23. Despite any recourse to the nuanced heteroglossia of an Acker novel (available even to the casual, and perhaps dismissive, reader), part of the contrapuntal allure of her texts remains the difficulty in deciphering the “voice” of Acker-the-author that lies behind her plagiarisms. This obstacle is mixed with a deliberate unwillingness on the reader’s part to assume that the disembodied voice, or voices, of her texts are subsumed behind a character (or, as we will see later, a “construct”) that can be unified by careful reading. Yet for Hume, Acker’s “voice” is paradoxically accessible, and remains the defining characteristic of her prose. Hume identifies Acker’s “core” voice with its “key note of protest,” and argues that this voice becomes “centered” precisely in the apparently de-centered style of her fragmentation; she offers that Acker is unable to articulate even tentative solutions for her characters’ problems because her “intellectual” strategies of escape—appropriations and navigations that chart “lines of flight” from the logocentric realm of the “father”—will always clash with the emotional “desire” of her characters to escape such limiting systems on terms that protect the “core” identity: “Centripetally, (her personae) pull every experience in and recompose it in the idiom of the narrative voice. That voice projects itself through lyric lamentation, cries, the vocabularies of sex, pain, and oppression. Its values are traditional and humanist, and include . . . the inner self’s authenticity, and its right not to conform to social norms.” The typical postmodernist argument about Acker’s fractured identity is not invalidated by Hume’s identification of the “core” voice, because it is impossible, given Acker’s work and its time, to perceive anything other than the illusion of a “core.” In this way, Acker’s countercultural stance (bound up, as we will see, with the marketing world) provides her texts only with a sort of pseudo-core, to re-arrange Blaise Pascal’s famous dictum—whose circumference is everywhere and center is nowhere. In its nothingness, the center “voice” that is a “non-voice” (or a “media-voice” of sorts), exists all the more readily as a space for meaning to project itself onto the void of the fragmented rim, inside which it does not exist, to accrete like antimatter, with ghostlike flourishes, in the secret codes of the text.
24. Significant Incident # 1 morphing Nordic Elf into World-Historical Bear:
In late September 1996, an overeager tele-journalist in Bangkok greets Björk’s refusal to do an impromptu live interview by shoving a microphone in the face of her 10-year-old son, Sidri. As anyone within the numbing proximity of tabloid media during that time knows, Björk attacks the reporter and smashes her head against the ground. Another reporter notes later on: “you beat the shit out of her.”
25. One postmodern critique of the subject hypothesizes that it easier to cast off the idea of a unified self if that “self” has been crystallized by the pressures of traditional history, and that the Eurocentric stain of the postmodern is still, a product, even in rebellion, of that same totalizing culture. It is this contradiction that perhaps enables Hume to read in Acker a deep-structure “voice.” Hume counters with the obvious claim that the subjectivity of the critic might influence her reading, but we must ask, regardless, if all (or even a minority) of readers will perceive the essential Acker “voice” a la Hume that surfaces, perhaps, as the sum product of the resulting vacuums. This question is less about the subjectivity of the reader than about the distance between any “core” literary persona and the carefully constructed “media” persona that acts as the gatekeeper for identity. Joe Moran, in his book Star Authors: Literary Celebrity in America, cites Acker’s friend and lover, Charles Shaar Murray: “The tattoos, piercings, muscles and motorcycles were simply private pursuits and public window-dressing. They were not what (Acker) was ‘about’, either as an artist or as a human being.” Before her death in 1997, Acker made similar claims about her literary construction, and we offer that such a tension between “image” and “reality” mirrors the struggle between commodification and authenticity that Lake Forest College undergraduate Kirsten Jorgenson notes in Acker’s fiction. Writing about the possibility of an amorous exchange, Jorgenson notes that “When (Janey) dies, . . . she dies as a commodity, as something to be paid off for her services.”