Footnote

The last phrase in the post “Brain-mind seeks Space-Place,” comes from Bruno Latour’s essay, “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern.” Critical Enquiry 2004.

Don’t you love footnotes?

This isn’t an idle question. Footnotes are one small bridge between the brain-mind and space-place. When you read a footnote, your eyes make a deliberate shift to the bottom of the page–if there are endnotes, you have to flip pages.

When I taught Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman, I prepared a handout paraphrasing and explaining the footnotes. (Although a work of fiction, the footnotes about gender theory sometimes took over the narrative.) Oh thank you! said the students, as I delivered the pages up and down the aisles. But to judge from the essays I received, few students read my handout, or the footnotes.

Footnotes are a place you have to chose to go to. Once I saw the a production of the musical Kiss of the Spider Woman. In the lobby of the theatre a car was being raffled off. The footnotes disappeared. So did Argentina. So did history. It was a beautiful car, shiny, as cars are when they’re mounted in the lobby of a theatre.

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