- Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World, 1985
|William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Orestes Pursued by the Furies, 1862|
“Runners were coming in and saw unspeakable horror."
Boston is a tear in experience. Boston is a breach in narrative. Boston is a rupture in the imagination. To sift testimonials from last week's Boston Marathon Bombing (BMB) is to be assaulted with the unspoken, or, to be more specific, with subjects attempting to communicate an experience of incommunicable horror. (Macabre collections of testimonials are available at NPR, The New York Times, and The Boston Herald.) Boston is a place, a living city and community, located in time. But Boston is also a signifier. There is, mapped unto the real Boston of streets and waterways, schools and homes, an imaginary Boston, a Boston of the mind, now immersed in blood and mediated by violence. The BMB rips the temporal and imaginary fabric of the city and of the nation. Violence ruptures bodies; violence ruptures consciousnesses; violence ruptures syntax. To speak about Boston is to speak around Boston -- the unspeakable horror is a gash through which we cannot immediately speak.