Daily Comps Brilliance: The Unspeakable

In today’s installment of Daily Comps Brilliance, Clyde R. Taylor addresses the revolutionary practice of speaking the unspeakable.

To speak the unspeakable has become an important strategy of resistance. The unspeakable is always, whatever else it is, a political category, a form of censorship. The unspeakable is rendered mute in order to throw a polite silence over contradictions felt as socially unbearable. The voices of the repressed break a silence that respects the sacred, profanes the rituals that propel correct action, unravels the unspoken law of hierarchy, pollutes hte codes of purity, and threatens language with division. After it is spoken, the unspeakable may be assimilated, but not without new anxieties, new rigors demanded of polite discourse.

Clyde R. Taylor, The Mask of Art: Breaking the Aesthetic Contract – Film and Literature (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), 5.