: Dung literature appears with the life ofGabriel Gudding, Rhode Island Notebook. Champaign: Dalkey, 2007. 106-107
officials, with the advent of the officious, when
it is impossible to argue or to be kind in a
straightforward way. If one cannot anymore be
overtly kind, the expression of kindness
must become a guerilla affair. The official life,
the life of this empire, the life of rules, is a life
that does not readily allow the choice to be
kind: insurance companies find such choice
risky, and corporations find such choice costly.
Officiousness is not a thing, but the very action
that removes kindness. The purpose of
lampoon is, then, to show us that the
correct thing is often the improper thing. The
purpose of decent dung literature is, in part, to
show that the decorous action is often the
dangerous action. In
fact in such an age, in an age of militarism and
canned heroism, tragedy is the mere
commodification of suffering and the glue of
nationalism. A nation does not laugh, it grieves.
Yet it is a false grieving; the grief of nationalism
is merely a scrim to hide the buttocks of
does not know how to suffer because it does
not know how to endure. And it does not
know how to endure because it cannot laugh.
We need dung therefore. Like laughter, the
anus is innately disruptive. Dung is laughter.
The landbridge of laughter is a preposterous
isthmus leading to a seldom visited region of
purposeful metaphor, a region where cultural
and aesthetic politics matter. And, too, the idea
that the comic may be at once oppositional in
its uses and concordant in its pleasures is
something one may touch upon nicely here.