“The effects or structure of a text are not reducible to its ‘truth’, to the intended meaning of its presumed author.” (Derrida, Otobiographies, quoted in Thiselton, New Horizons, p.111)
J’adore Jacques Derrida. Not only do I find him enormously entertaining, I even occasionally find him enlightening. Elif had cooked Derrida dinner one night in 1992, and found him to be delightfully preening. Admit it: of all of the Pieds-Noir philosphers, he’s just about your favorite, non?
Kirby Dick‘s wonderful documentary on Derrida offers an excellent opportunity to revel in the great man’s absolute engagement in his own role as celebrity subject. Derrida’s response to every interview question was exquisitely crafted for maximum comedic value. To formulate these responses, he took his sweet time – at one point, it seemed like he waited over 30 seconds to answer a question about his mother!
I’ve always found it amusing that many of the particulars our own internal lives often not – our microthoughts, our motivations, our desires – only are closed to others, but also to ourselves. So how could I find out what Derrida was thinking during these great gaps in the dialogue?
As Elif and I watched the film together, we came to the stunning realization that rather than spending an eternity thinking about his responses to Kirby’s questions, Derrida was in fact writing the sequel to his chef-d’œuvre Of Grammatology. To test our theory, we carefully extracted the video from the film, applied a traducer filter, applied deconstruction analysis and specific Derridean techniques to the soundtrack, and were able to clearly make out his signature brainwave sounds. After transcoding the signals, and with full realization that the rhetoric was inevitably being subverted by the grammar, we meticulously transcribed his internal dialogue, which ended up being printed inorganically over the film in a crawl from one of his favorite works of pop art, Star Wars.
The result is ground-breaking, revolutionary, and even NSFW: now, years after his shedding his mortal coil, you can visualize and hear his genius the full flowering of his genius like never before – and be privy to participating in the gestation of a great new, still-lost masterwork, Of Grammatology 2: Revenge of the Post-Structuralists.
Without further ado, our brilliant art film from 2003: Derrida Thinks!