Amy H. König

Who are you?

Amy H. König

What is your tie to h2so4?

I write the dream analysis column for it. I channeled Freud when he answered the dear philosopher letters addressed to it. I have proofed its articles on occasion. Once, I helped paste some art into it. I haved cared for it, putting little round stickers on its edges so that it would not get crumpled in the mail. And I signed its constitution, which perhaps binds me legally to it.

What is funny?

Nothing is funny. It is very, very funny. Everything is also funny, but not as funny as nothing.

What is not funny?

Sometimes everything, unfortunately. But sometimes also nothing.

What book should I read?

The Interpretation of Dreams, which I have read many times and adore. Or something like Ulysses, which I am ashamed to admit I have never read, despite that it has been on my list for years and years. Then you can tell me all about it.

Why do you (on occasion) work for no money?

Because it's not work -- it's a game. Or maybe because an absence of money and time clock allow for a kind of labor which paradoxically entails leisure, satisfaction, and relief from alienation.

What is your favorite movie? Or would you prefer to call it a "film"?

Vertigo, I always say, although I'm not sure that's true any longer. I do tend to say "film" out of habit, but I would like to bring back the term "photoplay" as in the phrase, "the Oscar-winning photoplay" ("Academy Award-winning photoplay"?). Other ideas: motion picture, moving picture, talkie, flick.

Your favorite quote from Evany Thomas:

Is the name of a drink she invented: the Swedish Massage.

Your favorite quote from elsewhere:

It might still be "the Swedish Massage." Either that or the one about authentic being-one's-self. No, I think I like the swedish massage better than that.

What piece of writing has most influenced your life?

If we are thinking socio-politically, the word "female" on my birth certificate. Or the bible, perhaps, insofar as it has influenced lots and lots of writing which has influenced me. Along more personal lines, I would have to go with Lacan's "the mirror stage" because it was the first thing I ever read which was absolutely, humiliatingly incomprehensible to me. Naturally, I went on to read a great deal more of his work, intensively and methodically.

What person has most changed your life ("famous" or non-)?

My mother, about fifty thousand times.

So tell me, what would a person be surprised to find out about you?

That I write, sometimes in droll, obstreperous, and enthusiastic voices, for h2so4. And that I tap-dance.

What band would you have play at your next party (yes, historically open)?

The Velvet Underground and the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, plus Nico plus films plus dancers plus light show.

Does not the war perpetuate that which it is called to make disappear, and consecrate war and its virile virtues in good conscience?

Yes, it does. It brings to vivid appearance that which it is called to make disappear, consecrating it all in the primary colors of the patriot, in the gleaming metalics of the hero, and in the worn pastels of the motherland, hanging it all on the wall of virtue with good conscience as its mephitic frame.

To what are you addicted? What is addiction?

Too many things. Addiction is when you turn into a monster if you go too long without something.

Do you, too, love Abraham Lincoln? Why? Why not?

I haven't thought this one through fully, so I am curious to learn more about why you love him. but here is a list of what comes to mind at present.

Things I love about Abraham Lincoln:

  • ended slavery
  • autodidactic
  • wrote gettysburg address on back on an envelope (love that, if it's true)
  • stove pipe hat
  • I like the end of John Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln, where henry fonda (playing abe) says, "I think I'll just walk on ahead to the top of that hill."

How does the cameraman compare with the painter?

It depends on the camerawork and painting. The results are often the opposite of what you'd expect:

Example #1: Which is faster, camera or paint brush?
Answer: It varies. Some people I know take an hour to snap a photo, even with a point-and-shoot camera. Others can paint your portrait in 3 minutes.

Example #2: Which is requires more skill, taking a photo or painting a picture?
Answer: Again, it depends. Certain cameras require vast technical expertise to operate; unphotogenic objects require a trained hand to be rendered well. And painting can be as simple as opening a can and slinging a roller down a fence, if it's that kind of paint job.

Example #3: Which is more "realistic," photo or painting?
Answer: Ditto. Some photographers render objects so abstractly that they are no more than patterns of light. And some painters go for a realism so credible you can't believe it's done in two dimensions.

Example #4: Which of these belong to the category of "art": painting, photography, and/or cinema?
Answer: Only painting, obviously. Photography and cinema are not art. People who think they are art are uncivilized brutes.

Authentic being-one's-self takes the definite form of an existentiell modification of the "they"; and this modification must be defined existentially. What does this modification imply, and what are the ontological conditions for its possibility?

Yikes, I'm not sure. But in the interpretation of dreams, which you all should read (see above), freud, too, says something about how we have to "modify the 'they'". actually, he says that we have to "alter the external world -- to arrive at a real perception of the object." So that's not quite the same thing. although if I were given this question on an exam (?!), that's probably where I'd go, in order to do a comparison, and to evade having to name the things implied by the modification.

Is everything popular a debasement of what it would otherwise be? Are we really looking for a salvation or meaning that only a few can access, with difficulty?

You ask difficult questions! but I think I would say no to the first one (I am thinking of warhol's soup cans, which achieve their most sublime potential in their most popular form). And a definite no to "that only a few can access." I say sort of to "with difficulty," because I am not against a little bit of difficulty; in fact I rather like it.

Amy H. Knig