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
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
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
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
- wrote gettysburg address on back on an envelope (love that, if
- 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
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
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
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.