Monday, March 21, 2011

"He was a taxi driver, unemployed, or in some other profession."

This last paragraph in a NY Times article about the latest news from Libya is beautiful. Yes, the news it describes is sad, a death, and actually, yes, most of the world news to be read these recent days is incredibly depressing, however the amount of ambiguity is striking in this news account. It's almost to the level of absurdity. It's a Bolono-esque narrative here where the details are unclear and continually revised within even the same sentence, bringing about a sense of disorientation, that the stability with which a narrative is supposed to give events is totally absent, instead a continual presentation of "or"s, various options for how to present the narrative. There is the ring of poetry to this paragraph:

People around the other fresh grave also said they were relatives, but people gave conflicting descriptions of the deceased — he was 25 or 29; he was killed in his home, driving by a military base, or walking in a neighborhood near the Qaddafi compound; he was a taxi driver, unemployed, or in some other profession.