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Pinter, Words, Actions

Here’s Harold Pinter’s poem American Football (on the 1st Gulf War):

Hallelullah!
It works.
We blew the shit out of them.

We blew the shit right back up their own ass
And out their fucking ears.

It works.
We blew the shit out of them.
They suffocated in their own shit!

Hallelullah.
Praise the Lord for all good things.

We blew them into fucking shit.
They are eating it.

Praise the Lord for all good things.

We blew their balls into shards of dust,
Into shards of fucking dust.

We did it.

Now I want you to come over here and kiss me on the mouth.

Harold Pinter tells an anecdote related to obscene words and obscene acts:

I then sent the editor of the Observer a short fax, in which I quoted myself when I was at the US Embassy in Ankara in March I985 with Arthur Miller. I had a chat with the ambassador about torture in Turkish prisons. He told me that I didn’t appreciate the realities of the situation vis-a-vis the Communist threat, the military reality, the diplomatic reality, the strategic reality, and so on.
I said the reality I was referring to was that of electric current on your genitals. Whereupon the ambassador said, ‘Sir, you are a guest in my house,’ and turned away. I left the house.
The point I was making to the editor of the Observer was that the ambassador found great offence in the word genitals. But the reality of the situation, the actual reality of electric current on your genitals, was a matter of no concern to him. It was the use of the word that was offensive, but not the act.

(Check out Matt Cheney’s thoughts about Harold Pinter). Here’s a remarkable thought:

Reading the script of Accident, it occurred to me that what I dislike most about the movie is how efficient it is: every line and image has a purpose. Of course, that might seem to be what good writing is — no wasted material — but good writing also needs to appear less mechanical, less determined to connect all its own dots. There needs to be more room for messiness, as there is in so much of Pinter’s (and Losey’s) other work, or else we end up with a hypothesis or a graph, not art. (Losey’s messiness was often not to his benefit; Pinter’s is usually the messiness of a conundrum, which is more palatable than the messiness of a mess.)

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