Saturday, April 23, 2011

S is for silence

Can an argument be made for silence as an aesthetic virtue? To be successful, such an argument would have to be sincere. Irony may disarm, but a contingent, ironic virtue would be troublesome. The argument should not be that some art is to be silenced, but that silence itself may be productive, expressive, and beautiful. Similarly, silence as an aesthetic tool can be useful only if self-imposed: a method and not a qualitative distinction—a provocation and not a response. Unfortunately, this last position is untenable. Silence is always a response to the inadequacy of speaking and can only be meaningful in the context of that speech.

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