Friday, November 11, 2011

Marathon Reading of Bartleby the Scrivener. So far, no reaction from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly

I wonder what Mayor Bloomberg would have to say to Bartleby the Scriviner when up against his "flute-like" tone of voice and his "I prefer not to."

Bloomberg: "Well, he has the right to his opinion, I am a strong proponent of freedom of speech, but there's a point where you just have to get moving. And Bartleby has passed that point."

As for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly who I once admired for his intelligence and education, I don't know how he'd handle Bartleby. I hope even combat veteran Kelly would balk at throwing a net over the ginger-nuts eating scriviner.  Kelly, by the way, continues to have an intelligence of sorts and his accomplishments are many. His heart, alas, is shrinking.

Yesterday's marathon reading of Bartleby the Scrivener, by Melville, sparks these questions. Just a few blocks from Zucotti Park, at 55 Wall Street, an indoors public space which generously doesn't throw nets over anyone, so far, when used for committee meetings.The event fresh in my mind, it is easy enough to imagine Kelly and/or Bloomberg confronting the text. Hmmm.

Far better to imagine was the group of well more than fifty who gathered. And efficiently, as everything connected with Occupy Wall Street is organized and mannered. The reading took around two hours.

Thanks to Occupy Language, Melville House Publishers, Housing Works Bookstore and whoever else for sponsoring the event and for my portion which offered an insight into the narrator--alternately boastful but, in the light of morning, honest at his ineffectual efforts to move Bartleby.  "He was more a man of preferences than assumptions."

You and a whole bunch of others, Bartleby.

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