1. Such privileging is at work even today, in the development of a term such as television to designate a medium that involves sound as much as sight, and its fascinating power persists in the vogue of what is blithely called “visual culture.”
2. Plato, The Republic, book 7, trans. Paul Shorey, in Plato, The Collected Dialogues, ed. Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961), pp. 747ff
3. See the discussion of “Being John Malkovich” in Chapter 13 of this book.
4. On the relation of “medium” and “transparency,” see my discussion of Aristotle in “The Virtuality of the Medium,” Sites 4, no. 2 (2000): 297–317.
5. Nowhere perhaps is the theatrical singularity of the event more clearly staged than in the first act of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when the Ghost of King Hamlet pursues his son and the other spectators by moving invisibly under the floorboards of the stage, thereby setting a farcical, undramatic, but eminently theatrical counterpoint to his appeal to be remembered—and perhaps to the entire tragic drama that responds to that appeal. I will return to the theatrical significance of “farce” in Chapter 7.
6. J. L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words (London: Oxford University Press, 1976), pp. 21–22. See also J. Derrida, Limited Inc (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988), pp. 16ff
7. Ibid., p. 17 et passim. Judith Butler, in a series of incisive and influential writings that build upon Derrida’s emphasis on iterability, has shifted the focus of “performativity” from its initial dependence on an informing intention to the social and political effects produced by linguistic performances. Noting that “we have yet to arrive at an account of the social iterability of the utterance” (Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative [New York: Routledge, 1997], p. 150), she sees the direction of such an account proceeding from the insight that “speech is bodily, but the body exceeds the speech it occasions” (p. 156). One question raised by such an assertion is whether