At a party Spooky is Dj-ing, Judith approaches Spooky. Knowing him by reputation, she is curious to hear what he has to say about the knowledge present in “the low culture.”
(After introductions) Judith: I must confess, I’m awfully curious about this “Spooky” persona you’ve come up with.
Spooky (laughing): Many people are. It was a project that kind of got away from me and took on a life of its own.
Judith: If I may appeal to your academic side for a moment, do you find that it inspires you in a different way than academic writings do?
Spooky: Absolutely. Sound speaks in a way that writing doesn’t. Literally and figuratively. Every sound takes me on a new path; it takes me to “the edge of my thinking process.” It develops “new languages of creativity” for me to speak.
Judith: What about alternatives? We often spend time criticizing, but seem to rarely spend time offering an alternative. Do you find alternatives here?
Spooky: Yes and no. As much new as I find, it’s often old at the same time. I dig deeper, I follow the path the sounds take me on, and then I end up right back where I started. It’s circular. Constant looping.
Spooky looks at her questioningly.
Judith: I’m inclined to think that forming alternatives, thinking differently, is not so much as finding an idea buried deep inside our brains as it is forming a new pattern of thinking.
Spooky: Sounds like the same thing I was saying. I dig deeper, but I don’t find anything new, I simply find the old on a new path—an old idea through a new pattern of thinking. It’s the flow.
Judith (after a short pause): Have you heard of a “silly archive”?
Spooky: Laurent Berlant.
Judith: Yes! Personally, I think that thinking differently requires a different archive, and the notion of a “silly archive” really strikes me. It’s easier to engage with something you enjoy. It’s the kind of archive I’ve found useful in trying to see alternatives.
Spooky: So you think my “silly archive” is my Dj-ing?
Judith: Well, yes.
Spooky (after a pause): I suppose it is. But it’s so much more than that too. It’s a way of unlocking a different part of myself. As I said before, Spooky kind of took on a life of his own because of this “silly archive.” It seems inappropriately named considering the deep affect it has on me.
Judith: Inappropriately named? Don’t you find it the least bit silly or laughable that you find such inspiration in disco?
Spooky: Not particularly. It speaks to me.
Judith: And animation like SpongeBob speaks to me—it’s like an untilled field waiting for someone to plow it. But it’s SpongeBob.
Spooky: Well, perhaps the name suits your archive better than mine.
Judith: Regardless of the name, how do you think someone can find their own “silly archive” so that they can contribute their own alternate theories?
Class Discussion: What might be your silly archive? How do you think you might go about trying to find it? Is it actually “silly”?