by Joshua Abboud
To what or whom does the title of “Sweet Interruptions” refer? It seems to me that the culprit, the one who interrupts, does not necessarily interject in order to disturb the scene. When Avital Ronell interrupts Jacques Derrida she does so to ask a question: “’How do you recognize that you are speaking to a living person?’ He responded: ‘By the fact that they interrupt you’.”* The interrupter interrupts because that is what the scene requires. The interruption is the “fact” of the scene: that we are watching the MTV Video Music Awards on television, that Taylor Swift wins an award for the best music video of the year, that we are the implied yet absent audience for MTV, music and its various awards, the audience which is not one and excluded from a part in the speaking act. We are not there to interrupt… thank goodness for Kanye West! He demonstrates that the stage, though directed at the audience (which is not one), does not address the audience.
“Sweet Interruptions” are not interruptions at all. West interrupts on the behalf of the silent Beyoncé, whose only voice is her music, again remixed around Taylor v. West, but can hardly be said to disrupt the event. The inclusion of President Obama’s comments underscores the innocuousness of the encounter. Yes Mr. President, Kanye West is a jackass. The juxtaposition of the Beyoncé song and the Obama comment serves as an interruptive association: why is the President speaking to Beyoncé? Well, of course he isn’t, but the interruption says he is. Or at least it says that his address within the speaking scene is questionable. Taylor v. West might as well be Beyoncé v. Obama as long as both lack the fact of the scene; that is, they exclude the interrupted as that which is left unsaid because it has been obstructed. In both cases the scandal is that there is an excess of speech; the “fact” is too much has been said. If there are interruptions there is never disruption because more is always said. These are the “sweet” interruptions that allow the event to continue unchanged and unchallenged.
That the author chose Beyoncé over a Taylor Swift track challenges the position of Swift as the interrupted. Who was Kanye West speaking to? Who is there to interrupt West? Instead the scene becomes a musical track that lacks any sonic interruption in itself. The song matches the scene, Kanye West is still allowed his rant, Swift stands “sweetly” by awaiting her turn to speak, and Obama strategically distances himself from the agents. Each element politely gives way to the other, the interruption never comes, or the “fact” of the dialogue never arrives. In its place is a series of tracks with no audience, and whose juxtapositions emphasize their excess of sound and lack of address.