Sandwiches are virtual for Grossman because there is an unbridgeable gap between what the sandwich-maker wants the sandwich to do and what it can actually do. For Grossman, this arises out of a kind of contradiction at the heart of sandwiches that’s always been with us, what he calls “the bitter logic of the sandwich principle.” Sandwich logic is bitter because the sandwich is structurally foredoomed. The sandwich-maker is moved to make a sandwich because she is dissatisfied with the human world, the world of representation. But the stuff of sandwiches invariably reproduces the structures it aspires to replace. According to Grossman, sandwiches issue from the desire to get beyond the human, the finite, the historical, and to reach the transcendent or divine. But as soon as the sandwich-maker moves from the sandwich impulse to the actual sandwich, the song of the infinite is compromised by the finitude of its terms. So the sandwich is always a record of failure because you can’t actualize the impulse that gave rise to it without betraying it.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Ben Lerner on Allen Grossman on sandwiches: