An essay commissioned as part of the Museum of Modern Art exhibition Ecstatic Alphabets / Heaps of Language.
I. THE PLEASURE OF THE TEXT
“I invited a friend of mine over for dinner,” says the man ruefully. The gray-faced, middle-aged fellow is a squiggly animation, made of skinny, put-upon lines that form sluggish shapes. His dinner guest is nothing like him. The little friend who bounces through the French doors is the letter M, angular and robust. M has googly eyes at the tops of his twin peaks, which extend downward to become super-springy legs and dancing feet that also serve as his hands. M hops into his host’s outstretched palm, then rubs against his jowls like a cat. The gray man, beleaguered by these shows of affection, trudges toward a grand table piled with a colorful smorgasbord, plus candelabra. He slumps in his seat and invites the bug-eyed M to dig in. “Mmmmm, marvelous!” the M cries. “Meat! Munch! Magniﬁcent!” M’s center of gravity is his mouth; a rib-eye steak, a loaf of bread, a glass of wine vanish into the V-shaped dip. The bottom point of this center “V” is also a straw, slurping up a glass of milk in one go. “Milk!” he says. The two upside-down Vs on either side of M’s mouth are pincers, chomping instantaneously through an entire melon. “Mmm-melon!” he says.
From THE SERVING LIBRARY