In Defense of Mass

Reasons of Weight

Eduardo Prieto 

We are living light times. Italo Calvino foresaw this thirty years ago in his Six Memos for the Next Millennium, a light but deep essay where, short of discrediting reasons of weight, he reckoned that the future belonged to lightness, even if only because “it had more to say.” Zygmunt Bauman gave form to this same intuition with a watery metaphor – liquid society, liquid culture, liquid love – although Karl Marx had anticipated it when he defined his epoch as that where “all that is solid melts into air.” Time has proven such predictions true. It is not that the light has more to tell us, but that the heavy has silenced us altogether and strikes us as strange, somehow, even monstrous. We get this sense of rejection even when we leaf through certain comic books: the Hulk, The Incredible Hulk, is frightening because of his huge radioactive musculature; of the Fantastic Four, the ugliest and most disturbing is the Thing, for whom his formless and rocky appearance is a curse because, unlike with his flexible and ethereal teammates, it prevents him from living a normal life...

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