Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Students, by William S. Burroughs

Another transcription from a live recording. I'm not sure if it appeared anywhere but I haven't seen it.

"Students, by William S. Burroughs

Dr. Benway is operating in an auditorium filled with students. "Now boys you won't see this operation performed very often and there's a reason for that. You see it has absolutely no medical value. No one knows what the purpose of it originally was or if it had a purpose at all. Personally, I think it was a pure artistic creation from the beginning. Just as a bull fighter with his skill and knowledge extricates himself from danger, he has himself invoked, so in this operation the surgeon deliberately endangers his patient, and then with incredible speed and severity rescues him from death at the last possible split second. Did you ever see Dr. Tetrazzini perform? I say perform advisedly because his operations were performances. He would start by throwing a scalpel across the room into the patient and then make his entrance like a ballet dancer, his speed was incredible. "I don't give them time to die", he'd say. Tumors put him in a frenzy of rage."Fucking undisciplined cells!" he would snarl advancing on the tumor like a knife fighter. The young man leaps down into the operating theater and whipping out a scalpel advances on the patient. "An Espontanio! Stop him before he guts my patient!" Espontanio is a bullfighting term for a member of the audience who leaps down into the ring, pulls out a concealed cape, and attempts a few passes with the bull before he's dragged out of the ring. The orderlies scuffle with the Espontanio who is finally ejected from the hall. The anesthetist takes advantage of the confusion. to pry a large gold filling from the patient's mouth. "

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