I was reading an interview with Gayatri Spivak the other day and I was reminded about how I hadn't written anything about Derrida yet. Like most people I have had a back and forth, regularly conflicted relationship with the work of Derrida. When I first read Of Grammatology many years ago, my first reaction was "bulls*it!" From the perspective of someone who is from a "non-modern" culture, the idea that Derrida proposed that in European philosophy "speech" is privileged over "writing" was not just wrong, it was insulting! The reason that a text like Destiny's Landfall which is extremely comprehensive, bringing together most all acknowledged sources on Guam's history can nonethless be problematic and often written atop racist assumptions, is simply because for the writing of indigenous people's histories outsiders, written sources are privileged well and above spoken sources.
When I returned to Derrida years later, I realized that I had actually (like most people) misread his argument. Deconstruction was not about arguing that writing is better than speech, or even vice versa, but only that the elevating of one over the other, because of its obvious or natural closeness or essential proximity is never certain or closed, but always remains open for reversal, contestation and critique.
I film crew ma dalalaki Si Derrida påppa’ para i fanleployan gi i gima’-ña. Anai manhuyong siha ginnen i gua’ot, ma fa’nu’i hit i mineggai na lepblo-ña Si Derrida. Gi minagahet nina’manman yu’ nu ayu siha, sa’ kulang manmasohmok este na kuato ni’ lepblo siha.
Ginnen i ineppen i crew, annok lokkue na manhinegef.
I bulaka (palao’an na balaku) ha faisen Si Derrida, “Kao un taitai todu este siha na lepblo?”
Chumiche’ didide’ Si Derrida annai ha oppe, “Ahe’, buente kuatro pat singko ha’.”
Todu mañalek, sa’ dipotsi na este na taotao, gof malåte yan fåyi (pues pon po’lo siempre na i tinaitai-ña siha ti tifung’on)
Lao ti munhayån i essitan-ña Si Derrida. Annai hokkok i chinatge siha, ilek-ña, “Lao ayu na kuatro, hu gof’f’f taitai.”