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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kafka calling: Infinity Insurance Company

A letter came in the mail the other day, from Sef Mawji at Infinity Insurance Company in Atlanta, GA, claiming that on 7/30/07 I was involved in an accident with one Dustin Ho. The letter didn't say whether it was a car wreck, a bed-wetting or some other kind of accident, but voice mail Mr. Mawji left yesterday said I had rear-ended the insured, who had identified my vehicle and license plate.

My last few phone calls to Mawji have gone unreturned, but you can imagine my curiosity to know more about this event, which took place more than two weeks after my car was totaled and left, with its key, at a body shop in Buffalo, WY. James reminds me that misunderstandings and clerical errors are more common than elaborate insurance fraud conspiracies and personal vendettas gone awry, but I am not comforted. Anyone who has seen Brazil knows that the object separating bureaucratic justice and tyranny is no thicker than the remains of a fly crushed between a typewriter key and a piece of paper, and even the most casual student of Kafka knows that bureaucracy's blood lust begins with unwarranted slander and accelerates swiftly and inexorably toward execution.

Here's the letter:

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Paul Festa’s first film, Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006, 51 min), captures the responses of 31 artists to the apocalyptic music of Olivier Messiaen (with Justin Bond, John Cameron Mitchell, Harold Bloom; screenings: Grace Cathedral, Barbican Centre, Library of Congress; “Remarkable”The New Yorker; “Stunning”Chicago Sun-Times; “Sublime”Globe & Mail; numerous awards). Festa performs the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, opposite members of the San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes, in his award-winning second film, The Glitter Emergency (2010, 20 min), a silent-film drag ballet comedy (“Enormous visual and musical inventiveness…full of pleasure and joy...Festa gives a bravura performance."—Film Threat). He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco (2010, 80 min: with Robin Williams, Bill Irwin, Peter Coyote; screenings: Geary Theater, KQED; “Intriguing...entertaining...a valuable record”—Variety). Performances as violinist and actor: ODC Theater, Center for Performance Research, Kunst-Stoff, TheatreFIRST, North Bay Shakespeare, Albert Fuller's Helicon Ensemble (Merkin Hall, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall). US, Boston, NYC, SF, LA and DC (Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress on the “Betts” Stradivarius) premieres of Messiaen’s Fantaisie for violin and piano. He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on Apparition of the Eternal Church, and several anthologized essays, and has written for The Daily Beast, Salon, Nerve, and The New York Times Book Review. Current projects include a novel and Tie It Into My Hand (2014, ca. 80 min), a documentary feature that has screened as a work in progress at the Cannes film market and at ODC Theater in San Francisco (with Alan Cumming, Gary Graffman, Peter Coyote, Mink Stole, Robert Pinsky; "A fascinating exploration of the artistic life, as rollickingly entertaining as it is insightful and stirring."San Francisco Bay Guardian). Education: Yale (B.A.; prizes, honors, distinction), Juilliard (Cert., Adv. Cert., scholarships). Residencies: Yaddo, MacDowell, ODC Theater, Centre des R├ęcollets.