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SoundsThe Ambient Humanities$
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John Mowitt

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284623

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284623.001.0001

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(p.58) 3. Whisper

John Mowitt

University of California Press

This chapter focuses on the sound of the whisper, considering Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer and the long running television series, The Ghost Whisperer—specifically the crossover episode in which César Milán, the dog whisperer, makes a guest appearance. The Horse Whisperer suggests that the unspeakable character of traumatic experience serves in this discourse as an incarnation of the nonvoiced vocalization of whispering—not simply that trauma, because words fail it, bears within this unspeakable relation to language the nonvoiced character of whispering. Meanwhile, both The Dog Whisperer and The Ghost Whisperer appealed directly to the figure of the whisperer as well as introduced nuances in this figure that bear on the allegorical structure of whispering—most dramatically with Melinda Gordon (Jennifer Love Hewitt's character), who, under the influence of a “spirit communicator,” uses whispering to open a channel with ghosts.

Keywords:   whisper, The Horse Whisperer, The Ghost Whisperer, The Dog Whisperer, trauma, whispering

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