Talking about the political present requires a technology of public speech, but the constructs public and speech have shifted. Inside personal display cases of glass and crystal, upon screens actual or imagined, language takes on a speechified address to a dispersed and uneven public. In a series of somatic plays, Face Down by Brian Whitener faces the distance of political abstraction, the politics of affective life, the impossibility of writing in the political present. The book cannibalizes criticism, enacts it with bodies named A., B., C., and D. arranged like plastic toy soldiers, except in balaclavas. Written in an organized style of informatics, Face Down is seductive and terrifying in its desperate heat and abstract coolness. It is written with the powerlessness and with the power of political emotion.