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The Un-X-able Y-ness of Z-ing (Q): A List with Notes

the unbearable lightness of being
the unbearable lite-ness of being
the unbearable blightness of being
the unbearable nice™ness of being
the unbearable “like”ness of being

Milan Kundera opposed using "the unbearable lightness of being" to title the English translation of his Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí, even though it is relatively close to the Czech original. “I realize that for you Americans the title will be a bit hard-going," Kundera states in Michael Heim's account,

“so we can try something else,” and he suggested one of the chapter titles: “Karenin’s Smile.” I protested. “We’re not children,” I told the editor. “If The Unbearable Lightness of Being is the title, so be it.” And so it stayed. [Adriana Babeţi, "A Happy Babel," Iowa Review]

Heim's translation, like a spot of dye, dropped into the flow of culture and altered the hue of English as it diffused downstream. A meme before memes, the breadth of this title's reach lets us see something we know is true but can rarely prove: translation choices transform our language and our experience of the world. The list in this essay is drawn from internet and library catalog searches of article, chapter, blog, and book titles for variations on the translation.

the unbearable lightness of meaning
the unbearable lightness of acting
the unbearable lightness of community
the unbearable lightness of exodus
the unbearable lightness of sight
the unbearable lightness of games
the unbearable lightness of the climate change industrial complex
the unbearable lightness of anthropology

Heim's gallant defense of American intellectual pride has been seconded, and thirded, and thousandthed, by writers who fit their own titles into the algebra of these abstract words. It has become an English given, a linguistic formula like Raymond Carver's "what we talk about when we talk about [x]" or R. F. C. Hull's "zen and the art of [x]." The English words that Heim poured into the Czech original have become the form where other authors cast their words.

the unbearable wine-ness of being a light 
the unbearable busy-ness of being
the unbearable rambo-ness of being
the unbearable sade-ness of being
the unbearable panda-ness of being
the unbearable stuff-ness of being
the unbearable khaki-ness of being
the unbearable bro-ness of being
the unbearable wasp-ness of being
the unbearable clown-ness of being 
the unbearable madness of being

Falling somewhere between pun and prayer, each repetition explores a possible application of the translated title to a new topic. En masse, they offer a visual, graphic testament to Heim's intuition of American culture and literary value. In a series, they twist and pull the English, exposing its formal characteristics and cultural potential through reversals, unraveling, decomposition, and play.

the unbearable wholeness of being
the unbearable sassiness of being
the unbearable loudness of being
the unbearable eroticism of being
the unbearable awkwardness of being
the unbearable sadness of being sad
the unbearable darkness of being 
the unbearable randomness of being
the unbearable dourness of being
the unbearable lightness of Elizabeth Bishop 
the unbearable lightness of "the 'n' word"
the unbearable lightness of new urbanism
the unbearable lightness of retirement
the unbearable lightness of incessant change
the unbearable lightness of dragons

These variations are a feature of the English translation, not the original. Czech writers do not vamp on Kundera, a fact explained in part by the delayed publication of the Czech version. Although it appeared in an edition from Josef Škvorecký’s 68 Publishers in Toronto in 1985, the book was not published in the Czech Republic until 2006, twenty-two years after the English translation. When Czech plays on the title do appear, therefore, they are translations of the English-language practice of riffing. 

unbearable lightness
the incredible lightness of laughing
the incredible lightness of be(coming) a cyclist
the unbareable lightness of being wrong
the wearable lightness of being
the infinite lightness of being
the unbeatable lightness of being 
the eternal lightness of being
the exquisite lightness of being
the divine lightness of being 
the uncomfortable lightness of being
the un-bear-able lightness of being
the un-bear-able lightness of equity
the un”bear”able lightness of “bee”ing
the un-bear-able lightness of being...stupid
the un"bear"able lightness of being in Berlin
the un"bear"able lightness of bear
the un-burj-able lightness of being

The formula "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (TULOB) contains three points of variation (x, y, z) with an optional finale (q). To plot it mathematically requires three axes and an additional dimension for the final fillip, so its complexity suggests three-dimensional space plus time. If we isolate one variable, "the unbearable lightness of [z]," we may use Google's Ngram reader to search its corpus of scanned books published in English in a particular year. The TULOB variations occupy more ground than comparable phrases. In 2000, "the unbearable lightness of" accounts for 101 x 10-9 (0.00000101) percent of the text in the Ngram corpus, while "zen and the art of" produces just 8 x 10-9 % and "what we talk about when" 17 x 10-9 %. Shakespearean phrases do no better: "all that glistens" comes in at 5, "the game's the thing" at 6, and "out damned spot" at 12 x 10-9 %.  We have to turn to Biblical comparisons to find serious contenders. "In the beginning" scores 569, while variations on "thou shalt not" chalk up 1564.  

the unbearable nonsense of being
the unbearable obsessiveness of being
the unbearable lightness of being polar rays
the unbearable lightness of boredom
this unbearable boredom of being
the unbearable brightness of Beane
the unbearable rightness of stealing 
the unbearable lightness of tagging
the unbearable brightness of Boeing
the unbearable weirdness of being
the unbearable tightness of vision
the unbearable lateness of being

Ngrams reveal another oddity. We might expect the presence of "the unbearable lightness of" to boom with the publication of the translated novel (1984) and the popularity of the movie (1988) and to wane as years pass. The opposite, however, is the case: through 2000, the frequency of "the unbearable lightness of" is rising.

the unbearable lightness of politics
the unbearable rightness of Beijing
the unbearable rightness of indecision making
the unbearable lightness of Syria policy
the unbearable whiteness of pro-lifers and pundits
the unbearable tightness of voting
the unbearable tightness of being in a monetary union
the unbearable rightness of Beijing
the incredible lightness of Obama
the unbearable heaviness of the left-wing blogger
the incredible lightness of Obamalove
the unbearable heaviness of Obama's ego
the unbearable heaviness of being Newt Gingrich 
the incredible lightness of being Dick Cheney
the incredible lightness of being Thomas Friedman 
the incredible lightness of being Roger Federer
the unbearable lightness of being Jim Douglas
the unbearable brightness of being a Mets fan
the unbearable lightness of being Sam Querrey
the unbearable whiteness of cheerleading 
the unbearable triteness of skiing
the unbearable hotness of Eli Manning

Two fields share exceptional devotion to plays on the title: sports and politics. What is their connection? Both demand important, often hurried decisions regarding complicated information, and both subject these decisions to lengthy scrutiny by Monday-morning quarterbacks and armchair generals. Commentators in both fields are motivated to find their leaders' fallibility, their lightness, particularly unbearable. Perhaps such tension generates a spiritual need. 

the unbearable rightness of Bush v. Gore
the unbearable wrongness of Bush v. Gore
the unbearable rightness of Marbury v. Madison
the unbearable slightness of being Joe Klein
the unbearable whiteness of being GOP
the unbearable whiteness of being the Democrat convention
the incredible lightness of John Kerry
the incredible lightness of being in charge

These writers' appeals to TULOB offer a moment, if only in the title, to link the wound of disappointment to a greater statement about existence. By raising their topics to the level of "being," the harshly ephemeral problems of football and policy are diluted into the eternal. The opposite may be more accurate: the structure generates the titles. Would so many writers make claims about "being" if they were not provided a pattern for doing so? The algorithm of the title generates metaphysicians out of sportswriters and wonks.

the ineffable lightness of being
the unboreable lightness of being
the unknowable lightness of being
the unbearable anxiety of being Ken
the unbearable inevitability of being android
the unbearable brightness of seeing
the unbearable brightness of speaking
the unbearable being of Sasquatch
the unbearable meh-ness of being

The phrase appeals in its peculiar, modern rhetoric. In contrast to a classical formulation, which would increase the length of terms over the series (as in, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"), TULOB decreases: its main terms have three syllables, two, and two. The last word even violates the pattern of descending length. It might want to be just "be," in one syllable, if a masculine ending were not too old-fashioned for an anti-classical formula. The history of the phrase is ambivalent, evincing some regret for ending on an unaccented syllable. One-syllable substitutions are common.

the unbearable slightness of Bean
the unbearable whiteness of Dean
the unbearable brightness of bling
the unbearable sadness of zilch
the unbearable triteness of clam
the unbearable triteness of love
the unbearable heaviness of truth
the unbearable heaviness of slate
the unbearable lightness of scones 

If scansion shows some strangeness to the phrase, it also reveals the translation's kinship with the English language. TULOB is built on anapests (the un béar a ble líght ness of  bé ing), a pattern as common as the feminine endings in "'twas the night before Christmas." 

the unbearable stiffness of being
the unbearable tallness of being
the unbearable cuteness of being
the unbearable straightness of being 
the unbearable smartness of being
the unbearable lightness of painting
the unbearable numbness of being 
the unbearable whiteness of being human
the unbearable "whiteness" of being Jewish
the unbearable likeness of being a tourist
the unbearable light-ness of being a spammer
the unbearable lightness of being Quaker

The story of the English title begins with prophetic unintelligibility. Heim recalls, "The editor who commissioned me to do the translation first heard the title over a bad transatlantic phone connection from Kundera in French. All he could make out was that it consisted of three abstract words." The list of permutations suggests that everyone, from Tony Judt (“The Unbearable Lightness of Politics,” in Ill Fares the Land) to Slavoj Žižek (“The Unbearable Lightness of Being No One,” in The Parallax View) to Portia de Rossi (Unbearable Lightness, her memoir), has heard the title in translation over a bad transatlantic phone connection. 

the unbearable Italian-ness of being Chinese
the unbearable Eliot Ness-ness of Inspector Walpin
the unbearable chic-ness of Daphne Guinness
on the unbearable uselessness of Mother Wisdom
the unbearable rightness of catastrophizing
the incredible lightness of being “crime fighter” Alonzo Washington
the unbearable burden of being a Bulgarian voter abroad
the incredible lightness of being at an Eco-Lodge in Algonquin Park

Everyone has heard what she wanted in the three abstract words, everyone has heard Kundera's capacious algebra speaking to her ear. And perhaps people imagine Kundera is the one calling, no matter what the topic at hand, to offer accommodation within the literary world. 

the unfuckable lightness of being
the incredible lightness of boinking
the unbearable hotness of dong
the unbearable heaviness of boobs
the unbearable hotness of fucking

Most of the stems of permutation include a sexual or scatological version. 

the unbearable brightness of peeing
the unbearable rightness of peeing
the unbearable tightness of peeing
the incredible lightness of peeing 
the unbearable triteness of weeing
the unbearable shit-ness of being
the unbearable shite-ness of being
the unbearable whiteness of pooing
the unbearable heaviness of being divine shit

The corollary to cultural accommodation is the joyful perversion of high culture into low. The reversal is not a betrayal of the original; in fact, the title is built around opposite terms, the paradox of "unbearable lightness." That tautness gives more energy to the title than to the novel itself, which explains the paradox away. The title has more readers than the novel, and it generates more writers. As its spring uncoils, however, it produces other, less tense variations: "bearable lightness" is simply an explanation; "unbearable heaviness" is not an opposition but an exaggeration. 

the bearable lightness of being a laptop
the bearable lightness of being Orthodox
the bearable lightness of being in Noosa
the Blairable lightness of being
the bearable lightness of being
the beerable lightness of being 
the unbearable heaviness of luggage
the unbearable heaviness of Claudia's backpack
the unbearable heaviness of trauma
the unbearable heaviness of humankind 
the unbearable heaviness of skin and bone
the unbearable heaviness of being human
the unbearable heaviness of being Muslim
the unbearable heaviness of being Czech
the unbearable heaviness of being…Lebanese
the unbearable heaviness of being Armenian in Turkey
the unbearable heaviness of being no one
the unbearable heaviness of being Misbah-ul-Haq
the unbearable heaviness of being…poor
the unbearable heaviness of being 'k'
the unbearable heaviness of being a child
the unbearable heaviness of being in India
the unbearable heaviness of being in the closet
the unbearable heaviness of being in eighteenth-century studies
the unbearable heaviness of being the parent of a toddler
the unbearable heaviness of being
the unbearable heaviness of not being

"Unbearable whiteness" is one of many variations that replace a paradox with something actually intolerable. 

the unbearable whiteness of being
the unbearable whiteness of being an Andrews character
the unbearable whiteness of breaking things
the unbearable whiteness of urban farming
the unbearable whiteness of eating
the unbearable whiteness of green
the unbearable whiteness of emceeing
the unbearable whiteness of Barbie
the unbearable whiteness of alternative food
the unbearable whiteness of suicide
the unbearable whiteness of Ken Burns
the unbearable whiteness of white meat
the unbearable whiteness of craft brewing
the unbearable whiteness of college
the unbearable whiteness of tving
the unbearable whiteness of Portland
the unbearable whiteness of cable
the unbearable whiteness of Brothers Tsarnaev
the unbearable whiteness of the Irish
the unbearable whiteness of Slovaks
the unbearable whiteness of Piet-ing
the unbearable whiteness of skiing
the unbearable whiteness of (my) being
the unbearable whiteness of literacy instruction
"the" unbearable "whiteness" of "science"

Only this principle of relaxation can explain the heap of "incredible lightnesses," the replacement of "unbearable" with a word that, due to overuse and imprecision, means almost nothing at all. 

the incredible lightness of being
the incredible lightness of being transparent
the incredible lightness of being focused
the incredible lightness of being in Paris
the incredible lightness of being in Hollywood
the incredible lightness of being Tucker Carlson
the incredible lightness of being Tabu Ley Rochereau
the incredible lightness of part-time investing
the incredible lightness of boxes
the incredible lightness of ... electronics
the incredible lightness of metal art
the incredible lightness of "no labels"
the incredible lightness of bees
the incredible lightness of Biden
the incredible lightness of drawing
the incredible lightness of modernity
the incredible lightness of metapages 
the incredible lightness of bee-ing
the incredible lightness of Maddy 
the incredible lightness of eating
the incredible lightness of seeing
the incredible lightness of bussing
the incredible lightness of buy-side volume
the incredible lightness of the U. S. media
the incredible lightness of the S&P 500
the incredible lightness of Beene
the incredible lightness of soaring sculpture
the incredible lightness of flying 
the incredible lightness of Die Fledermaus 
the incredible lightness of being wrong
the incredible lightness of simplicity
the incredible lightness of learning
the incredible lightness of the Chron's pre-season Texans coverage
the incredible lightness of being a dinosaur
the incredible lightness of the universe
the incredible lightness of moving
the incredible lightness of an empty basket
the incredible lightness of beams
the incredible lightness of cycling
the incredible lightness of Beaujolais
the incredible lightness of traveling
the incredible lightheadedness of being German
the incredible lightness of the Washington Post
the incredible lightness of beekeeping 
the incredible lightness of being a violinist
the incredible lightness of fishing
the incredible lightness of being (someone else)
the incredible lightness of being polite
the incredible lightness of bel canto
the incredible lightness of beano
the incredible lightness of being the Grateful Dead
the incredible lightness of light
the incredible lightness of decluttering
the incredible lightness of living in an uncluttered home
the incredible lightness of the Ottawa press corps
the incredible lightness of white
the incredible lightness of being a car

One subcategory of permutation has a heartbreakingly high frequency: being as unbearably lonely. The word "loneliness" does not fit easily into the space of "lightness." It is one syllable too long. The extra syllable almost completely impedes the title, making it wallow in the moment of loneliness. Then, once we make it through the word, loneliness turns out not to be a moment, but an eternal condition.

the unbearable loneliness of being
the unbearable loneliness of being homo sapiens
the unbearable loneliness of being Bibi
the unbearable loneliness of being sick
the unbearable loneliness of being (here)
the unbearable loneliness of being the coat check girl
the unbearable loneliness of being wrong 
the unbearable loneliness of cacti

TULOB strips "being" of any brave existential gesture, to reveal its redundancy: loneliness is the permanent state of being, being reduces to loneliness. Loneliness turns the title into a chiasmus. Yet this conclusion is challenged by the frequency of another variation: affixing a proper name to the end. In these versions, an actual being appears, just past "being" itself. We would find a person, if only we could make it through the preceding words. 

the unbearable lightness of being Stanley Fish
the unbearable rightness of being Stephen Harper
the unbearable triteness of being Teddy Greenstein
the unbearable brightness of being Erica Angeline
the unbearable brightness of being Ken
the unbearable lightness of Ezra Klein
the unbearable slightness of being (Oprah)
the unbearable burden of being Robert
the unbearable ennui of being Sherlock Holmes
the unbearable heaviness of Nitin Gadkari
the unbearable politeness of Sheen
the unbearable brightness of Bunny 
the unbearable politeness of Daniel Day-Lewis
the unbearable hotness of Andrew McCarthy
the unbearable rightness of being Nancy
the unbearable rightness of Padma
the incredible lightness of Tim Roth

The proper names compliment the variations trapped in loneliness. One calls to the other across the chiastic miasma. The co-presence of these two sets of variations suggests that the difference between loneliness and the lightness of human contact is a single syllable. 

the unattainable lightness of being
the unbearable triteness of boum
the unbeatable lightness of being Florida
the uncomfortable lightness of being unemployed
the aerodynamic lightness of being
the surprising lightness of being a hijabi
the amazing lightness of being
the healing lightness of being
the implacable lightness of being
the imaginary lightness of being pregnant
the unbreakable lightness of being
the unforgettable lightness of being
the unavoidable lightness of being an amoeba
the barely imagined lightness of being
the terrible lightness of being
the pleasurable lightness of being
the unbookable lightness of being
the unbearable weight of being
the bear-able lightness of being
the beer-able lightness of being
the unbeard-able lightness of being
the underwear-able lightness of being
the unblairable lightness of being
the unbearable burden of being mentally ill 
the unbearable burden of living life in reverse
the unbelievable lightness of being club
the incredible lightness of being an openly gay artist
the unbearable brightness of being
the unbearable brightness of being the world's greatest cinema
the unbearable brightness of the uncanny
the unbearable brightness of spring 
the unbearable burden of doing
the unbearable burden of forgetting
the unbearable burden of history
the unbearable burden of ID papers
the unbearable brightness of dreaming
the unbearable brightness of Beijing 
the unbearable brightness of the neoconservatives
the unbearable brightness of incredible stupidity
the unbearable brightness of weaving
the unbearable rightness of being
the unbearable rightness of being certain
the unbearable rightness of being green
the unbearable rightness of being armed 
the unbearable rightness of being stupid
the unbearable rightness of being wrong
the unbearable rightness of maybe being wrong
the unbearable rightness of being happy
the unbearable tightness of bad jeans
the unbearable tightness of pants
the unbearable tightness of corset
the unbearable tightness of marmalade 
the hilarious lightness of being

Michael Heim is laughing: "The unbearable lightness of this and the unbearable lightness of that. I laugh when I run across newspaper headlines adopting the formulation." The history of permutations offers delight to punsters and others who enjoy the free play of language, who take pleasure in the slightness of a one-letter shift to or from lightness. 

the unbearable fatness of being
the unbearable phatness of being

The game resembles other techniques of formal translation, particularly those devised by the Oulipo: homophonic translations, or substitutions of words by others with the same number of letters in another language. As Harry Matthews writes in "Translation and the Oulipo,"  "These strange dislocations of the original may seem cavalier, but they are useful in drawing attention precisely to elements of language that normally pass us by, concerned as we naturally are with making sense of what we read. Nominal sense becomes implicitly no more than a part of overall meaning." Anyone who has read poetry in translation will not be surprised by the idea that one translates the form and the nominal sense of a text. The Oulipo translates only the form, and the Oulipo-esque permutations of TULOB translate the form of the original translation. 

the bearable whiteness of being gay
the exquisite lightness of being
the incredible brace-ness of being
the incredible duck-ness of being
the incredible enough-ness of being (bumped) 
the incredible lighted-ness of being in St. Paul
the incredible lightness of being (a bride!)
the incredible lightness of being in Australia
the incredible lightness of blogging
the incredible lightness of deepness
the incredible lightness of feeding
the incredible lightness of play
the incredible like-ness of being
the incredible Pollyanna-ness of being
the incredible tan-ness of being
the incredible white-ness of being
the new lightness of being
the unbearable brightness of busing
the unbearable brightness of golden dazzling
the unbearable brightness of neon
the unbearable brightness of wallpaper
the unbearable burden of Alice Walker
the unbearable burden of always being right 
the unbearable burden of being a barnstormer
the unbearable burden of being a lawyer
the unbearable burden of being a woman
the unbearable burden of being important
the unbearable burden of being millenial
the unbearable burden of being right
the unbearable burden of crappy sequels

The most far-reaching effect of the translated title is not a widespread knowledge of Czech literature. Far from it: how many of those who play on the title could name the original author? Rather than the transmission of authorship or a certain content, the repetition of the form is itself the achievement. Rather than readers, the translation has created, in the first place, a bevy of translators working from one English version to another. Heim's translation saturates the English language with translations of translations of translations. 

the unbearable burden of kindness
the unbearable burden of lightness 
the unbearable burden of niceness
the unbearable burden of raising a child with Down Syndrome 
the unbearable burden of reasonableness.
the unbearable burden of true genius
the unbearable burden of uniqueness
the unbearable burden of walking
the unbearable heaviness of "Borges words"
the unbearable heaviness of (not) blogging
the unbearable heaviness of a new poll
the unbearable heaviness of acting 
the unbearable heaviness of baking cake
the unbearable heaviness of breathing in Thailand
the unbearable heaviness of business class
the unbearable heaviness of change
the unbearable heaviness of chronic disease
the unbearable heaviness of colloids
the unbearable heaviness of cookbooks
the unbearable heaviness of debt
the unbearable heaviness of feeling
the unbearable heaviness of forgiveness
the unbearable heaviness of governing
the unbearable heaviness of government debt
the unbearable heaviness of grief
the unbearable heaviness of having
the unbearable heaviness of industry
the unbearable heaviness of java strings
the unbearable heaviness of Jewish power
the unbearable heaviness of Jewish self-hatred 
the unbearable heaviness of knowing
the unbearable heaviness of philosophy
the unbearable heaviness of psychiatric drug withdrawal 
the unbearable heaviness of remembering
the unbearable heaviness of soul
the unbearable heaviness of spuds
the unbearable heaviness of stuff
the unbearable heaviness of the pension protection act
the unbearable heaviness of the tripod
the unbearable heaviness of truthtelling
the unbearable heaviness of voting in Texas
the unbearable heaviness of words
the unbearable hotness of being
the unbearable hotness of chefs 
the unbearable hotness of drewt90 
the unbearable hotness of Elyse 
the unbearable hotness of Heather 
the unbearable hotness of heating
the unbearable hotness of high density storage
the unbearable hotness of L. A.
the unbearable hotness of Levi
the unbearable hotness of neandertals
the unbearable hotness of Ricci
the unbearable hotness of Skarsgard
the unbearable lightness of being no one 
the unbearable lightness of being portrayed
the unbearable lightness of debating
the unbearable lightness of being the proletariat
the unbearable mightiness of deflation
the unbearable politeness of being
the unbearable politeness of being at Lambeth conference
the unbearable politeness of being Indian
the unbearable politeness of certain beings
the unbearable politeness of human beings
the unbearable politeness of media
the unbearable politeness of poetry readings
the unbearable rightness of archives
the unbearable rightness of bedside rationing
the unbearable rightness of being a Stanford fan
the unbearable rightness of being Mumbai
the unbearable rightness of contrariness
the unbearable rightness of criticism
the unbearable rightness of diversity
the unbearable rightness of editing
the unbearable rightness of fiction
the unbearable rightness of fleeing
the unbearable rightness of penny
the unbearable rightness of pushing buttons
the unbearable rightness of questioning
the unbearable rightness of seeing
the unbearable rightness of voters
the unbearable 'rightness' of whiteness
the unbearable slightness of being
the unbearable slightness of being foreign
the unbearable slightness of being indie
the unbearable slightness of Jackass 
the unbearable slightness of latter-day French cinema
the unbearable slightness of partitions
the unbearable slightness of polling
the unbearable slightness of seeing
the unbearable slightness of the architectural form
the unbearable tightness of being
the unbearable tightness of being (a superhero)
the unbearable tightness of being me
the unbearable tightness of chingy
the unbearable tightness of lending
the unbearable tightness of money
the unbearable tightness of service
the unbearable tightness of the unbearble lightness of being
the unbearable triteness of (not) being (at AWP or the Superbowl)
the unbearable triteness of being
the unbearable triteness of being (an unpaid intern)
the unbearable triteness of being a tv critic
the unbearable triteness of being fashionable
the unbearable triteness of best-selling BS
the unbearable triteness of blogging
the unbearable triteness of cheating
the unbearable triteness of facebook
the unbearable triteness of hating
the unbearable triteness of leaving
the unbearable triteness of no bank holiday
the unbearable triteness of preening
the unbearable triteness of sucking
the unbearable triteness of vlogging
the unbearable triteness of whiteness
the unbearable agony of being
the unbearable being of light
the unbearable b-ness of software
the unbearable brightness of being right
the unbearable brown-ness of Raj Rajaratnam
the unbearable burden of intellectual indebtedness 
the unbearable burden of being in the same boat
the unbearable chunkiness of being
the unbearable complexity of being me
the unbearable dullness of being successful
the unbearable embeddedness of being
the unbearable hotness of being Raghuram Rajan
the unbearable laxity of being
the unbearable lightness of being (a neutrino)
the unbearable lightness of being away
the unbearable lightness of being fake
the unbearable lightness of being intercultural
the unbearable lightness of being vegan
the unbearable liteness of being teen
the unbearable loudness of chewing
the unbearable meta of glee 
the unbearable obnoxiousness of “being”
the unbearable paranoia of being South African
the unbearable pettiness of being rich
the unbearable pleasure of being a woman
the unbearable plight of wireless-less-ness
the unbearable rightness of being alive in Leitrim
the unbearable sadness of being Korean
the unbearable schizophrenia of being the PN
the unbearable shame of being an unblogger
the unbearable Sheitness of being
the unbearable lightness of regulatory costs
the unbearable sweetness of yoga
the unbearable thinness of being a model
the unbearable wholeness of beings
the unbearable wrongness of being

From Esther Allen, Sean Cotter, and Russell Valentino, eds., The Man Between: The Life and Legacy of Michael Heim, Translator, forthcoming October 2014 from Open Letter Books.