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Showing posts from April 19, 2009

A midnight reputation

I have extensively outlined what I saw at the crossroads at midnight. It was nemesis. It wasn’t rock n roll. In looking at the birth of man, the man of the human sciences, Foucault’s thought crosses the thought of the human limit, in spite of a vocabulary that would seem to be moving in the other direction. Let me say something about that movement. What I mean is that, instead of seeing the human limit dissolving under the stress of the great transformation to capitalism and the turn to a new system of emotional norms, Foucault has been arguing that the classical age saw no human limit, but rather dreamed the happy infinity of the encyclopedia; and then the shutters came down, and the threshold of modernity, the line of our beginning, formed, and that line is distinguished by its discovery of human finality. In a sense, what is alien to the main and what is the main are two parts of a complete whole. The three lines of alienation from the happiness culture share characteristics with

crossroads

J'ai sodomisé un louveteau. Avec le manche d'un marteau - Sexy Sushi In a famous letter to Benjamin, rejecting the first version of his Baudelaire essay, Adorno wrote that, in the essay, “a power of illumination is almost superstitiously attributed to material enumeration”. Adorno went on to explain what he meant: "The empirical affects the blank of theory… The theological motive, to name things by their name, is transformed into the awestruck representation of simple facticity. If one wanted to put this drastically, one could say that the work had settled in the crossroads of magic and positivism (Kreuzweg von Magie und Positivismus). This place is under the spell of a witch (verhext). Only theory can break that enchantment.” (from Von Wussow, 51) Adorno is dealing out a hightoned diss to his former maitre. However, this is a backhanded methodology devoutly to be wished by all true illuminati and Red Riding hood fans. In the mashup of Michelet's the Sorceress and

Foucault's episteme of the Same

Perhaps due to Foucault’s fastidious avoidance of the “philosophy of the subject” – which, as he wrote in his essay on Canguilhem, went through Sartre and Merleau-Ponty – the notion of the Other is as absent from The Words and Things as it is in the episteme of the 17th and 18th century. Yet a witchy reading of Foucault would find that the absence of the Other is the prerequisite of the episteme of representation – in fact, the social function of that episteme (not a concern of Foucault’s in this book) is that it blocks the notion of the other. This is the kind of lion’s paw statement that should trail the spring of a leonine book, not a mere less than thousand mouselike words. To say that there is no room for the Other in the seventeenth and eighteenth century seems to deny the monument to Friday that I have been piling up, finding the figure of the savage entangled in the most unexpected, the most ‘Western’ of discourses – for instance, in the rediscovery of Greece by Winckelm

Addendum to the funeral announcement for Man

Struggling and juggling to do work this weekend, I could not follow up on my plan. And I still can’t, but I can announce my plan, which is the next turn in my thread, or my stairway to heaven, or my deathmarch, my peach, my light of love, my ghost, the tombstone I carry around my neck. As Mallarme, disguised as Dr. Seuss once put it, oh the places you will go! I’ve been thinking about why it is that the l’age classique I’ve been presenting seems, on the surface, to reverse everything in Foucault’s Les mots et les choses. I don’t see that reversal as a contradiction, but a turning inside out – just as you can turn a coat or a shirt inside out. Of course, turning inside out doesn’t have a proper place in logic, or a name in dialectics, but it does in the theory of play – ilinx. And where I have grabbed Foucault’ narrative and turned it inside out is, I think, just at that place where he announces the birth of man and his coming disappearance. For, in my endless bedtime story, the end o