And by a prudent flight and cunning save A life which valour could not, from the grave. A better buckler I can soon regain, But who can get another life again? Archilochus

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Life Means Never Giving up on the Dance!

As in the desert,
A sand blows,
It's eastward wings carrying it's wonderous jewels
A lady, dancing no less, her face that of a thousand queens,

Drawing all those about into her deep cavern of mystery,
Her fiery presence both a blessing and a curse,
For there before you now stands the dancer of life.

No lines shall be cut, No rules shall be decided
A wind shall shape the gentle curves,
And water shall give it's shine
As the fire within glows brightly, herself a lady of time

Swords flash in the setting sun,
And veils twirl around her,
A commotion caused over her openess, her trueness

A woman, a woman, not to be free
Not to be opened, not to be seen
No, No, this is not how to be!
She shall not hidden, nor given as a bride
But open her soul, and hold out her pride

There is a dance, a dance to be free
I speak of this dance,
Because between you and me,
It's the dance of the ancients, and the dance of the new
Of the old and the young,
It's the dance of many a tongue,
For this is my dance, my chance to be free
And open and happy, and truely be me
-Jessica Millsaps

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Postmodern Disassociative Socialist

...identification is, at its most radical, identification with the lost (or rejected) libidinal object? We BECOME (identify with) the OBJECT which we were deprived of, so that our subjective identity is a repository of the traces of our lost objects.
- Zizek, "Why is Wagner Worth Saving?"
This is a truly pluralistic moment in American poetry, one full of vitality as well as withdrawal. The palpable excitement in new poetry right now obviously answers a felt need, and provides its own brand of nourishment. The sheer inventiveness abounding is extraordinary. But this might not be the wrong occasion to pronounce the word “fashion.” Fashion is not in itself a negative force, but rather a perennial part of the vitality of culture. Fashion is the way that taste changes and then spreads, in a kind of swell or wave of admiration. The Waste Land was fashionable, and sideburns and Hemingway and war bonds and Sylvia Plath, and existentialism, and bell-bottoms. The danger in fashion is its lack of perspective, that it doesn’t always recognize the deep structure of whatever manners it is adopting. Almost by definition fashion also can gather thoughtless followers. Paul Hoover perceives the potential for this trouble in the preface to his anthology, Postmodern American Poetry: “The risk is that the avant-garde will become an institution with its own self protective rituals, powerless to trace or affect the curve of history.”

One can understand how dissociative poetry has become fashionable, celebrated, taught, and learned—it is a poetry equal to the speed and disruptions of culture. It responds to the postmodern situation with a joyful crookedness. And one can also see why poetics that assert sensible order (which, admittedly, can be predictable and reductive) have fallen a bit from fashion: after all, the pretense of order is, in some way, laughable. Art has to play, it has to break rules, to turn against its obligations, to be irresponsible, to recast convention. Some wildness is essential to its freedom. Yet every style has its shadowy limitation, its blind eye, its narcissistic cul-de-sac. There is a moment when a charming enactment of disorientation becomes an homage to dissociation. And there is a moment when the poetic pleasure of elusiveness commits itself, inadvertently, to triviality.
- Tony Hoagland, "Fear of Narrative and the Skittery Poem of Our Moment"

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Crossing Boundaries? Or Walling Up the "Limbic" Crack/Stain that Represents the "Gaze" of "the Other"

Who Sets the Boundaries Within Which You Live Your Life?
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."
- Robert Frost, "Mending Wall"

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Z-z-z-z... *startle*

Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken, neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
Isaiah, 62:4

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What's the Diff?

For Deleuze, philosophy has been complicit with a wider cultural tendency to promote identity and sameness and a neglect towards novelty and difference. Even the very notion of difference has characteristically been defined ‘negatively, as the not-sameness of two or more entities’ whether those things are understood to differ in terms of ontologicalstatus - like the live performance and its document - or in terms of position, or genre. In each case, it is the entities or ‘things’ that are understood to come first, and the difference that is understood to derive from them. In contrast, as Todd May explains, ‘What Deleuze wants is not a derivative difference, but difference in itself, a difference that he believes is the source not only of the derivative difference but of the sameness on the basis of which derivative difference is derived’ (May 2003: 144) In other words, Deleuze is, perhaps first and foremost, a process philosopher for whom relations of force have ontological primacy with respect to the ‘things’ – that is, objects or subjects – they constitute. In this sense, we could say that Deleuze, like Heidegger and Derrida, wants to break with the privileging of being-as-presence. “Being”, for Deleuze, is not about fixed identities but about an unstable flux that is understood to found those identities. In Nietzsche and Philosophy, for example, Deleuze sides with Heraclitus rather than Parmenides in insisting that ‘there is no being beyond becoming’ (1983: 23) or, in other words, that ‘becoming is the final reality’ (May2003: 143). Presence is becoming, then, for Deleuze.
- Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca, "Deleuze & differential presence in performance"

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Perceived Value in Overidentification

The 'Big Other' might share some of his 'personal" jouissance with you...
Another way to define the trap into which cynicism gets caught is via the difference between the public Law and its obscene underside, the unwritten superego rules: cynicism mocks the public Law from the position of its obscene underside which, consequently, it leaves intact. A personal experience revealed to me this inherent obscenity of Power in a most distastefully-enjoyable way. In the 70s, I did my (obligatory) army service in the old Yugoslav People's Army, in small barracks with no proper medical facilities. In a room which also served as sleeping quarters for a private trained as a medical assistant, once a week a doctor from the nearby military hospital held his consulting hours. On the frame of the large mirror above the wash-basin in this room, the soldier had stuck a couple of postcards of half-naked girls - a standard resource for masturbation in those pre- pornography times, to be sure. When the doctor was paying us his weekly visit, all of us who had reported for medical examination were seated on a long bench alongside the wall opposite the wash-basin and were then examined in turn. So, one day while I was also waiting to be examined, it was the turn of a young, half-illiterate soldier who complained of pains in his penis (which, of course, was in itself sufficient to trigger obscene giggles from all of us, the doctor included): the skin on its head was too tight, so he was unable to draw it back normally. The doctor ordered him to pull down his trousers and demonstrate his trouble; the soldier did so and the skin slid down the head smoothly, though the soldier was quick to add that his trouble occurred only during erection. The doctor then said: "OK, then masturbate, get an erection, so that we can check it!" Deeply embarrassed and red in the face, the soldier began to masturbate in front of all of us but, of course, failed to produce an erection; the doctor then took one of the postcards of half-naked girls from the mirror, held it close to the soldier's head and started to shout at him: "Look! What breasts, what a cunt! Masturbate! How is it that you don't get the erection? What kind of a man are you! Go on, masturbate!" All of us in the room, including the doctor himself, accompanied the spectacle with obscene laughter; the unfortunate soldier himself soon joined us with an embarrassed giggle, exchanging looks of solidarity with us while continuing to masturbate... This scene brought about in me an experience of quasi-epiphany: in nuce, there was everything in it, the entire dispositive of Power - the uncanny mixture of imposed enjoyment and humiliating exercise of Power, the agency of Power which shouts severe orders, but simultaneously shares with us, his subordinates, obscene laughter bearing witness to a deep solidarity...

One could also say that this scene renders the symptom of Power: the grotesque excess by means of which, in a unique short-circuit, attitudes which are officially opposed and mutually exclusive reveal their uncanny complicity, where the solemn agent of Power suddenly starts to wink at us across the table in a gesture of obscene solidarity, letting us know that the thing (i.e. his orders) is not to be taken too seriously and thereby consolidating his power. The aim of the "critique of ideology", of the analysis of an ideological edifice, is to extract this symptomal kernel which the official, public ideological text simultaneously disavows and needs for its undisturbed functioning.
- Slavoj Zizek, "From Joyce-the-symptom to the Symptom of Power"

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring Fling

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!
-Thomas Nash (1600)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Citizens of Kadebostany...

Press here

Ego-Ideal vs SuperEgo

Back to Nolan. The trilogy of Batman films follows an internal logic. In Batman Begins, the hero remains within the constraints of a liberal order: the system can be defended with morally acceptable methods. The Dark Knight is, in effect, a new version of two John Ford western classics, Fort Apache and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, which show how, to civilise the Wild West, one has to “print the legend” and ignore the truth. They show, in short, how our civilisation has to be grounded in a lie – one has to break the rules in order to defend the system.

In Batman Begins, the hero is simply the classic urban vigilante who punishes the criminals when the police can’t. The problem is that the police, the official law-enforcement agency, respond ambivalently to Batman’s help. They see him as a threat to their monopoly on power and therefore as evidence of their inefficiency. However, his transgression here is purely formal: it lies in acting on behalf of the law without being legitimised to do so. In his acts, he never violates the law. The Dark Knight changes these co-ordinates. Batman’s true rival is not his ostensible opponent, the Joker, but Harvey Dent, the “white knight”, the aggressive new district attorney, a kind of official vigilante whose fanatical battle against crime leads to the killing of innocent people and ultimately destroys him. It is as if Dent were the legal order’s reply to the threat posed by Batman: against Batman’s vigilantism, the system generates its own illegal excess in a vigilante much more violent than Batman.

There is poetic justice, therefore, when Wayne plans to reveal his identity as Batman and Dent jumps in and names himself as Batman – he is more Batman than Batman, actualising the temptation to break the law that Wayne was able to resist. When, at the end of the film, Batman assumes responsibility for the crimes committed by Dent to save the reputation of the popular hero who embodies hope for ordinary people, his act is a gesture of symbolic exchange: first Dent takes upon himself the identity of Batman, then Wayne – the real Batman – takes Dent’s crimes upon himself.

The Dark Knight Rises pushes things even further. Is Bane not Dent taken to an extreme? Dent draws the conclusion that the system is unjust, so that, to fight injustice effectively, one has to turn directly against the system and destroy it. Dent loses his remaining inhibitions and is ready to use all manner of methods to achieve this goal. The rise of such a figure changes things entirely. For all the characters, Batman included, morality is relativised and becomes a matter of convenience, something determined by circumstances. It’s open class warfare – everything is permitted in defence of the system when we are dealing not just with mad gangsters, but with a popular uprising.

Should the film be rejected by those engaged in emancipatory struggles? Things aren’t quite so simple. We should approach the film in the way one has to interpret a Chinese political poem. Absences and surprising presences count. Recall the old French story about a wife who complains that her husband’s best friend is making illicit sexual advances towards her. It takes some time until the surprised friend gets the point: in this twisted way, she is inviting him to seduce her. It is like the Freudian unconscious that knows no negation; what matters is not a negative judgement of something but that this something is mentioned at all. In The Dark Knight Rises, people power is here, staged as an event, in a significant development from the usual Batman opponents (criminal mega-capitalists, gangsters and terrorists).
- Slavoj Zizek, "The Politics of Batman"