My correspondence with
Kelley Walker
and a selection of her
(Left Business Observer)
list posts
(oct 99; starting a seventh of the way down this file);

.on the real problem, capitalism, then all the other stuff will just automagically disappear. ----  on the real solution: eco-operative capitalism, then all the other stuff will just automagically (I dissed the dis)appear,  paraphrasing my own bottom (and starting) line (at dutch leg of sites I stand on/for):  the real solution: eco-operative capitalism, ---------- Jesus in the cave with the upper whore overtones? ------- >i'm sorry piet, but my memory is like a sieve when it come to replying to >mail in my inbox. so, voila!, i've set up a special mailbox and will filter your mail to that box. that way, i won't likely forget so easily. --------At 02:48 PM 2/20/02 -0500, piet bouter wrote:  this is not from a mail to me but from a recent post to LBO (are you working too hard at getting a joeblob?) ------ Hell Kelly, Didn't any man ever get on his knees to you and beg? Joanna ----------- I am tempted to do so sight unseen since I feel so comfytit in my own imbix <><<>><>  Robert Graves wrote a book called 'King Jesus' wherein he argues poor Jeesz was a bit of a misogynist and sought to bring an end to suffering by the simple means of obviating birthpains (Graves quotes an egyptian text), you have heard of the voluntary extinction movement (mostly funpokers)? Well jesus was going for a mediated version and in the book he meets the chieftart and debates her. One more salient detail: Jesus was (illegitimate) grandson of Herod (the one that perped the babyslaughter on behest of soothsayers) AND had a claim to the priesthood through mary (something to do with a tradition that makes the former come down through youngest daughters and the former through eldest sons, if I remember correctly, it's been 20 years). --------- --- been busy writin in German; give it a try; tell me if the colour hurt your eyes nicely ----------*grin* > >i LOVE the melon background! that's what color i'd describe it as anyway. >#FF6666 > >when do you get time to collect all this material!? I take it out of my karmacunt eerrr charm account; I'm lookin pretty ugly but who cares with all the distraction one needs. > >> > >thank you for all the links and sound clips of your favorite music. i still >haven't carved out time to sit down and listen and enjoy. but i will! i >just work two jobs, basically, and i don't have enough time. yeah i know the way americans can work and work and work and work ......................... plus, by the >time i get done, i want to get away from the computer! >----------- kelley If you ever get thousands of miles away from it in this direction look me up. -------------- beleave you me said the priest but the herb lady kept reading her greens Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 13:01:05 -0500 From: To: « Previous | Next » i'm not religious, never went to church much >after i was four. references to jesus often elude me. you mean your be'leaf' comes the natural way, like that of the heroin in 'the sorceress'(greenest movie ever made, about a witch hunt) >----------->been busy writin in German; is (temporarily) down; I feel guilty for using the word zionazi just before I went off; can't even check how many times it was posted before that. you are a tech-head, looking for a job, couldn't we go run that site from bern (comes with a back-up hinterland of hundreds of acres in the hills) ---------- #FF6666 ---------- yeah that choly is killer melan a tad, want a slice? Not a melon person myself uphere north and my graffiti isn't so digestible either in the unmixable chain linkin me to when do you get time to collect all this material!? you mean, when do I have time for anything else right? Or I could say, most waking office hours through nights till 9 4 nights a week and if I feel like more I can go to the 24 hour easy-everything internet 'factory'. Otto Weininger and Karl Kraus info (just going through Thomas Szas' book on Kraus versus Freud): ---------- spilled it wrang; Szasz isz da naim + blog and amazon reviews -Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002 13:17:27 -0500 From: To: « Previous | Next »$693 Sex, Lies & Advertising Provided By The Happy Tutor The Erotic Life of Property On Karl Kraus: Best of Bloggers Posted as a public service by The Happy Tutor Jessica Van Campen on Karl Kraus: He used to sit all day in a Cafe, frequented by intellectuals in turn of the century Vienna, clipping news stories and adding his own comments. Was he not the best of bloggers? Success was not the primary concern of Karl Kraus, rather, it was perfection. He was known to sit for hours hovering over daily newspapers and magazines. When he had read every bit of news available, he would begin his arduous task of clipping out the articles that captured his attention, and pasting each one to a large sheet of paper. On each sheet he would painstakingly document his sardonic attacks in a minuscule scrawl, one that was nearly indecipherable for most, including his printer. Kraus worked throughout the night, and after each printing he would insist on editing it himself so as not to miss a single flaw. With a few exceptions, Die Fackel contained only polemical and satirical essays by Kraus. This was due to the high fees demanded by those he wished would write for him, as well as the need to have full control over his periodical. His journal, "Die Fackel" (The Torch - to illuminate, or burn to the ground) was self-published; he was editor, writer, producer. He took very little advertising, and no prisoners. Independently wealthy, he gave no hostages to religion, commerce, or manners. He was hated by many for speaking the truth in an age notorious for the hypocrisy of its politicians, journalists, generals, and bourgeois business owners. An apostate Jew, he witnessed Freud, Wittgenstein, Hitler and so many others. He did not, thank God, live to see the Second World War. Weblogs are links to other news items. Web Journals are the jottings of the author/editor/producer. Does Kraus not show us that these are, or can be, two versions of one thing -- social commentary and satire? The atom of satire, from which all else is constructed, is the epigram, the aphorism, the saying, the barb. The smallest element of the weblog is the blurb. Kraus combined both, every blurb is a barb. My friends, are you not already sick of so much stupid news! Quoted, blurbed, rehashed, and dead the next day! Yet Kraus's blurbs live on, endowing with immortality (in Hell) the evils -- particularly the ills of prose style -- that they cite and demolish. Webloggers! Aspire higher than pictures of your cat, news of your vacation at Yosemite, or breaking news on Linux! Do not spend your days scouring the internet for today's trivia -- unless you mean to attack it. Take Kraus for a model, and add something new to the world, and dangerous to its complacency. You have no editor telling you that your dicta are bad for business, or will offend the advertisers, or will be unintelligible to a 14 year old repeating eighth grade. So use the language, all of it. Let the limits of your writing be yours, and not those of some hypothetical moron-reader-consumer. If you are yourself as happy and as stupid as you sound, please stop writing altogether. First do some reading. Kraus's Dicta and Contradicta have just been published in a new translation by Jonathan McVity. szasz was the name 'limited availability' at amazon and no reviews Elias Canetti writes about Kraus whom he worshipped for years and later critized sharply. Buy Anti-Freud : Karl Kraus's Criticism of Psychoanaly... with Dicta and Contradicta today! Total List Price: $42.90 Buy Together Today: $30.0 Two great wits in one book, -------------November 18, 2001 Reviewer: Nicolas Martin (see more about me) from Houston, TX USA What a combination: Kraus, the man who first denuded the emperor Freud, and Szasz, the man who methodically stripped psychiatry/psychotherapy of any scientific pretensions. Aside from a lesson in history, a major debunking of psychiatric fraud, and an interesting biography, this book is a lot of fun. Kraus ranks with Twain and Mencken as an aphorist, and Szasz's translations of the original German make the quotes ring clear and powerful. Was this review helpful to you? 8 of 10 people found the following review helpful: Genius, May 20, 2000 Reviewer: A reader from San Diego Freud tried to cozy up to him (and was rejected); his work was fundamental to Wittgenstein's philosophico-linguistic theories, and three times he was nominated for the Nobel prize in literature by French academicians; yet he remains essentially unknown in this country, despite this marvelous exegesis of his work by Thomas Szasz, which was published in 1976. Karl Kraus (1874-1936) was, and continues to be, an embarrassment to many intellectuals. His punishment has been to have his work misread, misinterpreted, untranslated, and finally ignored. He has been attacked as being antisemitic ("self-hating Jew"), mentally disturbed, and (symbolically) envious of his father's penis. Kraus's commentaries and aphorisms concerning psychiatry and psychoanalysis are delightful, powerful, and as accurate today as when he uttered them. Szasz, who has been fighting the good battle against psychiatric abuses and pretensions all of his career, is the ideal person to introduce Americans to Kraus and his work. A short, well indexed book. Worth having to keep and to read over from time to time. Was this review helpful to you? 12 of 14 people found the following review helpful: Freud's frauds uncovered by Vienna's HL Mencken, July 2, 1998 ---------------- Reviewer: A reader from USA The most telling line against Freudianism: "Psycho-analysts are the disease posing as the cure". Kraus had a real nose for blather and imposture, and dissected the Vienna circle around Freud as Mencken did the fundementalists. An exposure to Kraus is a sure and certain innoculation of the psychobabble that passes nowdays as charcter analysis. Take two hours to slowly devour, digest, and delight in this tasty intellectual treat. ------------------- wonder if she's lovely and finds me -able- only in Grist: car culture addiction cure: Make love, not single-occupant vehicle trips -- a week in the life of Katie Alvord, author ------------- Subject: most famous KKraus words psychotherapy is the disease for which it pretends to be the cure ------------ huge pics of Kroatia hillside infested with hippies . . . .oops, that was a one copy-paste routine too late; anyway found it in the cult maze I mentioned (don't think you and I would 'aard' = earth = be comfy there (long), after a closer look ------------- I have read the first few paragraphs in a book by Mechthild Borries just now and she makes plausible why the later Canetti would have much less of an esteem for Kraus. Szasz's book contains a little dispute account by Graves about the blinding of Theresias which was done by Hera out of annoyance over his (9 parts out of 10 for joy in sex go to woman) judgement in the dispute with her frequently unfaithful hubby Zeus and the first aphorisms in the back of the book plus the little frags about homosexuality (seeking the woman in man more forgivable than seeking woman in man) are interesting. I have been tempted to visit the coffeeshops mentioned on list but never do and won't start now. -------------------- over 100K (textwise identical) files w your writs making up most of them .... or should I take it off again? Should you wish I do so I will .. . . otherwise I just might make some more. There is one thing I already gave up having any sway over:  cgi-bin/newswire.cgi?id=588 Some aspects of the abortion issue by piet Mon, Feb 25 2002, 11:16am from the left business observer list archive Here are some 99 posts by the (mystyle) brainiest lady I have so far been able to find webwise. I stuck this on since they have an article about it at the top of their page in the middle section . . .and cause I am in love with a (Dutch) fire horse sailing an abortion boat - (or org?) - which was not permitted to land and/or operate in Dublin if I recall correctly. My advice to any man in my position, findin' himself father upon council/plea dispensed to his lover about havin' an abortion being rebuked: run like hell and don't look back, or be prepared to write the most (family)frustration filled book in the world (as I am doin). the sensualist is oblivious to his experiences, the hysteric can't get over this kind he is not having KK BBrecht seems to have been critical about KK breaking (war)silence and seems to have even read a support for Austrian fascist Dollfuss in it. Apart from the irate BB poem there is no further ref about this at the end of a book comparing Heine and Kraus (by Mechthild Borries) wherein Kraus certainly does get the worst of it a lot, I tend to nevertheless still identify with him (due to my similarly independent lifestyle) although I realize, as I said before why someone (many!!) would drop the solo player searching to stay clear of mass society in the middle of Vienna. Should you know someone who's life you could safe if you could tell this person that you know just the kind of (sublet) place for them (touch of spartan (I piss into bottles) rainbow magic park-edge downtown Amsterdam) I will be very willing to cede it and make good an at least temporary escape. ------------ Some aspects of the abortion issue by piet Mon, Feb 25 2002, 11:16am from the left business observer list archive Here are some 99 posts by the (mystyle) brainiest lady I have so far been able to find webwise. - Of gods and vampires: an introduction to psychoanalysis - the last 10th whereof runs: ******** ethics Here it is. Three ethical frameworks dominate contemporary debates about moral philosophy: ethics of justice, ethics of the good, and postmodern ethics of responsibility. All three are a variation on the same theme: the GOOD. Ethics of the good (communitarianism, aristotelianism, republicanism) establish one good as the good. This is negated by ethics of justice (rawls, habermas) which takes this good and proceduralize it. this is negated by postmodern ethics of responsibility which supports a plurality of narrative strategies. All fail because each one presents an underlying "hard" kernel: the good. So, with Lacan, a fourth alternative arises: the ethics of the Real. Ethics as a view from the perspective of evil. What Lacan's framework possesses that the others lack is an awareness of contingency (historical) and finitude. Subjectivity is not conceived of as either solid or non existent rather, as empty (filled by political, social, and historical contradiction). Nuff said. In short: only psychoanalysis, thus far, grasps the paradox of modern subjectivity as an absent centre. My point here isn't to lay down an authoritative groundwork for the future of critical social theory, not to promote psychoanalysis as an exclusive field of inquiry. Rather, to point out that significant theoretical insights are made possible from this perspective. This is not a final word. Far from it. Laclau and Mouffe have also theorized this in relatively non-psychoanalytic terms - in terms of political antagonism. just a perspective (swiped from pg. 1 of Zizek's The Ticklish Subject), ken --------------- Intuition and the olfactory test (Kelley reveals her contrarian tactics) ----------------- Re: Performative Contradictions and Undead Communities ken doll asks: -------- >Yes and no. Think about it this way. How do you reinforce >something that does not exist? -------------- i shouldn't have said that ideals don't exist. they do in the sense that people have ideas about how things should work or the way things should be. those ideas are shaped by the material conditions in which people live--they learn them through the actions, behaviors, words, etc of others--and, in turn, people acting on those ideals shape others and the material conditions in which they live. etc. we--you n me--have an ideal of what friendship ought to be like. friendship as a social institution. [there's not really much of one now, but historical research on friendship is interesting --all that stuff on the debates over whether famous friends were gay/lesbian or not. some take the position that we're reading gay/lesbian into relationships that simply took on and exhibited different normative ideals of how one interacted with, spoke and wrote to a friend.] as a social institution it exists in so far as ideals are conveyed through various kinds of practices. the contemp ideal is prob something like this: friends don't use each other as means to ulterior ends. i'm not friends with ken just because i think he might know some important people he can hook me up with so i can advance my career. now, it's an ideal because in practice it may not be black and white. i may, in fact, be friends with ken b/c of his connections. but i might also be friends with ken for other reasons that may have no benefit or use to me whatsoever. in fact, he might annoy the shit out of me in many ways, but i put up with some of that because i enjoy his company for other reasons. now, i supposed lacan/zizek would like to talk about pleasure, neurosis, etc and so forth.... i'm not quite clear on why this is so difficult to grasp. it seems to me that it resolves some of these issues that are like cul-de-sacs that you like to circle around on your ten speed. but i realize that your thesis requires these cul-de-sacs. so. that part i snipped... i haven't a klew what you're talking about. i get it slightly...not in the mood right now to really try harder. but you know i love you anyway. ---------- >I'm totally cool with ideals. But *not* as universals. ---------- and yet, habermas isn't claiming them *as* universals in the sense you mean. again, this is why i say you have to see hab as a sociologist too, not only a philosopher. right or wrong, sociology did try to deal with the epistemological conundrums kant left us by negotiating the opposition--mediating it by bringing in the *social* which kant leaves out. scottish enlightenment comes into play here.... ------------ >You know, I've been harping on this emphatic reason bit for >years now and I think I'm actually going to have to stop >using the term. If emphatic reason signifies the >convergence of prescriptive and descriptive elements... >then I have to assume that such elements *could* be >distinguished. I can't assume this. So I think i've >actually changed my mind about this. Kind of depressing - >it was the centre-piece of my thesis, and now I have to >scrap it. But you probably knew this the whole time, eh? --------- ummmm well i don't think i've put it in quite the same way as you did above. but yeah.... read steven lukes on teh sociology of morality ------------- >For sure. But can you distinguish, with certainty, the >difference between expressive speech acts and communicative >ones? ---------- no. but the point is this: why celebrate the fundamental opacity required by the ego such that you then generalize this process in a way that describes how social institutions, social process, social structures work? as i wrote back in august, and yoshie ought to appreciate this given that bhaskar is a big proponent of this position [and it is a position fundamental to all worthy sociologies], a social theory that accounts for history and social change [not explains in detail, but can *account* for it ontologically/epistemologically] must conceive of individuals and society as two different kinds of things. societies don't work like individuals. they have different properties/qualities that make them objects of our social theories. to collapse them into each other is to produce an undialectical social theory. or rather, you might produce a dialectical social theory but the dialectic amounts to circling around cul-de-sacs on your ten speed. -------------- Not at all. I'm not celebrating the problem, I'm trying to >point it out. Opacity contributes to the possibility of >understanding, not its block. ------------- however, when you complain about a positive dialectics [??] as only capable of totalitarianism, universalism, and so on and so forth, then you are in some sense celebrating it and elevating opacity to the level of a transcendent universal in its own right. it seems to me that it's all unmoored from any meaningful historical context. i disagree with yoshie re gender/sex and psychoanalysis. simply pointing out the problem isn't necessarily reproducing it. but i think it matters *how* you point it out and it matters *how* you theorize sex/gender. in other words, feminist or race theorists aren't necessarily pointing out gender/race oppression only to reproduce it. they are bodies of thought and political practices that, yes, require the existence of sexism/racism but they are also premised on the goal of eradicating sexism/racism. nonetheless, i think the ways in which these oppressions are conceived, explained and criticized matters --some reproduce oppressions statically, say, for ex, essentializing notions of race. this is the subtlty yoshie is missing. but so are you. ----------- >Fever in and fever out... ------------- lots of fluids honey bunch. hope you feel better. -------------- > For Habermas, when consensus >is achieved, or understanding reached - and then >implimented, this terminates one aspect of ethical >consciousness. It is possible, in Habermas, in theory at >least, to "pass" the discursive test. Once this is done, >moral consciousness disappears ("ethical suicide"). And >that's precisely when Habermas's theory becomes >problematic. ------------- ken, as i wrote to you on bad months ago, this ethical suicide bizzo is totally weird. it's like the example i gave you re marx and the claim that the proletariat is the product of capitalism and emerge precisely to dig the grave of capitalism --presumably, in doing so, they dig their own graves because to eliminate capitalism is to eliminate the existence of a proletariat. so it's suicide? so what? there was a footnote in that excerpt i forwarded--about mediating the dialectic and hegel and all that. this is what i'm getting at. now, i suspect that you think that the imaginary is a way of mediating it. but i remain unclear as to what the hell it's all about....... anyway.... moral consciousness does not disappear. stop thinking about this as so friggin abstract as if to say that once agreement is achieved it's always and forever this way. as if the instance of one agreement, say the consensus we achieve over a common project like building a web page, somehow or other makes moral consciousness disappear. does it? does life stop once we've come to an agreement about what colors we want to use or the name of the zine or whatevA? did we commit ethical suicide? or do we start all over again in disagreement about other things. ---------------- Yoshie Furuhashi wrote: > Indeed. For postmodernists, however, all objects have basically the same > status, be they gods, vampires, human bodies, or social relations. ------------- Which postmodernists would those be? ---------------- > Therefore, I don't think their ways of conceiving objects help us much. > Kant said he "had to deny _knowledge_, in order to make room for _faith_" > (_Critique of Pure Reason_). -------------- Ken: Which can be reformulated today like this: We can't know, because we must not know! This is important. Take for instance a stereotypical fascist soldier, of the imaginary variety. The fascist soldier has no epistemological block. They know what is GOOD - serving the fatherland is GOOD. And so they go about killing people who don't properly honour the fatherland, because that's the right thing to do - it passes the categorical imperative. The fascist soldier is a knower, they know the good. But this is precisely what Kant's moral philosophy, logically, forbids. Kant forbids absolute knowledge (given that the 'highest good' and 'diabolical evil' are identical). So Kant's philosophy is still the most responsible philosophy around. He forbids "going all the way" and launching yourself off into an abyss where one loses all sense of moral criteria. The fascist soldier has no moral consciousness, because they *have* the good, they know it. Kant's block here serves as an ethical prohibition against psychosis. --------------- > The same must be said about Lacan, whose > works may be renamed _Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason_. ------------- That doesn't make any sense at all. Lacan is hardly providing a justification of the good principle over the evil principle.... nor is he trying to found a kingdom of God here on earth... however... Lacan *is* interested in part one of the text - the chapter on radical evil. See his essay, "Kant avec Sade." Radical evil is a *moral* position. And Kant could be re-written to read, qua Lacan, "knowledge has to be denied in order to make room for desire." If you side against Kant here, and opt for knowledge without faith, you are, theoretically, cruel and abstract (and retain an epistemological position identical to that of Sade)(who always seeks more knowledge and tears apart nature because, "she will always yield more"). If *that's* your objection to Kant - I tremour in disgust. -------------- > ***** Besides, we are indebted to Pascal's defensive 'dialectic' for the > wonderful formula which will enable us to invert the order of the notional > schema of ideology. Pascal says more or less: 'Kneel down, move your lips > in prayer, and you will believe.' (168) ***** > Althusser evidently thought that learning from Pascal would help him banish > 'ideas' and make 'practice, etc.' appear, but the trajectory of the > Pascalian turn has been the exact opposite of Althusser's intention. It > simply helped many post-/anti-Marxist intellectuals to enshrine a > neo-Kantian epistemology -- an idealism with vengeance. ----------- It isn't idealism if you examine the 'highest good' as identical with 'diabolical evil.' The problem is, Kant upholds a contradiction in his work. At the point of fulfillment, he realized that 'the highest good' had no criteria. So, knowing this, he decided to say that 'diabolical evil' wasn't possible for human beings. As for Pascal - how do you think the economy works? Very few people believe that the economy actually works for people. But nearly everyone works and supports its grinding power. Pascal illustrates why belief is unnecessary for a machine to work. In fact, the cynical distance makes the working of the machine possible. In public, support goes to the employer, in private, you complain and tell it like it is. It is possible to go through the motions without feeling responsibly because you don't believe. This is the postmodern condition (as folks like Zizek understand it). This is a very important idea. I'm suprised that you see it as a mystification. ------ > Now take a look at the curious ascetic routines of the Lacanian scholasticism... ------------- I'm not going to disagree with you if you're calling Lacan a jerk. Zizek called it "living in the Real" - I'm still convinced its the same old patriarchal discourse "philosopher genius is mad." Let's call in the discourse of assholes - from Adorno's "precious helper" Gretel to Lacan. --------------> It is the denial of mastery -- self-imposed 'poverty' and gestures of > divestiture -- that helps invest Lacan with authority and makes him a > Master. It's an old religious (or Socratic) trick, for which we (near the > end of the twentieth-century) have no need to fall. But, then again, you > may be or want to be religious, after all, without becoming a part of an > old-fashioned religion; in that case, you've made a correct choice. -------------- I don't see how Lacan can be accussed of a "denial of mastery." I mean, have you read his seminars? Demanding bastard that one. But this doesn't mean much, you're using his style and personality against him, without actually engaging any of the substance of his work. It's a cheap shot. If we disregarded all of the philosophers and social theorists who were assholes - who would be left? As for religion, there we have a problem. Even Popper admitted that science was most likely a religious activity. If you expand the definition large enough, science includes anything and everything (which is particularly unhelpful since it renders religion trivial). So how do you want to play this game? -------------- > I am, however, disappointed (though not surprised) that you take Kenneth > Burke (or rhetoric) lightly. One at least hopes that those who say so much > about 'discourse' would be interested in the study of rhetoric. Anyway, > the point made by Burke is that an argument against 'authoritarianism' > doesn't take an argument against 'authority' per se. ------------ I don't take it lightly at all. I know my Gadamer quite well, and recognize the importance of rhetoric. The position of Burke sounds like Gadamer's. Gadamer argues that authority is authoritative because it is truth and, following the ancient greek authors, the truth must be freely chosen (see Gadamer, Truth and Method [esp. the part about prejudice], Philosophical Hermeneutics [esp. the debate with Habermas], and The Idea of the Good in Platonic and Aristotelian Philosophy). But Gadamer is, in part, wrong here. If look through Marx instead of Aristotle, as Albrecht Wellmer does, critical theory remembers what hermeneutics forgets, that the Enlightenment is born out of relations of domination. Hermeneutics, by preserving prejudice, lacks any sort of criteria to escape these prevailing conditions. However Gadamer's response, "we cannot think ourselves outside of history" is also correct. So we're stuck in an aporia - somewhere between the absolutes. Which goes back to my suggestions about re-reading Kant - we can't go all the way [and liberate ourselves Absolutely] because we must not go all the way. ----------- > A Humean conception of > nature and law makes a space for a Kantian faith; if the existence of every > object can be doubted, there is no reason to think of the existence of God > and vampires as more doubtful than that of one's fingernails and fellow > workers when they are not objects of sense-experience. ---------- A space which is not so much faith as moral consciousness. ----------- > It is also on the impossibility of knowledge that Plato rests his > mouthpiece Socrates' victory over Thrasymachus in _Republic_... (snipped) > After this rhetorical defeat of the sophist assertion that morality is in > the interest of the stronger, hence after the defense of an argument that > morality is in the interest of all who possess it, Plato, through Socrates, > will argue for the very conception of morality designed to guard the rule > of the few over the many. ------------- Are you re-writing the text? I swear that Grube's translation is about justice, not morality - there is a distinction I believe (maybe not). In any event, Thrasymachus's argument is a silly one - that injustice is always lawbreaking. Socrates response equates the difference between the just and the unjust as one of expertise (the unjust person is simply an unsuccessful just person). The funny thing is, Socrates wins the argument first, because Thrasymachus isn't permitted to respond in the text (and point out that the analogy is false) and, second, by using a rhetorical move - begging the question. Socrates is allowed to win only through a kind of logical bait and switch, crumby rhetoric. So I suspect we aren't in a serious disagreement here. ------------ > Postmodern scepticism works in a way similar to the Socratic attack on > knowledge and democracy (or the masses' ability to acquire knowledge and > govern themselves) in _Republic_. ------------ But pointing out that Socrates wins the debate, or that postmodernism "wins" the debate through rhetoric still doesn't address the question of knowledge. It seems to me like you're pulling a fast one too. Instead of begging the question about the "masses' ability" you beg the question about knowledge. Here we can follow Aristotle's critique of Plato, that whatever might be good unconditionally (or True Absolutely) is irrelevant as a guide to our action. What we ought to focus on is what is good for us. Which brings this entire conversation back to my reading of Kant. ken -------------------- There is no forbidding of the absolute in Kant. What is the 'ultimate evil' for Kant? The formal execution of a dethroned monarch by revolutionaries, "a complete _reversal_ of the principles which govern the relationship between the sovereign and the people. For it amounts to making the people, who owe their existence purely to the legislation of the sovereign, into rulers over the sovereign, thereby brazenly adopting violence as a deliberate principle and exalting it above the most sacred canons of right. And this, like an abyss which engulfs everything beyond hope of return, is an act of suicide by the state, and it would seem to be a crime for which there can be no atonement" (_The Metaphysics of Morals_). And this notion of the state of right, whose opposite is the 'ultimate evil,' becomes an absolute prohibition against revolution in Kant's political philosophy. Kant wrote in "On the Common Saying: 'This May be True in Theory, but it does not Apply in Practice'": "It thus follows [from the theory of the original contract] that all resistance against the supreme legislative power, all incitement of the subjects to violent expressions of discontent, all defiance which breaks out into rebellion, is the greatest and most punishable crime in a commonwealth, for it destroys its very foundations. This prohibition is *absolute*. And even if the power of the state or its agent, the head of state, has violated the original contract by authorizing the government to act tyrannically, and has thereby, in the eyes of the subject, forfeited the right to legislate, the subject is still not entitled to offer counter-resistance. The reason for this is that the people, under an existing civil constitution, has no longer any right to judge how the constitution should be administered.... Nor can a right of invoked here as means of removing the barriers which restrict the power of the people; for it is monstrous to suppose that we can have a right to do wrong in the direst (physical) distress." Kant goes on to condemn the "errors" of elevating the Happiness of the People over the Principle of Right and thus of advocating the overthrow of the existing state. For Kant, "It is obvious...that the principle of happiness...has ill effects in political right just as in morality....[for] the people are unwilling to give up their universal human desire to seek happiness in their own way, and thus become rebels." Further, Kant says that a rebel should be punished by nothing short of death: "There can thus be no rightful resistance on the part of the people to the legislative head of state. For a state of right becomes possible only through submission to his universal legislative will. Thus there can be no right of _sedition_ (_seditio_), and still less a right of _rebellion_ (_rebellio_), least of all a right to _lay hands on_ the person of the monarch as an individual...on the pretext that he has misused his power.... The least attempt to do so is _high treason_..., and a traitor of this kind, as one who has tried to _destroy his fatherland_ (_parricida_), may be punished with nothing less than death" (_The Metaphysics of Morals_). Given Kant's political morality, one might say that the 'Good German' was a good Kantian. What would better sustain the subject's unconditional obedience to the law, *even in the face of material deprivation, physical distress, and political oppression*, than the intimations of his soul's divinity and immortality? Kant wrote in "On the Common Saying": "Admittedly, it [the principle of happiness] does not contradict the experience which the *history* of maxims derived from various principles provides. Such experience, alas, proves that most of them are based on selfishness. But it does contradict our (necessarily inward) experience that no idea can so greatly elevate the human mind and inspire it with such enthusiasm as that of a pure moral conviction, respecting duty above all else, struggling with countless evils of existence and even with their most seductive temptations, and yet overcoming them -- for we may rightly assume that man can do so. The fact that man is aware that he can do this just because he ought discloses within him an ample store of divine capabilities and inspire him, so to speak, with a holy awe at the greatness and sublimity of his true vocation." Ah, the flesh is weak, but the spirit is willing! Kant also endorses panoptic surveillance & discipline. In _The Metaphysics of Morals_, Kant sounds as if he were speaking for the present Mayor of New York: "From the same source [the basic right of ownership], the rights of economic and financial administration and of the police force are derived. The police look after public _security_, _convenience_ and _propriety_; for it makes it much easier for the government to perform its business of governing the people by laws if the public sense of not dulled by affronts to the moral sense such as begging, uproar in the streets, offensive smells and public prostitution (_venus volgivaga_)." What fascist would disagree with Kant here? Yoshie -------------------- On Thu, 21 Oct 1999 22:22:25 -0400 Yoshie Furuhashi wrote: > Unlike Zizek here, I think that the Kantian pleasure of duty is more subtle & perverse: 'you must do your duty, _because_ you don't enjoy it.' -------------- ?? This isn't Kant. There are two issues here. First, whether this reading of Kant is correct on Kant's terms, second, if this reading of Kant follows by implication. Kant's moral law is ground in his understanding of love. He translates this as respect, which entails both love and fear (of God). Happiness irrelevant in one's decision to respect the moral law, but Kant cannot conceive of happiness outside of the moral law: "the hightest goal of the moral perfection of finite creatrues, never completely attainable by human beings, is... the love of the Law... in conformity with this idea, "God is love." (Religion, Cambridge ed., 146). Kant would *never* maintain that loving God is not (ultimately) enjoyable. So I think Zizek's reading is correct. Especiall considering that Zizek is reading the law of love through Lacan (with Sade) through Freud. As Freud notes in Civ and Dis, loving thy neighbour leads to a twofold paradox: pleasure & trauma. Then, with Lacan, we find that this trauma is based on Kant's notion of duty. One must do one's duty for the sake of duty alone (love for the sake of love). But more than this, one must love throughout. So the position that one is stuck in is this: you are expected to love your neighbour and you are expected to enjoy it - because this is the will of God. Sade brings this to its logical conclusion by externalizing the law: you have the right of enjoyment over my body to do anything you wish and I have the right of enjoyment over your body to do anything I wish. In other words - Sade renders "the love of God, the love of the law" as "do whatever you wish - ENJOY." And we find here, at the centre, jouissance (the word enjoyment doesn't capture it). Jouissance is both pleasure and trauma. Love thy neighbour. But what if my neighbour wants me to do horrible things to him? Then one is obligated to do horrible things... love & trauma. What Kant does not see in this is how his rejection of diabolical evil leads him directly into Sade's hands. The law of love is equally the law of hate. For Kant, there is no content of the law prior to the law. So it is only afterward that the law receives its substance. In other words, we are required to translate an abstract and empty law into substance. In doing so, we must necessarily take responsibility for the translation - since knowledge of the law itself is part of the noumenal realm, in Lacan, the Real. So we find ourselves with an obligation but without the knowledge of what we are obliged to do. This is why, in the translation, we find ourselves feeling both responsible and guilty. We do our duty but we don't know what our duty is. Hence, ethics is a viewpoint from the perspective of radical evil - and the highest good and diabolical evil are taken to be identical. ----------- > The nature of our moral enjoyment is twofold: (1) 'it ain't gonna be pretty, but something has to be done about it'; and (2) 'it's a thankless job, but someone has to do it,' or, 'it's a thankless job, but if I don't do it, someone else will.' The categorical imperative here is that 'you must, or someone else must & will (and that someone may be worse than you)!' ------------ Where is this coming from? On (1) - because Kant requires that there be no good prior to the law, there is no rational "claim" that "it ain't gonna be pretty' On (2) - this is motivated by guilt and therefore a tainted maxim. Thanks or thanklessness is irrelevant to the moral law and the threat or benevolence of someone else doing it is of no consequence of Kant. ---------------- > Zizek's mistake here is severalfold: (1) he locates freedom (or freedom that matters in ethics) in the noumenal ethical person/transcendental ignorance (or 'impossibility of knowledge of Things in themselves') -- a wrong conception of freedom that erects a figment of ideology as a vehicle of morality and that deforms freedom into a 'free will' ------------- Zizek is guarding against a positive definition of freedom, a freedom defined once and for all - which he regards as tyranny (because, by implication, the subject who is free acts as if they *know* what freedom is - in other words - the "free" subject takes themself to be a living embodiment of substance - and is then "free" to do whatever they wish. This would (metaphysically and dualistically) divorce freedom from any possible notion of responsibility, guilt, ethics, or morality. ------------- > (2) he, like Kant, resolutely ignores the question of consequences (of our actions and inactions as well as of our attention and inattention), whereas consequences are what weighs upon the question of morality and freedom -------------- Actually, he doesn't do this at all. The consequences of translating the categorical imperative (imperfectly) are always guilt laden. In other words, the subject experiences trauma in the translation of the categorical imperative into the real world. There are two points to be addressed here: Zizek's Lacanain claim that subject is not substance and, second, the question of consequences as the measure of morality and freedom. If you take consequences to be the measure of freedom then you must separate freedom from an act of freedom proper. In other words, you would have to reconstruct freedom from cause and effect or contingency, which is an incoherent task - and all the while associating subjectivity with substance (which is what Zizek explicitly denies, following Lacan). ------------ > (3) he ignores the perverse pleasure of existentialism (i.e. 'the necessity of ethics in the face of utter uncertainty') generated by his Lacanian-Kantian command -- 'there is no excuse for _accomplishing_ one's duty!' ----------- Not pleasure, jouissance. Simply pleasure would entail a subject having found their GOOD object. Jouissance, on the other hand, is stained with the traumatic. -------------- > and (4) he thinks that a correct moral principle may be devised for all purposes, for all times, which will help us prevent 'authoritarianism.' -------------- Absolutely not. He's working out of a psychoanalytic reading, where the categorical imperative is *not* a moral principle in the sense of having a predetermined HIGHEST GOOD or DIABOLICAL EVIL as its object. As such, it is an *internal* principle, the law of jouissance, not a political rule that will prevent authoritarianism. All Zizek accomplishes here is an outline of the constitutive elements of a moral consciousness. There is no "correct" moral principle here at all. The categorical imperative, for Zizek, is part of the dynamics of jouissance, enjoyment. -------------- > Moreover, Zizek is incorrect in his thinking that it takes Lacan/Kant to argue against the equation of historical fact with historical necessity and that of these two with moral imperative. One may break these doubled equations through Stephen Jay Gould: evolution is fundamentally contingent, and necessities must be thought within this fundamental contingency. What is necessary is, first of all, a correct ontology and full appreciation of contingency of evolution, which Kant, Lacan, Heidegger, & Zizek do not possess. ------------- Radical contingency is the fundamental ontology of the Zizekian framework. To say that Zizek does not appreciate contingency is to plainly ignore the bulk of his theoretical work. On page 7 of one of the first things Zizek published in english, The Sublime Object of Ideology, Zizek rights, "what we find in Hegel is the strongest affirmation yet of difference and contingency." Or, in Tarrying with the Negative, "Contingency does express the incompleteness of our knowledge, but this incompleteness also ontologically defines the object of knowledge itself - it bears witness to the fact taht the object itself is not yet ontologically 'realized', fully actual" (pg. 154). -------------- > Zizek (along with Kant & Heidegger) mystifies freedom, makes it 'transcendental,' and leads us to think of it as freedom _from_ social relations, whereas our very agency (moral or otherwise) exists thanks to our being embedded in social relations, biology, and the natural world independent of human perception, and our political project is to create the freedom _of_ social relations (_not_ the imaginary freedom despite, or transcendental of, social relations). ---------------- On the contrary (you appear to me to be *seriously* misreading Zizek on this point). Zizek equates Absolute freedom with Absolute tryranny. His political philosophy, on the other hand, *recovers* freedom from this Absoluteness. He's defending a *practical* (living) understanding of freedom, one which is embedded, embodied, and practical. Zizek takes seriously the implication of freedom being freedom fron having to choose (a free entity would never have to choose between two things). Zizek demonstrates the tyranny of this perspective, which is why his understanding of freedom is *always* centred around concrete agency, contingency, and finitude. -------------> While Zizek's misconception of causality, freedom, necessity, contingency, etc. is the fundamental problem here, further comments on the problem (4) is also necessary, for it concerns the problem of morality and political power. (4) is an untenable position for multiple reasons: (a) a very few of one's actions ever come to one's individual attention as a matter of moral choice (it's strange that someone who subscribes to the tenet of psychoanalysis doesn't consider this problem), due to human biology, social relations, and ideology... ---------- Zizek is in agreement with this point. Most on one's actions are never "linguistified" - in other words - they don't appear available for comment consciously. This is why we need a critical theory of society. ------------- > (b) 'authoritarianism' is a question of democracy or lack thereof, not one of a correct or incorrect moral principle ------------ Again, Zizek is in agreement with this point. ------------ > (c) consequences of actions chosen in strict accordance with the Lacanian-Kantian command may very well lead to 'authoritarianism' --------- That's Zizek's point exactly. Actions in accordance with the Kantian command *are* authoritarian (passing the 'test' = highest good / evil). > and (d) actions taken in accordance with the very morality that Zizek argues against -- the subjective assumption of Historical Necessity -- may very well create conditions that would decrease the danger of 'authoritarianism' (as you can see, [d] is the obverse of [c]). ------------- So if someone acts as though they are obeying the will of GOD (unto death of self and other) then this might create the conditions that would decrease the danger of authoritarianism? No. I don't see how this follows. --------------- > In this sense, the Lacanian-Kantian command is part of the problem, not the solution. ------------- Let's go back to basics. What do you understand morality, freedom, or ethics to be? So far you have put your critique completely in the negative, which appears, to me, to be hiding a positive conception of "good will" or "the good" or "the right" or something. ---------------- > Lastly, there is no ethics that avoids the question of Good; the difference between Kant and Bentham only lies in where their ethics locate the good respectively -- a good 'will' or a good consequence. Inflecting Kant with Lacan doesn't change this fact. ------------- Check out Zizek's essay, "Kant with Bentham" in Tarrying with the Negative. "Bentham prepared the ground for the Kantian revolution by way of accomplishing the same 'purification' that Hume realized in the domain of theoretical reason... by emptying the field of the Godd of all substantial content, Bentham thus cuts the roots of every ethics founded upon a substantial, positive notion of the Spreme Good as an End-in-itself. The door was thus opened fro the Kantian revolution whose starting point is precisely the impossibility of determining the Good-in-itself within the field of possible experience. All that remains possible is therefore to conceive of the Good at the level of form, as the universal form of our will..." (pgs. 86 - 85). BTW - Bentham's latest book was edited by one of the Slovene Lacanian School theorists - Miran Bozovic (The Panopticon Writings). ken ------------------ For your reading pleasure, here's a fragment on negative/positive, absence/presence, emptiness/fullness, form/substance, etc.....***** ...Great Negative, how vainly would the wise Inquire, define, distinguish, teach, devise, Didst thou not stand to point their blind philosophies! Is or Is Not, the two great ends of Fate, And True or False, the subject of debate, That perfect or destroy the vast designs of state -- When they have racked the politician's breast, Within thy bosom most securely rest, And when reduced to thee, are least unsafe and best. But Nothing, why does Something still permit That sacred monarchs should in council sit With persons highly thought at best for nothing fit, While weighty Something modestly abstains >From princes' coffers, and from statesmen's brains, And nothing there like stately Nothing reigns?... Earl of Rochester, "Upon Nothing" ***** ...But thoughts are given for action's government; Where action ceases, thought's impertinent. Our sphere of action is life's happiness, And he who thinks beyond, thinks like an ass.... Your reason hinders, mine helps to enjoy, Renewing appetites, yours is a cheat; Hunger calls out, my reason bid me eat; Perversely, yours your appetite does mock: This asks for food, that answers, "What's o'clock?"... Earl of Rochester, "A Satyr against Reason and Mankind" ***** -------  -------- ---------xxxxx--------- kelly, babe, you got a point here. I used to read the stuff to be able >quote it at seminars to embarass the ta's and impress my prospective dates >- it sounded profoundly academic because nobody could understand jack shit >what it was about. i actually made an effort to decipher the deep meaning, >including going to english translations that were realy realy helpful, but >the verborrhage of these giants of esoterism was overwhelming. Howver, >after i read c writght mills i realized that if something cannot be said in >plain english it is probably not worth saying at all (albeit i'm not sure >if that holds for the german as well), and stopped feeling bad about my >lack of depth perception. moreover, after women became unimpressed by >deep-thoughts dropping, i lost interest in the stuff altogether. A colourchange for Kelley: well, wojtek, my muffin, thing is my students find c. wright mills difficult sometimes. in part it's the language of the fifties. but it's also the ideas --sociology,and the idea that our biography is shaped by social forces [society/history] is completely alien to them and hard to understand. c wright mills isn't that transparent either. my point: critiques of supposed theoretical difficulty are facile critiques. people who say "yuck" to habermas or butler or derrida or foucault etc generally haven't bothered to read them and, if they have, they are "yucking" out of their own ignorance and laziness, failing to bother to try to get a grasp on a theoretical tradtion within and through which the author's ideas would make sense. [in other words, bill lear had a problem with butler's use of "subject" made no sense to him as to why "subject" was preferable to self or individual. well, "subject" has a specific meaning within the context of a specific theoretical tradition. it does make no sense if you don't know what it means. and please don't tell me that this is ridiculous. you know as well as i do that a discipline is about language. we, in soc, use "institution" -- it has a specific meaning [though a range of meanings and a contested range, at that, depending on whether you're working out of a functionalist or critical theoretical or feminist soc tradition]. so, i'm not too keen on critiques of authors because they are, ostensibly, difficult to understand. i do not find the ideas in butler hard to understand because i understand the philosophical tradition she is working from. ditto habermas. butler's writing *IS* tortured. as for habermas, well i don't know how to judge a translation from german to english. how much of this is about what gets mucked up in translation, eh? and, in general, and i know you're joking in many ways, but i want to be serious here for a moment. i don't find these condemnations of supposed intellectual fluff all that easy to make. i don't think that claiming that you or i or anyone else takes up these ideas and studies these intellectual traditions because they merely want to engage in empty impression mgmt all that funny. there are some, i suppose, who do this. i'm not one of them. in the first place, college wasn't a given for me, nor was it handed me on a silver platter--despite excellent marks and test scores i was simply too poor to go to college. i eventually went, but before that i was so motivated to want to know about the world of ideas i used to spend time in the local library reading whatever i thought was important to read, reaching back in my memory recalling what h.s. teachers had suggested as important literarary works or recalling favorite authors of my history teacher and whathaveyou. it wasn't , for me, just about getting an education so i could get a job and making lots of money. no. it was about something else entirely, hard to put my finger on --and maybe it is ideology--but this story is told by lots of formerly working class intellectuals: they yearned for the life of the mind, for something besides the everyday world they lived in, for a community of others who liked to think about and talk about the world around them in ways that they didn't often find among their working class friends and workmates. so, when i used to hear feminists in women's studies classes whine because dorothy smith was a difficult writer who worked out of the phenomenological trad in philosophy--which they thought was masculinist, patriarchal, sexist, blahblahblah--i was particularly incensed. for what they found oppressive--ideas--was not at all for me. learning to master and understand a social theorist was, in fact, liberating for me in ways that i cannot explain here. so, no, i don't think what habermas has to say is unimportant. surely it's problematic. but the fact is, woj, he is working out of and through a rather important and fundamental tradition in sociological scholarship and i don't think he should be dismissed as 'difficult'. his ideas aren't difficult at all. nor are butler's or derrida's for that matter. those writers are only difficult insofar as they are writing in ways that presuppose a certain specialized training from their readers. i would agree, tho, that butler is a tortured and inefficient writer. i would also say that she annoys me because she fails to do justice to and credit the traditions she works out of. she, for ex, as many sociologists point out--says stuff about performance that goffman said long before her [as did simmel and mead]. and, tho she briefly cites turner, she really does a serious disservice to this tradition of scholarship because she refuses to engage it in any meaningful way. i consider that a real failing in a scholar-- a serious breach of scholarly ethics. i've never read an author simply because i thought it would impress. in the first place, i went to a weird school --british open university in style. i didn't have colleagues--save for my tutors/mentors--to compare myself to or impress. i'd simply meet with a tutor, talk about what i'd want to learn. they'd send me off with a reading list. i read widely, come back with a more organized sense of "the field" and we'd make up a contract about what i would read and do to demonstrate what i'd learned. if i had questions in our meeting, they'd send me off in search of more things to read such that i'd read many, many books. the point was to come back and be their teacher--because, often enough, they didn't necessarily have an expertise in what i was studying. and so there were no academic rituals of deference and demeanor, no obvious hierarchy of the teacher and blank slate. the point, tho, was that i travelled fromt thinker to thinker, completely unaware, really, of any notion of who was sexy or more impressive or whathaveyou. studying habermas was a natural outgrowth of having stumbled over a ref to marcuse while reading about marxism. wanting to know more, as was my habit, i went back to the 'beginning' and started reading the frankfurt boys. habermas seemed the next logical step after i'd done my work on hork, adorno, fromm, marcuse.... and finally, fact is wojtek, reading habermas was something i did entirely on my own. grad school did not expose me to very many ppl who took his work seriously. oh, my mentor and ceremonial head of my diss committee had read him and knew his work pretty well, having published widely as a critical theorist. but no one offered courses specializing in hab or even in critical theory --even though i'd gone to the dept under the illusion that it was one of the only dept in the country that specialized in theory. between the time i'd been recruited and applied and been accepted, the theory people had been dethroned by the feminists and sociology=research only/theory is unimportant crowd. [abstracted empiricists on c wright mills terms] . the point: no one dared teach too much theory. it was considered genuflecting at the altar of dead white guys who had nothing to say to contemporary social life. what hoohah!. the whole thing makes me ill, so i can't write about it at the moment. suffice it to say that i wanted to read habernmas and i did so entirely on my own and n the face of peers and teachers who weren't impressed in the least. so gimme a break and c. wright mills by the way was used often enough in his day to impress the co-eds -------------------- i imagine rob's point might be put better this way: some of these theories are no different that nike ad campaigns which gloss over class, erase it, by displacing it onto other things. like that fucking commercial for some damn car, the one that goes something like this "are only the rich allowed to have comfortable rides and air conditioning?" or somesuch nonsense. even in the work of someone like iris young who trying to stay within a marxist framework to some degree, the commitment to the insights of pomo/post-structuralism and deconstrunction render her incapable of elaborating a politics that takes class seriously. workers *are erased* how? read on and then you explain to me how a group can be understood as a class in this account? and it's not surprising that her "remedy" for class oppression is *only* about workplace reform. from september: iris young, too, wrote _justice and the politics of difference_ in which she argued for the absolute necessity of focusing on differences, of building a politics of difference [identity politics] based precisely on identity groups. she goes to great pains to explain precisely what a group is: "I should allay sev'l possible misunderstandings of what this principle of group representation means and implies. First, the principle calls for specific representation of social groups, not interest groups or ideological groups. By an inter. group I mean any aggregate or association that seeks a particular goal, or desires the same policy, or are similarly situated with respect to some social effect--for example, they are all recipients of acid rain...." Social groups usually share some interests, but shared interests are not sufficient to constitute a social group. A social group is a collective of people who have affinity with one another b./c of a set of practices or way of life***; they differentiate themselves from or are differentiated by at least one other group according to these cultural forms. By an ideological group I mean a collective of persons with shared political beliefs. Nazis, socialists, feminists.... The situation of social groups may foster the formation of ideological groups, and under some circumstances an ideological group may become a social group. Shared political or moral beliefs...however do not themselves constitute a social group [...] Second, it is important to remember that the principle calls for specific representation only of oppressed or disadvantaged groups." and to buttress jim's original point, young does very much end up dismissing a marxist conception of class *exploitation* as a basis upon which to build a politics of difference. her policy proposals in that regard focus only on a reformist politics within the work place. and, i argue, this tendency to elide a serious engagement with the way in which capitalist exploitation is fundamental to 'groupness' and 'identity' results precisely from what she, herself, calls a postmodern critique of the logic of identity and the metaphysics of presence [she lumps together kristeva, adorn, irigaray, derrida. ] kelley ----------- and another thing: where in _gender trouble_ does judith butler ever once address the issue of class [not to mention ethnicity]? why does she just ignore it? why on earth would she think that it was a-okay to not even bother to address the issue somewhere to at least explain why it wasn't going to be part of a consideration of how identities are socially constituted? it's not as if she was ignorant of the topic or can, in my view, reasonably be able to claim that she was in 1990 --there were and had been reams and reams written on the subject --the critique of the 'woman qua woman' discourse that predominated in so much of 60s and 70s feminism. did she, like, totally miss the huge fiasco of the women's studies conference in, what was it, 84 or 87?, where these identity issues surfaced? by 1984 alison jaggar had already written a tome in which she examined competing feminism and the problems attending humanist feminist politics--ignoring lesbians, bis, working class white women, women of color, third world women. and, of course, how could she have missed lugones' and spellman's "have we got a theory for you" lugones and spellman, of course, wrote some pretty good stuff from a queer feminist position, but they didn't just focus on queer identies because even they could see that this wasn't going to fly. furthermore, just a wee bit unconscionable in my view to ignore the whole camp scene and not notice that most of the participants in those affairs, as Paris is Burning points out, are poor men of color whose desire to dress up as women isn't about gender alone but about class. they don't dress up like roseanne barr. they work their asses off and spend all their spare cash so they can dress likely wealthy women! but that got ignored. so, sorry, but i'm queer and i appreciate queer theory, but i cannot stand the irresponsibility sometimes. there was no excuse for not including at the very least some sort of defenseive "i can't adress all these issues here, but i'm aware of them" in book that is barely 150 pp long she can hardly claim 'lack of space and time' so i read butler, take her seriously as much as possible, but i still thinks she's ridiculous for that kind of really awful scholarship --and in general i think her scholarship standards stink to begin with. she's pretty pisspoor at acknowledging her debts. ragging' kelley ------------------ at the top, apologies to carrol for misinterpreting his comments on form. i thought he was attacking steve's criticisms of yoshie's discoursing. as for the rest: "This Sex which is Not One" [to be read as metaphor] Luce Irigaray [W]oman's autoeroticism is very different from man's. He needs an instrument in order to touch himself; his hand, woman's genitals, language--and this self-stimulation requires a minimum of activity. But a woman touches herself by and within herself directly, without mediation, and before any distinction between activity and passivity is possible. A woman "touches herself" constantly without anyone being able to forbid her to do so, for her sex is composed of two lips which embrace continually. Thus, within herself she is already two--but not divisible into ones--who stimulate each other. [...] Although woman finds pleasure precisely in this incompleteness of the form of her sex organ, which is why it retouches itself indefinitely, her pleasure is denied by a civilization that privileges phallomorphism. The value accorded to the only definable form excludes the form involved in female autoeroticism. The one of the form, the individual sex, proper name, literal meaning supercedes, by spreading apart and dividing, this touching of at least two (lips) which keeps woman in contact with herself, although it would be impossible to distinguish exactly what "parts" are touching each other. "She" is indefinitely other in herself. That is undoubtedly the reason she has been called temperamental, incomprehensible, perturbed, capricious--not to mention her language in which "she" goes off in all directions and in which "he" is unable to discern the coherence of any meaning. Contradictory words seem a little crazy to the logic of reason, and inaudible for him who listens with ready-made grids, a code prepared in advance. In her statements--at least when she dares to speak out--woman retouches herself constantly. She just barely separates from herself some chatter, an exclamation, a half-secret, a sentence left in suspense--When she returns to it, it is only to set out again from another point of pleasure or pain. One must listen to her differently in order to hear an "other meaning" which is constantly in the process of weaving itself, at the same time ceaselessly embracing words and yet casting them off to avoid becoming, fixed, immobilized. For when "she" says something, it is already no longer identifiable to what she means. Moreover, her statements are never identical to anything. Their distinguishing features is one of continuity. They touch (upon). And when they wander too far from this nearness, she stops and begins again from 'zero': her body-sex organ. It is therefore useless to trap women into giving an exact definition of what they mean, to make them repeat (themselves) so the meaning will be clear. They are already elsewhere than in this discursive machinery where you claim to take them by surprise. They have turned back within themselves, which does not mean the same thing as "within yourself." They do not experience the same interiority that you do and which perhaps you mistakenly presume they share, "Within themselves" means in the privacy of this silent, multiple, diffuse tact. If you ask them insistently what they are thinking about, they can only reply: nothing. Everything. Thus they desire at the same time nothing and everything. It is always more and other than this one-that you give them, that you attribute to them and which is often interpreted, and feared, as a sort of insatiable hunger, a voracity which will engulf you entirely. kelley ---------------- At 02:16 PM 11/18/1999 -0500, you wrote: >Katha Pollitt wrote: > >>Gee doug -- do you need Zizek for that? > >No, but he helps. > >Actually I was using "Zizekian" as a shorthand for taking collective >fantasy seriously as a political category. That applies to the day >care scandals and to the body-part thieving stories that Maureen >mentioned - I don't think the kinds of political analyses our more >hardheaded members subscribe to are up to the task. I'd even say that >about a lot of the discourse around "globalization" - which posits a >pure Ur-space that's been invaded by "outside" forces. Chalking these >things up to mass hysteria is the beginning of an explanation, not >the end of one. > >Doug > > ---------- generally, the phenom is attributed to the ambiguity of the status of women, mothering, family and, in general, parenting. the split between family and work, institutionalized during the rise of capitalism, is and has been under assault for quite some time, but the ideological infrastructure remains. every fucking single day we stuggle with it--it runs to the very core of our identities --even when we struggle to reject the notion that our identities are somehow involved in our status as members of families and, more importantly, what counts as being a "good" family member. [whatever 'family' might mean (and i define it rather broadly)] you don't have to be a parent to be involved in the "war over the family" because you end up taking a side as a practical matter. for example, we enact the split between family/private and work/public right here on this list in so far as discussions of the personal, the private, the familial is rigorously relegated to the frivilous or, at best, an indulgence allowed a grandpa or a doting daddy [we girls who have kids have learned to avoid talking about them and we tend not to mention partners, parents, etc and so on]. in that context, consider what happens as men and women who are parents try to negotiate a world in which gender identies associated with family butt up against the requirements of the workplace. the ambivalence, the anxiety about "who I should be" and "what makes me successful?" lead to this tremendous anxiety and a deep concern over the fate of children in daycare. consider this in the context of a society in which the notion that "the family is the foundation of society" operates as a hegemonic discourse encompassing a kind of schizophrenia with regard to a highly privatized conception of the family [individual families are entirely responsible for the outcomes of their practices] and yet a public discourse that castigates those who "fail" as doing a disservice to society. a situation in which it seems that you have no control, right? well, historically, one way we have dealt with this in the US is to zero in on these stories by way explaining why things go wrong, why society doesn't work. these events are the repository for all sorts of felt onfusions, ambivalences, ambiguities --they enable a kind of psychic drama. we are fond of the idea that things don't work because some people are corrupt. the institutions are fundamentally sound, it's just bad people and bad habits. USers don't have a vocabularly for thinking about how our social isntitutions are rotten to the core and need to be radically reconfigured. instead we blame it on corruption, the wrong doings of a dangerous few, the psychological instablity of this group or that. this is a quick gloss on the analyses of similar phenom [child kidnappings, rape as the act of dark stranger] but see esp. arlie hochschild's work as well as stephanie coontz. don't forget doug that zizek is a sociologist by training and he's clearly been influeneced by good old fashioned criminology a la that conservative wanker durkheim. zizek it appear to me makes the mistake of engaging in what is ultimately a methodological individualism [weber] in so far as he seems to want to see society as akin to the working of the psyche writ large. huge problems there --see christopher lasch and adorno on why this approach is a problem. as i've written to ken and ange before, zizek's theory cannot account for social change because he undertheorizes [doesn't address at all actually] relationship between the psyche and society and the mediations involved therein. kelley ------------ >(see Zizek's "against the double blackmail" comments during Kosovo, wherein >he managed to turn thoughts that any teenager capable of basic dualistic >thinking could conceive of into the most "profound" and self-satisfied >observations.) -------------- no shit! as elena says, zizek made himself for export. he's interesting only insofar as he manages to work in the liminal spaces between established academic boundaries making it all appear as hip and cool to those enamored of such things [like judith butler who doesn't get beyond continental philosophy in her attempts to undermine such academic hierarchies] zizek simply weaves toether lacan, althusser, a dash of foucault, lots of durkheim'scritique of kant and some others whom i've forgotten in what are mostly entirely pedestrian analyses that play on aphorisms and catch words/phrases ideal. i read his essay on ideology that ken suggest to everyone who asks. read it five times and couldn't see one thing in there that wankfurters, gramsci and the birmingham school of cultural studies hadn't already come up with. kelley ------------------------ well i'd like to know what everyone means [ha!] by class not race/gender/etc?? are we talking a vulgar marxist economism in terms of theory? [which, it seemed to me, was the heart of the problem in the ever-endlessly recurring debates over the labor theory of value . quite hilarious to read some folks here talk about how much it 'costs' to get a worker to the line, the cashier counter or the cublicle by talking about how much it costs to feed her. as if that's the entirety of what's involved ! yes, yes, i do know that y'all did try to stave off critique by gesturing toward the limitation of your analysis. but....i'd like to know why the hell it's so important? no one ever answered me last summer as to what such hair splitting had to do with the price of cheddar cheese in wisconsin. OR are we talking political strategies [and i'd argue that how you theorize and critique the social is conceptually related [that is necessarily related] to the way in which you formulate strategies for social change. [see of course horkheimer, habermas, fay, etc] OR are we talking people who are pragmatic in their assessments of what might work best in terms of where to throw our energies, how to formulate strategies for coalition building? unfortunately i think that wojtek often formulates his criticisms poorly be/c what i understand him to be saying is the same thing i often say: there is something fundamentally impoverished about some contemporary theorizing which insists on conceiving of class as a cultural category --wholly about identity, about what it 'feels' like to be working class or what have you. it's not that gender and race/ethnicity are 'merely cultural' --surely they are not!--but i suspect that such analyses woud favor, say, a class/race affirmative action program as opposed to what we once had --one based on gender/race. i fail to see how that's a problem. and forthermore, for butler fans what would a perfomative politics "look like" with regard to class? does anyone honestly think that the same kinds of 'gender bending' political strategies of ACT UP, which throw assumptions about the naturalness of gender into question, are going to "work" with regard to a class politics. when i do a performative politics of class identity on this listserv for my own narcissistic delight i hardly imagine that i'm disrupting anyone safe, protected contexts. and i seriously doubt that a mass-based movement formulated along those lines would make a diff either. do we really "perform" class in the same way we perform gender? and what about race. as i complained a couple of weeks ago, butler completely ignored class and race in Gender Trouble, valorizing voguing etc but failing to recognize that their gender bending was all about performing wealthy feminity --they dress up in gowns and jewels, not nurse's scrubs. the cult like worship of butler, at least when i was in grad school courses, was annoying in so far as, like spivak, she was worshipped and seemingly beyond critique --- for if you mentioned any critique in terms of the limitations of her politics as problematic re class you were instantly branded as some sort of vulgar marxist economist. it's not sexy to perform class, but it sure is sexy to perform race, gender [of course, all done as if those images of identity are neutral wrt class!] finally, thanks katha for finally putting into words exactly what the problem with her writing is. fact is, i read portions of her diss as an undergrad [a prof went to grad school with her]. that was fairly accessible. so, perhaps you could tell me, since i've only ever worked with two editors. don't the editors play some role here? i realize that i've worked with folks whose aim was specifically to publish for a wide audience, so our goal was to be accessible --so the editors were tough. so is it that different when it comes to academic press publishing? otherwise, i'm ambivalent wrt her writing. i hardly imagine that accessibility will mattermuch in the end. who cares? jargon is unavoidable and the bane of all academic disciplines. i think it is disingenuous to imagine that your pushing and pressing the liminal spaces between ossified academic boundaries and hierarchies only to reinscribe them youself with some blurb about how that's the only way i can write about this. blah phooey. there's an interview on line in which her speaking voice makes it fairly clear what she's up to in her writing. the interview is at oh and carrol, what's interesting is that you often argue that we ought to theorize out of our politics. well, that's exactly what butler did in gender trouble. her ideas evolved out of the debates in the feminist movement and from the politics of the queer community. kelley -------------------- For all people talk about "youth culture," people are regarded as >potentially attractive for a much longer time today than in past. In >Rosenkavalier, the Marschallin is having what she knows is her last love >affair-- at 32! -------- the gym is the price. Except for you and me :). firstly, don't get me wrong, i'm not some raving feminist freakazoid who huffs and puffs about sex, porn and luscious bodies as unilaterally oppressive. i'm simply pointing out that these images are *clearly* historical. yes, i recall my mother and her friends have 29 one more time parties for years. they mourned turning thirty. and i recall the commercial about being over the hill at 25. nonetheless, i grew up to believe that the thirties and forties would be the best time of my life -- in all aspects. this is because *culture* doens't operate like some sort of monolithic opressive machine --there are contradictions, fissures, gaps, social movemnts, complexity, the media, etc. but let's not imagine that "attractive for much longer than they used to be" magically appeaed on the scence or that it is somehow the result of greater enligtenment. this phenom surely has to do with changed dating/marriage/familial patterns which has much to do with work. it surely also has to do with the fact that we live longer. surely has to do with higher divorce rates. and oh let's not forget the baby boomers to whom advertisers cater still, no? that last one is very important to what we are talking about here: *representations* [not individual experiences or relations to those represenations] and since we're talking representatons of bodies, -then we can look at holly wood and ask about how many roles there are for women in their 40s/50s/60s? [i think i wanted to scream the summer of 98 ifi had to see one more trailer for flick with a 60 yr lead male and a 25 yr old lead female!] and, ange might appreciate this. zizek might remind us to ask ourselves what the "i work out at the gym for my health, not because i'm conceited and victim to the media" line is doing for us. sorry to harp on this. i happen to be doing some research for someone which involves classifying some old photos for analysis [a sociology of photography]. i'm thoroughly fascinated by the changes in body type over the past century. so, it got me to looking more carefully at older television programs/films and, again, i was fascinated particularly by the ways in which men's ideal body types have changed over the past decades. superman was a wimpy sack of cheese by today's standards i'm with ehrenreich on these sorts of things -- all of this plays quite nicely into the consumption needs of the economy. speaking of hot numbers, but oh boy, i stumbled over B;s pic at DSA and wooo woo she looks good in that pic! i'm not one who believe that beauty standards are a priori oppressive. in fact, i hated that sort of feminism so much that i refuse to wear anything by heels when i worked with other campus feminist. just to piss em off. [identity politics is good for narcissistic delights] nothing wrong with health. but i'll have to say that i was so freaked out by it when i was a kid that i took to limiting my calorie intake to 600 cl a day and running two hours at least. if i ate more than 600 cal. then i went biking or swimming or what have you. completely screwed up my metabolism. fortunately i didn't do the binge and purge thing as a lot of my friends did. it was a regular club. get together on friday nights, binge out on all the foods that they denied themselves, get drunk and eliminate it from your system. then their were the girls who used laxatives and ipecac syrup, etc. kelley, who must go nap b/c i was working all night again -------------------------

Oooooops, just lost a few hours worth of work, a 130K compilation (nov 99); I had stuck it in Kelley222 instead of, as I thought erroneously, in Kelley22; bloody chaos here in the cellar of the law faculty UvA today anyway; wednesday around noon is busiest at all faculties, students try pile in here on stampeedy waves (whereas about 3/4's worth of the opening hours long, these 30-odd computers run away uselessly, without users); then the software to help software skills malfunctions more often than not, is misleading and plain wrong, etc. Today a cute freshman law studentette came and heaved big sighs till I helped her as best I could (since the most rudimentary skills of library and computer use were foreign to her I had an easy job; the depth of her decolette made my head spin in quite other ways than Kelley's verbal virtuosity though the subject was about the same, all of november 99 is full of gender raps); she showed some interested in my work in turn. However the bloody mayem causes one to break focus and do things undoublechecked sometimes

More posts (on aspects on and across the gender divide) (from november 99): Kelley2.htm 118K prfr format

Oh by the way; before I forget (I didn't hit the one single post with the ref in it while ploughing through november this second time today just now): the only substantial file at a site with 99% 'underconstructed' links;
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