Ktismatics

18 October 2007

Decipher It Till It Disappears

Filed under: Fiction, Reflections — ktismatics @ 8:27 am

When we were living in Antibes our daughter went to school with an American girl whose parents were missionaries to “post-Christian” France. The girl’s mother — I’ll call her Mary — writes what she calls literary fiction but which to my tastes seems more like adolescent Christian chick lit. Anyhow, as I was reading her first published novel I got to a wedding scene that seemed to call out for psychoanalytic interpretation. So I sent Mary an email, parts of which I excerpt here:

Maranatha loves [her father’s brother] Zane but killed him, or at least took away his potency (= psychic castration?). She hates Georgeanne, who is a competitor for Zane’s affection. On her way to the wedding she ruins her dress. She goes home, finds her mother’s white dress, and wears it to the wedding. She looks like a bride; she looks like her mother. Zane’s getting married; Zane loved Maranatha’s mother. Maranatha is twice doubled as Zane’s bride here: as Geogreanne, and as her own mother who should have been Zane’s bride.

The wedding march plays a few times but still no Georgeanne — maybe this twice-doubled girl will be the one to walk down the aisle after all? Alas, no: Zane has to marry Georgeanne, who is just a substitute for the “real” bride, who is Maranatha’s mother, who is also Maranatha. Georgeanne’s father died too: Georgeanne = Maranatha. From the back Georgeanne looks like a princess (= Maranatha). Maranatha fantasizes about the wedding cake: she becomes Georgeanne, Zane becomes [her black friend] Charlie.

The wedding is over, the cake is cut, Maranatha gets bloody stains on the front of her wedding dress, to the skin, “forever stained.” She straddles the bar, Charlie holds her by the handlebars, they nearly kiss. All very intense, very sexual, very Freudian-Lacanian.

Then there’s this old lady, Mabel. With her good eye Mabel watches the wedding, then turns and sees Maranatha as the double of her mother. Maranatha wanted to die (= her dead mother). Mabel’s spare glass eye rolls onto the floor: it’s staring at Maranatha from under the pew. She picks up the artificial eye with an aritificial flower. And now I recall Freud’s essay on “The Uncanny,” in which he recounts one of the Tales of Hoffman, the one about the Sandman, who throws sand in children’s eyes until they jump out of their heads bleeding. This too is a story of doublings, of a dead father, of a wedding gone awry. There are artificial eyes. The eye, says Freud, is the castrated phallus of the father. (Maranatha’s flower: isn’t it the female genitalia that grasps the phallus?) The Sandman is a story is built around themes of uncanniness. Freud elaborates:

These themes are all concerned with the phenomenon of “the double,” which appears in every shape and in every degree of development. Thus we have characters who are considered to be identical because they look alike. This relation is accentuated by mental processes leaping from one of these characters to another — by what we should call telepathy –, so that the one possesses knowledge, feelings, and experience in common with the other. Or it is marked by the fact that the subject identifies himself with someone else, so that he is in doubt as to which his self is, or substitutes the extraneous self for his own. In other words, there is a doubling, dividing, and interchanging of the self. And finally there is the constant recurrence of the same thing — the repetition of the same features or character-traits or vicissitudes, of the same crimes, or even the same names through several consecutive generations.

So I’m having a good time with this. Authorial intent? Who knows? Am I really a Freudian? When I read an event like Zane’s wedding I am. Over the top? You decide.

So what is Mary’s authorial response to my analysis?

Wow. That was a lot to digest. I loved your analysis! I have no idea if I thought through all you highlighted here (perhaps you’re making me smarter than I am), but I found it fascinating. When I write a novel, I feel like I’m translating what I see. The story plays itself out in front of me, which makes for very visual books (and hopefully a screenplay someday).

Yesterday a side conversation at Cultural Parody Center touched briefly on Sam Shepard. Jonquille said this about one of Shepard’s plays:

But ‘True West” is great and I’m sure Arpege Mess [nickname for another blog personality] could decipher it till it disappears. That’s what I loathe about her and traxus’s endless hermaneutics of whatever–the work disappears once it is touched by their corrupt hands…and even then they keep going… Clysmatics [that’s me] lub dat, though.

You may recall from yesterday’s post that Traxus and I engaged in a lengthy “deciphering” of David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises. Erdman wondered whether after all that interpretation I actually liked the movie (I did, very much). While I was watching I pretty much settled into the cinematic world that Cronenberg had established, not really thinking about the critical-analytic matrix in which it could be embedded. Not until a couple people wrote blog posts about the movie did I begin thinking about it in theoretical terms, and not until I had occasion to think about differences between Lacan and Deleuze did I really feel inclined to delve into serious deciphering. Once I got started, though, and in response to Traxus’s contrasting views, I found it easy to continue — one idea led to another, which brought me back to other scenes in the film, which triggered another theoretical elaboration, and so on. I stuck entirely to psychoanalytic constructs, never even touching on issues of aesthetics or politics or cinematic technique. I see Jonquille’s point: it would be possible to subject the film with so much deciphering that the film itself disappears. It’s like the photographer in the late great Antonioni’s Blow-Up trying to figure out what happened at a crime scene, only to find the scene itself transformed into an abstract matrix of photographic pixels. So if I were to watch Eastern Promises again, would my appreciation be enhanced or stifled by my having subjected it to conscious scrutiny? Would my own fiction writing become grander or more pretentious if I were to psychoanalyze my own text as I was writing it? I already do it to an extent, but certainly there are writers — like Mary — who cultivate an unconscious, non-reflective writing style. I responded to her reply thusly:

Freud presumes that a lot of our imaginings take shape beneath the level of conscious awareness. As a writer of fiction you’d hope to be able to tap into this unconscious source of creativity. Lots of writers go through lots of liquor trying to get to that level. I’m also aware that my own unconscious is shaped in part by images and ideas presented by others. Even Freud’s discussion of the uncanny is based on an analysis of Hoffman’s short story — a crafted text rather than the spontaneous verbalizations of his patients. Hitchcock movies are great examples of Freud’s death-and-doubling theme. I think especially of Vertigo, where the Jimmy Stewart character doesn’t find someone who just happens to remind him of a dead girl — she really is the same girl. So when Hitchcock creates this story is it a work of creativity, a manifestation of his own subconscious self, or the unconscious influence of outside voices like Hoffman’s and Freud’s? Anyhow, I thought the wedding scene was particularly powerful and overflowing with meaning.

And Mary said:

Maybe I’m a dry drunk! I don’t really know how to explain it other than I’m happiest when I’m writing stories. And I can tell when I’m in the zone. It’s a thrill, really.

As if I stand in awe of her creative genius. As if I’ve never written any fiction. Mary asks me to tell my wife that she’s been reading her blog — she never said anything about reading my blog. I read her book; she never asked to read my book. So that was the end of our little email exchange. And now that my blog is dead I can put it up here.

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130 Comments »

  1. Having got some way into one of your books, and found it fascinating, i did notice your tendency to analyse your creation as you are going on that creates some rather interesting effects in the story line. I think you write really well and get very involved both in your initial story and in this analysis, then to break out of the cycle you make anachronistic leaps which should be unsettling but aren’t. One effect is that the persona also becomes very complex.

    If you ever get to go into one of your creations with an empathetic and good (=ruthless) editor, I think you would both be surprised by how easily very good could become excellent.

    Comment by samlcarr — 18 October 2007 @ 11:20 am

  2. Oh, so you’re saying it’s not presently excellent, is that it, Sam? I gave myself about a “B” mark when I finished it. I would definitely like to hear your thoughts, because there are parts I’m not persuaded about myself. Maybe email. You can wait till your finished, but you might not get that far. So, any intermediate thoughts would be great.

    Comment by ktismatics — 18 October 2007 @ 11:25 am

  3. There’s a number of ways in which something can be excellent. I think with “The Stations”, (so far) it has a lot to do with what you are demanding from the reader. I frankly think that you expect a bit too much from us! I’m completely incapable of reading anything that bores me, and I’m enjoying the read, so excellence is already there, it’s just that it may not be too easy to appreciate. You have to think of we your readers as a bit doltish and dish out stuff accordingly!

    Comment by samlcarr — 18 October 2007 @ 12:56 pm

  4. But Sam, you’re not the least bit doltish. Is it near the end of Part 2, with the two chapters about the Outlier? If so, skip over those to the last chapter of Part 2. Or maybe the last chapter of Part 3? Again, move on to Part 4. Or is the obscurity more pervasive?

    Comment by ktismatics — 18 October 2007 @ 2:17 pm

  5. An old friend asked to read The Stations; I said of course and gave her a printed copy. She read it in a week. When we met over wine to discuss it, she mostly wanted to know how I came to write it, whether I was Prop, etc. Nothing about the book itself. I asked if she liked it; she said she “wasn’t qualified” to express an opinion. Now this is a very bright person I’m talking about. The difficulty for me is that, when I was writing this book, I too felt like I was “in the zone,” that I was living inside this fictional reality as well as looking at it from the outside with sufficient objectivity to describe it. Maybe my friend Mary the novelist sees things that other people can readily see, whereas I’m not that fortunate.

    Comment by ktismatics — 18 October 2007 @ 2:53 pm

  6. Well, be patient. I will finish reading the whole thing before bombarding you with more teasing comments.
    The ‘in the zone’ shows but so do the places where you become more self analytical, not that that’s bad, the shift in the persona is intuitive and the essence of the persona doesn’t change as such, it’s just the perspective. But, let me finish…
    On the whole though, I just get the feeling that you need a good editor. All the ingredients of a great story are there, it’s the mechanics that need work. Someone who knows where you’re going and knows how to help you get there.

    Comment by samlcarr — 18 October 2007 @ 3:36 pm

  7. Early on I had a friend who writes teleplays in her spare time read Part 1. She thought Mrs. Dervain sounded unnatural; I said that’s the way she talks. She thought Sullivan’s speech in the last chapter should be turned into something like a website, which seemed odd to me since I thought the Fellowship converging on his house was a good thing… Part of “the zone” for me IS self-analytical — or at least it’s the narrator’s self-analysis. Anyhow, please carry on and we’ll converse when you finish.

    Comment by ktismatics — 18 October 2007 @ 4:08 pm

  8. Stimulated by your remarks I went back looking for mechanical problems. I found myself again sort of fascinated by parts of it, especially this time the chapter in Part 3 where Mrs. Dervain describes her meetings with Miguel. I still have to say it’s one of the best American novels I’ve read in the last few years — even if I do give it only a “B.”

    Comment by ktismatics — 18 October 2007 @ 5:24 pm

  9. Oh, another thing. Part of my “deciphering” of Cronenberg’s movie entailed a bit of “script doctoring.” I thought one of the twists in the plot was kind of lame and could be improved upon. Even without this bit of editing, though, I thought it was a very good movie. And I suspect my editing job would have made the ending more to my liking but perhaps less so for most other people’s tastes.

    Comment by ktismatics — 18 October 2007 @ 5:39 pm

  10. FYI, I did enjoy the movie. Very pleasurable. Didn’t think about theory once while watching it.

    I think your script doctoring would have made it a more naturalistic and ‘believable’ movie, but only if other elements were changed to fit.

    If we talked only about, say, camera technique enough (and I thought I was talking about aesthetics, politics, and psychoanalysis, all together), wouldn’t that still make the film ‘itself’ disappear?

    Isn’t the ‘film itself’ just the experience of it, the sense of wholeness, immersion, and/or engagement with the film? This experience doesn’t exist anywhere, it’s only possible while watching it — I think outside of this experience the thought of the film only as ‘itself’ isn’t very satisfying. But then I don’t have a problem getting ‘back into’ a film or a novel, no matter how much I’ve talked about it.

    Comment by traxus4420 — 18 October 2007 @ 6:44 pm

  11. parenthetical should be: “and I thought I WAS talking about aesthetics, politics…..”

    Comment by traxus4420 — 18 October 2007 @ 6:45 pm

  12. You did talk about aesthetics and politics, Traxus, especially in your excellent post, but in more measured doses compared to the relatively heavier psychoanalytic treatment in which I indulged in commentary. I agree that it’s possible to re-immerse oneself in the film experience even after an extended session of analysis, in the same way that it would be possible to live one’s life even after subjecting it to psychoanalysis. Also, while the texts and films disappear or disassemble themselves — that’s part of what analysis is for — the demolition doesn’t last forever. The analytic experience could make one more tentative and distant, or it can add some appreciation of depth of flavor — or disappointment in its absence. Analysis is an off-line engagement, but the analysis itself becomes its own reward, taking on a momentum of its own. It’s possible to live inside the analysis, to get in the zone with it. I think a lot of writers are reluctant to subject their own work to analysis for fear that it will stifle the unconscious flow. But analysis too draws on unconscious sources — it need not be a heavily controlled intellectualization.

    I agree that the script-doctoring would have required at least a bit of change in the rest of the text, but not much. And I wouldn’t have done it for naturalistic reasons, but rather to move into post-structuralist Deleuzian territory. But we’ve disagreed on this already. Put it this way: I think maybe Cronenberg is overly dependent on the surprise ending. Naturalism in the sense of trying to follow out the trajectories already established in the story I’m in favor of. I should get back to your metaporn story at some point, which also relies on a trick to make its impact, and which Jonquille seemed to have passed over in his dismissal of your f***ing language cleanup. I thought it was clever in a way that Cronenberg’s ending was not.

    Comment by ktismatics — 18 October 2007 @ 7:14 pm

  13. “Isn’t the ‘film itself’ just the experience of it, the sense of wholeness, immersion, and/or engagement with the film? This experience doesn’t exist anywhere, it’s only possible while watching it — I think outside of this experience the thought of the film only as ‘itself’ isn’t very satisfying.”

    No, it isn’t any of just that, but you do not know how to do it otherwise, so continue as you were. But that does explain why your own talk of films is often boring–it conveys nothing of the sensation of the film and removes it into another context which has nothing whatever to do with the original. It makes it your own, and it’s up to you whether you can make that interesting or not. At this point, you are not doing so.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 19 October 2007 @ 6:40 pm

  14. clysmatics i have not seen this film but i can identify with your perception of cronenberg’s endings as predictably ”perverse” by now. it started somewhere with the scanners, which ends with a sexually and politically ambiguous image of the hero now populated by another personality and in all likelihood also gender. after that CRASH ended with the image of a couple still copulating on car crashes, a highly ambiguous image as they might have died or conquered death.

    cronenberg’s anal fascinations with various protrusions in the spine speak of a certain latent gayness which i wish he would once finally exercise in reality, instead of telling us about his anal desires repeatedly. he takes that bi-curious position: i just like to watch, and maybe put my cock in a glory hole.

    i must reiterate that my hero david lynch is the one who’s still cumming up with innovative stuff, stuff that isn’t merely queer, but deeply and profoundly OTHER. as i just saw on the DVD documentary, a french critic said that his work is able to conjure up a COSMOS.

    well cronenberg’s post-the fly work doesn’t do that for me anymore, clysmatics.

    Comment by parodycenter — 19 October 2007 @ 6:40 pm

  15. and clysmatics’ i think you share this intellectual ambivalence with cronenberg, only he doesn’t experience problems marrying clinical practice with high falluting art which i think is also the road that you should take, instead of anally restraining yourself and feeling this pressure to CHOOSE, which is artificial because this is an age of mixages, combinations and mergers.

    Comment by parodycenter — 19 October 2007 @ 6:53 pm

  16. ‘after that CRASH ended with the image of a couple still copulating on car crashes, a highly ambiguous image as they might have died or conquered death.’

    But this film, including the ending, is at least interesting for self-destructive types. What is of no interest whatever is ‘Dead Ringers’, ruined by refusal of gayness, declamation of Siamese-twinism gone mobile-phone, and Jeremy Irons once again pretending to transcend his loathsome persona. He is only good when the persona matches the role, as in ‘Reversal of Fortune’ or ‘Betrayal’, and this is not true of all actors. If it were, this would mean that Joan Crawford had never made a good film–but she did know how to do period pulp well, although too stupid and vulgar to know it. I am speaking of ‘Flamingo Road’ and ‘Mildred Pierce’, but she is mostly vain and artificial.

    I must say she does add just the right jarring note to THIS discussion somehow.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 19 October 2007 @ 7:01 pm

  17. Isn’t it satisfying to see your profundities immediately displayed, instead of having to wait for the EU blog censorship committee to pass judgment on your comments?

    Comment by ktismatics — 19 October 2007 @ 7:11 pm

  18. I was thinking about this tendency for commentary to exceed the length of the artwork. Maybe it’s a continuation of the split between the Torah and the Talmud, the Scripture and the Rabbis who interpreted what it means. Same with the legislators and the lawyers. It’s a kind of Hebraic tradition to replace inspired text with detailed observations.

    Comment by ktismatics — 19 October 2007 @ 7:15 pm

  19. How does spinal protrusion signal latent gayness — the object penetrating from behind? This back attack was prominent in Eastern Promises, where naked Viggo is sliced repeatedly across the back by the leather-clad Chechens.

    Comment by ktismatics — 19 October 2007 @ 7:18 pm

  20. Jonquille except for Genevieve Bujold, everyone in DEAD RINGS is already dead, but they keep talking. It’s awfully boring, really. And I share your distaste for the pompous Irons, who’s been typecast as the fatally attractive top dad while he’s in fact a total bottom. There was also an anal subplot about three ovaries or something like that, quite predictably.

    Comment by parodycenter — 19 October 2007 @ 7:20 pm

  21. How does spinal protrusion signal latent gayness — the object penetrating from behind? This back attack was prominent in Eastern Promises, where naked Viggo is sliced repeatedly across the back by the leather-clad Chechens.

    I think it reflects Cronenberg’s anal desire in inverted form, or something like that. You know how these Leftists are obsessed with excitable assholes as an alternative to the Phallic order. Which is ok, because an asshole can be excited. Only I wish he would do it instead of telling me about it through various high-fallutin philosophies about what is essentially the necessity for Cronenerg to either fuck his wife in the ass, or get himself a good bottom.

    Comment by parodycenter — 19 October 2007 @ 7:23 pm

  22. “It’s a kind of Hebraic tradition to replace inspired text with detailed observations”

    Whoever does it, it should be put in its subordinate position of bottom…

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 19 October 2007 @ 7:24 pm

  23. Now that I think about it, Cronenberg is a bit like that guy in PULP FICTION played by Christopher Walken I believe who walks around with asshole stories the whole time, with a slightly kinky expression on his face.

    Comment by parodycenter — 19 October 2007 @ 7:30 pm

  24. Did you see Naked Lunch? I haven’t, but I wonder whether Cronenberg deals with anything explicitly about Burroughs’ sexual preferences. It was a weird-ass book, that’s for sure.

    Comment by ktismatics — 19 October 2007 @ 7:32 pm

  25. Naked Lunch is torturously existentialist and po-faced much like DEAD RINGERS. I like Cronenberg when he merges Greek tragedy with his clinical psychology, and his best movies for me are THE DEAD ZONE and THE FLY. VIDEODROME of course is a masterpiece of grand proportions, something that cannot be critisized because it’s utterly brilliant. I quite liked the Moebius strip in the previous one… what was the title… I saw it in Paris and it was creepy as well as true. HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, yes.

    Comment by parodycenter — 19 October 2007 @ 7:35 pm

  26. I haven’t seen enough of the Cronenbergian oeuvre, having missed most of the early works. Videodrome, for example, I know nothing about. The Fly, though, was loathesomely delicious. Jeff Goldblum is always pretty much the same character, but he’s good at it. Beneath the nerdy civilized exterior always lurks the omnivorous and insatiable insect. There was some movie awhile back where giant insects disguised themselves as humans in New York or some other big city — pretty good, but I don’t remember what it was called or who did it.

    Comment by ktismatics — 19 October 2007 @ 7:40 pm

  27. The movie was MIMIC by Guillermo del Torro, whose PANS LABYRINTH you have to see because it’s great.

    Videodrome is landmark because it introduced McLuhan’s theories and prophesized 30 years in advance that the media image will end up penetrating into reality and that we will ultimately die and be reborn as ”the new flesh”. There is all kinds of great stuff in it, not the least of which a sultry Deborah Harry, if there is an actress for whom I have no remarks, only adulation, it’s her. A link was also established between SM and TV which nowadays is as de rigeur as Big Brother.

    Comment by parodycenter — 19 October 2007 @ 7:43 pm

  28. Dejan, you have a great memory for these things, and of course a quick and sure interpretive eye. I liked Labyrinth a lot, but thought I hadn’t seen anything else by Del Toro. Yes, Mimic was a very civilized and theoretically penetrating treatment of giant bugs. Deborah Harry — some movie where she was a waitress that I liked, but I’ve forgotten that one too.

    Comment by ktismatics — 19 October 2007 @ 7:48 pm

  29. Heavy, was the movie with Deborah Harry as a waitress. First feature film by James Mangold, who has gone on to a pretty successful mainstream Hollywood career subsequently.

    Comment by ktismatics — 19 October 2007 @ 7:55 pm

  30. The fly, clysmatics, was a movie about a man who paradoxically becomes MORE HUMAN by becoming an animal. I found this enchanting through and through. And there is an unforgettable scene where Goldblum, now in an advanced state of decay, asks Geena to leave, because he might hurt her.

    I just saw a Cronenbergian movie SLITHER which I reviewed on my site shows you his influence is very strong, he is still a major mind in the pretty mindless movie business.

    Comment by parodycenter — 19 October 2007 @ 8:00 pm

  31. Once when I was at university I stayed awake practically nonstop for a week studying for exams, writing papers, etc. (I hadn’t done any work all semester). I remember feeling like I could really get something done in life if I could keep it up indefinitely. I had a sense of transcending my humanity in a kind of Goldblumian manic rush of insight.

    Comment by ktismatics — 19 October 2007 @ 8:08 pm

  32. clysmatics don’t be silly it’s a scientifically proven fact that talent doesn’t wither away with age. you might get SLOWER, but that can work to your advantage, especially in writing. get some viagra and stop that dysphoric trip.

    Comment by parodycenter — 19 October 2007 @ 8:28 pm

  33. Ktismatics: it would be possible to subject the film with so much deciphering that the film itself disappears.

    I blogged in recent years about a happy Xmas time with family. While enjoying the “climax” of the celebration (the opening of Xmas presents) I noticed that there seemed to be no one without some sort of camera or electronic recording device. My conclusion was that we had lost the moment to the endless traces of electronic imaging. We “captured” the moment, but in the process of our capturing the moment we also saw it slip away. The strange result is that the moment we captured was really no moment at all….

    Comment by Erdman — 20 October 2007 @ 8:55 am

  34. “My conclusion was that we had lost the moment to the endless traces of electronic imaging. ”

    You did, in a sense. In both of my trips to Tahiti, I refused to take a camera. People said I was being selfish, of course. That’s how low sensibilities have gone. Mine, however, were not so low–I gave no shit whatever what they thought, and as a result, the memories become more internal than they do when you photographed them. A few years earlier, it had been gloriously perfect in Los Angeles, and I took 12 rolls of film. I can therefore remember certain images consciously as a result of looking at these, but they do not well up after having been seemingly forgotten, in the same way as if you refused the camera and were determined that you look at rare things head-on. Especially in a trip so far and expensive that you don’t know if you’ll get there again. You HAVE to do that kind of thing for you and you alone. I ended up writing about it, so people can put that in their pipes and fuck it.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 11:17 am

  35. “No, it isn’t any of just that”

    now you are obligated to share your higher wisdom, or i’ll have to assume you’re just playing that ‘infinity + 1’ game i remember from elementary school….and come to think of it, church.

    “But that does explain why your own talk of films is often boring–it conveys nothing of the sensation of the film and removes it into another context which has nothing whatever to do with the original. It makes it your own,”

    no, i’m not interested in making movies ‘my own’ by writing reviews of them anymore, or by using critical blurbs to achieve some dyspeptic version of Aht in the manner of a Comrade Fisher. in eastern promises the sensation of the film is just an extension of its structuralism — clean, satisfying, but undercut by veiled irony, like watching a virtuoso get up on stage and perform Hanon — though as everyone here is saying, even the suggestion of a break or intentional inconsistency in the form has grown sort of rote by now.

    anyway, i just happen to write about what i find interesting at the time. i suspect sensation only seems interesting after watching a movie you either really loved or were disgusted by. otherwise it just goes without saying.

    “cronenberg’s anal fascinations with various protrusions in the spine speak of a certain latent gayness which i wish he would once finally exercise in reality, instead of telling us about his anal desires repeatedly. he takes that bi-curious position: i just like to watch, and maybe put my cock in a glory hole.”

    this is pretty accurate, and it seems like the two most recent just go further in this direction (though it’s not just with the spine). maybe he’ll come out the other end? i have no idea what else he has left to do in the realm of not-quite-parodies of dull genre plots. ktismatics, if you haven’t seen the old cronenberg it’s really about time, especially considering that dream you just blogged about.

    Comment by traxus4420 — 20 October 2007 @ 3:41 pm

  36. “i have no idea what else he has left to do in the realm of not-quite-parodies of dull genre plots.”

    I thought it was an entertaining movie, skillfully and beautifully rendered. I detected no parody or veiled virtuosic irony; rather, I thought it was in fact virtuosic, played straight. Perhaps, inasmuch as you’re familiar with the earlier Cronenberg movies, you wonder why he would be doing this sort of thing when plenty of other talented but less “bent” directors could have taken the gig. I wonder if one has to infer irony and parody: that Cronenberg plays it straight is evidence of tongue-in-cheekness, the apparent absence of irony itself being evidence of its hidden presence. Whereas if it was Joe Hollywood running the show you’d just let it be what it appears to be. Maybe Cronenberg just found himself fascinated by the story and let it play out as it was fated to do. Or maybe my sensibilities just aren’t subtly tuned enough.

    So you think my dream has already been done by Cronenberg?

    Comment by ktismatics — 20 October 2007 @ 4:46 pm

  37. “now you are obligated to share your higher wisdom,”

    Not obligated, but let’s just say generous–something you are decidedly not.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 4:52 pm

  38. “cronenberg’s anal fascinations with various protrusions in the spine speak of a certain latent gayness which i wish he would once finally exercise in reality, instead of telling us about his anal desires repeatedly”

    I don’t care about anal in particular, but he is quite explicit and lingeringly so when James Spader and the other guy make out in ‘Crash’. It’s all meant to be random and rootless and somewhat hateful–as if Ballard were somehow about ‘truth’–but some of the other images, like when Holly Hunter is suddenly finger-fucked in the car by the same guy who makes out with Spader, it’s even worse, and so is that inflatable blonde, Kara whatever-her-name is.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 4:58 pm

  39. “i’ll have to assume you’re just playing that ‘infinity + 1′ game i remember from elementary school….and come to think of it, church.”

    Assume all you want, Childie.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 4:58 pm

  40. “anyway, i just happen to write about what i find interesting at the time.”

    That goes without saying.

    “i suspect sensation only seems interesting after watching a movie you either really loved or were disgusted by. otherwise it just goes without saying.”

    You know only about your own solipsism. Don’t pretend to know anything at all about sensation in a ‘general sense’ or about anyone else’s experience with sensation. You may know something about sensation, but it doesn’t show in your writing about ‘the sense of wholeness, immersion, and/or engagement with the film? This experience doesn’t exist anywhere, it’s only possible while watching it ‘

    Of course, there you arrive at the commodity-fetish so you can hate Marxistically and Arpegianly what you’ve just enjoyed sucking the hell out of. You describe a film as totally circumscribed, and it is that, of course, for you. You keep insisting that your own experiences are those that would apply to other viewers. This is for obvious reasons of ass-peddling.

    Such ludicrous talk is a way of living in a state of total tension at all times, because you’ve learned that that’s what it takes to be successfully middle-class and still be standing in case the Marxists ‘win’.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 5:05 pm

  41. Traxus what is a ”dyspeptic version of Aht” ?

    Clysmatics visually speaking VERTIGO already had a kind of a Moebius strip in it, which you can notice in the scene where Jimmy Stewart is remembering his time with Novak, and in one moment you see Carlotta Valdes’s portrait SUPERIMPOSED. The two layers of the Moebius strip are superimposed: one sees through the other. But these modern post-Philip Dick updates including Cronenberg (A History of violence) go further in the direction of hauntology. Something else, a third element, comes out of the overlapping, and in line with transcendental materialism, it’s somwhere in the spectral dimension. Kamarad Fisher has written about this abundantly in several places. All these new movies they have this quality where you sense that the image is neither present nor absent, it has a slightly psychotic, off-key quality, perchance that of rotoscoping as you encounter it in Linklater. This elusive presence is the ghost: the portal to the fourth dimension. Already in VIDEODROME Cronenberg predicted that the ghost would jump out of the telly, and I have used that famous image from the film for my parody center icon.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 5:10 pm

  42. I don’t care about anal in particular, but he is quite explicit and lingeringly so when James Spader and the other guy make out in ‘Crash’.

    Spader throughout his ouevre, and I must admit the guy is hot, has been the kind of bottom who shows you that the bottom is the one in control; already in Sex Lies and Videotape he exuded a sexuality that creeps up on you in a passive, subdued format, but grips you fatally. In CRASH he totally dominates the proverbial leader of the group, the Elias Koteas character, that is to say he completely turns Koteas’s world upside down. He’s essentially been playing that role ever since, and I loved his performance in WOLF (Mike Nichols) for example.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 5:19 pm

  43. Jonquille, what;s wrong with Deborah Kara Unger? She is very hot I think.

    And Clysmatics in VIDEODROME the main character was an anally sadistic James Woods, producer of smut movies, who ends up invaginated by the Videodrome-signal; a vaginal slit opens in his stomach, namely, into which he inserts video tapes. Henceforth things begin to pour out of his ass, figuratively speaking, as he hallucinates gay masochistic fantasies with a Phallic Deborah Harry coercing abusing and whipping him, and in the end he is imploded, quite literally, as his viscera bursts out of the television set, a kind of an anal orgasm.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 5:30 pm

  44. which makes me think about several things: does capitalism sort of invaginate men, is a violent Phallic form of a matriarchate, which is why chicks with dicks are so en vougue lately…

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 5:33 pm

  45. “Jonquille, what;s wrong with Deborah Kara Unger? She is very hot I think.”

    Nothing, she was good in that scene, I just found the SENSATION as I watched it and the SENSATION as I remember it quite repulsive.

    Agree Spader was stupendous in ‘Wolf’.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 5:38 pm

  46. Vertigo is one great movie. Way back at the beginning of this post I wondered about the interrelationship of theory and fiction, where Freud generated his theory of the uncanny double from a Hoffman short story. Hitchcock created this uncanny doubling effect so often — was it the way his own cramped English Catholic unconscious played itself out, or was he following Freud’s script? I think surely there’s an interplay, and that Hitchcock’s art was enhanced by Freud’s theorizing about the unconscious.

    A History of Violence we haven’t talked about — the haunting effect you see there is what? Viggo’s family flaw? Or the human species’ violently adaptive substrate that haunts all civilization?

    Comment by ktismatics — 20 October 2007 @ 5:39 pm

  47. “does capitalism sort of invaginate men” — I think Traxus was making this case in his post on Eastern Promises, that men are turned into something like money, willing to be valued in the exchanges among capital owners. Maybe subjectivity acquires a kind of fetish value over and above exchange, whereby attaining dominance over a man is worth something, especially if you can WATCH the subjection.

    Comment by ktismatics — 20 October 2007 @ 5:46 pm

  48. “which makes me think about several things: does capitalism sort of invaginate men, is a violent Phallic form of a matriarchate, which is why chicks with dicks are so en vougue lately…”

    Of course NOT! Whatever evils capitalism performs, it is not the invagination of men, which is precisely what Socialism, at least until it becomes successful as something it isn’t, as in Russia, where you get old-fashioned Primitive Phalluses, the sort you could carve and worship in some sort of Comanche or Apache PRIMITIVE religion–in the cases of Stalin and Yeltsin before the dypsomania won out, at least.

    Chicks with dicks is not especially popular. Some porn sites have TV’s with fake huge pricks.

    “that men are turned into something like money, willing to be valued in the exchanges among capital owners. Maybe subjectivity acquires a kind of fetish value over and above exchange, whereby attaining dominance over a man is worth something, especially if you can WATCH the subjection.”

    Of course it’s like that some of the time. Where’ve you been all your life? The fact is, the exchanges that are not ‘money’ in capitalism are quite as sincere as the ones which exist in Socialist dreams, because, as dreams, they are simply bad Capitalist exchanges. I mean, just WHO are the stingiest of all capitalists? Not necessarily even Republicans, who are shitty enough. It’s Marxists, who bombard everyone with guilt about poor people, who most certainly are not to be helped by religious charities if it’s not abstract enough for their disroyal Hagnesses. Socialists love suffering people who are very far away, and they are all furious that Catholic Charities does much more for poor people in South America than some truckload of Marxist assholes like the
    ….’Tomb’…[spray some ‘Deneuve Pussy Perfume, Dejan, it is ridiculous to pretend that pronouncing the association of arpegians did not smell…]

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 5:55 pm

  49. I haven’t seen the promises Clysmatics, but for example in RUSSIAN ARK there is a third presence in the film, suggested by a ceaselessly floating camera. In VERTIGO you don’t have that level yet, not formally at least, where the film itself would take up the form of a Moebius strip. That is the new moment of 21st century aesthetics I think which one should pursue if one wants to be a hip filmmaker these days.

    My father is obsessed with VERTIGO and he is slightly older than you, but somewhere in the same age group. I think for your generation it was something like MULHOLLAND DRIVE became for mine.

    So having seen it 123 times at least, with my dad and independently, I must say that retrospectively, I am annoyed by the petty burgeoisism, contained in Hitchcock’s orally sadistic fantasies having to do with his Victorian lust and fear of ample and statuesque women with big tits. But this could simply be because these psychological types were more en vogue in the sixties than they are now.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 5:55 pm

  50. “So having seen it 123 times at least, with my dad and independently, ”

    Is that literally true? And have you seen other films scores of times?

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 5:57 pm

  51. Jonqulle I see your point but on the other hand don’t you think that the modern male in capitalism is increasingly coerced into playing the roles of wimmin? Which grant you is definitely under the influence of socialism, but Jonquille first of all the system we’re living in is no longer the capitalism of the 1960s, it is a blend of capitalism and socialism into a rather malignant form of samoupravljanje or if you want control society. I am talking about that passive, bottom type of aggressivity which wimmin share with bottoms. Leninuni is an interventionist socialist, like the majority of British labor, and this is why I don’t buy his Marxism, while Le Cobra is some kind of a sentimental Communist I’m not sure because Le Cobra doesn’t declare her political positions to her friends.

    I like Traxus’s hauntological idea that masculinity is being turned into money, and it’s indeed similar to what I had in mind.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 6:00 pm

  52. Where’ve you been all your life? – Jonquille I hereby pronounce that you’ve earned your second Parody Oscar nomination this year.

    re all furious that Catholic Charities does much more for poor people in South America than some truckload of Marxist assholes like the
    ….’Tomb’

    Jonquille the KARITAS helps in order to maintain structural poverty, you really should know that. The Master throws little crumbs off the table for the puppy, just to keep it not hungry enough that he keeps coming back for more. And this is exactly the same that Marxist bean bags accomplish, as well as petitions for the cessation of the suffering of d pipl of Haiti. These phenomenae are not as different as you portray it here, Jonquille. On the other hand, you’re absolutely right, the KARITAS bean bags at least look better than the Marxist ones.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 6:06 pm

  53. “I like Traxus’s hauntological idea that masculinity is being turned into money”

    I like it too, and it’s all I’m interested in in doing!

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 6:11 pm

  54. “These phenomenae are not as different as you portray it here, Jonquille. ”

    It’s just that the KARITAS deal in such larger fucking QUANTITY! The Marxists sit around, get stoned and jabber.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 6:13 pm

  55. Is that literally true? And have you seen other films scores of times?

    My dad is a violine and viola player at the opera, but what he really wanted to be is a composer, and he studied Bernard Herrmann quite obsessively. I think Herrmann much more than Hitchcock deserves scrutinous analysis. And Jonquille you should know as a musicmaker that the form of the fugue, which appears a lot in Herrmann, is a kind of a Moebius strip formally. So that music was way ahead of its time and for me also extremely affectively gripping. There are many hauntological passages in Herrmann, tracks with a beautiful ghostly sound.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 6:16 pm

  56. I like it too, and it’s all I’m interested in in doing!

    You SLUT.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 6:18 pm

  57. So DO you watch certain films scores and hundreds of times. I’ve always thought this a kind of sickness, having known a ‘Star Wars’ freak who clapped at the end of the 87th time he saw it, which coincided with the 1st and only time I saw it, and which followed a description on the street of how he’d been given a chocolate cake and then fist-fucked, and that what really mattered to him were ‘feelings.’ What followed the movie were his constantly calling me a phony and artificial, and trying to go home with me, where he planned to beat me up for condescending to him–so I left him hanging, digesting his soup into which he’d crumbled many Saltines.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 6:20 pm

  58. Jonqulle eat your cunt, baby, watching endlessly is the part of any filmmaker’s job, and the job of a composer as well, and the job of a musician, so I don’t know what you’re adumbrating now.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 6:23 pm

  59. You really do turn into a low queen sometimes. I just would like to know if you really do watch films say 30 plus times very frequently. This is not nearly always done by professionals. Some actors, for example, never see their films a single time, and producers often lose interest by the time of distribution, there’s no more action. You can be forgiven for your pathology, if you suffer from this one; God knows, with your desire to be the analyst, it’s certainly not the only one I’ve spotted. I did watch a film in 1999 perhaps 30 times, and it is a little bit like living in the film. I found it not good for me, but you needn’t be so sillily defensive.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 6:27 pm

  60. I think I am rather more cerebral than you in my approach to art, and more a director than an artist in the strict sense. Your book is written very affectively, viscerally; I could never really write like that, let alone as persuasively as you do. But I think in the movie business there two approaches come together – there are artists who feel things with their guts and analysis impedes with their creativity, and those like me or Cronenberg who approach the affective through the mind.

    My obsessive movie watching is receding because I feel that movies told me everything I needed to hear, and it’s time to tell my own stories to people. And this is what I’ve been doing with you and Clysmatics and the rest of my pathological blogofamily in the past year or so.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 6:40 pm

  61. A History of Violence we haven’t talked about — the haunting effect you see there is what? Viggo’s family flaw? Or the human species’ violently adaptive substrate that haunts all civilization?

    I will again refer you to my hero and cyberpunk icon Shaviro for the definitive take on a history of violence. The hauntological is the very substrate of that film. But yes I think you could also say society’s violence is a spectral presence that won’t go away, that keeps coming back.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 6:42 pm

  62. But yes Jonquille I sometimes wish that I had 123 cocks up my butt during the time I was watching and rewatching VERTIGO. Our generation is having a rather horrible sedentary lifestyle, plugged into the visual network, and God only knows where that will bring us in the end. I am not privy to the phenomenon, but there’s nothing I can do to change it.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 6:53 pm

  63. Yes Hitchcock was kind of a creep, and he’s always killing off women. Jimmy Stewart is the real haunting figure in Vertigo, forcing poor Kim Novak into re-enacting her own death scene and dying all over again. The buxom woman in Mulholland was almost surely there in homage to Vertigo and Kim Novak. Part of Chabert’s case against IE was that Lynch’s unanalyzed unconscious overflows with mid-American bourgeois xenophobia and mysogyny, characteristics he shares with Hitchcock. This Cronenberg movie can be indicted on the same charges, especially the clumping of all evils into Eastern Europe.

    Tonight we have Psycho cued up for family viewing, which I think was the next movie after Vertigo. I remember going to see it as a young kid with my friend down the street while the rest of his family were watching Sound of Music at another theater. Bernard Herrmann is to Hitchcock what Angelo Badalamenti is to David Lynch. So I was surprised at your enthusiasm for IE soundtrack, from which Badalamenti is entirely absent.

    Comment by ktismatics — 20 October 2007 @ 6:57 pm

  64. Well but Clysmatics the stupidity of Chabertian Marxists is that they start with the premise that the burgeoisie is abject a priori, and therefore it’s impossible that from within the burgeoisie something good could have come out. Which I doubt Marx thought himself, although I didn’t read a lotta Marx because I was put off to him forever by samoupravljanje. That she tells this while wearing Arpege and sitting in a comfortable upper class flat in Paris only makes it sound like cheap vaudeville.

    The allegation of misogyny is stupid on many counts, but primarily because the Oedipal melodrama underlying the mid-American burgeois xenophobia as presented in these movies is in the director’s identification with the woman, as well as a fear of her, which lends the director a profound understanding of the female psyche. I heard this crapola from Chabert on De Palma, already in the 1980s, when the Puritan Marxist press was full of complaints against misogyny. You can argue for or against the Oedipal intepretation, you can wonder whether maybe it is not being privileged or overprivileged, but since I see the merit of Lynch and Cronenberg in entirely other registers having nothing to do with this content, I don’t find it such a pressing and alarming issue worthy of radical action.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 7:24 pm

  65. This Cronenberg movie can be indicted on the same charges, especially the clumping of all evils into Eastern Europe.

    I am rather tempted to think that he makes a comment in an encounter with Eastern masculinity, which I find an enormously interesting issue because Russia remaiend patriarchal while the West changed, and so on, but I will refrain from comment until I see the film.

    Comment by parodycenter — 20 October 2007 @ 7:27 pm

  66. “Tonight we have Psycho cued up for family viewing, which I think was the next movie after Vertigo.”

    I’m sure not, but I’m going to claim this before looking it up. ‘North by Northwest’ surely came in between.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 7:41 pm

  67. One thing I definitely have appreciated about these endless decipherings, although they have only fully matured, c’est-a-dire, on this evening when I was forced to wait yet another day or two before my persimmons on the window sill will be ripe enough for induction into a pudding–while waiting, I came to understand that I not only had long ago determined that there was no reason to view ‘Inland Empire’ after this endless talk, but that, while I’d planned trips to various theaters to see ‘Eastern Promises’, these have every one been cancelled permanently!

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 7:46 pm

  68. “Tonight we have Psycho cued up for family viewing, which I think was the next movie after Vertigo.”

    How old are your children, dear? The Janet Leigh (that’s all there is to the film) oughtn’t to be seen by children under 16.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 7:48 pm

  69. “Our generation is having a rather horrible sedentary lifestyle, plugged into the visual network, and God only knows where that will bring us in the end.”

    Of course, it’s permanent for anyone who gets deeply into doing it, after that there’s further decay and the prognosis is that worm-mimesis will occur. Not at all unlike fat Vashti who conducted all her multicultural discussions of this, that and the other cultural rarefaction on home media many decades ago in E.M. Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’, which I think is much better than his longer novels like ‘A Room with a View’ and ‘Passage to India’.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 8:02 pm

  70. The Marxist critique kind of reminds me of an evangelical aesthetic, where orthodoxy of belief is part of the beauty. I just flirted around a discussion of a YouTube performance of an evangelical nature that I pretty much found abhorrent, whereas every one of the believers was moved by it. I’m not sure if the art has to pass the political-religious test before it can be judged on its artistic merits, or if the aesthetic sensibility is so thoroughly immersed in the belief system as to be a kind of politico-religious aesthetic in its own right. I think it’s more the latter, because I don’t get the sense from the believers that, yes, the art is kitschy and fascistic, but the religious message is uplifting. Rather the whole thing tends to mix together.

    Comment by ktismatics — 20 October 2007 @ 8:12 pm

  71. Our daughter is 14, and I keep trying to shame her into watching both Vertigo and Psycho, but so far she’s resisted. She keeps bringing up Psycho in conversation, wondering what’s so scary about it without wanting to be told, etc. — I think her school chums like to talk about it. So I picked it up at the library. Just having it in the house seems to be enough of a freakout for her, so I think she’ll probably continue protecting herself from it for another year or two.

    Comment by ktismatics — 20 October 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  72. I mentioned to her that you were concerned about her. She says that being called a child is enough to make her want to watch it. (I don’t believe her.)

    Comment by ktismatics — 20 October 2007 @ 8:17 pm

  73. I know how haunted I’ve been ever since I first saw it, because I had no idea it was coming. Perhaps the solution is really to go on and say that it’s the closest thing to a real snuff movie that’s ever been made. I still think of the scene every day in terms of locked doors, obviously taking showers, especially motel showers. Of course, I was granted the opportunity of seeing the scene absolutely directly, and I can remember the SENSATION of the water dripping at the end with Leigh’s face exactly as I did when I was 8 years old. But was it worth the price I’ve had to pay? I don’t know. It does attest to the power of art, because that scene is Art.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 8:26 pm

  74. It sounds as if she does know enough about it already for it not to have the lifelong effect. Now that I think of it, it really is extraordinary. It was many years later that I read that it was the single most famous movie image, and that was long after I started reacting to it.

    On the other hand, I don’t know. I also read that Janet Leigh, some years before she died, did say that she herself was terrified by that scene, which means she must have watched it after filming it–the filming it would not have scared her; probably the mystery of how Hitchcock managed to compose it out of what he had them all conspire to do scared her. But she talked about motel showers too.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 20 October 2007 @ 8:30 pm

  75. You and I must be the same age — I too saw it at the theater when it first came out.

    Comment by ktismatics — 20 October 2007 @ 8:32 pm

  76. Our daughter has always been good at recognizing what she can tolerate. When she was about six she watched a video of Old Yeller, and she had to fast forward over the part where the dog gets fiercely rabid and has to be put down. Gradually she would watch a little bit farther in, skip a shorter segment, and pick back up a little sooner. Eventually the deleted scene shrank to nothing and she watched the whole film all the way through. We got about 20 minutes from the end of Vertigo and it took one twist too many: she had to leave the room. On the other hand, I remember when she was about six watching The Seventh Seal and reading her the subtitles and she was enthralled — it was a movie I fell asleep in three or four times before I could make it all the way through.

    Comment by ktismatics — 20 October 2007 @ 8:40 pm

  77. Clysmatics, the story of young Anthony Perkins is much worse than that of Janet Leigh. Perkins identified himself so much with the role of the psychopathic tranny that he played in PSYCHO, he spent the rest of his life acting it out on the silver screen as well as in the gay bars. In numerous interviews he said that he was ”changed” by the role of Norman Bates, and later even derected PSYCHO III, an underrated part of the series which might very well be the proper sequel, unlike the gimmicky PSYCHO II with its ”surprise ending”.

    Otherwise Clysmatics you have to learn that when an actor says on the DVD extras that she was scared by the shower scene, you can be totally certain that the marketing was written for the DVD.

    Comment by parodycenter — 21 October 2007 @ 3:04 am

  78. The Marxist critique kind of reminds me of an evangelical aesthetic, where orthodoxy of belief is part of the beauty.

    O Jesus Clysmatics don’t tell me that you, too, have fallen under the Cobra’s malevolent charms. She’s like this vicious Scheherezad who tells her willing bottoms STORIES. And she manages to ornament them in sensual, thrilling arabesque. But have no doubt Clysmatics that once she’s done telling you her stories, she will cut off your head and put it in her collection of male remains.

    Comment by parodycenter — 21 October 2007 @ 3:14 am

  79. I believe it was in the piece by Debord that Chabert linked to on your blog, Parodycenter, in which he subsumed aesthetics under politics. In such a politicized aesthetic just showing capitalist Americans as pigs and exploited Cuban workers as heroes takes you halfway home to good cinema. Or in evangelical cirles showing a Jesus figure saving the girl from immoral companions already signals good art. On the commercials, TV programs here seem mostly to be about murderers, usually sex murderers. “Oh my God” as a bit of dialog signals good drama. I think there is something to the Marxist and evangelical critiques, whereby a certain set of story components, types of characters, action sequences, etc. must be incorporated into sinful capitalist cinema if it’s going to attract an audience. Sex and violence is part of the formula, along with a machinelike police apparatus that eventually gets its man. As an analyst you’d have to acknowledge the barely-latent misogyny and sadomasochism driving this sort of story. The prototypical American moviegoer is a man in his twenties. What comes onto the market isn’t just shaped by the audience’s tastes; it also shapes their tastes through sheer repetition. This is capital’s conscious manipulation of unconscious desires that are widespread in the target population. Do guys like De Palma or Tarantino just naturally veer toward these mass tastes in an artsy-fartsy way, or do they just build films that are going to draw the target audience? Which is worse?

    Comment by ktismatics — 21 October 2007 @ 7:05 am

  80. conscious manipulation of unconscious desires that are widespread in the target population. Do guys like De Palma or Tarantino just naturally veer toward these mass tastes in an artsy-fartsy way, or do they just build films that are going to draw the target audience? Which is worse?

    Specifically De Palma’s CARRIE is a brilliant foray into the female mind, its narcissism and its power, actually coming close to Inland Empire in its reach. Underneath its ”psychological horror” appearance it’s a malevolent satire, as well, of the body fascism inherent in the American teenage schooling system. To dismiss a movie like that on allegations of misogyny is simply stupid. if you watch De Palma’s latest, BLACK DAHLIA, the movie is almost entirely dedicated to the deconstruction of women-abuse by the male cinematic machine.

    Comment by parodycenter — 21 October 2007 @ 8:55 am

  81. “Otherwise Clysmatics you have to learn that when an actor says on the DVD extras that she was scared by the shower scene, you can be totally certain that the marketing was written for the DVD.”

    This was in Janet Leigh’s obituary.
    so you think she just said that because they gave her a script to say so? I think not. That film was NOT in her character, whereas Norman Bates was just an extension of the dreary personage who always had a hang-dog face on bikes in the Village, got his pinkie-winkie lost on the way to Sophia Loren’s gorgeous appetite for Rigatoni-peter in ‘Desire Under the Elms’, was always surly when a lover to Tab Hunter, and HAD to do Norman Bates for the rest of his life because that’s all he was fit for! He is absurd in that movie by Ken Russell which co-stars the semi-attractive but common Kathleen Turner. I don’t know why Grover Dale fucked him, after all he’d been one of the carneys with dazzling George Chakiris in ‘Les Demoiselles de Rochefort’, and both Deneuve and Dorleac would go near them and say ‘It is ridiculous to pretend that their whoretools to not smell of nectar…’

    Dejan, you have to remember, that the bottoms can be allowed ‘A Few Hours of Sunlight’, as Francoise Sagan might say, but constant reminders of their perverted venom changes nothing of the fact that they must endure most of the discipline gently bequeathed them by the tops!

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 21 October 2007 @ 9:36 am

  82. “This is capital’s conscious manipulation of unconscious desires that are widespread in the target population. Do guys like De Palma or Tarantino just naturally veer toward these mass tastes in an artsy-fartsy way, or do they just build films that are going to draw the target audience? Which is worse?”

    Neither is bad. You think Socialists don’t do it, only worse and shabbier? Anyway, while I can concede Lynch and even to a degree that nerd Tarantino, DePalma has little to recommend him and points to new and hopefully treatable Dejanian pathologies….

    I am so glad to hear this: “Specifically De Palma’s CARRIE is a brilliant foray into the female mind, its narcissism and its power, actually coming close to Inland Empire in its reach.”

    CARRIE is a 100% piece of dogshit, it is no foray of any kind AT ALL! one of 4 movies so bad they are unspeakable–the others being ‘Eyes of Laura Mars’, ‘Song of Norway’, ‘Queen Bee’ (Joannie Fucking Crawford at her worst), but I am glad to hear ‘Inland Empire’, the subject of so much Temps Perdu in these parts, is now being compared to dePalma’s crud, which definitely includes ‘The Black Dahlia’, an atrocious film of 2006, false in every possible way except for Mia Kirschner in the porno loops which do capture something of pre-9/11 L.A. noir, which is now dead. Because I will now never see ‘Inland Empire’ or ‘Eastern Promises’, as advised yesterday. Bloggers have saved me at least $15, and I like that sort of things.

    “I believe it was in the piece by Debord that Chabert linked to on your blog, Parodycenter, in which he subsumed aesthetics under politics.”

    If it wasn’t Debord, it would’ve been someone else, I mean, really, Clysmatics, you act as though Arpege had come up with a daring new idea or something, rather than what she always leads back to anyway.

    “The Marxist critique kind of reminds me of an evangelical aesthetic, where orthodoxy of belief is part of the beauty.”

    As well it might! and that’s even true, but the beauty is strictly in the eyes of the adherents. The very aesthetic of Marxism is meant to be a championing of all ugliness. I can’t help it if Dejan wants to be Torn Between Two Lovers and Feelin’ Like a Fool!

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 21 October 2007 @ 9:52 am

  83. “artsy-fartsy”

    This is a redneck sort of term, and must be deleted from discourse forthwith. ‘Arty’ is sufficient, or you mean something perjorative when you include the flatulence.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 21 October 2007 @ 9:56 am

  84. Yes Jonquille even if it was in her obituary, and a Halliwud obituary is also a kind of a DVD extra by the way, it’s quite commonplace for the crew of a famous film to advertise by infusing it with an aura of creepiness which the shower scene, let’s be honest, doesn’t have anymore, after it’s been redone to death in remakes starting with around De Palma. But this is a moot point because I do like PSYCHO, and respect Janet Leigh a lot as well.

    As for CARRIE, hold on to your clit baby because I am going to tell you that CARRIE is tremendous, primarily because of the way it shows how narcissistic women really are; there is also that Chabertian character, played by Nancy Allen, who always gets slapped by her thug boyfriend (Travolta in about his only good role). What to say of the wonderful gay camp comedy between the delightful Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek? Your criticism is just alotta negative adjectives; you have not convinced me that CARRIE is a bad film.

    Comment by parodycenter — 21 October 2007 @ 10:00 am

  85. i thought the fartsy referred to art film’s pretentiousness, or that’s what I meant in any case

    Comment by parodycenter — 21 October 2007 @ 10:07 am

  86. “i thought the fartsy referred to art film’s pretentiousness”

    It does, but art film is not necessarily pretentious. It is thought to be by rednecks.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 21 October 2007 @ 10:24 am

  87. “an aura of creepiness which the shower scene, let’s be honest, doesn’t have anymore,”

    Sorry, but it does still have it, admittedly with some mediation by decades. But that would be like saying ‘Sleeping Beauty’ has none of its original magic with the Lilac Fairy and Bluebirds since it’s over a century old.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 21 October 2007 @ 10:27 am

  88. “(Travolta in about his only good role).”

    You idiot. not even worth explicating. As for ‘Carrie’, I don’t care if you have bad taste. I’ve had it before, but not that bad.

    I didn’t mean that they scripted that for Janet Leigh’s obituary, but rather that you have no real basis from which to determine that she would say such a thing falsely–since it is quite unexpected that she WOULD have found it scary since was involved in all of the composition of it, there’s little reason to think this could be thought up as a gimmick. Much of it was NOT Hitchcock, but the ability of HER OWN FACE. It’s the final shot of the scene that is the most powerful, as well as the sounds she makes before she realizes she’s being murdered.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 21 October 2007 @ 10:28 am

  89. In any case, your description of how cynically a DVD extra producer would manipulate Janet Leigh about something that was probably important to her is very ARPEGIAN!

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 21 October 2007 @ 10:31 am

  90. “after it’s been redone to death in remakes starting with around De Palma”

    None of the remakes have any of the power, only Angie’s prelude-walk toward one of them, which is perhaps as good as Janet in the car in the rain.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 21 October 2007 @ 10:36 am

  91. In Carrie men are the bastards in a frat-boy sort of way, but women are the source of real evil, real power. But beneath this evil power is a cultically anti-sexuated Christianity that represses woman power until it bursts forth in a red flood and a consuming fire. It was hysterical.

    I agree about that last fisheye stare of Janet Leigh lying halfway out of the tub, the water still splashing her face, the forehead preternaturally wrinkled in those few moments of terror. To see yourself like that on-screen would almost surely haunt you forever with its foretaste of your own death, as your lifeblood slowly washes down the drain.

    Comment by ktismatics — 21 October 2007 @ 10:41 am

  92. “To see yourself like that on-screen would almost surely haunt you forever with its foretaste of your own death, as your lifeblood slowly washes down the drain.”

    Yes! and that’s something she would NOT have known while performing it. It was a matter of catching something whose likelihood was one in a million. She couldn’t have known it would look like that until she saw it just like the rest of us.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 21 October 2007 @ 10:45 am

  93. Yes! and that’s something she would NOT have known while performing it. It was a matter of catching something whose likelihood was one in a million. She couldn’t have known it would look like that until she saw it just like the rest of us.

    OK and now that you made that point, congratulations! Doesn’t really change the fact that most commercial blubber on films is meant to infuse them with extra MAGICK (as the Gypsy woman from INLAND EMPIRE said) where there usually is none.

    I think the camera in the shower scene makes a Moebius loop movement, actually.

    Comment by parodycenter — 21 October 2007 @ 11:52 am

  94. Actually the end scene of DRESSED TO KILL I find quite shocking, in the same way you found the PSYCHO one.

    Comment by parodycenter — 21 October 2007 @ 11:53 am

  95. “OK and now that you made that point, congratulations! Doesn’t really change the fact that most commercial blubber on films is meant to infuse them with extra MAGICK (as the Gypsy woman from INLAND EMPIRE said) where there usually is none.”

    Nobody ever said it did, so stop being so graceless and rude…so peevish you are…

    Clysmatics, another thing about my childhood experience of this was that when the stabbing started, it took awhile for me to realize that was what it was. This had much to do with not only not knowing anything about the film beforehand, but also the nature of the first sounds Janet Leigh made at the beginning–they started out more like sounds of annoyance or inconvenience, and then they become all agony and maybe even a sort of sadness, which is a slightly unexpected word to think as being one of the emotions one feels while being murdered.

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 21 October 2007 @ 5:28 pm

  96. We didn’t watch Psycho last night. I’ll watch it through before taking it back to the library. I don’t remember the sounds she makes, the music being the famous accompaniment to the attack, so I’ll pay particular attention to that aspect. I remember mostly talking tough to our pals — Bill and I went to see Psycho! — along with the accompanying numbness of emotion that has come to dominate our culture since then with respect to violent cinematic crime.

    Comment by ktismatics — 21 October 2007 @ 6:27 pm

  97. Yes Jonquille as Janet was dying in the hands of the psycho tranny she must have thought, how tragic and sad that I’m falling under the stabs of an unfortunate transvestite who just needed to be loved a little more and who could have sucked on my motherly tits instead of ripping them to shreds now. Then this thought is replaced by sharp pain,… quite horrible when you think about it, and evidence that non-explicit horror works much better by suggestion than grand guignol.

    Speaking of Marxist bean bags, the problem is that the Marxists really MEAN WELL when they send them to you, remember when Arpege sent you humanitarian aid from Paris? But alas, their good intentions are not honored by any good results.

    Comment by parodycenter — 22 October 2007 @ 1:45 am

  98. I don’t think Janet Leigh stealing all that money constituted a Marxist liberating gesture. Though as I recall nobody ends up with the money, so maybe there is an anticapitalist screed buried here. Janet is about to return the money, she’s washing herself clean from her capital-inspired corruption, so there’s no need for Norman to act as capitalist avenging angel — in fact, he prevents her from returning the money. He takes her, and the money, out of circulation. Norman definitely isn’t in the hotel business for the money, either.

    Comment by ktismatics — 22 October 2007 @ 5:08 am

  99. I think that part of the story is partly an expression of Hitchcock’s aggressive chubby bottom guilt trip, he’s sort of replaying his Victorian spankies, and on the other hand a funny black parody of the American lifestyle in which there’s always a new life to wake up to, a new territory to conquer, a second chance. I can identify with Hitchcock’s British perspective in that respect.

    I just thought of Comrade K punk when thinking of the scene in PSYCHO when Norman meets Marion for the first time and tells her that he will be back in a second ”with his trusty umbrella” (a delightful British double entendree)

    Comment by parodycenter — 22 October 2007 @ 5:49 am

  100. “a funny black parody of the American lifestyle in which there’s always a new life to wake up to, a new territory to conquer, a second chance.”

    This belief is so integral to the American psyche that it’s almost impossible to recognize. It takes an outsider to show it. As the decades have passed this belief in perpetual freedom of choice has become even more pervasive, and Psycho is remembered only as a scary movie with a good murder scene.

    The umbrella thing I don’t quite get — is it the phallic furled umbrella or vaginal unfurled umbrella? Or is it both, especially in the case of Norman Bates and his mother?

    Comment by ktismatics — 22 October 2007 @ 7:17 am

  101. “Speaking of Marxist bean bags, the problem is that the Marxists really MEAN WELL when they send them to you, remember when Arpege sent you humanitarian aid from Paris?”

    How true dear, I am still almost moved to tears by her good intentions that she never had the slightest intention of carrying out. She is a very adept liar, having said that, first, ‘I forgot to send it and couldn’t get in my office because there was somebody irresponsible here and I couldn’t look for the boxes…’ and then ‘Oh well, I did send them, but maybe it really did by go by surface mail, it did seem sort of…cheap…there was a brusque Parisian clerk…’ and also ‘Twice in the last year I’ve sent books to NY that have been stolen in the mail. Now yours probably won’t be, since those were new books and very stealable, and your book, although nice, is a used book, which I think you will like. They might catch them, though, with the X-ray machine.’

    Elle est le vrai ‘Gothique-horreur.’

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 22 October 2007 @ 9:05 am

  102. Jonquille, I looked up your book on the internet — quite expensive for not many pages. Would you say it’s worth the price?

    Comment by ktismatics — 22 October 2007 @ 9:14 am

  103. It’s an art book, what can I tell you? I sent out as many free ones as I can afford to. Of COURSE it’s worth it!

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 22 October 2007 @ 10:51 am

  104. clysmatics jonquille’s book is really good, i just finished reading it and am planning to write a review.

    jonquille it’s possible that Mess was so drunk she thought the local bistro was the post office, and the French bartender, thinking the pills were extasy, swallowed them instead. Having blacked out on the spot, Mess later filled her head with ”false memory” (it’s a psychiatric phenomenon – memories of events that never took place).

    Comment by parodycenter — 22 October 2007 @ 1:43 pm

  105. Norman tells Marion that he will be back with his ”trusty umbrella” (his dick) which is a convoluted very British way of saying that she turns him on.

    I think as of late America is facing the fact that the new territories are not limitless… and that’s kind of traumatic.

    Comment by parodycenter — 22 October 2007 @ 2:49 pm

  106. In Derrida’s Spurs, the last essay is a meditation on Nietzsche’s apparent nonsequitur “I have forgotten my umbrella.” I don’t have a copy of the book or the essay, but I think Derrida uses this sentence to highlight undecidability. Part of it I believe is in the context of Nietzsche proposing that “truth is a woman.” In that case, style is a man, suggests Derrida: style = stylus = pen = phallus. So I think Derrida makes the umbrella into an undecidable sexual icon: furled = male, unfurled = female. The essay is notoriously obtuse, staking grand claims on very flimsy evidence — classic Derrida, in a way.

    Comment by ktismatics — 22 October 2007 @ 3:44 pm

  107. so i’ve been busy lately, and it seems you have been too.

    a couple rejoinders:

    “I thought it was an entertaining movie, skillfully and beautifully rendered. I detected no parody or veiled virtuosic irony; rather, I thought it was in fact virtuosic, played straight.”

    yeah but it was still played, it was about its form, and lends itself to all this analysis because without the subtle little defamiliarizations it would have been ‘just another genre movie’ with nothing left over. i mean people talk about cronenberg being this great technical filmmaker and he is, but his style is unobtrusive and has a kind of flattening effect, like video. i liked it, but without the structural flirtations it would be boring, as these are what keep it from being circumscribed (you already pointed out the ‘flaws’ in the narrative). it was boring to a lot of people used to either pure sensation films (lots of action, blood/gore, etc.) or sentimental ‘serious’ dramas coming from a basic premise like this. you can see it in a lot of the mainstream reviews.

    “Not obligated, but let’s just say generous–”

    you keep confusing ‘generosity’ with ‘not being an asshole’ — if you talk shit you’re expected to back it up, otherwise it’s just talking shit.

    “You know only about your own solipsism. Don’t pretend to know anything at all about sensation in a ‘general sense’ or about anyone else’s experience with sensation. You may know something about sensation”

    yeesh, and you call me a theoretical extremist. the first two sentences are an argument for solipsism in a general sense, unless you’re trying to say i am unique in my inability to communicate sensation to others in a way they can understand. which is negated by that last phrase, since it implies that even though i am not currently doing so, i may in the future be able to communicate sensation in a way others who do not share my body can understand.

    also i didn’t talk about sensation at all in my paragraph on eastern promises until you insisted that i should have.

    here let me just be really simple about it: if eastern promises didn’t have the things in it that i was talking about, there wouldn’t be much left except the performances which were high-quality but not amazing, just like the rest of the film. sensation-wise it didn’t make a big impression on me. not even viggo mortensen’s penis.

    so, review: you wouldn’t like it, jonquille. inland empire neither.

    “Such ludicrous talk is a way of living in a state of total tension at all times, because you’ve learned that that’s what it takes to be successfully middle-class and still be standing in case the Marxists ‘win’.”

    this old cliche again. it reduces to ‘intellectuals are hypocritical blowhards,’ and all the conservatives and stupid leftists keep different versions of it ready to use at all times. it only works if you are convinced that the speaker is not himself a hypocritical blowhard for making such a contentless pronouncement in a public forum.

    “Traxus what is a ”dyspeptic version of Aht” ?

    ‘theory-fiction’ — like what baudrillard used to make, and what k-punk at least used to aspire to. have you seen all the ccru stuff?

    “does capitalism sort of invaginate men” — I think Traxus was making this case in his post on Eastern Promises, that men are turned into something like money, willing to be valued in the exchanges among capital owners.”

    i was trying to say that there is a difference between ‘invagination’/feminization and the fantasy of becoming-money. i’m not 100% on that interpretation really, but as cronenberg keeps trying to figure out what masculine technofetishism is all about he seems to be moving in that direction. but aynway i think the becoming-money thing is a weapon against traditional (in this case Russian) masculinity while also avoiding feminization or straightforward (har har) queerness. this is why it’s an unrealizable fantasy — it’s an attempt to avoid all these circumscribed positions by becoming totally fungible.

    “DePalma has little to recommend him”

    you didn’t like dressed to kill?

    i don’t know why you keep razzing on dejan for loving david lynch — his ‘irrational’ love for lynch, your newfound hatred of marxism, and the strength of your friendship can be traced back to pretty much the same source.

    “Of COURSE it’s worth it!”

    as one of the lucky recipients of a free copy, i would say that yes, the book is worth it. er, would have been worth it? whatever. it’s good.

    Comment by traxus4420 — 23 October 2007 @ 1:56 pm

  108. ALL HAIL THE
    BLESSED

    SUTCLIFFE

    Trusted academic Professor Adolph McGroot makes people scream with specific reference to Peter Sutcliffe, cutting open to reveal the feminine role in mature capitalism and modern politics

    Peter Sutcliffe, the so-called ‘Yorkshire Ripper’, was sentenced to life-imprisonment in 1981, after being found guilty of the murder of 13 women, and the attempted murder of seven.

    “Peter cracked Emily’s head with two blows from his hammer. Then, using a Phillips-type screwdriver, Peter Sutcliffe dug into Emily’s prostrate body a total of fifty-two times. He had pushed her sweater, cardigan, and bra up but left her wearing her pants and tights. He stabbed her in the breasts, neck and lower abdomen. Peter also stomped on the body. His footprint of a heavy-ribbed Wellington boot was pounded into her right thigh. A piece of wood was thrust between her spread-eagled legs which, he said later, was put there ‘to show her as disgusting as she was’, that he was ‘just pushing her out of sight with it. I pushed her with it because I couldn’t bear to touch her again’. Peter also stated that her ‘overwhelming smell of cheap perfume’ nauseated him.”
    Peter Sotos, Total Abuse, Portland, Oregon: Goad To Hell Enterprises, 1996, p.34.

    “In this truck is a man whose latent genius if unleashed would rock the nation, whose dynamic energy would overpower those around him. Better let him sleep?”
    Sign found inside Sutcliffe’s truck.

    Like a gaggle of giggling pederasts deceitfully securing admission to a cub-scout jamboree, the massed ranks of prancing harlots parading up and down the length and breadth of England can congratulate themselves on continuously ‘getting away with it’ during the twenty years that have elapsed since Peter Sutcliffe was sentenced to detainment in perpetuity at Her Majesty’s Leisure. Almost twenty years since Sutcliffe’s visionary urban hygiene project was brusquely interrupted; twenty years since his mighty ball-peen hammer was forcibly prevented from slaking its unquenchable strumpet-pummelling lust. Now, after two decades marked by the leashing of that genius and the suppression of that energy, the triumphalist din of shrieking slatterns threatens to drown out forever the civilising voice of gentlemanly equanimity that once helped keep in check the rise of harlotry. Sutcliffe’s ball-peen hammer was, perhaps, the most potent representative and unwavering enforcer of that equanimity.

    This shrill cacophony of female cawing only confirms what the more clear-sighted among us have long since grasped: that the premature termination of Sutcliffe’s heroic whore-cull signalled the onset of a long societal interregnum for British manhood and the beginning of a period of untrammelled ascension for strumpet, shrew and slattern. Wherever he now turns the courteous gentleman is dismayed to find himself affronted by the same odious spectacle: the simpering, squawking and screeching of shameless human toilets.

    What went wrong? How could we have allowed things to come to such a sorry state? What inestimable power have we relinquished, only now measuring its value in light of its enforced absence? What has been bargained and what has been lost with Sutcliffe’s fraudulent imprisonment at the hands of a totalitarian matriarchy? For, make no mistake, Sutcliffe is a political prisoner.

    Feminist malcontents are right about one thing: the inherently political character of Sutcliffe’s gynecidal fury will never be too forcefully insisted upon. Their assessment is marred however by their disappointingly resentful denunciation of that fury, prejudiced as it is by the assumption that Sutcliffe was somehow being unfair to women. Far from being the deranged or spiteful antics of a madman, Sutcliffe’s acts were visionary political statements, revolutionary gestures of symbolic intervention. Because capitalism is female. And if capitalism is female, then gynecide is the only politically revolutionary agenda left.

    The rise of feminism in economically advanced western liberal democracies after the upheavals of the late sixties didn’t just ‘coincide’ with the disintegration of insurrectionary resistance to capitalism and the demise of revolutionary socialism as a political force. It cut its balls off, both literally and figuratively. With its privatisation of dissent, its valorisation of self-indulgent female narcissism, and its domestication of the political — perfectly encapsulated in the slogan “the personal is the political”, feminism emasculated revolutionary resistance to consumer capitalism and initiated the ideological legitimisation of passivity and conformity that helped secure the unquestioned reign of a free-market ‘consensus’ of guilt-free consumption in western democracies.

    Global capital is now in the process of securing its long-term bio-political investment and women — probably because of some gluttonous physiological predisposition to consumption — are the great incubators of that bio-political capital. Every female is at once a locus of consumption and a locus for the reproduction of consumption; both a consumer and the potential producer of future consumers. Capitalism reproduces itself both literally and figuratively through the human female. Thus, a total feminisation of the populace, irrespective of biological sexuation, presents the most efficient method of guaranteeing the perpetual acquiescence of a satisfied and perfectly submissive consumer workforce, busily refining their co-operative skills for the workplace while cultivating a compliant domesticity at home with their ‘partner’.

    ‘Femaleness’ is no longer just a biological characteristic but a vigorously enforced sociological condition, an ideological imperative designed to maximise the population’s potential for docile consumption. Domesticating the political, feminising the political or neutering the political all amount to the same thing: gradually eliminating the capacity for refusal. Feminist rhetoric militating on behalf of personal emancipation from ‘constrictive’ gender roles has nothing to do with political liberation and everything to do with engineering a climate of gender-fixated ideological myopia, wherein the possibility of attacking the economic infrastructure or actively resisting the universal liberal-democratic consensus can be safely dismissed as a socially undesirable instance of anachronistic, masculinist ‘aggression’.

    “The new face of capitalism”

    Look around you. An Observer journalist hails the hysterical public reaction to Diana’s death as a ‘triumph for feminism’. It’s true: an entire nation blubbers and wails at the death of ‘the people’s princess’ in a totalitarian paroxysm of mewling femaleness. Blair, not Thatcher, is Britain’s first feminist premier, just as Clinton is the US’ first female president. The Clinton-Blair axis marks feminism’s — which is to say, consumer capitalism’s — ultimate victory. Warm, caring, compassionate, even as they give the go-ahead for large scale redundancies and lethal injections. Because it’s middle-class women, not steel-workers or convicted men, that provide the bulk of their electoral support. Clinton and Blair are female in everything but genital endowment.

    Capitalism is female. Its body is that of the slimy titted hog accosting you in the street. Feminism is the attempted reduction of all mankind to the level of that desperately leering female dog. The tainted gaze of the cheaply perfumed strumpet offering to sell herself to you is like a filth-caked shopfront window, blankly mirroring the fathomless degradation that’s the ultimate measure of the capitalist exchange-rate. The whore is the model citizen, the perfect paradigm of the emancipated consumer in the feminist blueprint for societal reform. The citizen consumer gets fucked like a piece of fucking street garbage and learns to pretend that she’s exercising power by selling herself because her body’s a commodity of which ‘she’s really in control’. Just like a leper’s in control of the running sores and chancres forcing him to beg on the street. As if getting fucked like a street pig could ever be an instance of ‘being in control’. As if selling your diseased cunt -not even to the highest bidder, just the nearest one- was another instance of labour-power and retail commodity exchange. But prostitutes don’t sell a commodity:- they are the fucking commodity. They’ve already been bought and sold. Their entire existence -the totality of their miserable life’s hopes and fears- is a mass manufactured, cheaply available and eminently disposable commodity. And the ideology of generalised ‘feel-good femaleness’ championed by feminism -with the whore as universal prototype of the perfectly liberated consumer- promises to reduce mankind in its entirety to the level of the self-deluding prostitute: the worthless but ‘sex-positive’ street sow telling itself that getting fucked is a liberating activity; that powerlessness is really power; that degradation is really ennobling and that self-deception is really enlightenment.

    Sutcliffe’s imprisonment at the hands of a crypto-feminist police state signalled the onset of this confederacy of cunts. After his sentencing, the green light was given for Thatcher, the Spice Girls and the seemingly interminable parade of impudent slatterns revelling in the climate of male cowardice encouraged by the great man’s incarceration, smug with the certainty that the spectre of a shackle-wielding matriarchy will suffice in dissuading the exasperated gentleman from perforating a bitch’s skull with a blunt instrument when he has truly had enough of the cunt’s intolerable screeching.

    How long before a million disenchanted gentlemen up and down the land finally awake from their media-induced stupor, and, noting that this is the billionth time they’ve been upbraided by their titted ‘partner’ for failing to display due deference to her precious female sensitivity, set aside the sports pages of the idiot newspaper they’ve been befuddled by for the last twenty years, reaching for the nearest blunt instrument, quietly deciding at last that enough is enough?

    Sutcliffe: the name alone rings out like a peal of hope for mankind. Every well-aimed swipe of Sutcliffe’s ball-peen hammer was a gesture of defiance staving off the creeping onset of generalised whoredom. Sutcliffe, perhaps the most eminent advocate of that famed seventies ‘do, the Caucasian Afro. Sutcliffe, Afro’d avenger. Sutcliffe, corrector of female impropriety, liberator of mankind. After Sutcliffe, the skull-cracking thud of iron on scalp has a peculiarly satisfying resonance: the worthless female thing sprawled on the pavement in a darkened alley with a blood-matted skull will think twice before raining her semen-stained mouth off again. Where’s your girl-power now, cunt?

    — “But you’re just a pathetic, sexually frustrated little misogynist!”

    Misogyny? Misogyny is a typically narcissistic female conceit: men working themselves up into towering lather over women because they can’t get laid or because mummy didn’t give them enough cuddles and hugs. It reassures women, gives them a sense of power, lets them think that they’ll always have enough of a hold on us to provoke hatred, that we must care enough about them to resent them. But we don’t. At most, the average female inspires nothing more virulent in the well-adjusted gentleman than a sense of benign contempt. If he’s honest with himself, a healthily contented fellow must acknowledge that he doesn’t actually give a fuck what a woman thinks about anything, least of all what she thinks about him. We don’t care enough about women to hate them. Women aren’t worth hating. They’re cum-buckets suffering from delusions of grandeur, sperm-spittoons that have forgotten their place and purpose in life. And if capitalism is female, misogyny is no longer a piece of personal pathology, it’s a universal political imperative. Female capital is the enemy of mankind. It’s not personal, it’s political, cunt.

    And please don’t mention sexual frustration. Well, Madam, your faith in the irresistibility of your own physical charms is touching. But frankly, I wouldn’t piss up your cunt if your guts were on fire, you slimy titted hog.

    The blood’s rising.

    Sutcliffe, greatest living Englishman, is the last great hope, but perhaps also an emissary from the future for English manhood. Like Excalibur, his cunt-stained hammer has become the symbol for a revolutionary call-to-arms, the blood soaked emblem for the great whore-cull whose time is surely drawing closer. Violence against women? You haven’t seen anything yet. Exterminate capital. Exterminate the female.

    Better let us sleep?

    http://www.capitalistchicks.com/

    Comment by traxus4420 — 23 October 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  109. that was re: this:

    “Jonqulle I see your point but on the other hand don’t you think that the modern male in capitalism is increasingly coerced into playing the roles of wimmin? Which grant you is definitely under the influence of socialism, but Jonquille first of all the system we’re living in is no longer the capitalism of the 1960s, it is a blend of capitalism and socialism into a rather malignant form of samoupravljanje or if you want control society. I am talking about that passive, bottom type of aggressivity which wimmin share with bottoms.”

    k-punk linked to it a long time ago, back when he was feeling really depressed and fascinated by this kind of thing.

    ktismatics, sorry it’s so long, go ahead and delete it if you want, if everyone’s already seen it, etc.

    Comment by traxus4420 — 23 October 2007 @ 2:02 pm

  110. ‘that’ and ‘it’ being my huge comment that got moderated

    Comment by traxus4420 — 23 October 2007 @ 2:02 pm

  111. Traxus, your first link (cinestatic) on the long comment doesn’t work.

    Comment by ktismatics — 23 October 2007 @ 2:33 pm

  112. “without the subtle little defamiliarizations it would have been ‘just another genre movie’ with nothing left over.”

    The same could be said for any good movie: whatever isn’t generic becomes noticeable and subject to interest. Certainly there are ironies and disjunctions that can be interpreted in theoretic terms, or just observed and appreciated along with all the other writing and scenery and performance that contribute to the uniqueness of the film. I certainly think there’s enough going on in the movie to qualify it as something more than an “entertainment.”

    What’s the “ccru stuff”?

    Comment by ktismatics — 23 October 2007 @ 2:54 pm

  113. That was thrilling, traxus. Took about 30 seconds of scrolling. I’m glad enough you think whatever…about anything…

    Comment by jonquille de camembert — 23 October 2007 @ 4:01 pm

  114. Traxus, thank you for that article; it’s excellent!

    So let me make it clear, though I absolutely take the side of queer theory in STRIVING to overcome binaries, I have great reservations as to whether this is the business of humans, or some higher entity through some other portal on some other plane of being. But this crosses over into my religious beliefs, and may not be pertinent to the discussion. For now, in this life, I think feminists are working for the landlords.

    Jonquille, have mercy on Traxus – remember how lost and confused I was under le cobra’s spell?

    Comment by parodycenter — 23 October 2007 @ 4:57 pm

  115. Here’s the punchline: And if capitalism is female, misogyny is no longer a piece of personal pathology, it’s a universal political imperative. Female capital is the enemy of mankind. It’s not personal, it’s political, cunt. Hence the motive for separating castration from feminization: Domesticating the political, feminising the political or neutering the political all amount to the same thing: gradually eliminating the capacity for refusal.

    Comment by ktismatics — 23 October 2007 @ 7:16 pm

  116. dejan, i don’t think your religious beliefs are impertinent to the discussion. they influence what you think. for the same reason i don’t think jonquille’s personal anecdotes are necessarily impertinent when they come up either though i tend to give that impression when we get in fights.

    (that doesn’t mean i want a dissertation)

    poke around here for ccru:
    http://www.ccru.net/

    it’s this ‘cybernetic theory’ group that spawned k-punk, hyperstition, cold-me, and loads of other pulp-obsessed british internet personalities. i was really into them for a while.

    ktismatics (btw the fact the link doesn’t work is why i posted the whole thing), the lines you quote are indeed the punchlines. they’re also what makes the thing ultimately incoherent — equating anti-femininity with anti-capitalism doesn’t make any sense because it’s necessarily directed at a specific identity, not an impersonal essence, and by extension also at biological women. but by doing this it shows how capitalism is never just ‘itself,’ or just ‘neutered,’ and it always manifests ideologically in terms of identity (there really is no impersonal essence of capitalism). so it’s not only identity politics that are compromised, which despite shortcomings have maximizing the ‘capacity for refusal’ as a primary aim (the essay itself is obv. the identity politics of white anglo men projected into universality, or in other words it’s fascist). the very characteristics of masculinity and femininity are made fungible and useful to capital. if it stops at rejecting gender essentialism i think queer theory only contributes to this. any identity, even an identity of non-identity, is reducible to abstraction and commodification.

    so it’s a social and historical process, and political activity has to have some connection with these things or it just becomes warring abstractions, the capitalist supermarket of opinion.

    capital isn’t an impersonal entity. the problem is just that it’s always TOO personal.

    i agree with you enough about eastern promises that we probably don’t need to go on about it anymore.

    Comment by traxus4420 — 24 October 2007 @ 1:24 pm

  117. (and of course trying to BE impersonal is just putting on another identity, striking another pose, etc.)

    Comment by traxus4420 — 24 October 2007 @ 1:26 pm

  118. I followed the parodic nature of the essay, but I’m not so sure I follow your interpretations, probably because I’m only a remote dabbler in cultural theory. Generally I agree that everything is fungible in capitalism. No, that’s not it: everything that’s not fungible is worthless. If there’s an identity group of sufficient size and buying power then it can become a targeted niche market. Individualism is perhaps the biggest identity group there is, with personalized marketing campaigns built into Amazon (people who bought this book also bought…). There’s a surplus that converts into profit, but there’s also wretched excess that converts into waste. The Bates Motel is a heterotopic nexus of wretched excess, where $40K down the swamp is the return on investment. The wretched excess of non-fungible, non-instrumental personhood lurks dessicatedly in the fruit cellar, her spectral image superimposed on the motel proprietor’s face.

    Thanks for the CCRU link (I think).

    Comment by ktismatics — 24 October 2007 @ 2:32 pm

  119. traxus my (religious) belief in accordance with orthodox christianity is that it’s ultimately god’s business to abolish gender, power, inequality et cetera. in this sense i am a-political – i don’t really believe human political action leads to any substantial resolution. the invagination of men by capitalism is a complex issue, but i do notice there is a concentrated effort to feminize men which i think has political roots. interestingly just when you were writing i was listening to a radio show where some dutch researches noted that given the enormous shortage of male educators in the dutch system, children grow up almost exclusively with women, and completely IDENTICAl to a research conducted in Serbia some years ago, this leads to all kinds of psychological problems. on the other hand if we posit some matriarchate to replace the patriarchal system, i’m not saying this is necessarily BAD – just different, and something that is still very new so needs to be approached with caution. for me the problematic thing is that i think the feminists are working for the male corporate cock even as you have this illusion that some feminist progress is being made.

    Comment by parodycenter — 24 October 2007 @ 7:01 pm

  120. clysmatics i love your marxist review of psycho!

    Comment by parodycenter — 24 October 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  121. sorry, that was pretty unclear — i wrote it in a hurry.

    my point was just:

    1. identity politics can easily slip into other-hatred

    2. identity politics are easily co-optable by what they are ostensibly fighting against

    3. capitalist ideology never manifests as an impersonal essence, it is always through some sort of ‘identity’ politics (nationalism included), as the preconditions for multiculturalism, or it’s just taken for granted as natural.

    3. the problem with hating women or femininity in order to resist capitalism is capitalist ideology is fungible, it can take on ‘feminine’ characteristics (through women gaining social standing, certainly not an evil in itself) and it can associate ‘feminine’ characteristics with certain aspects of capitalism that some people don’t like (consumerism has long been a popular one) but it is not essentially any of its temporary performances.

    4. as far as i can tell the only way out of this bind is trying to connect the terms of critique/resistance to social and historical reality, or better yet start from the reality and generate the terms from there. no stable ground is implied (that would be a reification), it’s always shifting and contested. so not a dashing, brilliant idea of genius, it’s just a simple thing that’s really easy to forget, and some discourses and practices make it seem silly or impossible. but so far i think it’s the only thing that makes sense.

    Comment by traxus4420 — 24 October 2007 @ 11:51 pm

  122. “my (religious) belief in accordance with orthodox christianity is that it’s ultimately god’s business to abolish gender, power, inequality et cetera.”

    maybe that’s true metaphysically, but as far as i know people can generally come up with good material explanations for why institutions are abolished, and they usually involve a breakthrough preceded by long, sustained effort, carried on without assurance that it will succeed.

    sort of the same as accomplishing anything of importance.

    Comment by traxus4420 — 25 October 2007 @ 12:01 am

  123. Thanks for the clarification, Traxus. Points 1 and 2, check. Point 3 — does any ideology manifest itself as an impersonal essence? Are abstractions derived from specific empirical situations, or do the ideological structures generate the specific situational manifestations? And now we’re back to the individual, structural and poststructural discussion that triggered some of the script doctoring discussion on Eastern Promises. Best move on, I suppose. The second point 3 (=4), check. Point 4 (=5) is related to 3 (=3), so check again.

    Comment by ktismatics — 25 October 2007 @ 2:36 pm

  124. maybe that’s true metaphysically, but as far as i know people can generally come up with good material explanations for why institutions are abolished, and they usually involve a breakthrough preceded by long, sustained effort, carried on without assurance that it will succeed.

    and then once an institution is abolished, another one comes to replace it, at first better but then it, too, becomes courrupt, and so on, it goes on forever. of course that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t keep trying, i just think that the solution will slip away until a higher entity call it God or whatever you want decides that we have matured enough to change

    Comment by parodycenter — 25 October 2007 @ 4:04 pm

  125. i just think that the solution will slip away until a higher entity call it God or whatever you want decides that we have matured enough to change

    Could you expand this thought? For example, what would it look like for “a higher entity” to make a decision of this nature? And is such “maturity” truly possible?

    Comment by Erdman — 26 October 2007 @ 10:18 am

  126. Well Erdman if we are to believe the Apocalypse, it is possible, as at some point in the future we will have new bodies, we will evolve, and the world will be transformed… according to Orthodox cosmogony at least, into a perpetually transforming place that reaches ever-new levels of bliss and progress. But in light of all the various discussions I’ve been having with Clysmatics in other places, it’s interesting to me that there are parallels between the (Orhodox) understanding of it and what I think is Deleuze’s notion of actualizing virtualities: it won’t be a static Paradise, bliss frozen in time, but an endlessly creative re-envisioning, reinvention, reformulation. I loathe the lack of time and opportunity to discuss this in much more detail with theologists, but maybe you could help out there.

    Comment by parodycenter — 26 October 2007 @ 12:54 pm

  127. But I strayed off the subject, you asked something else, what I think and speculate is that such a transformation would be possible if for example we developed new organs or 2) if we had a self-sustaining source of energy, like Tesla’s machine. Since nothing short of a miracle in my view would bring about these kinds of changes, I tend to attribute them divine origin… it just doesn’t seem like humans alone could do it.

    Comment by parodycenter — 26 October 2007 @ 12:55 pm

  128. I ought to write a post on Deleuze & Guattari’s immanent utopia in Anti-Oedipus. too bad Ktismatics is dead — maybe it goes into this creatorly utopia after it dies?

    Comment by ktismatics — 26 October 2007 @ 3:07 pm

  129. yes you ought to because I just purchased the AntiOedipus so I can follow you much better. Ktismatics may be dead, but Clysmatics is alive and kicking!

    Comment by parodycenter — 26 October 2007 @ 9:16 pm

  130. Good. Parodycenter, I see you couldn’t resist Chabert’s hypnotic lure. I enjoyed the discussion but I think I’ll retire from the field for now. I do see you’ve put in a Deleuzian comment there, which I liked. Wonder whatever happened to Traxus.

    Comment by ktismatics — 26 October 2007 @ 9:20 pm


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