Ktismatics

1 December 2008

Empirical Pragmatism in Psychology

Filed under: Psychology — ktismatics @ 8:23 am

There’s a complex and convoluted metapsychology underlying psychoanalytic praxis, a theory about what it’s like to be human and how change happens. But the practice of analysis is minimalist in the extreme. As Sinthome describes it in the commentary to one of his recent posts, the third in a series on Lacanian sexuation:

The analyst barely says anything at all, often simply repeating certain phrases or remarks that the analysand makes, occasionally modifying them slightly. It is the analysand that does all the work.

Recently an online friend told me about SAA — Sex Addicts Anonymous, a 12-step program modeled on AA. Here are the first three steps:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over addictive sexual behavior – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.

The SAA meetings consist largely of public confessions and testimonials; outside the meetings members talk with their “sponsors” — those who have been “sober” for awhile, who are farther along the 12-step path to recovery.

These radically different psychologies share at least one thing in common: a tenuous connection between theory, practice, and results. If a Lacanian analysand actually achieves change, can it really be attributed either to the analyst’s interventions or to the structural alterations proposed in Lacanian theory? If the sex addict kicks the habit, can it really be attributed to meetings and the sponsorships or to the higher Power who works through these means?

Hence the shallow pragmatic skepticism of the empirical approach. We can speculate all we like about why things happen, but at least we can document what happens. If you think the outcomes being measured inadequately reflect the real changes being effected, then tell us what you think those changes really are and we’ll figure out ways to measure them instead. If you can’t distinguish your services based on outcome then price and customer preference become the deciding factors. Some people like to take a bath; others prefer to pay $80 for a massage. Some jog around the neighborhood; others join an athletic club.

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48 Comments »

  1. I don’t think this is a fair assessment of Lacanian practice:

    These radically different psychologies share at least one thing in common: a tenuous connection between theory, practice, and results. If a Lacanian analysand actually achieves change, can it really be attributed either to the analyst’s interventions or to the structural alterations proposed in Lacanian theory? If the sex addict kicks the habit, can it really be attributed to meetings and the sponsorships or to the higher Power who works through these means?

    There is, in fact, a vital link between Lacanian theory and how the analyst conducts himself. On the one hand, the different subject-positions (psychosis, neurosis: hysteria/obsession, and perversion) determine both how the analyst relates to the analysand and situates the symptom. For example, in the case of psychosis the analyst does not engage in interpretation and takes a far more active role in the process, assisting the analysand in the development of his delusion (the delusion functioning as a sort of cure as can be observed in the case of Schreber). Were the analyst to occupy the position of the enigmatic Other or engage in interpretation, he would risk triggering a psychotic episode in the patient. Likewise, if the analyst did not have a sound theory of psychosis and the manner in which the development of the delusion actually assists the psychotic in returning to livable relations with the world, his own body, and others, the therapist might try to correct and disprove the psychotics delusions, thereby functioning as an impediment to the cure.

    In the case of neurosis, the diagnosis of the patient as either hysteric or obsession will determine how the analyst relates to the analysand, where the symptom is to be sought, and what path is necessary to the traversal of the fantasy. The treatment of hysteria and obsession is quite different as they two structures have very different organizations of subjectivity, desire, and intersubjective relations, thereby presenting very different challenges. The passivity of the analyst in the treatment of neurosis doesn’t mean that the analyst is doing nothing and simply letting the analysand go at it. On the one hand, the analyst’s interventions are designed to break up ego-level discourse, allowing the analysand to become increasingly aware of the role the unconscious plays in their action and life. On the other hand, through his enigmatic stance the analyst assists in the appearance of the fundamental fantasy, allowing it to govern the intersubjective relations between patient and analyst, and thereby assisting in the traversal of the fantasy. Were the analyst to take a more active role, this dimension of fantasy would be obscured and the analysand could once again play his game of defending against the Other’s desire so as to transform it into a specific demand that can then be satisfied or thwarted. Finally, as analysis goes on, the analyst gradually builds up a knowledge of the analysand’s subjective economy, those key signifiers organizing the analysand’s unconscious, and the manner in which the analysand’s fantasy organizes his intersubjective relations. This knowledge will guide the analyst’s interpretations and interventions, allowing for the gradual traversal of the fantasy and draining away of the real and lethal jouissance that lies at the root of the analysand’s repetition. Gradually the analysand will discover and develop better, less toxic, and more effective ways of relating to his jouissance undergoing a fundamental shift in how he relates to the Other. Yet all of this is only possible through the theory that guides the analyst’s actions and stances.

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    Comment by larvalsubjects — 1 December 2008 @ 12:03 pm

  2. Unfair? Well maybe. What prompted this post was an internet associate asking my opinion of SAA. At first I had no opinion since I’d never heard of it, didn’t even know what the initials stood for. So now I’m thinking about it. I know substance abusers who swear by AA, but I had never even heard the term “sex addict” until I saw that David Duchovny had checked himself in to a facility, thereby giving new connotations to the “X” in X-Files. My first reaction was WTF — we’re all sex addicts aren’t we, though some of us repress and sublimate better than others. But on further consideration I didn’t see why troublesome and intrusive preoccupations with sex shouldn’t be regarded as addictive. So now what do I think about the 12-step approach as a way to overcome or control sex addiction? I don’t buy into the Higher Power thing, which seems like an abandonment of personal agency. On the other hand, there is some value in abandoning the methods of self-control which the person has been exercising up to the point of entering the program. The guilt-confession-testimonial tenor of the meetings also strikes me as the wrong way to go. And I suspect that every manifestation of sex addiction — compulsive or impulsive, legal or illegal, generalized or very specific in manifestation — is treated the same way in SAA. And yet I bet it “works” for a lot of people — they kick the habit or at least get it under better control, they feel less depressed or angry about it, their relationships are in better shape, maybe they even gain insight into their behaviors. If so, then I’m thinking that if the SAA program achieves successful results, it achieves them by quite other means than those to which the official theory and praxis attribute them. Does that really matter? It’s at that point that I had to say to my internet associate: sure, go for the SAA program if it appeals to you; it might help.

    As you rightly point out, Sinthome, Lacanian praxis is theoretically derived, or at least justified by theory. The analyst treats different analysands differently depending on theoretical considerations of diagnosis. It might even be the case that certain nuances of engagement with the analysand generate different sorts of responses from the analysand. But looking at Lacanian analysis from the outside, and being skeptical on empirical and intuitive grounds about some of the metapsychological rationales, how confident am I that the effects are really caused by the theorized causes? The 12-steppers might say that the Higher Power is intervening through the analyst, restoring some kind of spiritual circuitry in the analysand, even though the analyst goes to great pains to disabuse the analysand that he’s not the Big Other. Maybe analysis really does work like a confessional — Freud thought so — and the analyst either bestows absolution or enables the analysand finally to absolve himself. Even if the analyst admittedly screws up the treatment protocol according to Lacanian theory, he might achieve good results anyway — after all, the analyst is only “supposed to know” but can’t “really” know what’s going on in the analysand’s head.

    I’m not just advocating a cheap agnosticism here. I personally would rather let the symptom express itself than try to cure or suppress it. I value self-awareness for its own sake, even if as a side effect it sometimes makes me less resolute in my actions. But that’s me. People really are troubled by their symptoms, and many don’t really care what their addictions are trying to tell them. And even a 12-stepper or a cognitive-behavioral client is likely to arrive at some new self-understandings, perhaps even despite what a more psychodynamically inclined observer might regard as egregious mistreatment of the unconscious.

    Psychoanalysis typically fails the cost-effectiveness competition against cheaper and more direct treatment modalities for achieving symptom reduction. It’s likely that analysands would regard themselves as having arrived at significantly better understandings of themselves, other people, and society. But since this isn’t a medical benefit of treatment it doesn’t count, and the health plan won’t pay. Psychoanalysis can thrive only in a culture where the cure isn’t everything, and where quick empirical pragmatism itself comes to be regarded as a kind of disorder.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 1 December 2008 @ 3:36 pm

  3. “It’s likely that analysands would regard themselves as having arrived at significantly better understandings of themselves, other people, and society.”

    It’s hardly ‘likely’, it’s indisputable, not to mention overweening and boring. Especially since it seems primarily a more expensive version of the exact same self-regard of perception that est-ians and Scientologists and all cultists arrive at. It is meaningless, meaningful, or neither, and, with all due respect, I can’t even seriously read Sinthome’s erudite thesis. I’m sure it’s very fine, but I don’t feel deprived just on account I’m depraved.

    SAA has had some exposure for decades. I know someone who went to the meetings to meet…and pick up…Sex addiction identified as such almost always has to do with guilt, so if ultimately the ‘patient’ decides he wants to quit the misbehaving, SAA is probably good enough. AA and narc-anon are known to hypnotize many people into not indulging and believing all sorts of shit. People should use these programs if they think they are working, it doesn’t matter whether or not they are ‘true’, as I’m sure nietszche would agree. The trick is to stay out of all these things and figure out something, develop the neurosis or reshape it unless it becomes too heavy. Find your portal is better, I’d say.

    SAA isn’t like substance abuse ‘A’s’, because the exact same behaviour that the ‘sex addict’ patient thinks is just HORRIBLE for him is considered perfectly normal for amoral and unprincipled liberated people. Of course, you can pick up STD’s, but lots of ‘non-guilty sex addicts’ beat the system with condoms. Whereas, you can easily drink yourself to death or OD, which is what I’ve found with AA people (I don’t actually know any drug addicts who have sought help in those forms. Then there are sophisticated people who go to therapy which they can admire and this will seem powerful and desirable enough to replace the alcohol or drugs, one assumes. I knew one to fall back off the wagon right in front of me after getting very sophisticated treatment. My favourite stories, in fact, are of depressed analysands who are now dead, because their depressions do not any longer pose a threat, and yet they are still discussed fondly, as ‘when Rachmaninoff was depressed’. My neighbour is big on AA for 30 years, used to be a quart-vodka-an-evening man, now serves rotgut wine to guests, always encouraging them to drink as AA tells them to, so they can experience the sacrifice. He also goes to lots of therapy for all of his other personality disorders, and becomes more unpleasant by the year.

    Analysands very often develop something that always seems to me to be ‘neurotic’ in their presumptious attitude at their ‘greater understanding.’ I don’t mean they nearly all do this, and it may even mean that it’s just the already-neurotic ones who do it in a further form. I’ve also found it interesting the physical symptoms that are visible after long analysis–mask-like overly serious faces that ‘accept the grimness’ for others and not themselves. In other words, some of the neurotics I’ve seen undergo analysis used it to develop filligreed neuroses, because they didn’t have the imagination and gifts to do something with their neuroses. Psychosis is something else, and isn’t creative until it’s quit being primarily destructive–except from a distance, even psychosis can be ‘beautiful’ in its sick way, just like anything else.

    I realize I’m writing this as someone whose analysand experience extends to a couple of sessions that were really just glorified grief counselling of no more than 5 sessions with 2 different moderately gifted men, but I’m not intimidated by this ‘greater understanding’ of analysands, because this is partly hypnosis. Hypnosis is all right, but you can find it lots of places. Analysands get this ingrown kind of hubris going, which is really little different from other ‘insider syndromes’, just a matter of having some specific experience that someone else hasn’t had.

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    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 1 December 2008 @ 5:39 pm

  4. I forgot to mention that about 10 years ago Barbara Walters did a section on ’20/20′ about sex addiction, which she claimed not to have ever heard of. I howled, because I know somebody who worked at a publicity desk with her early on, well before the Today Show made her famous, and she slept with whoever, just like other Casting Couch Enthusiasts. THAT’s the key: Fuck your way to the top, keep it all business, just the way it is in most marriages except for bigger bucks, and you won’t have that much time for compulsive sex! Of course, the past masters like Hillary don’t even have to bother with those initial steps, they’ve got such fabulously sublimated libidos, they get the big jobs without having to ‘put out.’

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    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 1 December 2008 @ 5:43 pm

  5. God, I’d hate to meet any ‘sober’ sex addicts. They must be insufferable. I was accused of ‘seething contemptible hatred’ by a British troll at Dejan’s the other night, and some of the 12-step people do fill me with seething hatred. Maybe I hope they suffer, I don’t know. I definitely feel fine about a certain amount of evil, though, and have always been able to have a big appetite for sex which just reminds me of Rabelais. I don’t want to end up like the star of Californication.

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    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 1 December 2008 @ 6:08 pm

  6. I don’t happen to have a DSM on hand, but I’m pretty sure that “sex addiction” doesn’t make the list of official diagnoses. Certainly a Lacanian analyst would never affix that label to anyone. I’m not sure what defines addiction, though I’d say the inability to stop doing whatever it is you do when you want to stop is indicative. Why use the language of addiction though? It connotes moral failure, but now addiction has been rebranded as a disease: neither seems particularly informative or helpful. Someone should write an account of sex addiction withdrawal — probably it’s been done. I understand there’s a recent movie entitled “I Am a Sex Addict,” which I imagine is pretty funny.

    “The trick is to stay out of all these things and figure out something, develop the neurosis or reshape it unless it becomes too heavy.”

    That’s where the psychoanalytical approach provides more leeway than 12-step or cognitive-behavioral therapy. It would let the person second-guess the guilty-sick self-labeling rather than going straight for absolution and cure. But if the person is persuaded that the behavior has to go no matter what, then I’m with you: join a program.

    More later…

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    Comment by ktismatics — 1 December 2008 @ 6:51 pm

  7. “On the one hand, the different subject-positions (psychosis, neurosis: hysteria/obsession, and perversion) determine both how the analyst relates to the analysand and situates the symptom … Finally, as analysis goes on, the analyst gradually builds up a knowledge of the analysand’s subjective economy, those key signifiers organizing the analysand’s unconscious, and the manner in which the analysand’s fantasy organizes his intersubjective relations.”

    I want to ask: how does one arrive at the subject-position of the analysand and direct the treatment accordingly without first knowing what that subject-position is – ie: the analysand’s subjective economy? When does the analyst feel that a diagnosis can be made and suitable treatment begin?

    I ask this because I was talking to a Lacanian analyst the other day who had argued with a second Lacanian analyst about the wisdom and timing of an intervention in the clinic (for want of a better word) by the second analyst.

    “Yet all of this is only possible through the theory that guides the analyst’s actions and stances.”

    So does the theory guides the analysis rather than the details/workings of the analysand’s subjective economy? Or maybe: are the details/workings of an analysand’s subjective economy defined by the theory? And, if so, how do the details/workings of their subjective economy play any role outside a theory that has already been laid down, like that of a 12-step programme? In other words, where is the analysis?

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    Comment by NB — 2 December 2008 @ 11:48 am

  8. Just thinking more about sex addiction… In a way the libertine who wants to embrace the habit and the 12-stepper who wants to kick the habit are operating on opposite poles inside the same dynamic. The persistent desire to do the addictive behavior and the competing persistent desire to quit that behavior might be two sides of the same coin, or at least they exacerbate each other. Let’s assume that addiction is either a compulsion or the inability to resist an impulse. The persistent urge to quit is a kind of compulsion; the persistent urge to feel guilty/ashamed about not being able to quit is a kind of inability to resist the impulse to deprecate oneself. So quitting can itself take on the characteristics of an addiction in its own right. The addiction and the quitting set up a mutually-reinforcing dynamic. If someone really wants to pursue the compulsive urge but lose the self-humiliation, he can either totally suppress the urges leading to addiction or totally suppress the urges leading to guilt/shame. The former is a successful SAA member; the latter is the libertine. From my standpoint both approaches require the person to cut something off from himself, some richness of self that’s sacrificed in order to lose the uncomfortable sense of inner conflict generated by the competing urges to do and to quit doing. It’s a method that relies not on understanding or overcoming compulsion but on consolidating the compulsion and using it as a lever for one part of yourself and against the competing part. But I suspect Jonquille will disagree with this framing of the situation, seeing the loss of guilt/shame as no loss at all…

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    Comment by ktismatics — 2 December 2008 @ 12:45 pm

  9. But I suspect Jonquille will disagree with this framing of the situation, seeing the loss of guilt/shame as no loss at all…

    The loss of guilt/shame IS no loss at all, because the net result is continued activity, but not necessarily immoderate activity. The ‘sex addict’ with the guilt feels shame at the first illicit act, not only the subsequent ones that ‘prove’ the addiction. The loss of guilt/shame does mean, therefore, that there is an acceptance of some activity, but it does not usually lead to incessant activity; or it certainly does not do so necessarily. I’d suggest that it’s also very possible that the ‘addict’ goes back for more of the same half-satisfying activity, or divides thinking about all of this activity defined as ‘not beneficial or healthy’ because he cannot accept satisfaction, because he feels that he should not be able to find it ‘there’ (he’s been told it’s impossible, for one thing, and has decided to hold onto that thought buried away in a safe place to ‘protect’ him somehow–and so he doesn’t ever quite find it, which makes him try again in the ‘addict’ part of the personality), and so he figures out how to make sure that he doesn’t find it. It is then possible to have to keep seeking for both contradictory kinds of satisfaction until he decides which one is ultimately going to dominate.

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    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 2 December 2008 @ 5:14 pm

  10. So that, it’s a matter of deciding that the behaviour was acceptable or okay or fine or even beneficial and natural or not. If he decides it’s okay, etc., he feels as if he’s made a new kind of commitment to some kind of ‘freedom’ which he really is comfortable with; if not, he is actually very often trying to get to this point, but the societal caveats are probably more often prohibitive than not in most situations when compulsive sexual behaviour crops up. That leads to the ‘programs’, and these help the person who cannot accept the ‘moderation within the seemingly illicit desires’, and there is a cutting of losses by deciding to go ‘cold turkey’, which does, as you imply, lead to at least another extreme–addiction to sobriety–which provides a kind of buzz not unlike addiction in the more usually understood sense. But he never fulfilled his desires in the original kind of behaviour to which he was drawn, so it really is an acceptance of compromise, which can be the best solution in some or many cases. In this, though, it may not be different from substance abuse, because the addict is not 100% incapable, at least not in all cases, of having chosen to become more moderate at activity he is clearly drawn to. Hence, the heavy drinker or drug addict is sometimes capable of reducing levels, but doubtless this is the exception rather than the rule. Cigarettes are a good example of this: If you can smoke moderately without pain, you are not going to get a lot of praise, but it is primarily because people cannot recommend this route as good policy, because it is fairly rare–say smoking once a week or only on special occasions. While drinking, for example, will not come up as a problem that has to be addressed if someone really does just drink occasionally, once a problem does arise, the solution of moderation is most often not brought up as a feasible alternative. Heavy drinkers are almost always identified as alcoholics who require treatment–and most of them probably do need this kind of sudden thing, because there is some kind of satisfaction in the newness and novelty of dedicating themselves to a new mania, which AA can resemble to those of us outside it. I’ve never fathomed how serious drug addiction is now practised in modern medicine, i.e., getting people off crack and other even newer drugs. This is related to your cost-effective matters, because there is not time and money for most people to go through the kinds of life-style changes that would enable them to either stop something totally ‘as if by their own free will’ or to learn to use something moderately. This is a kind of thinking I’ve been very involved with for a long time, and have worked with it myself. But there’s the rub–you have to take it on conscientously and consciouskly in order to deal with it in a way which you can ‘own.’ AA and SAA are means for people to escape death or self-hatred and perhaps suicide when they do not have the resources to take the time to make these accommodations themselves. It’s not possible to imagine that that will ever be true, even though in all cases there are always admonitions to ‘change your life-style’, which is easy lip service for something not easy to do. That’s why all these methods can help some, and yet they aren’t the only ones.

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    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 2 December 2008 @ 5:30 pm

  11. One reason AA and related programs work must be the exchange of one extreme for another. The problem is that the new extreme didn’t make the addict stop liking drinking just because he stopped it. Although in some cases I’ve observed, it does work to make the addict afraid to drink or take a drug, so that after some years they very often really don’t. The gnawing underlying problem is that he wishes that he could have done it another way, I’d imagine; or learns how not to let such thoughts come to consciousness, etc. What the AA person had not learned, whether while drinking or at AA, is that heavy drinking is not pleasurable, because it always backfires (but it doesn’t seem as if it will, by the magic of the first few drinks or shorts, which destroy the resolve to keep it at the low level that was sworn to before the chemical made things ‘seem all right’–permanently). I know less about cases of sex addiction, but agree that this is a greater shame for most or likely is, and therefore, even moderate promiscuity is not something large numbers of people can tolerate in either a moral or social sense–so they call themselves sex addicts, even if many others are far more active.

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    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 2 December 2008 @ 5:39 pm

  12. Clysmatics, you can at the very least apply psychoanalytic principles in cheaper therapy settings; my Lacanialyst was working on a minimal socialist salary in a situation where the socialist health center had absolutely no understanding let alone acceptance of his approach and viewed him with utter suspicion, but since he only needed an empty room really and his regular working hours, he was able to perform Lacanalysis (he did have training for it from the local p.a. association). You can approach this situation in a creative way instead of WHINING about the money, that is if you’re driven by any kind of passion for psychoanalysis, but I suspect this is more about your anal jouissances of ambivalence – do I want to make money or do I want to make something new, am I an artist or a conman, a writer or a researcher, do I need a lot of money or don’t I, and so on. Since I suffer from obsessive conflicts myself, I know how this works, and since it can be quite paralyzing, I think you should deal with IT first, then your work situation will solve itself.

    Jonquille I believe that sex addiction is indeed premised on the idea of a lack, what Lacan would call the petit objet a, there is a bottomless pit; if multiple sexual encounters provided satisfaction, one would not invest so much libido in searching for new excitements. There is of course pure hedonism, and I’m sure some people treat sex as one does exotic food, which should not and cannot be a subject of either psychopathological or moral scrutiny. But most sex addictions I’ve seen were in fact unpleasant, frustrated conditions, variations of the Casanova complex. Speaking of which Fellini was great when he portrayed Casanova as an obsessive-compulsive neurotic, completely unable to experience pleasure despite or maybe because of the excessive baroqueness of stimuli in the set design.

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    Comment by parody center — 3 December 2008 @ 8:59 am

  13. Fellini’s portrayal of Casanova is a disgrace. Casanova was thoroughly capable of experiencing pleasure, which does not make him admirable (he is in a certain category of ‘admirable’, and not in another category of ‘admirable’) I’ve read Fellini’s views when he decided to make the Casanova movie and they are inexcusable–easily the worst thing he ever did, and all because he could not put Casanova into his OWN brand of bourgeois family values bullshit. He had no right to make a film about someone whose diaries he could not even bear unless it was meant to be nothing more than critique–which is, of course, all it was meant to be and all it was. Had he not already had a huge reputation, he could never have made this stupid movie. It is very much as if Pasolini made a long movie about how homely Giulietta Massina is. Fellini is here, therefore, no different from Freud in determining who does or does not ‘experience pleasure’–this is of no interest to me, and no interest to anybody who doesn’t want their pleasure ruined by unattractive assholes who think they know just how to re-route interesting and exotic people into some ‘reality toilet.’ Who can possibly really imagine that Fellini had any pleasure one would especially want to emulate, and surely Freud had none at all. Jung yes, he was more intelligent and less limited.

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    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 3 December 2008 @ 11:16 am

  14. “You can approach this situation in a creative way instead of WHINING about the money, that is if you’re driven by any kind of passion for psychoanalysis,”

    He was talking about the UNITED STATES, not Serbia or Holland. And, as I told you last night, I have NO passion for psychoanalysis, and you will have to accept this–nor do I want to discuss any more of these things with you. They do not interest me.

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    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 3 December 2008 @ 11:31 am

  15. So going back to Sinthome’s brief description of Lacanian praxis:

    “The analyst barely says anything at all, often simply repeating certain phrases or remarks that the analysand makes, occasionally modifying them slightly.”

    I’d think it would be quite easy to train someone to function as a Lacanian analyst even without teaching all the theory behind the praxis. If the interventions succeed, they should succeed regardless of the analyst’s deep knowledge. Maybe this is how your analyst acquired his skills, PC. The same principle holds true in medical practice: for well-defined practices it’s possible to train paraprofessionals to do what physicians do without their having to learn all the anatomy and physiology and biochemistry. Hell, surgeons started out as barbers. A lot of the professional mystique can be attributed to trade protectionism. Even without training, an attentive and nonintrusive listener can help trigger unconscious processes and conscious insights on the part of the speaker — it happens all the time in ordinary conversation. Well, maybe it’s extraordinary conversation, since most people can’t shut up long enough to let the other person talk.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 3 December 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  16. I’d think it would be quite easy to train someone to function as a Lacanian analyst even without teaching all the theory behind the praxis.

    I think though it won’t be EASY,it’s possible, so I don’t understand what is impeding you from taking this route perhaps via some course or maybe dr. Sinthome could destitute you subjectively as part of a 12-step SD program?
    Or you could start a whole new strand, Lacanian clysmatics, where the enema would function as the petit objet a? There are many portals open, Clysmatics, but you need to CHOOSE and GET GOING.

    Maybe this is how your analyst acquired his skills, PC.

    He did not have official training at dr. Miller’s, I know that he was psychoanalyzed for a year or two, but any psychoanalyst (also of non-Lacanian variety) has to if he wants to run a practice, so this was nothing unusual; I think he indeed picked up the Lacan himself, from books and correspondences with Lacanalysts.

    Fellini’s portrayal of Casanova is a disgrace.

    Well I DISAGREE, I thought it was brilliant, especially due to Sutherland’s performance and the set design. Your knowledge of psychoanalysis is simply not sufficient for you to be making any conclusions whatsoever, and since as I concluded many times before we are not conjoined twins, I do not expect you to like it either. On the other hand you are intuitively very good at it, which shows in the way you play with language, so without even being aware of it you have become a psychoanalytic parodist.

    He was talking about the UNITED STATES, not Serbia or Holland.

    In the US, even in a crisis, you have better conditions for practising any kind of analysis than in Serbia. The Dutch are perhaps even more pragmatic than Americans, so Lacanalysis here is really restricted to the upper classes, totally. No single insurance company covers the expenses of in-depth psychological treatment.

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    Comment by parodycenter — 3 December 2008 @ 12:37 pm

  17. Fellini is here, therefore, no different from Freud in determining who does or does not ‘experience pleasure’–this is of no interest to me, and no interest to anybody who doesn’t want their pleasure ruined by unattractive assholes who think they know just how to re-route interesting and exotic people into some ‘reality toilet.’

    If I may humbly interrupt your flurry of epithets to note that it’s quite logical, if not banal, that ”interesting and exotic people” usually, though not always, invest a lot of energy into their exoticism and being interesting all the time, because inside they feel sort of empty, bored or frustrated. Usually any kind of excess (in eating, for example) leads to a certain numbing after a while. You spoke on the phone about enjoying cigarettes in moderation.

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    Comment by parodycenter — 3 December 2008 @ 12:41 pm

  18. Yes, and I enjoy moderation in moderation too.

    As for my expertise lack in psychoanalysis, I’m fine with that. You know NOTHING about Casanova and haven’t read his diaries.

    Exotic people are NONE of your business, and you have too little knowledge of them to continue to try to pigeonhole them before making judgments about their hollowness–of course you said ‘bot now always’, but this is still about something you don’t know. Big deal, who cares?

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    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 3 December 2008 @ 12:49 pm

  19. Take Bwitney’s case, for example; all that ”excess” while behind it is just another Midwestern HICK with too much make-up on.

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    Comment by parodycenter — 3 December 2008 @ 12:50 pm

  20. Jonquille, I know that you now feel personally injured because with your exotic libidinal rhapsodies, YOU are the real Casanova. But I was talking about the other Casanova, from the books and the movies.

    Exotic people are NONE of your business, and you have too little knowledge of them to continue to try to pigeonhole them before making judgments about their hollowness–

    What do you mean? I know a lot of people who are constantly performing something, presenting themselves as very original and interesting, and then you catch them in the corner of the party room looking depressed, at which point they confess that they’re bored out of their wits. And I am not calling on any ”psychoanalysis” because it’s quite banal that if you don’t feel satisfied INSIDE, you are going to crank up the volume of excess on the OUTSIDE. Which does not discount the reality that some people are simply brilliant or so original that they are naturally exotic – maybe Casanova, indeed, was one of them. No I did not read the diaries, but I would like to.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 3 December 2008 @ 12:54 pm

  21. bwitney is excessive but NOT exotic. This is a cultural anomaly of the Bush years and American culture to a degree since Reagan. There isn’t a thing exotic about her, her crazy behaviour doesn’t make her exotic. Lana Turner BECAME an exotic because of her crazy behaviour, which she then placed onscreen in her post-Stompanato lurid performances. Actors with more talent like Gary Cooper and Garbo were exotic to begin with. Bwitney and Paris are NOT exotic, just depraved.

    Like

    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 3 December 2008 @ 12:55 pm

  22. The problem with the Fellini is that he admitted to hating Casanova and disparaging him in every way. This is why making a movie about him was supposed to be all anti-Italian macho sex god, etc., and why the movie should never have been made. Casanova is just a character in old age in ‘La Nuit de Varennes’, well-played by Mastroianni and not at all sexy (as either would have been when young and possibly when old, but not in this characterization), but Fellini could not BEAR reading the diaries, because there were ‘no babies’, etc., in it. His anti-Catholicism is pretty boring by now as well, but when he gets into family values in a movie about Casanova, it is of no interest. His idea of racy is a calendar girl with tits showing, like Anita Ekbert in La Dolce Vita. So that film and quite a number of others are still well-made and have a big orson-welles kind of spaciousness, but they are not as good as Orson’s films because the characters are meant to be caricatures, and you can only care about the actors playing them. La Strada is good and Massina very moving in it, though

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    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 3 December 2008 @ 1:01 pm

  23. bwitney is excessive but NOT exotic.

    so what’s your definition of ”exotic” here, something ”sui generis” or something ”unusual” or ”excessive” or ”flamboyant” vis-a-vis the mainstream culture? If by exotic you mean ”one of its kind”, then you’re referring to Casanova’s singularity as a character, though it’s still not clear how this relates to his promiscuity or pleasure in being promiscuous.
    I think Fellini, despite several misfires, incl. Dolce Vita, was ultimately brilliant, and the brilliance is in the faces, precisely in their singularity; this is why I liked the Casanova-film as well, the idea that Casanova sort of didn’t acknowledge his own uniqueness/character but became the stereotype, the robot, that others construed out of him.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 3 December 2008 @ 1:17 pm

  24. ‘Exotic’ is an important word for me. Ultimately, I find it so because anything can finally be seen as exotic; it’s a matter of perception. But lower levels include people who try to be exotic like Paris and Britney and are obviously pedestrian. Casanova is exotic not because he was a Professional Playboy, but because he was also literate and wrote about these adventures. He was NOT a robot, he was simply circumscribed in his interests–but so were composers and writers of the 18th century hemmed in by what their domains could be. I just didn’t care for a critique of the ‘Italian Don Juan Syndrome’ by Fellini, who wanted to point to the ‘humanity’ and ‘animal warmth’ that was missing. Eh alors? Isn’t there enough of it elsewhere, so that Casanova served as at least a better model for elegance than Madonna does? Although what you’ve pointed out as her lust for and enjoyment of showmanship is itself satisfying in its abundance. It’s just that unusual ways to live are not terrible, and although Casanova is pornographic, he is not a good example for a polemical film, because he represents a kind of rococo you can find in many other kinds of non-sexual artists, and probably Fellini was jealous he couldn’t do all the ‘humane carnality’ plus the calculated cold carnality as well. Nobody has a range of everything. On the other hand, it’s not really a serious misstep outside the film itself. Fritz Lang was much more of a human shit than Fellini, but he nevertheless made many good and a few terrible films. I just thought this was important because I remember Fellini’s unbelievable anger at the very existence of Casanova. And this is not interesting to me. People could get angry at Medea too, but usually they ‘feel sorry for her’, because she was a ‘wronged wyman’ and that makes her forgivable for doing poisoned gold dresses on creon’s daughter plus a couple of dead boys of her own, so she can fly on to Corinth and meet some stud who’ll sing ‘More than a Muzzlin…’ to her–about like Bwitney with people feeling so sorry for her drugs and rehab woes.

    ‘Exotic’ does mean singular, and can be found anywhere, but one has to put some work into it for it to be outstanding. I didn’t say you culdn’t or wouldn’t be exotic. Nor do I want to be Casanova for very long at a time–it’s expensive!

    Like

    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 3 December 2008 @ 1:29 pm

  25. If you think ‘La Dolce Vita’ was a misfire, I think we have very few Fellini perceptions in common. That’s his best film, as far as I’m concerned, except ‘La Strada’ and ‘Nights of Cabiria’ and ‘8 1/2’ are also very good. Even Fellini Roma is good, and parts of Satyricon, but I have found it strange how dated his movies seem, even when good–Welles’s don’t.

    Like

    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 3 December 2008 @ 1:34 pm

  26. We have to go back to that old discussion of character acting versus bland acting; I think Fellini’s faces are not characters because they have a special personality – they usually don’t, Gelsomina is a mongoloid almost -but because of the excess of their external features (the wrinkles, the gesticulations, the weirdness). Paradoxically their caricaturality makes them stand out from the other character actors around them. You really have to see Fincher’s Zodiac, where there is a similar effect of something slightly askance, only just so weird as to produce a slight displacement, and it’s all on the surface in the sense that it comes from the physical properties of acting rather than the actor trying to ”express himself” or some personality he’s imitating. When watching the DVD of Wall-E, which you also have to see for the very interesting extras, I noticed that the director made a point out of not designing robots to be humanoid-like, but REDUCING their human features and the level of graphic detail, which however paradoxically made them appear more human.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 3 December 2008 @ 1:48 pm

  27. If you think ‘La Dolce Vita’ was a misfire, I think we have very few Fellini perceptions in common.

    I’m not sure why I think that, but when I try to think about it, I tend to think that the subject matter (bored elite) didn’t stir me up at all.
    Also I saw the F&S parody,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tA1cKQCPPfk
    and ever since when I see Dolce Vita I see them instead

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 3 December 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  28. PC: “I noticed that the director made a point out of not designing robots to be humanoid-like, but REDUCING their human features and the level of graphic detail, which however paradoxically made them appear more human.”

    Kvond: http://www.exploratorium.edu/mind/play.html

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 3 December 2008 @ 3:32 pm

  29. And/Or: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley

    Like

    Comment by Seyfried — 3 December 2008 @ 5:59 pm

  30. Has anyone seen the movie “I Am a Sex Addict”? Two thumbs up from Shaviro and Dammit.

    I was thinking about Jonquille’s earlier remark about sex addicts who’ve gone “sober.” What could this mean? It can’t possibly be abstinence. I presume the idea is to go “cold turkey” on some specific troublesome behavior: porn-stimulated masturbation, prostitute sex, casual pickup sex, etc.

    Fetishistic sex addiction used to be a popular topic in the movies. At the beginning of Fight Club “Jack” and Marla are addicted to 12-step programs — the sense of being a victim, the sympathy and comfort, etc. And these programs are intended to be addictive in a sense: the “sober addict” is never cured; s/he is supposed to keep going to meetings for the rest of his/her life.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 December 2008 @ 7:02 pm

  31. The sober addict would indeed be abstinent of anything the least bit kinky.

    These programs are all failures to some degree because they do not allow a sense of moderation to temper these activities, whether sex or substance. Without saying it, these have to become ‘sins’ for the addict. The addicts then usually pretend (at least the AA ones) that they are not ‘sins’ for the non-addicts, but they look at all drinkers as potential alcoholics and AA candidates. They fail because they do not present an interesting substitute addiction. These meetings must be dull beyond imagining, and therefore they function partly as punishment. Part of it is that they wouldn’t want there to be a cure. The solemn ‘holy’ attitude of previous addicts (I recently read of a drug addict receiving solace in a chat room) is then brought to surround the new troubled addict and they develop an insular ‘space’ which would be very nice if they could keep it out of sight, because it is quite sickening sometimes. Because they seem to assume that once you’ve been ‘saved’, you’ve got to keep up the meetings and help your fellow man. That’s okay, and I know someone whose entire social life is AA. Problem is, they won’t understand that somebody else’s isn’t.

    Like

    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 3 December 2008 @ 7:51 pm

  32. This is a high-quality comment in several respects. I agree with your view that AA members regard everyone who isn’t a teatotaller as an incipient drunk and a future canditate for membership. Having never been to a meeting I don’t know whether there’s any impetus to proselytize.

    “These meetings must be dull beyond imagining, and therefore they function partly as punishment.”

    Lol.

    I think that because of the insistence on abstinence I prefer other approaches. On the other hand, I’m not sure I could smoke cigarettes in moderation without quickly progressing back up to a pack a day. Presumably here are temperamental differences — the alleged “addictive personality” — though I don’t know the evidence supporting the notion and while I’m vulnerable to tobacco addiction it’s not generalizable to other repetitive pleasures in my case. Perhaps there should be programs for people like me who would like to smoke in moderation for the pleasure rather than the habit.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 3 December 2008 @ 8:14 pm

  33. The only way I know to do it is to limit it to special occasions after dinner when there’s been wine, but I do this only once a week; and also when I go on vacation once a year, when I drink and smoke to slight excess every evening. There’s no reward in getting stinking drunk, which should be a think left behind i one’s twenties. But the cigarettes are probably pretty personal, in that I never want them at other times, they give me a headache, cause slight depression, and make me lose energy. I think of them as forms of special dessert. But the problem is, most smokers like them at any time and aren’t thinking of them as a delicacy, but rather a bit more unconsciously,I think. Any cigarette I have I want to savour.

    Like

    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 3 December 2008 @ 8:51 pm

  34. PC: “I noticed that the director made a point out of not designing robots to be humanoid-like, but REDUCING their human features and the level of graphic detail, which however paradoxically made them appear more human.”

    Kvond: http://www.exploratorium.edu/mind/play.html

    Kvond, Seyfried, this was indeed an instance of the Uncanny valley but I was going beyond that in saying that if one is able to extract a convincing performance out of a reduced instead of increased number of visual elements, this means that the currently modern ”neutral acting” or whatever you call it acts as a kind of a portal through which affects can flow. In other words the presence of realistically rendered traits would act as a barrier to emotionally charged performance.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 4 December 2008 @ 12:02 am

  35. “neutral acting” or whatever you call it acts as a kind of a portal through which affects can flow. In other words the presence of realistically rendered traits would act as a barrier to emotionally charged performance.

    How compelling! Except that they don’t flow, because you would have to learn the TECHNIQUE of neutral acting through which a supply of ‘charged emotions’ would have sense enough to flow through. What happens is there aren’t any charged emotions to begin with, except a little careerism, because if they were the actors wouldn’t perform so poorly–which they do automatically and without coaching.

    Like

    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 4 December 2008 @ 10:36 am

  36. xcept that they don’t flow, because you would have to learn the TECHNIQUE of neutral acting through which a supply of ‘charged emotions’ would have sense enough to flow through.

    Yes they do, but when I said affect I really meant the Deleuzian transpersonal affect, not personal emotions. In ZODIAC for example there is this unique queasy feeling flowing out of the whole film, even though its element are either terribly formal and flat, or the acting is deliberately somnambulistic. It is much more powerful than a classic crime drama. Ultimately it’s pointless to compare the two techniques as though one is better than the other, they are just different; but it’s also untrue that this neutral acting only produces boredom and nothingness, as these successful movies demonstrate.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 4 December 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  37. as these successful movies demonstrate.

    Well, maybe, but not Southland Tales, which needs the toilet.

    Like

    Comment by Jonquille de Camembert — 4 December 2008 @ 3:05 pm

  38. PC: “Kvond, Seyfried, this was indeed an instance of the Uncanny valley but I was going beyond that in saying that if one is able to extract a convincing performance out of a reduced instead of increased number of visual elements, this means that the currently modern ”neutral acting” or whatever you call it acts as a kind of a portal through which affects can flow. In other words the presence of realistically rendered traits would act as a barrier to emotionally charged performance.”

    Kvond: I see your point, and it is an interesting one, but if you just look at the graphic forms of each “character”, you see that they have been “Cutified” (expanded eyes, rounded out, shortened). Now whether this is done for marketing purposes or not, your thought in order to be sufficient would also have to be maintained in the absence of such cutification. But following your lead, take for instance how R2d2, a EVA proto-type in form, was translated through C3PO. His (?) completely neutral acting has to be articulated through the human form. We then could “see” it, retroactively. Here, perhaps in advance of your thought, the roles are reversed, a nearly perfect “neutral acting” of EVA, somehow translates the more human WALL-E, somehow articulating the subject of his love. She (?) is the most imbued, despite all of his (?) human “ohhs” and “ahhhs” and head tilts. Perhaps there must be “facialization” as D&G suggest in ATP, “overcoding” the body upon the face, in order for the affect transfers to stick.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 4 December 2008 @ 5:35 pm

  39. I saw Zodiac, PC, and I read your very good piece on it on your blog. You anticipate well the reactions of viewers like me, who mostly found it dull and flat and futile. Perhaps, inside the alternative portal from which you view the movie, Robert Downey’s is the least successful performance because it’s laden with actorly gestures intended to portray the neurotically human — I regarded it as the high point, not surprisingly.

    Certainly there is a strong parallel between this movie, following on Fight Club, and Southland Tales coming after Donnie Darko. Both of those earlier movies were similar to each other; both I liked a lot; both “sequels” either succeeded or failed, depending on one’s point of view, for similar reasons. No question that Zodiac received a warmer reception from critics, almost surely because the narrative scheme and the story were more coherent than Southland. Here’s something odd about Fincher’s latest effort.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 4 December 2008 @ 5:52 pm

  40. Ktismatics, I too shared your response to Zodiac, despite having an predisposed affinity to the cast, the director AND the subject matter…Honestly, my memory tells me that the main fault falls in the framing (I cannot commit to this). If you are going to be actorally minimalist, or neutral, please don’t be situational in your framing, when the situation cannot hold the story. Perhaps though this all was a “success”, evoking the banality of the times, and thus the banality of the murders. This would be a very generous interpretive stretch. I would perfer the treatment of similar emotives in the rather underated “In the Cut” (2003), where for instance Ruffulo’s minimalism of affect flowed richly, and violence nilistically, and banally, ripped through gender and urban loss. And who/what could achieve “neutral acting” better than Meg Ryan’s surgically enbalmed/enhanced face?

    To the Lighthouse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXASKqWcBSo

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 4 December 2008 @ 6:22 pm

  41. The acting in Zodiac I did not feel by the way was neutral or bland, those are not the words. There were features to the characters that were slightly askance, and as the expression ”uncanny valley” tells you itself, uncanny in this context. For example the Gylenhall cartoonist at times seemed like he was a psychopathic murderer himself. This pointed to the idea that some huge malevolent force (of the Zodiac, apparently) was running the show, not just the murders but the whole world. And this is why a ”plot” would make the whole thing meaningless. You could feel this force in the combination of the excellent photography, the soundtrack and the detached/distanced framing, all of which slightly reminded me of Fassbinder’s QUERELLE and Hitchcock’s MARNIE. I have to see the movie again to figure out why all this. I had the impression that Fincher was showing a post-Apocalyptic world abandoned by all of the old notions of God and morality, which has been transformed radically ”from within”. Kind of like the derealization that takes place in psychosis. And indeed since we’re living in the Age of the Aquarius, it’s a strange world.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 4 December 2008 @ 9:40 pm

  42. Kvond: I see your point, and it is an interesting one, but if you just look at the graphic forms of each “character”, you see that they have been “Cutified” (expanded eyes, rounded out, shortened).

    Yes absolutely, and it has been done for marketing purposes, but beyond Wall-E the principle of any good media design is to keep it simple, reducing the number of elements you’re using, for the sake of readability. The worst designs are usually baroque and overloaded with information. This suggests to me that the removal of the lements clogging up the picture allows for the passage of something through the screen, hence what appears on first glance as ”indifferent” acting. This Kvond is very Spinozian after all so you’ll understand what I mean.

    Like

    Comment by parodycenter — 4 December 2008 @ 9:44 pm

  43. I recently watched Good Shepherd, in which Matt Damon plays a CIA agent as a completely neutral cipher, bestowing on him not an everyman persona on which the audience member can project himself but rather a repulsive inhumanity. Of course that’s part of the idea: the CIA turns people into robotic assets. Unfortunately the movie itself was tedious. Matt Damon plays this sort of character quite often, but I think it’s his distinctive physical homeliness that salvages his characters’ humanity in a way that wouldn’t work if he were more Hollywood pretty. Plus he does have some acting skills in conveying subtle emotion.

    “For example the Gylenhall cartoonist at times seemed like he was a psychopathic murderer himself. This pointed to the idea that some huge malevolent force (of the Zodiac, apparently) was running the show, not just the murders but the whole world.”

    Maybe this reading says more about the distinctive characteristics of the viewer than about the movie itself (lol).

    “it has been done for marketing purposes”

    I think that’s true, PC, and I recall your unsuccessful efforts in the advertising world to persuade your bosses that the characters in commercials can serve as portals into the world of the commodity rather than as identification objects for the viewer. Surely the movie directors and producers understand this principle and exploit it to draw viewership. Bloggers usually discuss movies that offer at least some theoretical or cultural interest, but most of the big Hollywood pictures offer straight-ahead entertainment that does little or nothing to bend the genre. Didn’t someone on this blog once draw the parallels to video game figures, who because of their neutrality enable the players more successfully to place themselves inside the action? And when the game designers make the characters too realistic the players find that the virtuality illusion is diminished rather than enhanced? Maybe this was Traxus — I’ve never played one of these games so I can’t speak from personal experience. How are we to interpret the uncanny valley effect here, when what would seem to be slightly less authentically human figures become more psychologically compelling than more physically and psychologically human actors and action figures?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 5 December 2008 @ 6:18 am

  44. he big Hollywood pictures offer straight-ahead entertainment that does little or nothing to bend the genre.

    yes the director of Wall-E remarked on the commentary track, having made the observation that the situation might occur where you expected to get a T-rex out of the dino bones only to realize that one part changes it to a Stegosaurus, that it takes a lot of courage to change things at the last minute. According to him Pixar allows you to do this, but I doubt it, because the ideology and the message of Wall-E is ultimately conventional and reactionary, having nothing to do with avant garde SF that it promises to become in the beginning. Besides this he sounded kind of dumb in that specifically pragmatic American way (”keep it simple and stupid”) which I found annoying.

    i usually find ”help figures” annoying, like that staple thing from Microsoft Word, and this is primarily why I got into an argument with my ex-employer. There’s so much more you can do with animation, and storytelling, to escape conventional solutions, while securing that the audience is entertained, but the Dutch are terribly conservative when it comes to the media. On retrospect it’s no loss because three years down the road I’d be getting an ulcer from all the discussions of why we should go forward while they keep telling me we should stay where we are, and so on.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 December 2008 @ 8:43 am

  45. PC: I had the impression that Fincher was showing a post-Apocalyptic world abandoned by all of the old notions of God and morality, which has been transformed radically ”from within”. Kind of like the derealization that takes place in psychosis.

    Kvond: My goodness, were you on acid? :) If psychosis were this banal, boring and yet predictable (no character really was surprised or turned), what would be the “problem” with psychosis? It was more like a Serial Killer looked at through the eyes of Prozac. I don’t know, It strikes me that you are giving Fincher far too much credit. Clearly though you had a powerful aesthetic experience, and it does good to theorize why and how. But I suspect that the brilliance lay in you, as you transformed a mediocre film done by a director who has too much Artistic cache (based on what, Fight Club?). I cringe when I think of the up and coming Mr. Buttons — “Big Fish” meets “Meet Joe Black”…all it needs is a non-ironic Ron Howard voice over.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 5 December 2008 @ 8:56 am

  46. PC: ” The worst designs are usually baroque and overloaded with information. This suggests to me that the removal of the lements clogging up the picture allows for the passage of something through the screen, hence what appears on first glance as ”indifferent” acting. This Kvond is very Spinozian after all so you’ll understand what I mean.”

    Kvond: As I said, the same “indifferent” acting, and urban, nihilistic take on serial murder was achieved brilliantly in “In The Cut”. I don’t know what “worst designs” might mean. Designs are time specific. When they are of the Baroque end of the spectrum, it is complexity itself that passes through the screen. Sometimes this is a worthwhile affect. I can certainly see what you mean in regards to the characters of WALL-E. Perhaps if Fincher had just shot every character from the back of his head, then we would have had something blank that quite interesting (I am serious).

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 5 December 2008 @ 9:03 am

  47. …”that WOULD BE quite interesting (I’m serious).”

    p.s. PC, if you do view the film again, I would be interested in what you find in it the second time.

    Like

    Comment by kvond — 5 December 2008 @ 9:08 am

  48. It was more like a Serial Killer looked at through the eyes of Prozac.

    Yes it was that partially as well, a somnambulistic vibe; seemed like it was night all day and everybody was suffering from insomnia. But this I think is the effect of the film;s dyschronia, I’m sure you noticed the time was all strange and fucked up. But no I don’t think I’m reading my own talent into it (thank you for the compliment), I think it’s possible to come to this conclusion via analysis, which I will try to provide for you including stills.

    It’s interesting also that according to astrology, it is your Moon sign (the one being referenced in the film’s marketing) that gives you individuality vis-a-vis the Sun Sign. Even a slight alteration of its position can produce a completely different personality. Here again we encounter a slippage, the Uncanny.

    I never saw In the Cut because I can hardly stomach Meg Ryan.

    Like

    Comment by parody center — 5 December 2008 @ 10:50 am


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