Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Rarefaction; or CGI HankPank




RE: Commitment

If the incompatibility between those "who flip the switch on" and those "being those are potentially the one(s)" is a way of shewing that the former are sexual phenoms (think Mastroanni and/or Ekberg) whilst the latter are merely piss-in-the-soup hanger-ons (think John Cusack and/or Meg Ryan), then how can one possibly want to want love over humping? This also presupposes a self-preservation impulse (of taking the less of two hurts) all too relieved to let fate/determinism carry it down the aisle. If I was Robinson Crusoe (c.f. Mike Wallace-Hadrill to explain this reference, hopefully, on the D.L.) I would say "The idea of a destination or final end is a covert form of social control", leave it at that, and put the Prince back on, though I'd much rather read (apologies for the botched configuration, I couldn't get it to stay):

LOVE IN THE AIR

We are easily disloyal, again, and the light
touch is so quickly for us, it does permit
what each one would give in the royal
use of that term. Given, settled and
broken, under the day's sun: that's the pur-
pose of the gleam from my eyes, cloud from
the base of the spine. Whose silent
watching was all spent, all foregone-
the silver and wastage could have told you
and allowed the touch to pass. Over the
brow, over the lifting feature of how
slant in the night.

That's how we
are disloyal, without constancy to the little
play and hurt in the soul. Being less than
strict in our gaze; the day flickers and
thins and contracts, oh yes and thus does
get smaller, and smaller: the norther
winter is an age for us and the owl of
my right hand is ready for flight. I have
already seen its beating search in the sky,
hateful, I will not look. By our lights
we stand to the sudden pleasure of how
the colour is skimmed to the world, and our
life does life as a fallen and slanted thing.

If he gives, the even tenor of his open
hands, this is display, the way and through
to a life of soft invasion. Is constancy
such disloyal thing. With the hurt wish
torn by sentiment and how very gross our
threshold for pain has become. And the
green tufted sight that we pass, to and
from, trees or the grass and so much, still
permitted by how much we ask.
I ask
for all of it, being
ready to break
every constant thing.
We are bound and
we break, we let loose
what we nakedly hold
thus, he turns
she watches, the
hills slip, time
changes hands.

I ask for it all, and the press is the sea
running back up all the conduits, each
door fronting on to the street. What you can
afford is nothing: the sediment on which we stand
was too much, and unasked for. Who is the
light linked to the forearm, in which play
and raised, up off the ground. I carry you for-
ward, the motion is not constant buy may
in this once have been so, loyalty is
regret spread into time, the hurt of how
steadily and where
it goes. She feels
the glimpse over
the skin. She is

honest: she loves
the steady
fear. The
durable fire.

And what you own, in this erotic furtherance,
is nothing to do with response or that
times do change: the matter is not to go
across, ever, making the royal deceit de nos jours.
As each one slips and descends, you could call
it coming down to the streets and the seedy
broken outskirts
of the town.

Regarding the comment on whether one "receives" womanhood or "overhears" it is an interesting note on the experience of discursive perception and political loyalties, and both rest on the idea of a universal gender through biological fact. This is, as you seem to imply, a potentially shit idea, although the creation of 'woman-hood', as a generally agreed-upon 'spatial' analogy can be useful in describing what me might cringe (b/c of its obliviousness to economic considerations, class, power etc.) to look at as the so-called "female experience". Although the intellectual history of ideas, philosophy and literature (humanitas in general) is so closely aligned to a male-centered focus, it's hard to think that they don't inform each other; indeed, an erotics of literature would have to take genitalia into account. It is also interesting to note how womanhood could or could not translate into a poetics, while not making too obvious the gender specification. For instance, the work of Marjorie Welish and Carol Mirakove come to mind, and there is little surface evidence of so-called womanhood, which being a lexical cudgel would necessitate a gloss somewhere. But I'm straying away from my point which is to say that Woolf, whatever one makes of her work, also stresses the economic factor: "All I could do was to offer you an opinion upon one minor point--a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction; and that, as you will see, leaves the great problem of the true nature of woman and the true nature of fiction unsolved" (4 A Room) . It seems to me that this is in response to a tradition of humanism (Erasmus, Petrarch, Montaigne into Wyatt, Sidney and KAPOW! = English lit.) with works like Petrarch's On the Solitary Life etc. which largely came to condition a self-conscious idea of interiority, indeed, of the self and the individual, as the centralized state under Elizabeth I and the crisis of the aristocracy provided a post-feudal arrangement of social relations. I think what Woolf says is basically true, especially when we make aesthetic divisions like High Modernism and so forth; that to even respond to a tradition of poetry that is based on a middle to upper class (these are of course terms used loosely) requires a certain amount of education and time, which requires money or wealth, though there have been, of course, exceptions. The "room of one's own" is an argument in favor of solitude (and a lock on the door) such as a "chamber/closet/cabinet/studiolo" would offer, and seems also to imply a sense of removal from possible disruption and what Nefertiti Sock calls "struggle". I totally agree with you here that this is an idea caught up with autonomy and aesthetic goals separate from the world, but I think Woolf's instinct is rather towards 'no housecleaning, no washing, no brats' and the like. This would seem to contrast with O'Hara's writing-on-the-go (also shared by e.g. Ginsberg) maneuvers although we can equally say that sometimes this results in inattention and lackluster work of merely passing interest (especially in the work of the latter). But then again, O'Hara was firmly embedded in the Romantic and French Symbolist traditions and had a significant education at Harvard that got him on his way towards the role of a flaneur.

I think the blame on feminism for the manifestation "Howard Stern, playboy bunnies, the current intellectual numbness of Germaine Greer and the proliferation of silicone breast implants" is a bit heavy-handed because such manifestations of the industry of entertainment have as much to do with the removal or apparently insurmountable distance of theoretical concerns and academic theory-culture from 'normative' social relations (I know it sounds ridiculous, but I only mean the further-contestable idea of the 'daily' or the 'everyday' and yes I've read Debord's excellent remarks on it. GOD.) and those prevalent considerations of entertainment as it does with a kind of pop masculine counter-move (c.f. "The Man Show") which relishes in its own fecal-rage just long enough to a throw a fist in the air, splash some MGD on its face, and pull one off to some Hentai.


RE: Fish Night

"This recalls to my mind K's mention of the fury of justice and the poet's desire for it. I mean, so far and short as phenomenology is justified in understanding itself to be dealing with 'prior' questions it is because it wants truth to be visible, and what I see is socially real in way what I think isn't. What if objective change really is invisible?"

K's article was interesting for me (other reservations aside, which hopefully will appear soon) in that it focused directly upon on that desire to "see change" (I shd. further note that I meant this not as optimism, not even as personal, but in indication of a certain feeling, an urgency-towards a certain Utopian fluidity and lack of violence that one finds in 'thought'), that is, to visualize an internalness with parameters for socialism, justice etc. that would effectively consummate with some distant ahistorical sense of apocalypse and providence. I think the tension that you mention, that "what I see is socially real in a way what I think isnt'" is of course at the crux of political commitments and related to the conception of 'liberty', which Simone Weil defines as 'describing the relation between thought and action'. The reaction of felt social injustices and violence seems to be able to go in many different coping directions, but two that come to mind are (1) stupefaction and indifference, in which a certain repressive blockage is somewhat built up and (2) internalization and hyper-sensitivity or the role of the minor Romantic poet, who feels the harshness of the world to such a degree, whose existential requirements are so antipathetic to others--both of which are ahistorical and depoliticized.

That's all as I'm all-but approved, here's one more annoying quote to fill up this paperless office:

One belief, more than any other, is responsible for the slaughter of individuals on the altars of the great historical ideals--justice or progress or the happiness of future generations, or the sacred mission or emancipation of a nation or race or class, or even liberty itself, which demands the sacrifice of individuals for the freedom of society. This is the belief that somewhere, in the past or in the future, in divine revelation or in the mind of an individual thinker, in the pronouncements of history or science, or in the simple heart of an uncorrupted good man, there is a final solution. This ancient faith rests on the conviction that all the positive values in which men have believed must, in the end, be compatible, and perhaps even entail one another. (Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty")

10 comments:

Nefertiti Sock said...

hurtfully comforted by the notion of impermanence, true the grief in love in the air, i carry you forward. note to self, kernels to include in community ri-post[e]:
1) what is commitment given that we can promise nothing?, and,
2) what is the fire that makes us say 'yes'?.
to quickly clarify: i am not merely talking about sexual partners, but sexual partners who are also intellectual lovers - the jizz fusion that melts your brain. and those are the rarer creatures, who, once lost, inspire waning faith in commitment, forcing the view of it as passing, temporary, incapable of promise. you settle. you settle down. you make family like binding chains of love. chains holding you back from test-by-fire by compounded, other desire.
3) is impermanence the excuse by which love is less potentially damaging?

further response coming after your regularly scheduled deadline.

Alphonse Panko said...

"I think the blame on feminism for the manifestation "Howard Stern, playboy bunnies, the current intellectual numbness of Germaine Greer and the proliferation of silicone breast implants" is a bit heavy-handed because such manifestations of the industry of entertainment have as much to do with the removal or apparently insurmountable distance of theoretical concerns and academic theory-culture from 'normative' social relations"

The 'removal' of those concerns? When were they ever a part of or somehow proximate to "normative social relations"? If the former (i.e. theory) is to justify itself to itself it must be convinced that the latter (i.e. NSR) forms the object of its critique, and in that sense it is always close by. If, however, it is said that theory is hopelessly out of touch with the "real world" that it aspires to lodge its talons in at least long enough to pay back the student loans and get on the property ladder, it is perhaps because the meanings it finds itself producing are incommensurable with those of "everyday life" which are (let's face it) exactly normative and instrumental (e.g. ideological). The sense of the library is not the sense of the street.

AMERICAN PHYSICAL said...

Yes, 'removal' is misleading in that sense. But I think what I meant to touch upon was rather the nature of theoretical acrobatics as opposed to empirical and historical observation, indeed of a certain potential for action, for it is difficult for me to understand what social action might be without tending to the immediately local, the immanent relationships. Unless philosophy/theory has the observational rigor of a science, what might be called, like you say, 'field reports', it can be tediously unhelpful. And one might call this naive, but I always want philosophy or theory to 'help', in its broadest sense of assisting Verstehen, and organizing the process of critical thought. It's not of course that I think all theory is a priori hopeless and the like, but I do think the act of philosophy constitutes a great removal from NSR in its techniques, which likens back to your comment about phenomenology attempting to regain that sense of the immediate, of making the ideal visible. Prose is always less immediate than poetry. [A further note, I want to recommend the History of the Phenomenological Movement by Herbert Spiegelberg which is great for congealing a sense of its history and interaction. It was this book that recommending some 'American philosophers' that some interesting connections to phenomenology, those like Dewey, but especially G.H. Mead, who has a book called 'the philosophy of the present', of which I am eager to get into.) I don't mean to either divorce or unify philosophy and theory, for they are quite different it seems.

Nefertiti Sock said...

ok that was very throwaway of me. when i casually blamed feminism for fake breasts i meant only that the degradation in that realm of spectacular sexuality originated at least in part in a kind of backlash against the issues on which certain factions of feminism went too far (e.g., that whole all-sex-is-rape thing). the militants always create a backlash of utter absurdity, such is the nature of energy. vicks vapo facerub. you toss into a cradle. i like the development of this NSR business -- can we be more secure with a definition, for the sake of using it more generally in discussion? i am also interested in forming a definition of the word ‘politics’. in it’s current etymology i find it often falling way short of an entire babygro. i think the question of theory vs ‘real life’ is the absolute first question that needs to be addressed, particularly when it crops up around literature and critical/literary theory. i completely identify with that feeling of needing theory/literature/other to ‘help’, but i want to understand what exactly i’m after when i say this. help what, exactly. help make more better poems? is verstehen as far as it goes? what about help in its practical, applicable sense - the ‘real life’ bit. is this a separate realm? these are all very general questions but i want to get the material ball rolling around a bit in the adjustable ceiling receptacle. we obviously need to learn German.

Nefertiti Sock said...

i just realised i didn't really answer the question. the reason for that is that i was writing on a roughly inchoate feeling that there is a definite link between those extremist theories and our current state of social rape (i.e. plastic women and commodified sexuality). this feeling was generated, i believe, by a book by Ariel Levy called Female Chauvinist Pigs, but it’s been some time since i read it so will have to go back and look again. it deals mainly with the question: whatever happened to what was, in the sixties and seventies, quite an exciting and revolutionary movement?

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