Category Archives: Kristeva

The Abject Spiraling Grotesque: A Primer on Bakhtin’s Unmeaning

I have been obsessed with David Attenborough lately. I know, weird, but hear me out; this will all come full circle. During moments when he’s recounting past expeditions, he’ll summarize events that transpire using mundane, scientific terms, which seems fairly appropriate to me. However, in the episode “The Lost Gods of Easter Island” he reads the diary of one of the explorers on Captain Cook’s boat after they leave Easter island. The man, Johan something, notes that they escaped under the danger of life and limb, or something to that effect; however, the native Fijian with them who had just successfully bartered for a number of wooden figurines debarks with no such impediment. (I know I’m not getting the quote right, but the BBC website doesn’t offer transcripts, so I can’t claim exactitude, and I’ve already returned the DVD.)

My point in bringing this up is to highlight the hyperbolic statement by Cook’s journalist and the contrasting facts as exemplified by Cook’s Fijian crew member’s successful bartering. Why would the journalist sensationalize an event that posed no more danger than the rest of the expedition’s trans-world

journey? Using this logic, wouldn’t the phrase “escaped under life and limb” be littered all over the man’s journals considering the whole expedition was a daily gamble of life and death? And now I finally get to my bigger and overarching reason for using this scene. The hyperbolic phrasing, I would argue, arises from the explorer’s view of the impoverished islander’s pitiable condition. The Europeans see them as crazed and starving isolationists on an island two-thousand miles from any other island or civilization. Therefore, to the Europeans, escape at all costs becomes a matter of “life and limb,” especially considering the island provides them with no supplies or potential wealth, and they fear that the islanders themselves may do something rash as a result of their “eminent” starvation and consequential insanity. The Europeans see the islanders and their “situation” as what Bakhtin labels as grotesque, and it is this notion that biases the journalist’s description.

I know that was a long illustration to get at my greater goal of describing the grotesque, but I felt I needed to provide a “real” world, non-literary example before delving into the theoretical

explanations. But the effect of how Cook’s journalist characterizes their escape from the island and islanders is humor. It’s absurdly funny. Within normal social settings people maintain the notion of choosing words they mean so as to communicate effectively, for if they slip from our grasp, words no longer are under our control; they mean something other than what we intended.

The effect, then, in some circumstances, is humor. Yet, the etymology of the word humor predates it’s presumed primary definition: comedy. Instead, in the the 14th century humor was used to describe the cardinal humors of the body: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. And so, using the method of showing correlations, related and un-, as many jokes do, the etymological origin of the word humor itself has grotesque origins. More powerfully though, Bakhtin makes the connection between humor’s natural inclination to examine and be critical of mores, people, and behavior.

Enter art. Art can use humor to link together the high and the low of our world, whatever they may be within a given context to show the malleability of such stratifications, all the while inducing the audience to laugh.

The grotesque, similar to humor–and having similar results–, is a means to analyse ourselves and our world. However, the grotesque becomes the most beneficial to its audience, not when it comforts the audience, but when it disconcerts. To picture this scenario, recall the scenario I introduce at the beginning. We find the grotesque in the explorer’s lie; the islanders posed no harm to Cook’s party and were trading with them at the moment the escape “for life and limb” transpired. The journalist paints a picture of savagery, but the history books confirm that the islanders didn’t have the means to attempt to kill the Europeans.

The grotesque can apply to more than just the heterogeneous qualities of purported social interactions. It can manifest within a closed system as well. Life and death can be viewed as binaries within which the grotesque operates. People live, grow old, then die, showing a negation, a binary opposition, yet essential opposition to the life-cycle. In Rabelais and His World, Bakhtin notes “The essence of the grotesque is precisely to present a contradictory and double-faced fullness of life. Negation and destruction (death of the old) are included as an essential phase, inseparable from affirmation, from the birth of something new and better… This principle is victorious for the final result is always abundance, increase” (62). Just as these last words seem contradictory, that the ending of life breeds abundance, so does the grotesque point at, then implode contradictions, resulting in the creation of new meaning.

Bakhtin, as he stresses about other elements in his body of work, argues that the grotesque is an unfinalizable body. It constantly unfolds. He states that, “the grotesque body…is a body in the act of becoming. It is never finished, never completed; it is continually built, created, and builds and creates another body. Moreover, the body swallows the world and is itself swallowed by the world” (317). What does this mean? To Cook’s men, saying that they escaped with their lives might have been a true statement for them, but it certainly was not for their Tahitian shipmate, and for modern audiences the notion seems even more ridiculous. For viewers in the future, such a statement may have a different effect; the grotesque may rear its head not in the statement, but in some other aspect of the exchange.

How we identify depends on many social factors. Language itself becomes a courier for the ever changing grotesque. Looking at the Oxford English Dictionary we notice that the adjective describing the grotesque, “becoming” first entered the English language in 1565. However, the word’s definition describing the grotesque (“a coming to be, a passing into state”) didn’t exist until 1853. Language itself might be seen as a grotesque aspect of our lives as it is constantly being created and swallowed by the world, paraphrasing Bakhtin.

Many argue that language mediates how we perceive the world (and vice-versus), and knowing that language constantly changes puts us in a “reality” that is becoming and unbecoming–a grotesque reality.

The relation to all this “rampant” grotesque-ness is the abject. Abjection, as Julia Kristeva writes in Powers of Horror, “is radically excluded and,” as Kristeva explains, “draws me toward the place where meaning collapses.” Residing in liminal, boundary-less spaces, the abject poses as the threat of unmeaning that we as cyphers for the grotesque cannot manage to reorder. The result, for example, is an inadequate description of Easter islanders. The break down, our inability to re-make meaning causes us to place the grotesque into the position of known, and so we label it as abject. ” Describing their departure as “fleeing for their” lives, therefore, was the journalist’s method of responding to a scene of horror, a grotesque scene of starving men and women trading their valuables away to Europeans for trinkets, a scene that confuses and scares the journalist to incomprehension.

Also posted in Bakhtin, Comedy, Commentary, Critical Theory, Essay, Fear, Horror, Humor

On Children and the Incitement of Horror

Children, holding with the Victorian norm, more often cute and benign, meant to be seen and not heard, so easily transform and creep into our movie theaters wielding handguns, sharp knives, and even the powers of Satan himself to unsettle us from our bourgeoisie, soporific state. Why? Why do such movies scare us so much, what’s their draw, and what’s their significance as a cultural artifact? Big questions, I know, but important ones, none-the-less.
We can understand a great deal of why the little characters in these movies incite us to throw our popcorn into the air by considering Freud’s theories of the uncanny. True, this theme has been mined quite heavily in the last, oh, forty years, but there’s something to be said for reprisals. When thinking about the horror that devil children incite, we might revisit some of Freud’s theories. First, Freud defines those things that are uncanny quite simply: those things that are unfamiliar to us. He then complicates this definition by adding the element of hospitable (warm beds, sunny days, cheerful friends) to show the contrast between that which is congenial and that which falls outside of our everyday experiences. Fearful things, ghouls, horrible dreams, frightening car accidents, and etc, fit within the inhospitable. The uncanny, therefore, as Freud describes it, is that which spans the two precipices between familiar, pleasant things and the things that unsettle us, giving way to our inability to classify or rationalize anomalies in our reasonably constructed world.

But one needs another means to explain why horror movies incite such horror in their viewers. Sure, they mix the familiar and pleasant that comes with images of children and childhood with the inhospitable and irrational that confuses and unsettles us. But there’s more. Enter Kristeva’s work on horror and the abject.

Over the course of much of her writing on horror, Kristeva refers to the notion of how children build and acquire the semiotics of their world in the Oedipal stage, which later augments how they explain the basis for their feelings of abjection, disgust, and (the obverse) jouissance as adults. But when one considers the result of children’s sign (semiotic) acquisition, which tell them that something is to be made abject, one must wonder how someone might be unbiased about what compels one towards feelings of horror. But more importantly, going back to the topic of children inciting fear in horror movies, we view something, as Kristeva refers to it in Powers of Horror, as “birth trauma.” Fear personifies itself growing from mother to child, as she describes it. This birth trauma may show itself when a child cannot make him or herself understood, whether because of the inability to speak, the prevention of speech by some outside force, or lack of effective speech communication. Good mothering and proper “uterine transfer,” as Kristeva describes it, would have prevented the lack of speech, and its breakdown creates an upset of the “bio-drive balance.”

Kristeva also recaps on Freud’s uncanny, then elaborates on his theories when she talks about how abjection differs from uncanniness. The “natural” order would stipulate that a child receive all the gifts, objects, and food, showing the child’s “failure to recognize its kin.” And this point in her theory, Kristeva gets at the prospect of lack of desire, which, for her, means that humans shed a defining attribute: desire. Those without desire become objects themselves abject to the “clean” and upright world. A child who shuns, then goes on to persecute its parents, brothers, strangers, and the world on the whole, then becomes inherently and categorically abject.

In sum, children represent the innocent, the malleable, the genesis of what we are to become, and when viewers are given the opposite, a child who rejects mother, father, the clean, the viewer receives a mimetic personification of the abject, the antithesis of norm. Sadistic, murderous, sycophant children, therefore, represent all that can tear us apart.

In no way can I list all the movies that have come out in the last 75 years that illustrate this phenomenon, but here’s a few that I always get a kick out of that also exemplify what I mention above.


Also posted in Commentary, Critical Theory, Essay, Fear, Film, Freud, Gender

Kristeva, Abjection: Montage

Here’s a cool little clip that I just found that exemplifies Kristeva’s theory of abjection. Be careful; it’s graphic. I betcha can’t make it through the whole thing.

And here’s another one that’s a little cheesier, but kinda funny. You can find the text for this one on page 2 of “Powers of Horror,” where she talks about food loathing being one of the first and most elemental forms of fear.

Also posted in Critical Theory, Fear, Food, Video

Zlomislic’s "Scar Tissue"; A Contemporary Look at the Gore of Existence

After reading through the April 08 issue of the CTHEORY newsletter, I found a piece that hit me pretty hard called “Scar Tissue” written by Zlomislic. At the topical level I found it interesting because it deals with a number of old theories on deconstruction, mettanarrative, abjection and the grotesque, but on a deeper level it explores issues of contemporary thought and existence of varying socio-economic levels, including issues of tradition, commercialism and consumption, the solace of death, social constructs of love and security, and of course happiness and its absence. I am going to paste the piece below and provide an analysis following.Briefly, here’s what I would like to bring up as I explicate the piece. Zlomislic talks about the capitalist/technologist postmodern world in terms of facing the “Real” of death (a term Kristeva brings up in Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection), the structured existence of millions of Americans and their hope for orgasmic release, the hope in a lastingly residual genius in our society, more of Kristeva’s “Real” of the eventuality of death, and finally the futility of resisting it through social upheaval and reinvention. I believe this reinvention begins with Zlomislic’s proposition of the mixing of high and low artifacts of culture to show their absurdity and illusoriness in the populist’s psyche and hope for happiness. He causes the reader to question the ideal that one can create the perfect view of life using technology, ritual, and bought “things.” Buying ‘things,’ then, becomes an act of quelling the chaos, and therefore empowers the inevitable commodification of and lionizing of goods that are espoused as the cure for sadness that these same goods and beliefs arguably cause, whether they be artisanal foodstuffs, cars, beauty products, holidays, marriage, or image editing computer software. Finally, Zlomislic satirizes the one thing that the postmodern human may still feel some solace in or have hope for: love; love, to Zlomislic is nothing more than a repeated construct of our cultural notions of safety (by extension I would say as a result of commodification, ie, you can’t buy me love, but you certainly can buy me a beautiful house full of nice furniture, expensive audio/visual equipment, and complicated cooking equipment so that we can enact pseudo conversation using these items as a conduit for so-called true and heartfelt exchange).

I am going to take specific stanzas of this piece apart and do a few readings using Jameson’s notion of mettanaritives as they apply to ritual and commercialism, Bakhtin’s notion of carnivalistic outpouring within a community, and Kristeva’s theories of death and how people’s notions of death provide information on their buying and consuming power. I feel that Zlomislic is proposing a wholly new, deconstructionist, and radicalizing way of thinking that hopes to shed the old methods of living, buying, consuming, and thinking that many people in the contemporary world sell themselves to and relish in without a second thought.

Scar Tissue
===========

Marko Zlomislic

Cinema means pulling a uniform over our eyes, warned Kafka
— Paul Virilio, _Open Sky_

You are taken to see but your eyes are not prepared to look at the
spectacle placed gently in front of you like a birthday cake.

It is the dead who blow out the candles as your illusions are cut
into pieces.

The dead devour what still lives even as we eat the recycled remains
of what is planted in the field, delivered to supermarket spouting
forth freshly sprayed.

To live on as one of Prometheus’ children. Shreds of his liver torn
by the eagle to re-grow. We are his scar tissue.

The sweep of the broom over polished concrete stepped on by a
million daily commuters, mute and unthinking, blind to the little
pleasures as they search for the nuclear fusion of the orgasm
afterglow.

A shoulder to sleep on as your head is cradled. But there you
already feel the skeleton underneath the varnished skin dying to
leap through tissue, sinews, frayed nerves and muscle.

The little acts of revenge are sweet especially when you have a key
to the Other’s door. Declare a war against vending machines and
parking meters. Fill their slots with Chuck E. Cheese tokens. The
Real seeps in through the cracks of the imagination to leave its
stain.

Left on the doorstep, a letter, a video, a dead mouse; all brought
as a gift. These do not satisfy your hunger.

On TV a horse takes the lead in the Tour de France. A preacher plays
the electric guitar for Jesus who is still smoldering on Golgotha.

It is a fun house ride with death hitching on your admission ticket.

Magnify the details to bring the disaster near. Cut and paste until
you create the ideal Adobe view. Where and when will we meet?

We seek order where chaos rules. The bits are packaged: salad, porn,
apples, cuts of meat, coffee spoons.

The light enters when the illusion becomes tired. The cliche, “I
love you” should be returned with silence. The echo you seek is an
old repetition.

The knock on the door, the ringing of the telephone are all
reminders to stop eating the remainder.

How is this possible when Death nourishes what survives?

——————–

Marko Zlomislic is professor of philosophy at Conestoga College,
Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Kitchener, Ontario.
He has recently published _Jacques Derrida’s Aporetic Ethics_ with
Lexington Books and is currently writing a critique of Slavoj
Zizek’s work.

First, I’d like to make quick note on the epigraph. I found the Kafka reference to be a pretty good appetizer to the piece itself, especially Virilio’s use of “uniform,” as popular, commercial culture hopes desperately to make the act of life just that: uniform. That Virilo, a sociologist studying war, made a career of arguing that war drives much if not all of human history provides an ironic note to kick off the piece. Uniformity, taken as soldiers wearing uniform’s, immediately becomes a metaphor for inevitability and movement. Even in hopes to disrupt uniformity, many contemporary clubs and groups still hope for uniformity and rote collusion no matter their purported goals. An example of this is the supposed alternate culture system called the slow food movement, which nobly wishes to subvert the mass producing corporate food industry by empowering people on the singular level. The movement espouses a clear purpose and does so by collecting members at $60 a membership–a fairly exclusionary price levied on the masses who could care less about the politics of taste and who simply want any food on their tables. The sentiment is positive, but transcendentalists Thoreau and Emerson would scoff at the exclusionary thought that this homogenizing club mentality has on its participants. I develop this point more when I bring up Jameson’s issue with metanarrative in regard to capitalism.

However, I digress. The first two stanzas deal with tradition as passed down by culture. Yet, Zlomislic is satirizing tradition as nothing more than handed-down commodification in the form of the birthday cake. Ah yes, the birthday cake, baked by a loved one using ornate frosting and the like–quite simply a construct meant to signify the annuity of life but more closely used to represent group-given love for the now one-year-older person. The commodity here is time spent on the cake, whether real time, or the Marxist notion of time spent: money. In short Zlomislic makes the allusion to the year’s passing in a human’s life and the construct of celebrating it joyfully with an icon (the keyword here is icon) of joy and happiness inculcated in us by our environment from our earliest culturally injected memories. This joy and happiness is bought and represented by an icon.

And yes, as he says, the dead are the ones who blow out the candles. Here he is getting at the notion that tradition, again, as personified by the dead, is moving the birthday boy or girl forward, yet from this point forward in the piece the reader seems to get a wrench because, purposefully, Zlomislic no longer makes the birthday cake a happy image. He notes that “illusions are cut into pieces,” just like a cake is divided up into pieces for consumption, only to miraculously reappear the following year as nice and tidy order is restored. But why is illusion and consumption important?

Illusion is a key element in this piece. A birthday cake, an allusion to happiness, growth, joy, gifts, family, and so on, serves then as an illusion for something else: normalcy in culture and the eventual and ironic consumption of purported happiness through rituals. Rituals are a key aspect of retaining order and normalcy, a metanarrative that runs through the celebration of birthdays. Not to say that celebrating birthdays are bad, but they espouse a specific story that holds the participants closely within a stratified, commercialized metanarrative. Birthdays are comprised of a cake, made from store-bought staple ingredients, commonly mixed together and made specially for the birthday boy/girl/man/woman by the objectified housewife; guests are invited and are socially expected to bring a gift, one that they almost always buy from the store; and finally the birthday party is often catered, which of course is a hefty investment, or if it’s not, the “housewife” again must prepare an adequate amount of food or refreshments, requiring her time, which again makes her a contingent part of a capitalist postmodern society.

Therefore, the metanarrative of consumerism becomes a key driving force behind supposed happiness. Jameson, in his book Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism exhibits a skepticism for metanarratives on the grounds that they are produced by the very late capitalist environment that initiates and propagates them, or in other words commonly held values are self-propagated by a group. These self-propagated values then become a cultural movement to keep order, to prevent chaos from occurring. Going back to the piece, we read the lines “The dead devour what still lives even as we eat the recycled remains / of what is planted in the field, delivered to supermarket spouting / forth freshly sprayed.” Consumption becomes an image of irony for Zlomislic as he describes what is in essence the metanarrative of eco-stewardship and healthy eating habits. Eco-stewardship comes in the image of recycling, yet this image is subverted; the living do not eat the recycled dead, as horrible an image as this even conjures. Instead the dead–the long deceased, the memories of the past, history itself–come back to feed us, regardless of our so-called good intentions. The supermarket, a historically-based image of the American notion of health, bounty and nourishment (although lately it has become an image for corporate control over American’s eating habits), becomes a simulacrum of the “freshly sprayed,” and problem-solving arrogance that the mettanarrative of eco-stewardship espouses.

Zlomislic brings this point home as he conjures the image of Prometheus, the anti-tyrant, the archetypal giver of technology (fire) to the mortals, stealing it from the gods. Again, Zlomislic turns a culturally conceived positive image into one that stands for a metaphor that shrouds what Jameson would call “reality.” Modern humanity becomes the “scar tissue” of Prometheus’ liver, a symbol of his resulting punishment from the gods, but the scar tissue has not healed or become a solace just as contemporary humans’ condition remains inevitably in stasis and conflict. The next stanza throws more irony into the reader’s field of view. We get scar tissue, then images of the cyclical work that chains most people in America today: “a / million daily commuters, mute and unthinking, blind to the little / pleasures as they search for the nuclear fusion of the orgasm / afterglow.” Chasing careers and their next paycheck in hopes of getting the big orgasm of success, people are content with being automatons in traffic. Yes, the scar tissue remains, hard and obvious, and Prometheus’ parable seems to not have sunk into the contemporary American metanarrative of consumerism.

Later Zlomislic describes the notion that people can change their view of the world quite simply, that they can remake it to their liking using the tools of capitalism: photo editing software made by Adobe can aid someone in revising his or her image in finding a lover. Zlomislic might have added Facebook or Myspace to this line. Tied to the question of “where and when will we meet?” is the quelling of disorder, which shows a continued agitation contemporary humans feel towards the unknowing and the upheaval they fear may happen. Bakhtin, as does Jameson some 40 years later, identifies spheres of dialogue, the heteroglossia that make up the many competing dialects, thought systems, vernaculars, and cultural centers of modern consciousness (you can find more information on dialogics and heteroglossia in Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics). Key to these spheres are those that subject a hegemonic rein over others. Capitalism becomes a heteroglot that places its adherents in subjection to its systems and dialects of control. Zlomislic makes this point when he writes, “We seek order where chaos rules. The bits are packaged: salad, porn, / apples, cuts of meat, coffee spoons.” Food and its commercialist paraphernalia, some of the most intimate things a person can utilize and imbibe become something mediated by commerce, by capitalism, and breaking from this commericalist cycle, seeing the ridiculousness of it, laughing at its seriousness, embodying Bakhtin’s carnivalistic behavior is exactly what capitalism hopes consumers not do. To revolt and overturn a system that’s only a system as long as they buy into it, even for a moment, becomes an event that subverts systems of power to cataclysmic extent.

Zlomislic provides more keys to subversion that Bakhtin would identify as carnivalistic: “The light enters when the illusion becomes tired. The cliche, ‘I / love you’ should be returned with silence. The echo you seek is an / old repetition.” The illusion is that of bought happiness, of bought safety, of bought and consumed love. Zlomislic’s commentary on love in contemporary society, then, argues that love has turned to an illusion of completeness and happiness just as the birthday celebration becomes a structured practice of quelling people’s doubt for the disquieting aspects of life. Love, like other normative forms of culture (ie, religion, politics, etc) is safety, collusion, and togetherness with another individual or group, making the individual no longer an individual, but an agent of the body of thought, and in the case that Zlomislic describes, feeding and bolstering the structure of capitalism. But to fit with Bakthin’s notion of capitalism, we must find the upheavel, the overthrow of “natural” order that’s replaced with grotesque order.

Zlomislic peppers the element of upheavel in interesting ways, by using images of death and chaos juxtuposed with images of commercialized order. And to understand how these elemements work I call to Julia Kristeva. Much of Kristeva’s post-structuralist work deals with issues of horror and abjection, and one idea she develops, that of “the Real,” can be used to understand the capitalist/grotesque structure Zlomislic is illustrating (for more of “the Real,” refer to Kristeva’s Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection). Zlomislic says, “Left on the doorstep…a dead mouse; …brought as a gift,” then later “It is a fun house ride with death hitching on your admission ticket.” In each of these lines the reader gets the image of death paired with bought things–gifts, rides, tickets–causing the reader a considerable amount of fear, confusion, and dissalusionment as the images rush past. Kristeva’s notion of the real describes how we humans deal with the horrific inevitability of our own deaths. Death is real and cannot be explained away. But also, Kristeva makes a distinction between how we humans deal with knowledge of death, and how we view the symbolism of death. The symbol of the dead mouse on the doorstep is a symbol of quaint gratitude (I am thinking of your mouser dropping it there in exchange for praise), but the dead mouse becomes a symbol of un-quenched appetite, looking back to American culture’s assumed solace in the quenching of consumerist appetite. Although the dead mouse does not “satisfy your hunger,” it is offered as a solution as such, denoting the possibility that it might. Death then, as Kristeva would read it in this piece, becomes an unsettling symbolic image that points towards people’s the inability to buy themselves out of death and also their inability to construct a symbolic meaning for it outside of a commercialized understanding.

Keeping in mind Bakhtin’s notions of subverting power structures, and Kristeva’s notions of human’s attempts at dealing with death we must review the piece’s final lines: “The knock on the door, the ringing of the telephone are all / reminders to stop eating the remainder.” Notifiers of guests, new conversations, and new information, along with the opening of doors, and the creating of human connection is followed by an admonition to become conservative. Odd and aporetic, this paradoxical statement is one Derrida would relish. However, the reminder to stop eating the remainder refers to stopping culture’s robotic and blind forward fall of production and blind consumption. The remainder signifies the largess of consumerism that American’s simply excuse, not as largess, but as the insignificant curlings of the trinkets and baubles that make us happy. (Please remember to throw away all your myriad of wrappers, packaging, tags, bags, and bottles.) And as the piece closes, it is Death that propels the machine, empowering the American goal to prosper and leave a mark on the world, good or bad, destructive or creative. The real of death becomes nothing more than a will and trust fund I suppose. The “this” in the line refers to American’s accepted reality that happiness can be bought and that true feelings can be based on buying and consuming. It’s a good question, one that no one can easily answer. The statement hangs on the presumption that all humans do not need to live a materialistic lifestyle to be really happy.

Zlomislic’s use of satire and irony would make Derrida chuckle with glee as Zlomislic reconstitutes Derrida’s theories on deconstructing culture. Interestingly, many do and have derided this method because of its nihilistic conclusions. Well, sure, that’s a pretty easy gripe. But why are people afraid of a little nihilism? Really, will the world come to a halt if everyone gave up hope in a system of reality that spirals beyond their tolerance for grotesquerie? Yeah, maybe for a few constructive moments. Actually, pulling oneself from the notion that life is set, that humans are static in an irreversible structure of culturally derived and limiting perception that prevents psychic and intellectual thought to move forward, is probably one of the most important exercises humans can do, especially as we humans live in an over-commercialized and individualist-centered existence of hedonism and solipsism. Why not participate in thinking hedonism and social defiance rather than be a taste-bud, a simple receiving mechanism, in the capitalist-driven and controlled form of existence humans unabashadly operate in now?

Here’s Zlomislic’s new book “Jacques Derrida’s Aporetic Ethics.” I have begun to skim it and it’s quite interesting.

Also posted in Bakhtin, Critical Theory, Essay, Fear, Food, Gender, Jameson, Literature, Love, Poetry, Pop Culture Issues, Religion