FIND in
<--prev V28 next-->

From: "Jim Henley" <jlhenley@erols.com>
Subject: RE: (urth) Re:  Readerly/writerly
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 21:44:25 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: urth-errors@lists.best.com [mailto:urth-errors@lists.best.com]On
> Behalf Of Jeremy Crampton
> Jim's thoughts about readers *wanting* to be dominated seems
> right (and the
> S+M metaphor is cool, if perhaps something already covered by
> somebody like
> Camille Paglia or Judith Butler). But domination is usually accounted an
> undesirable condition. As Orwell knew, look at how he drew a negative
> picture of the proles complicit in their own domination in _Nineteen
> Eighty-Four_.
> <snip>
> What's wrong with this? I think for F. the point was to resist or to
> transgress, not to free oneself up from power.
> He did distinguish between "power" and "domination".. power was always
> accompanied by resistance, especially at the sharp end where it was being
> applied, but as for domination, well not much room for resistance as a
> slave or a woman in an abusive relationship (his examples).

Indeed there's not. But that's precisely the problem - Foucault and too
many po-mo's don't seem to be able to tell the difference between chattel
slavery and the compulsion to stay up until one finds out what's going to
happen with Councilor Lemur. To the extent that they deny or overlook the
difference, they are simply being fatuously provocative. To everything turn
turn turn, moderation in all things etc. A society where all of life is
subject to military regimentation is appalling to contemplate. A society
where the _army_ is subject to military regimentation is to be desired. A
society where you get to choose whether you join the army in the first
place, and have predictible opportunities to leave it after you join, is
better yet.

One of the great things about Jonathan's postmodernism is that it seems
much more nuanced than that of his forebears (Foucault, Barthes etc).

> Discourse is what is formed by the archive, the set of rules which
> determine what can be said, remembered, appropriated, re-used or
> forgotten.
> Anyway, the point is that there is authority in discourse, it
> frames simply
> what can be said or how it is said. His examples are madness,
> criminality, and sexuality.

The term discourse is nebulous enough that there's no arguing with it. But
to the extent that discourse is made up of texts or (Jonathan's term)
books, the situation is quite fluid. For one thing, one of the tasks of
authorship is to find new things to say, and ways to say things that have
been previously unsayable. Let me be the first to aver that this ain't so
easy. However, the full flowering of whiggish Britain did not prevent
CAPITAL from being written. Nor did CAPITAL (or the Popular Front) keep
Hayek from writing THE ROAD TO SERFDOM. TBoTNS did not (alas) foreclose the
careers of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. The new criticism did not stop
Lentricchia (or whoever it was) from finding an aporia at the center of
that Lucy poem, and the domination of the Academy by Lentricchia's fellows
actually called the neotraditionalist "The New Criterion" into being.
Textual authority in itself is multivalent and provisional. A political
apparatus can limit access to texts, establishing a favorite set's
hegemony, but you still end up with Luther's theses and _The Cancer Ward_.

The dominant discourses of the bourgeois West on madness, crime and
sexuality did not prevent Foucault's big long books, BTW. But to return to
Wolfe, TBOTNS is full of madness, crime and sexuality. How would you say
Wolfe's view of these things compares to Foucault's?

[Speaking of multivalence, my spell-checker had some fun suggestions for
this post...]


 "I once was lost
	but now I'm just blind"
			- Kid Rock

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

<--prev V28 next-->