Friday, 30 September 2005

Concerning Psychoanalytic "Truths," the IWW & Gangesa's Tattvacintamani [Note: an update for interested parties.] The area below contains some very typical sophistry which, for reasons I can't entirely explain outside of a general sense of annoyance, I took some time I don't have to respond to. You can see the original (as well as other objects worthy of hearty ridicule) by putting your eye to glass and peering deep into the heart of faux-liberatory dogmatism. I should add: although this thinker belongs to the Long Sunday collective, he belongs there as much as Eugene Debs would have "belonged" on the current Cabinet (if you reversed the political valences such that Debs were neoconservative and the Bush Cabinet composed of Wobblies). I may've squeezed more volatile political history into that sentence than the rest of everything I've ever written in my entire life combined. So proceed, if you dare, and place your eye firmly 'gainst the glass: I typically refrain from reposting comments I post elsewhere, but since I suspect it's not long for his blog, I want to memorialize my response to [PR]'s breathtakingly blinkered post about those who don't worship the ground the feet with which Lacan did his thinking walked on.[1] It reads (minus some embarrassing praise for the genuinely praiseworthy folks at Long Sunday): I've been thinking about the charge so often launched by Anglo-American academics at French theorists, that they are "charlatans". Sometimes, they're right. Baudrillard, surely, does often over-reach with his theoretical adventures, thereby showing up his actual lack of `knowledge' in the field under consideration/theorization. But this is also part of what makes him so great, and such a great thinker to think with. (Lacan, on the other hand, I could never accept the term 'charlatan', since his is an almost perfect system. Now, he might not have the best philosophical knowledge, but he doesn't cite it anyhow in the same way as Baudrillard.) But it's a sort of mirror-image (or Moebius strip), this charge against the French, for, from another angle, it is the Anglo-Americans who are the charlatans. They refuse to theorise, and call themselves instead 'Post-theorists' (i.e. in contemporary film studies), whose only defining commonality is a negative one: resistance to (Lacanian) psychoanalysis. The great irony is that the psychoanalysis they are rejecting is Anglo-American bungled appropriations/bastardizations of Lacan, not Lacan's work itself. After all, most of the early writings on the Gaze and whatever based themselves on a single essay of Lacan's (that, in fact, never mentioned the Gaze!). To refuse the theorise, but to instead surround oneself with the shiny trinkets of knowledge (discourse of the University) ... this is the true charlatanism. When one doesn't argue a position, as Anglo-Americans don't, then one is only ever protecting oneself, perhaps for the hope of tenure. But without exposing oneself to critique one is just filling up space, and heck, I'll even follow the conservative line here, wasting taxpayer's money. Now that's charlatanism. Refusing to defer to psychoanalytic sophistries is charlatanism? So if you're still with me after...

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