Friday, 02 June 2006

The Idiot's Guide to Scott's Idiosyncratic Theoretical Orientation (Sadly, Not Complete With Cartoons) I'm not up to producing original content tonight. Fortunately, Forgotten Boy and N. Pepperell are having an incredibly stimulating conversation down in the comments to this post. Were I able to put two and two together tonight I'd jump in. (Forgotten Boy continues to write circles around the competition. I wish I'd wished to be hit by a car to write like him before. I'd wish it now, but it'd be in poor taste. Don't want to be offending myself after all.) Also, a number of people have professed a desire to understand my particular theoretical orientation. Here are some links to posts in which its contours are visible: My long meditation on theoretical eclecticism. It's my contribution to the Theory's Empire event and discusses why I value a confrontational mode of literary scholarship. Another long post, this time about New Historicists' love of homologies and my problem with them. A veritable sonnet concerning my devotion to historical accuracy over and above all commitments theoretical. Speaking of which: my feelings about uncritical theoretical commitments. (Be sure to read the comments.) A bit about my tortured relatonship with Foucault. (The second bit of which is, as Matt'll tell you, still pending.) My intellectual history. The funnier version of my intellectual history. The New Historicist reading list I put together earlier this year. The text of my public lecture about historicisms old and new. All of these pieces are flawed and incomplete, but as I've never written a comprehensive account of my critical position, they'll have to suffice for the moment. Needless to say, I've changed my mind about some of that since I wrote it, but it'll provide those who seek to understand my position better a sound starting point. P.S. Some of you have websites whose banner and layout bore me to sleep before I have a chance read a word you say. Luckily for you I have a solution: Lauren's "willing 2 work 4 fud." You can find some examples of her work on Feministe as well as the sites she links to in that post. Like Dr. B's. How can you not love that banner? It's classic. Yours can be too. Were I not married to a graphic designer, dirt poor and on the path that terminates in Dickensian gutters, I'd hire her myself.
Comic Book Rape; or What Would You Like Me to Title It? This post isn't a direct response to "Comic Book Guys Are Stupid," but it is a response of some kind. Let me walk you through this one: The year is 1988. I'm a recent transplant to Louisiana and am thus a tad on the introverted side. I spend endless hours reading comic books. I may have like 'em liked some girls at this point, but I see no evidence of it in my fourth grade yearbook. (My fifth grade yearbook is an entirely different, hearts-circling-pictures story.) Point being, I distinctly remember not thinking about nor even knowing what rape was. But I mow my lawn every day—my father having decided to instill the value of hard work by allowing me to earn $4 whenever I want by re-re-re-mowing what my work ethic transformed into a mangy lawn—and so have plenty of money to blow on X-books. So I'm spending my afternoons blissfully unaware of anything which doesn't involve the X-Men or X-Factor or The New Mutants or, if I was desperate enough, Alpha Flight. One late October afternoon I'm holding in my hands X-Men #236. On the cover Wolverine and Rogue are hung by their on a scaffold, flanked on both sides by grinning fools in military garb. (This picture disturbs me more now than it did then.) What happened? The X-Men sacrificed themselves to save the world, only in the end they were granted a reprieve: they would be dead to the world but would live undetected and undetectable in the Australian outback. They were invisible to all forms of electronic recording devices. They were able to move throughout the world invisible to all by the naked eye. (You want to privilege presence? I'll privilege you some presence.) Then a fascist state called "Genosha" clashes with the X-Men. Shit hits fans. Wolverine and Rogue are captured. For those unfamiliar with the comics or the films, Rogue has the power to absorb the memories and/or mutant powers of whomever she touches. So naturally, she doesn't touch anyone for fear of knocking them unconscious and draining them of their "life energy." (Stop sniggering. I was in fourth grade.) Her entire life Rogue has wanted nothing more than to touch someone without hurting them. To be loved. But she's come to accept the fact that this will never happen. This self-sacrifice moves the fourth-grade mind. I sympathized with her despite having no clue as to what she sacrificed or why. I only know that it pained her and, being the good sympathetic identifier, felt her pain by proxy. So without really knowing why I want Rogue to able to touch people. After she's captured by the Genoshans, she's stripped of her mutant powers. Now she can touch people without having to worry about killing them. For a moment I'm happy for her. If only she can get out of this jam she'll be able to touch someone! That's all she ever wanted! Then I hit this panel: And I'm confused. That's Rogue...

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