Fanon x arrangement x history

Enjoying Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks quite a bit. A couple of things make this a really good read

For one, Fanon’s unconventional style, which blends theory, poetry, and quotations, makes this text easier to approach (compare to Butler). The way Fanon remakes and re-arranges quotes from other works, especially Cesaire, is fascinating. I find this style really provocative when we keep in mind the way we process and understand information in our modern “internet age”. The way Fanon works with quotations and poetry corresponds with the way we jump around and consume massive amounts of seemingly unrelated content online. Fanon’s style is really admirable because he takes a mass of information and makes sense of it, re-arranges it into something coherent.

In regards to content, Fanon’s argument that the black social experience (as one always in relation to whiteness), is characterized by a constant re-living of history stands out most prominently for me. I cannot stress the importance of the link he makes between the past and the present in regards to race. Indeed it is easy as an outsider to wonder why somebody can’t just “get over” and “forget about” the past. When the past is constantly being re-lived, positive development and progression becomes inconceivable.

The way that Fanon utilizes media and textual analysis to help argue this is insightful, although I feel that in many respects it could be stronger. Cultural analysis (he deals with comics and cartoons most noticeably) seems sort of like an after thought to his work, although I regard it as a lot more compelling then his argument founded in the psychosexual.


Freud x myself x delusions

Freud is a very well known and ridiculed intellectual figure. For that I love him. He was prominent in my household as a child and apparently as a toddler I chewed on his brightly colored books. Ya ya have fun dissecting that one. I did have trouble reading Dora, though, because I couldn’t separate him from his work. The cocaine, the dingy, damp, sexual analysis of everything, the cigar jokes. It’s too much. Here’s a little catharsis, because we all need that right?

J: Why does it feel like your psychoanalysis shares similarities with  conspiracy theories?

Freud: Conspiracy theories you say? What about that painting on your wall? Tell me more about that painting you have up

J: No seriously, every denial becomes further proof of repression for you.

Freud: Ah a lizard. I see….

J: Your analysis of Dora reads like a detective novel you sadistic pig.

Freud: *footnote* the lizard is a traditional symbol for a desire to eat macaroni. As I have explained already, macaroni has been found on cave painting, stuck to the wall with cheese. This has significance to the second dream, as we shall see later *end footnote*

J: Do you find pleasure in doing this? It really seems like your getting a kick out of snooping in on Dora’s entire family and their medical history. Gotta say though, do dig your stuff about desire for self-punishment being  rooted in “penitence and remorse” (pg. 39).

Feud: So you want to kiss me and my smokey, smokey mouth?

J: Hombre, Hombre…

Freud: Tell me about your PHantasy…

J: Also why does it seem like your playing musical chairs with the direction of Dora’s desires? One minutes its for Frau K, then Herr K, then her own father, then back to Herr K.??? I should also add that these ideas seem really simplistic – isn’t there more to life then sex and guilt? What about genuine compassion? What about creative production? What about taking care of house plants? Isn’t that a non-sexual activity?

Freud: Your choice of words there cannot be accidental. Tell me more about your genitals relations with house plants.


Northanger Abbey x Shaun of the Dead

Want to start off with a quick personal note here – didn’t know parody was so central to Austen’s work. Enjoyed Northanger Abbey much more than I expected.

A couple of things really interest me about the work. One involves the indirectness of the novel,in the sense that it does an excellent job at conveying meaning without being reductionist. It entreats the complexities of the real and the romantic/the imagined. Although I believe the work can be seen as an attempt to dismantle the excesses of the Gothic genre, the way that fiction becomes just as much a part of the “real” (because it is a novel, after all) world of Northanger Abbey is really provocative. The lines are blurred, there is no clear-cut binary. In fact, it presents an intriguing “other side” to the same coin – the “real” world that Austen tries to capture in this novel is exactly that, in a novel, in a fictional work. The real is a part of the fictional just as the fictional (lies, stories, reveries, novels, perhaps even the whole notion of a high society)  is part of the real in the world of Northanger Abbey.

I realize that I’ve gone on about the real and the unreal/imagined/fictional at length before, and also that Austen is addressing a very complex notion of a “romanticized” or “gothicized” unreal. I’ll try to work out these kinks in the next few days.

I don’t see it as much of a stretch to draw comparisons between Shaun of the Dead and Austen’s work, as many I have talked to have suggested. This might interest folks Parody is parody, and parody is great, no matter the era. Shaun of the Dead, as an exceptionally clever and enjoyable movie, manages to say as much about the monogamy and dullness of daily life as Northanger Abbey. In fact, I think it’s important to remark that the film finishes more or less where it started – with Shaun sitting on the couch and leading an exceptionally simple and meaningless life – only this time, he’s with a girl. The world has changed around him, but he hasn’t changed all that much.