September 21, 2004

DESIRING SEDUCTION

seduction.jpg

As a contribution to the sex discussion, I offer this, which after six years or so, stands up rather well, I think.

I'd be very interested in people's views...

Posted by mark at September 21, 2004 06:56 AM | TrackBack
Comments

There's nothing in the second section that wouldn't have looked out of place in undercurrent's Helmut Newton post.

I'm off to an Anti-Sex League meeting. Don't want to go, but they will insist.

Posted by: Yvonne Mitchell at September 22, 2004 10:41 AM

ok what this needs to bring it to life is - a la barthes or zizek - a well-read (ie locally jargon-free) (yay striation!) concrete cultural object* to dramatise the issues: otherwise the whole battle takes place abt 40 million feet above ground and as a result feels as if nothing is at stake beyond baudrillard's marketshare in the para-academic lecturetour circuit) (i guess the issue is what do *we* care whether JB's ethos/strategies/tactics/ are various right or wrong, and to highlight this we surely need to introduce an indirectly-related third tripod-leg of an element which ALREADY - simply or complicately - embodies our attitudes-needs-passions-boredoms, doesn't eg need tedious theory-expoundment to validate same, and then see where the currents lead us)

*(i don't mean discussion of a film or a book or a record necessarily: just as concrete wd be a diary eg of organising a conference at warwick university!) :D

Posted by: mark s at September 22, 2004 01:04 PM

(or eg retrospectively a description of the problems and unspoken reasons/dreams/hopes behind a. decision to write and b. the actual writing of this essay?) (cz i think the hermeticism of the expression hands the farm over to the territory in which JB retains vast tracts of cultural capital) (

Posted by: mark s at September 22, 2004 01:11 PM

note to self: rejig metaphor to better conjure image of battles for ownership of land past and present

Posted by: mark s at September 22, 2004 01:12 PM

mark s. note to you. pls write in proper sentences. wd aid comprehension!

Posted by: luke at September 22, 2004 01:41 PM

bah hegemony of so-called grammar = [jargonword for something to be disapproved of, ideally w/o thinking v.hard abt it]

[not to mention fact that only ONE of the above isn't a "proper" sentence mr cheeky luke etc!!!]

ps since the other comments boxes aren't turned on (let alone libidinised), can i say here that the best extended study i know of the internal operation of an eastern cult aimed with all alert cunning to fleece the west is frances fitzgerald's "cities on a hill" abt rajneesh's community in antelope oregon - viz rajneesh had read heidegger in his days as a yoot and a student in the west, smartly spotted the goldmine, and went back to poona to set up his original ashram

Posted by: at September 22, 2004 01:52 PM

bad grammer is fine. it's more a question of communicating successfully. those of us with small brains object to having to use them. it hurts.
xx

Posted by: Luke at September 23, 2004 12:51 AM

There's nothing in the second section that wouldn't have looked out of place in undercurrent's Helmut Newton post.

I'm a bit confused by the double negatives here.. but if you mean that there's nothing in the second section that would have looked out of place in Undercurrent's Helmut Newton post, I of course disagree, and it's precisely the fact that advocates of said position think that what they are saying is the same as what Suzanne and I presented that makes it so unthought-out, kneejerk and weak. Such a position always invokes 'real women' (i.e. Really Existing Women, i.e. counter-revolutionary neurotic egotists which, as is plain to see, far from posing any threat to capital are now its face --- Mcgroot is right). Women too must become women.... Like communism, feminism is about punitive and pitliless destruction of the 'what about me and my experiences' ego: only the collective body is feminist/ communist, i.e. femmunist. Such a body is now only a potential (and of course one shouldn't confuse potentials with the ideal, that would be a fatal error).

The problem with Baudrillard is not that he is like Newton, but that he is not Newtonian enough. I will say this again and again, but of course no-one listens: the primary consumer of Newton's images was women. So attacking them for being 'male fantasies' is an attack on the women who consume them and enjoy them and who participate in their production. Fine. Make your arguments about false consciousness if you wish, but be honest about it and face its implications. Glamour is primarily about the circulation of female images for other females. Someone like Newton operated only as a machine-part not as the male fantasist dominator. To say that he did is to play into the very masculinist logic (everything has to be about men and their fantasmatic economies) that you are allegedly attacking. Hold on tight and spit on me, but I say that these women enjoy becoming part of Newton's glamachines, and many women enjoyed fantasmatically projecting themselves into them, too. Not that this appeal to popularity means much, except to refute the views of middle-class women who claim to speak for all women.

The absurdity of the Spinozist machinism (but not for my girlfriend, she's a real woman) position should be apparent to anyone.

Besides, stopping at section 2 is precisely the problem. You have to go further in the direction of femachinism, not retrench into GCSE Media Studies representationalism. If the cyberotic economy that lies beyond the pleasure principle takes anything as its model, it is (a la Irigaray's 'When Our Lips Speak Together') the lesbian encounter: i.e. the unnatural, artificial and non-genitally-fixated generalized erotics. Again, yes, Irigaray's account is fantasmatic --- but you don't escape fantasmatic economies simply by an act of will (this is the smug assumption of the bourgeois realist). Better to choose a different, more positive fantasmatic economy, not retrench to some empirico-real which is illusory in every bad sense - precisely in its naive conviction that you can strip away illusions to uncover the real. Besides, and this is crucial, fantasmatic economies such as Irigaray's can act as potentiation machines, erotic engineering manuals for producing new female collective practices (when OUR lips speak TOGETHER). Again, this is precisely not ideal, and precisely NOT a male projection....
unless Irigaray is not a woman.

Furthermore, Grace Jones IS a woman, i.e. not a fantasy of mine or other men's, even if of course she is a skilled manipulator of such fantasies.

Roisin Murphy IS a woman, not my fantasy, though she is well aware (as anyone who bothered to even give any time at all to psychoanalysis and especially to Lacan ought to know) that enjoyment is to be had from role playing, from stepping in and out of fantasmatic identifications - and anyway this is what we do all the time and cannot help but do.

Those with an excessive passion for the real, those who want to 'just be themselves', those who don't want to rise to any challenge and who use theory as a means of shoring up their egos rather than as a means of challenging them, and those who simply can't be bothered, because they would rather continue as slaves to the current biopolitical regime's default pleasure settings will obviously disagree.

But I'm not particularly interested in them, except to understand the psychology of the enemy.

Posted by: mark at September 23, 2004 02:42 AM

Who wrote this, I wonder?

> why is subjugation, overshadowing this.....power structures always exist, why are you being so utopian?

It's not a case of being utopian, but of analysing power structures where they occur/how they affect people in the local circumstances they find themselves. This depressive lowering of expectations - 'power is everywhere, why worry' - shows that the current regime is doing its work very effectively. What is being called 'moaning' - in a curious echo of Stalinist denunciations of 'miserabilism' - is just people trading discontent in order that they can see that the (privatized) misery they are experiencing has been structurally produced.

Posted by: Yvonne Mitchell at September 23, 2004 03:48 PM

The very fact that 'Yvonne' thinks that this contradicts the above reveals the paucity of her analysis and her inability to see the consistency of the pronouncements.

There's a difference between middle class whingeing women and the emiseration of the working class. Yes, m/c guardian women's page/ radio 4 women's misery has been structurally produced, but who gives a shit, it's been structurally produced by the VERY STRUCTURES of egoistic what about meeeeeeee whining resentment that they are in every way fixated upon reproducing by their commitment to the (of course masculinist) goals laid down by capital... They want a careeer, they want to be a subject... and lo and behold, they find that these things are fucking miserable. Well, what a surprise.

The trading misery thing moves in the direction of collectivization, of women sharing their pain precisely to escape from their experience and their subjectivities. Using feminism as an alibi for shoring up the ego is not only anti-feminist, it is counter-productive (the ego and insecurity emiseration are one and the same, as everyone knows). That was what 70s consciousness raising was about. Of course, we're now required to laugh at the quaintness of such practices, now we know better and know that women can be Carrie Bradshaw....

Feminism is about women helping and supporting other women. And as good Spinozists, we know that helping other women means helping them get out of their ego, not shoring it up by placating their neuroses and resentments.

It is about a challenge to women to become more than they were, it's about making sacrifices and doing things for others. It's not about making Really Existing Women feeling good about themselves. That's liberalism, i.e. capitalism.

Posted by: mark at September 23, 2004 09:07 PM

Would it be churlish pedantry to point out that most of the people who watch and enjoy Sex and the City are also women?

Posted by: Yvonne Mitchell at September 24, 2004 09:47 AM

Yes, Really Existing Women. But at least they are not all middle class women, unlike those who espouse Cult Studs Feminazism.

As I've made clear, the issue for feminism is challenging women to become more than they are. So what really existing women consume is not in itself an argument in the defence of what is consumed. But, as I've also made clear, - but what's the point, I'm up against Private Eye smirking contrarian pranksters with yet another tiresome alias, whose only motivation seems to be one upManship last wordism, not engagement - the cult studs anti-glam cops should be clear that what they are attacking is primarily women, not men. It's fine to attack really existing women, but be honest about what you are doing. I say it's fine to attack REW -- but of course by that I mean from the position of committed collectivity, not from the position of petit-bourgeois individualist misanthropic high court judgement (why should anyone be interested in what haytaz say?)

Think about it. Almost no men would buy a fashion magazine, but these magazines are full of highly eroticised images of women. Almost no woman would buy Nuts magazine. Only in the crass, coarse, undiscriminating Feminazi imaginary are Pierre Bourdin images (which many women enjoy)the same as cheap pix of Abi Titmus with her kit off (which almost no women enjoy). But then again, you've had to have 'spent time with the work' to know that.
But, as we know, it's a duty to devote time to bourgeois-approved 'artists' like Emin (because the cultural agenda imposed by plutocrat exploiter Charles Saatchi is of course much more worthwhile than the cultural agenda imposed by plutocrat exploiter Rupert Murdoch - because, well because middle class people say so, it must be true!), but one can airly wave away anything deemed to be mass media because you 'just know about it'. Resistance to the present, then - but only to the mass-mediated present, of course.

Posted by: Fuck you g.i. at September 24, 2004 04:36 PM