December 16, 2004


shining door.gifblunkett.jpg

Seriously, though, isn’t the otherwise inexplicable and beyond-hypocritical paean to Blunkett today in the Daily Mail – a paper which has relentlessly hounded him every day for the past three weeks – proof of everything I was saying about the politics of natality?

While Dacre’s evil cronies still – rightly - maintain that Blunkett’s grossly unethical exploitation of his own office for his own ends was ultimately unacceptable, they nevertheless offer a magnanimous-in-victory ‘generous tribute’ to him today, the mangled corpse of his career still clamped between their bloodied fangs. Why?

Well, there is a kind of swaggering public school Nietzscheanism in play here. The Mail/Male’s ‘gentlemanly’ generosity in victory is the final humiliation for Blunkett, a conspicuously flouted sign of their uber-dominance. We are so powerful, we have no need for resentment, no need for crowing.

But their claim that ‘deep down Blunkett is a good man’ is based on two, related, affinities. Firstly, there is the obvious congruence between Blunkett’s harder-than-hard, Righter-than-Right, I’ll show the bourgeoisie that I can be every bit as iditotically authoritarian as they want me to be – in fact, I’ll be more rabid than their worst dreams! – with their own Suburban Supremacist Brit Fascist agenda.

Secondly, there is a sinister convergence of homosocial patriarchal-phallic fellow feeling. ‘He loved too much’, they croon. And what is the nature of this ‘love’? Isn’t it like the ‘love’ pathetically expressed by those other outraged patriarchs, Fathers 4 so-called Justice – men whose narcissistic obsession with their own ‘rights’ and ‘feelings’ as patriarchs means that they are indifferent if not outright hostile to any real, that is to say, social sense of justice. This ‘love’ is patriarchy in person, an appropriative, possessive love, the only love proper to fathers.

Cue outraged howls on the blogosphere and on the troll-stalked desolation of Dissensus.

‘I know someone who’s a father and he’s nice…’ ‘I’m a father, I’m nice….’ ‘You must be maternally deprived to have a problem with the family, we all KNOW that families are lovely and not at all a neuroticizing structure dedicated to the reproduction of Kapital (via the reproduction of its worker-consumer-slaves).’

As usual, however, such objections miss the psycho/ schizoanalytic point, which, as ever, is strictly formalist.

There are no biological fathers.

The Father function is semiotic through and through.

True enough, semen emitted by male-coded organisms fertilizes eggs.

But this is in no sense a relation between persons (which in any case do not exist, except as semiotic functions).

Lacan’s point about patriarchy is actually stunningly literal. What is to be a father? Well, it is to be able to give a child your surname (Sir name). Not that the name belongs to you. You are only its bearer, nothing more than the agent for the transmission of the patronym.

Like Jack Torrance in The Shining, you have always been the caretaker. The lieu-tenant, he who stands in …

But for what?

When Jack starts to wonder about who is running the Overlook, (‘I’m a man likes to know who’s buying his drinks’), he is met by polite demurral (Ulman, Lloyd, Grady, these men, these Hotel Representatives , are after all unfailingly polite, such nice men, aren’t they?) ‘That’s not something that should concern you, Mr Torrance. At least not at this point.’

And Jack turns away because he doesn’t want to see behind the False Faces, doesn’t want to see the Faceless, Nameless Horror that gives him a face and gives him a name.

The Management is the big Other, the symbolic structure itself, undead void, always-already dead God, semiotic vampirism without a subject. The Overlook, or patriarchal transcendence, does not exist until you instantiate – take care of – it. Like Sutter Cane’s Old Ones, it feeds on your belief, or rather your duplicity.

He dupes us.

I dupe us.

We’re dupes us.

You sure you want the Management’s approval?

You sure to want to party with them in the Overlook?

From Abraham to Jahweh, the price of admission is always child sacrifice.

(Mr Grady tells Jack in on uncertain terms what his responsibilities are. Mr Grady says that the Management has grave doubts about Jack’s suitability for the position. Perhaps he isn’t the right kind of man. Mr Grady – Jack: ‘didn’t you chop up your family into little pieces?’ – knows exactly what must be done. Jack must correct Danny.)

The sacrifice always involves mortification, not the actual death of the organs, but the death of the body without organs. Symbolic death is both a necessary and sufficient condition for the reproduction of the Law of the Father. Imprisonment within the face, acquisition of replicant fake memory (‘so THAT’S who I am’, Mummy-daddy-me, Wendy-Jack-Danny).

That is why Jahweh spares Isaac. Organic death would mean the curtailing of the undead circuit. Who would there be to pass on the symbolic order if Isaac-Oedipus were no longer capable of reproducing (it)?

So, induction into the symbolic order – ‘you’re MY child now’ – is a death sentence, as signaled by the Lacanian pun – the Father’s Nom/ Non (name/ no).

Mortification must always be presented as munificience; look, I have spared you = I have given you life (when I could have killed you). Now, mortify yourself, be the dead agent through which my always-already dead voice speaks.

Daddy has no doubts about the right thing to do. He must correct us, and he has to keep ‘outside parties’ from interfering with what he has to do. It’s his responsibility, and Mummy and Kid have absolutely no conception of what that involves. Other people, responsible men who know the meaning of duty, have told him what needs to be done. He has to protect us, even if that involves beating our brains out.... Even if that involves....

Well, where exactly would you stop, Jack? There is no limit to a father's love for his child....

Danny: 'You wouldn't ever hurt us would you Daddy?'

Jack: 'I love you more than anything in the world....'

(If only it wasn't for her).

‘Destroyed by his love for a woman.’ (The Sun, today)

= Destroyed by a woman

= Destroyed by woman.

There can never be too few Fathers. A few more male-born carers wouldn’t go amiss though.

Goya, Kronos devouring one of his children

'Kronos, the most honest of fathers...' (Deleuze-Guatari, Kafka:Towards a Minor Literature)

Posted by mark at December 16, 2004 03:27 PM | TrackBack