Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We Carry On

(The taste of life. i can't describe. its choking up my mind...)

Over the summer--oh the summer, the heat, the passion, the comfort of his body (even when I ached over its absence!)--I ran into a professor randomly on the street walking w/ J. to the CVS. I was mortified, stoned as I was, afraid of making a fool of myself. She took one whiff of us and, laughingly, referred us to Araki's "Smiley Face" when I said we were getting snacks for our movie (it was Araki's "Totally Fucked Up"). Her suggestion was far more on point, which isn't surprising. I told her what books I was reading for the queer theory component of my Political Theory exam and she said, "oh Judy and the boys." I said, "well, you, too." I was just afraid of sounding like a sycophant, and so I left her out. On purpose. Leaving out the people who I actually care about. (...and heaven knows I'm miserable now.) It's some sort of bizarre haughtiness: "Well of course I care about you! I'm talking to you, aren't I?" But I also think it's a thing like this: it's very Gaga (a la Poker Face): I refuse to tip my hand, for fear of...

It's funny though, because a friend who is a colleague related a story where precisely this same professor found it rather hard to say, "Good job!" to him, yet did not hesitate to esteem his performance to his partner. My friend goes, "WTF?!" We laughed because of course it all makes sense: the erotics of pedagogy. And so too the psychical violences of erotics haunt the hallowed halls of the Academy. Duh: the institution is named with all the aspirational hopes of a civilization claiming a mantel (Plato as the founder of the cannon, as the adopted Father--an inverse relationship [how gay!], almost as if Plato were behind Socrates the Scribe)--a mantel it could never avow, could only every affirm in the manner of a disavowal. And this, still, a double disavowal: the influence of the East on Greece, and the homoerotics that fueled the cultural generation. (Nietzsche recovers both in the figure of Zarathustra.)

I was lying in bed the other night, really turned off by a friend's Facebook status, which somehow suggested that visiting Auschwitz was more enjoyable than whatever little petty drama he was engaged in. It prompted me to go off on the myopia of so many people, especially the so called intelligentsia. And then I paused, and said, I wonder what I do that is absolutely, ridiculously, obviously obnoxious, the thing I do which aggravates other people, but which I am blind to... and the boy lying next to me just says, "Breathe, it's ok." I laughed, because there it was: this horrific propensity to over-think everything. To follow a wormhole of insane speculation. Undisciplined thought, I suppose. Or just, under worked: My mind isn't being worked hard enough, and so it just hums incessantly rather than roaring into a project so it may rest and simply live. My brain is like my libido: it is must be relieved, or I am pitched into a dull hum: the low-burning expenditure of water-laden fire wood: lots of smoke, but little fire, little heat.

At least I was smart enough to listen to his advice, to shut the fuck up and close my eyes and fall asleep.

Today I deactivated my Facebook until the end of the quarter. I feel like something of a hypocrite given how much my own work wants to argue that social media is not detrimental to the soul. And, indeed, it isn't--I just think that there is a way in which, like all social spaces, cyber-sociality is an excellent distraction. Social spaces can be the dwelling place of the rabble (Nietzsche's contention), or they can be the figurative mountain peaks (what Nietzsche fails to fully appreciate as a social space). Facebook, I suppose, was becoming more like one of my speculative wormholes. And, it's precisely because I don't believe that Facebook is "creepy"--I think the idea of the profile is beautiful: it is a profile, an always already limited in dimensionality casting of a figure--I can turn away... so as to see with different eyes, as it were, and from a different perspective (because it isn't as if being "in-person" somehow gives a complete picture of the Other--perhaps more perspectives on the profile, but we always already view the face of the Other from an ANGLE).

I grow increasingly disgusted with the pretensions of Academia. Which is what I started this post with. No: I started with the joy over seeing my professor--my once professor. And the relief that even my heroes are capable of the sorts of things I am. But this made me think of the depths of the culture of negation, its pervasiveness and seeming naturalness. This same professor once said to me, "Nietzsche isn't right about everything, you know?" (I thought at the time: that can't be right... how naive and desperate for certainty!) But what I think he does get right is the pervasive force of the culture of negation. Reading Nietzsche with new eyes entails this: looking for what he himself denies, since he is embedded in this culture of denial as much as we are. (If she is, he is... as I am: resisting!)

It's like the boys at the Robyn concert last night (which was amazing!): they stand still, lip synching! I think to myself: I'm at a concert, I know these words and I love the way they work together with this beat, and how this couple seduces my body into movement, into rhythms and undulations! I say to one of them who gives me a particularly severely dour look, "Baby if the architect had wanted to put a pillar here, she would have, now DANCE!" That was easy enough, he laughed and was, as if by magic, released of the shame felt over dancing by the shame over not dancing: may he learn to dance for fun, and not for shame! But the boys dressed to the nines, looking like they feel off the cover of an album: these boys measured their devotion through lack of expressed enjoyment. I can't stand any of it. So I dance it, and quite quickly I am done standing anything anywhere: I am dancing, and transported. I look to the stage and Robyn is moving in this beautiful jerky, emphatically bouncy way, spinning and throwing her arms in the air (she and Thom Yorke dance alike). I danced WITH Robyn last night (I'm done with idols--this is their twilight--I want dancing partners!): and we had a great time! So did all these kids around me--trendy fags, sporty dykes, trixy bytches, hipster queers: we had a great time! (We dance to the beat...)

A professor writes to me: your prose is overwrought. I write back (but have yet to send this): you are absolutely right: I am out of shape. I'm afraid of admitting it, because that makes it true, and that makes it a mark against me (as if it weren't obvious: my prose is 'overwrought'--this is polite for 'barely coherent')... My prose needs to become choreographic again. Tight, fluid, poetic. This entry as a first essay...

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