February 27, 2004

contrapostal indexicality

Currently in North Fort Myers, FL, at Lisa's mom's place, enjoying the quiet golf-course green of everything, the presence of her friendly cat Sami, and the general calmness of the state--our big thrill for today was going to the Thomas Edison/Henry Ford winter estates and seeing the biggest banyan tree in the United States. This followed a few days of feverish writing activity (turned in the last major dollops at 3:30 AM, fixed some problems this morning). I feel like I need to be attached to my recharger unit for a few hours, undisturbed. What my recharger unit actually is is unclear, but I bet it resembles a big stack of Silver Age comics, a Fleetwood Mac album or two, and maybe some really good pad thai.

On the plane out here, I finished the last of the "theory" volumes of Rising Up and Rising Down (neglected to bring the first "practice" volume, foolishly)--the most fascinating chapters of this one are the shortest ones, actually: a chapter on nonconsensual sadism (he's agin it, as they say), a chapter on consensual sadism & masochism (he's for it, & also likes it), a chapter on violence committed on the grounds of "moral yellowness" (i.e. you look at somebody and you just know they're bad; he points out that this is always used to justify some other kind of reason to want to think somebody is bad, and is prima facie unjustifiable, & calls out Rebecca West for using it in her writing about the Nuremberg trials--though I would have loved to see him talk more about the great early photographic experiments in finding what body types corresponded to what kinds of criminality, which naturally didn't come up with any kind of workable evidence, but about which Coco Fusco had some scathing things to say in my class with her last year), a chapter on inevitability as a justification for violence (that is, inevitability in the "it had to happen sooner or later" sense, which is unjustifiable, as opposed to imminence, which usually is, he says), a description of "Four Safeguards" against unjustifiable violence (which I suspect would have been much more strongly phrased if it'd come earlier in the book--he describes a situation in which the justification for violence is fully within the bounds of his book's permissibility, and still sickens him), and finally a short section called "Remember the Victim!"--which feels sort of vestigial, like something that would have become its own book if he could bear it, but in any case has to at least be honored with a few agonizing pages. Which are followed by a gallery of photos he took of mourners and memorials after the Columbine massacre. This is, apparently, my idea of light plane reading these days.

Posted by Douglas at February 27, 2004 4:42 PM
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