It’s like the Q-tip hitting just the right hard-to-reach itch. The thing that makes your senses come alive so fiercely you remember you were kind of numb before. Your mind gets caught up in things but your body, your body wants you to live in it, too. You can refuse it but it will remind you. The Q-tip will remind you. Or maybe the thought-equivalent of that Q-tip will remind you. Continue reading
Category Archives: Reads
Oh, I’ve read Foucault. Not a lot, but I have. I used his idea of “reserve discourse” for a paper. Less directly, my mother used him as a lens for her thesis a few years ago (a critical analysis of “Sex And The City”), so long before I read him I was hearing about him.
But he is, I think we can all admit, difficult. I got this book as a way to introduce me to his theories-at-large, so I can go on to read his actual texts with some prior understanding, instead of having to run to this post-structuralist Ph.D I know that I’m constantly bothering with this sort of thing (e.g., “Help! What the hell does Derrida mean by this?”)
I know the arguments of simplicity and substitution. But as a primer—not a substitute—it’s fantastic. Accessible but not insulting to the intelligence. I’m not sure how helpful it’d be to someone with no foundation in philosophy/theory or the social sciences or post-structuralism/postmodernism in particular, but everything at every level needs to be worked up to anyway.
I particularly appreciate the unabashedly feminist lens it was written with (sly comments here and there, nothing detracting). My favorite part was not even about Foucault directly; it was an imaginary conversation between Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre:
Beauvoir: Aren’t people constrained by the ideas presented to them? Aren’t you making things a little bit easier than they really are?
Sartre: Simone, how could you say that? You know I revere as we all do the great philosopher of social conditions, Karl Marx. But I can’t help thinking that however oppressed circumstances or other people may render us, we will still have some choices of action or inaction, and we must take full responsibility for those decisions.
Beauvoir: I’m not so sure. Take women. As “The Second Sex” (1949) we are brought up in a world defined by men, and we ourselves are defined by men. How free are we to break away from the definition of ourselves as secondary if we never encounter any other definition?
Sartre: Yes, dear.
Technorati tags: feminism, Foucault, Foucault+For+Beginners, Lydia+Alix+Fillingham, postmodernism, post-structuralism, theory
A letter to my friend S. G. Collins:
Finally got a chance to read “A kitten at the feet of Olympia.” I don’t know what it is, but you keep creating characters that I want to fall in love with. Perhaps we have the same taste in women. One day we will meet our perfect woman, and have to fight over her. But I tire too easily and am too prone to living in fantasy, so you would win. Continue reading
Click on that link to purchase or trade a copy. Really. You should. Not just for my poem, but for everyone else’s stuff plus the gorgeous design of it. I’m listening to the “Amélie” soundtrack right now and it and this omnibus go together really well. The finer things in life… sigh… :)
“[John] Hughes was unforgivably remiss as far as multiculturalism goes. These are all suburban white kids, for god’s sake! If The Breakfast Club were made today, Judd Nelson’s part would be played by Tupac, and Anthony Michael Hall’s by B. D. Wong. Ally Sheedy’s character would be a lesbian, and the Emilio Estevez character wouldn’t exist.”
– Jason Cohen and Michael Krugman, “Generation Ecch!“