Bang! Crash!

Bang! Crash!
[Note: the text in red is Earl’s response to the student’s text, that which is not in red.]

Response 3 (Bellamy/Harker in totality what does this mean?[what does this mean?])

I really had no clue where to start my response for Real so I decided to start going through module two on the web and after getting lost a number of different times found something that made a bit of sense Gee, thanks.. (Or at least it did when I read it, it seems to make less sense the more I think about it.)

[Two Questions arise (exacerbated by your use of second person that is clearly addressing „me“: [1] Why respond to „me“ by offering „me“ texts from „my“ site (the texts I provided you? [2] Why offer me something that makes only a „bit of sense,“ and continually loses the sense it has as you familiarize [or defamiliarize] yourself with the material. Here is a very Lacanian situation. The Other makes a demand – a sign of your understanding – it provides a field of texts to aid you in your focus of that understanding. You „get lost“ in a structure that is either designed as a guide [prevention of getting lost] or as a labyrinth which obviates the concept of „getting lost“ [just as the Internet obviates the spatial sense of location that also undermines the „known/unknown“ binary of territories.

I repeat, The Other demanded a sign of your understanding. You offer it the texts it had offered you, seeing in them scarce but recognizable sense [here too you reverse the terms of the exchange – the degree your understanding is not at issue; the degree of the text’s intelligbility becomes the issue. Now you offer not a sign of your understanding but the meaningfulness of the Other’s texts back to the Other. And in the process, the sense you perceived initially is worn away, an entropic effect of the operations of this exchange, the call for acknowledging your knowledge and your refusal to know what you know..

In a section on Kathy Acker, Bellamy writes:
Quite the contrary – the eros in this passage lies not in the sailor’s fucking of woman and toy, but in the writer’s seduction of the reader [cf. my discussion [in chapter 3 of Strategies of Deviance] of Delany’s narrator’s strategies of address in „The Game of Time and Pain“. Acker is playful, coy, teasing–surprising and tantalizing us with rapidly shifting perspectives. She is a selfish, demanding mistress: she never lets her monstrous sackcloth characters upstage her erotic tropes, never lets us forget we are immersed in Writing, immersed in Her. [sackcloth characters] : demetaform.

I read this and I thought of my own reaction to Real and the other (related?) works you’ve put on the web. All these pieces have an extreme erotic content What does a non-extreme eros look like? and it’s difficult to set aside my own reactions (physical arousal) to the content and read these on a purely intellectual level. And it seems this is the point of these pieces [Restate all sentences in this text that have „it seems“ – It seems this way to whom? For how long? And are you claiming that the situation IS in fact the way it seems or are you simply deferring judgment (and responsibility, accountability for these speculations. With the „it seems“ there is no subject to whom it seems that way, no responsible party who made it that way and either left indications of that effort or apparently failed to conceal this circumstance. And there is no history of discovery/avowal/disavowal/experiment/risk/experience. . „Though I’m constantly writing about sex, increasingly what I’m interested in is not sex, but the impossibility of its representation, how physical sensation always eludes language.“ [See Delany, „Aye, and Gemorrah“] The sex in these pieces seems to be a construct [when is sex not a construct? and for whom isn’t it?], closer to what one sees on „Melrose Place“ than what my experience [please elaborate on the dichotomy: Melrose Place – My Experience. See also Bellamy’s interview with Cristin Miller, especially the section on the „I“ and its relation to the experiences its narrative recounts. tells me sex is like [do your experiences tell you what sex is like or what sex is] . (This just might be my naïveté [is you naivete a tested soul? a miracled bird? a forecourt of Heaven? speaking.) Maybe I’ll barking up the wrong tree, but I’m trying to figure out the intent of a piece like Real; [what does the intent of a text have to do with its meaning? Do you mean author’s „intention“ – how woudl you determine that intention? How do you understand works whose authors‘ intentions are unrecoverable, or works whose authors‘ intentions are trivial, falsified, delusionary, changeable, etc.? Or do you mean my intent in assigning the texts?

I find myself asking if this [what is the antecedent of this? If what really happened ? – you move from the intentional fallacy to the realistic fallacy with alacrity.] really happened, if these are really snippets from Dodie’s and Sam’s lives, or if they’re just fabrications [ they’re fabrications whether or not they „really“ happened, written to titillate the reader [ now if that was the main intent, why would we be interested in playing along?] and create some devious, deviant, [ this is redundant – sexually libidinous] persona for the writers.

I’m also having trouble linking this all back to Freud and hysteria [ see the two new entries on hysttwo, letters from Benedict, myself, Chandra, and Andrea on this very question. . I guess sex is the key [why?], though it [antecedent?] takes on a much more real [you just said they ccreated this „devious deviant sexually personas“ to titilate the reader. How is this more „real“ than Freud’s descriptions? Are these distinctions you’re making drawn from the central binary opposition of Melrose Place and „my experience.“ aspect than in Freud’s dry, analytic approaches to the subject. I never got turned on listening to Freud describe Dora’s chain of desire [why should you? not all texts are aimed at the reader’s nerves of voluptuousness.] from her father to Herr K. to Frau K. (which is probably a good thing). [ I guess so but these response pieces aren’t moral thermometers.

But getting back to Bellamy’s previous quote, she is interested in the „impossibility of its representation, how physical sensation always eludes language“ but this language elicits a physical response in (at least one of) her readers [ how does this affect Bellamy’s point? Someone south of Baltimore saw *Taxi Driver* and interpreted it to mean he was to kill the president to win the love of Jodie Foster. As visceral a consequence as this misinterpreation had for the misinterpreter, it did not alter Scorsee’s statement that the film is. Or Jody Foster’s performance.. As we [ who is we?] move [where is this pornography and why are we „moving closer to it“ ?]closer to pornography, it seems like [what sex? who’s having it? are they havign it while moving towards some site of some pornography? and what are „we“ doing there? the sex becomes increasingly more [redundant – two comparatives]fabricated, but the response elicited [avoid passives and subjectless sentences – who elicited what response and why is it guaranteed to be that response. No writer can ever guarantee a response. is more uniform [than what?]. What I mean is that if [what sex? why is that important? Why not distinguish between sex and sexuality? What happened to hysteria?] the sex in Real or in Kathy Acker’s Empire of the Senseless seems removed from what I know about sex [you’re negating yourself – if you say it’s sex and you say it is removed from what you know about sex that means sex is what you dont‘ know about and know about.], it’s closer to my experience [what is „my experience“ what is „expereience“ how many people does it take to have an experience. How many people have „my experience/“?] than something from „Playboy“ (picking the tamest form of [why is that the tamest? why is that pornography? what is tame pornography?] pornography that I can think of). The women in Playboy are all beautiful, posing naked for the gratification of some male viewer [What’s his name? Are you sure they’re all beautiful? To whom? for how long? under what conditions? Are they all naked?] and while I understand the context of these portrayals [which context is that? Single mothers supporting their children? Hugh Hefner’s career as a specificallly and successfully fixated adolescent male gratification fantasy? How do you understnad a context nowhere specified or even hinted at here? What does Playboy have to do with Real?] (and something of the politics that surround them) I can’t deny that the pictures arouse me [why the confessional tone? What good is pornography if it doesn’t arouse? Is arousal a moral flaw? At what point in these argumetns does the question or personal cognition of an arousal state become an element in a critical response to the texts? And is it a critical engagement with the texts or a sibboleth of a moral askesis?]. Maybe I’m taking the readings too personally, but then again, what else do you „me? What do I have to work with? have to work with? If this is the case, what about readers who aren’t sexually turned on by a heroine’s attempt at union with her deceased friend through serial blood baths, mutilations and flesh-eating zombie scenarios? Can they get any meaning out of the text, or are they stuck at Melrose place?

(If this response seems fragmented it’s because I’m moving back and forth from Netscape to Word, trying to read the article [download the article and save it as a Word document] and write about it at the same time. If my previous assumptions are unfounded, it might be because I hadn’t finished reading when I wrote them. [finish reading a text before writing about it) When Bellamy writes: „the writers I find most exciting aren’t searching for descriptive equivalents to acts but rather, like Kathy Acker, their writing is a sex act in itself, creating a romance between writer and reader“ it seems to reinforce my previous ideas [why? spell things out!] . (I feel an urge to bring up Robert Scholes‘ oft quoted bit about the sexual act being the archetype of fiction, but I’ll restrain myself [good idea. Restraints are very handy.].) Pornography is about creating desire [why? avoid blanket statements and instead localize and limit premises And since when are we readign viewing pornography I the course? (a controlled sexual response [are you defining desire as a controlled sexual response? Absolutely wrong. wrong wrong. ) in a particular audience (this is circular – pornography creates desire among the people in whom it creates desire] , while Real , as well as the other pieces mentioned in [what article? you don’t identify the text you’re talking about and i’ve long ago forgotten this was meant to be a reading of a text that made sense to you in spite of the fact that it’s a text I presented to you]. this article Close to the Knives and Empire of the Senseless seem to be about creating [name writing that isn’t — and that „it seems“ doesn’t make it. You might as well write: „This sentence may or may not successfully postpone statements about Real that someone might find inaccurate.“ a link between reader and [no authors – only writers] [the author is as dead as the beef jerky whom the English Patient keeps in his bedroom and for whom he sold a map of North Africa to the Nazi army.] author, at least in the way Bellamy describes it [describes what?] . These works [what works] are expressions of the authors‘ sexuality [YIKES!! a veritable history of modern criticism – the intentional fallacy to the realist to the expressive fallacy; an attempt to transcend [I sure hope not] previous modes of both narrative and desire, where the objective [ too passive] was the satisfaction of an exclusive male audience at the expense of everyone else involved. Now the result is a corroborative [ [Do you mean „collaborative?“ – still wrong, but then at least English] effort between writer and reader, a „romance [that] transcends gender and sexual preference.“[YUUUUKKKKK IT SOUNDS AWFUL!!! GAG ME WITH A CYBORG!!!]

So to tie this [this what?] all back into Real and somehow to Freud [why? , t[what sexual act is that?] the sexual act is valorized, but in a way that allows Mina (Dodie?) to express herself as a source of desire, not just a passive ????? recipient of male desire. Also, sex becomes a tie that binds the author to the reader[there is no author, and most readers, I find, tend not to have sex with the writers of the texts they read. Not that they’re unfriendly or repressed, it just that the occasions seldom arise.] , but in a way that moves from the physical act to a representation of that act that is at once [Is sex physical or a representation- and if the latter of what and where is what is being represented.] inadequate to express the physical reality of sex but expands to create a what do you mean by the next phrase? simulacrum of sex that includes the readerHow is „the reader“ [whoever that may be] get „included“ here? What is the nature of that „inclusion?“ Can you posit such inclusion without presuming a recoverable authorial intention and a predictable reader response? Perhaps you should look into textual criticism involving tropes and rhetoric. I’ll be going into that soon, especially when we deal with Lacan..

The author [there is no author, and the author certainly DOES NOT CREATE THE WORK, and neither does the writer.] Please understand everything I have written here. creates the work, but the reader ultimately creates his or her own [nope we’re going to put a stop to that!!!] meaning from that work. [How can you imagine an author who can control the reader’s responses and then throw away {which I encourage you to do by the way} in favor of a reader whose hermenetic entitlement is so great that she or he might as well stare at a wall since apparently meanings are ultimately dependent upon the whims of such a reader. Nope

Go to the beginning of Trouble Shooting
Module One
Module Three
Response Ones
Steamlined, Updated Syllabus