Jordan Response 1

N.B. Earl’s responses to Jordan are bracket, bolded, and white.
Hello. I am not sure if this is the proper medium for delivery of
this response
, if you wanted it to be in an attached file, etc. so I hope
this does what it is supposed to do (that would be a big one if I didn’t
clarify that I meant:) academically speaking. Also it is going to include
response to happenings in class, so I hope that doesn’t disqualify it,
although if it does, I don’t really care (is there anything herein that
rings familiar in light of the narration of Dora?).

 People don't seem big on paragraphic indentations in e-mail, or 
maybe I just imagine it so. 

First off, I notice how far our conversation topically strays
from hysteria [Earl: at what points did the conversation stray from hysteria? What is the scope of hysteria – what is and is not on the topic? At what points yesterday would you say we were far afield? And how does one determine the field? Remember the section of yesterday‘ s discussion I began by attempting to list and describe distinctly the types of hysteria to be found in Studies on Hysteria. And its seems its the very pursuit of hysteria that sets us to wandering. But at the risk of sounding a little like Wittgenstein, what would a conversation about hysteria look like that didn’t wander, and whose field are we talking about anyway. Some of us are in the outfield.] , which while I feel gets complex in the sense as it would get if one tried to get all the ingredients in a bad minestrone to talk to each other, I also feel reflects analogously the positive result of such a pursuit- I mean the minestrone thing-: as one encourages the conversation between ingredients, one pushes the soft ingredients together and causes them to physically mush together. Not entirely pretty, but educational and a step toward what I consider spirituality.Seriously.

Secondly, something with which I have been fascinated recently is socialization and child raising procedures or methodology as experienced by the child, a thematic presence I sense in these narratives of hysteria. In the Preliminary Communication in Freud and Breuer (I’m at 10-11 in the text, although there are other instances), they seem to imply that how socialization and the values it engenders as it is played out through the spectrum of society is central to the psychic conflicts that give rise to hysteria/hysterical symptoms. „Social circumstances,“ as they say, can „exclude a reaction“ to a traumatic event, something they say applies especially to „saints and nuns, continent women and well-brought-up
children,“ and the socialized like.

They go on to say that women are
especially prone to hysteria due to the mindless and repetitive tasks
such as „needlework and similar occupations“ (13), but fail to emphasize the role socialization plays in landing them in front of these pre-boob-tube space-outs at a narrative point when a mention of this would really illustrate the point well. I guess it is a point not worth highlighting, according to them/him as in Anna O., Breuer says about a billion times that many of her hysterical symptomsarose due to conflict between her of
desire to nurse and care for her father and an anxiety or fear that
either this was impossible or she was not doing a „good job“ (my

Of course, this only supports the point I’m driving toward
(I’ll express it soon) if we can agree that the job of nursing the sick
is relegated to the feminine, as in at least this case it was: „Anna shared
the duties of nursing him with her mother“ (38).

What I’m saying is that
hysteria seems to arise from the tension between the desires created
through socialization and, Jesus, I don’t know, one’s genuine self, or

[Earl: What other desires are there but the one’s created though socialization? Read Samuel R. Delany’s Return to Neveryon sword-and-sorcery tales, the appendices, and other texts he’s written on it. And my „In Conclusions . . .“ at the end of Strategies of Deviance . ] In Anna O., this [ Earl:what is the antecedent of „this“ in this sentence?] manifests through her speech problems
created when her English lady-companion disgusted her and Anna „had said
nothing, as she had wanted to be polite“ (34), and in her feeling of
anxiety when she was unable to perform her duties as nurse to her father.

Several things:

much of this is obvious and even stated almost
directly in the text, I just wanted to emphasize; also, there are many
holes and assumptions involved in that last paragraph, as it was
something of a ebullient ramble. But, thinking of the scenario you
talked about on the first day of class with the pioneer women of the West falling ill as a hysterical reaction [
Earl:I said as a silent protest – this was not powerlessness but a way to elude the responsibilities with which they had been emburdened.
to being powerless yet having piles of responsibility heaped on their heads, I’m not sure if what I’m
saying corroborates it or furthers a different explanation.

I guess your
explanation implies that they were going on unconscious strike in
reaction to a paradox, whereas the one I was talking about above seems to
imply that the intensity of their (the pioneer women) socialization was
such that their desire to be super-whatever [ Earl: this isn’t pioneer women you’re thinking of here -it’s the myth of the cowboy.] left them staring at the
unattainable in the form of the impossible (accomplishing everything they [ Earl: What a phrase! What does it mean?]
were socially supposed to do).

It seems (and I’m could be disgustingly
wrong) that your scenario priviledges the unconsciousness [not „the unconsciousness“ but the unconscious as something
with the ability to glean definitions from experience and then place them
in psychic contradistinction, something with which, although I know
nothing-to-very-little of the unconscious, I’m not ready to credit it. [This is interesting – But to say the unconscious gleans definitions is confusing since there is, according to Freud, only „thing presentations“ not Word presentations in the unconscious [the unconscious knows of no negation, which makes Jacques Lacan’s famous statement „The Unconscious is structured like a language,“ even harder to understand than it seems – but I digress.]

Alright, big jump..


Today, when you erased this rough scene
from the board,

Male Sexuality


I felt a little sad, as for some reason it lead me to another simple
and basic categorization/clarification/whatever involved in our
disentangling of all-of-the-above-and-more. To me, using your
definitions of sex and gender as blatantly distinct, when I think of
sexuality in terms of sex, I think sexual orientation:


female-female, female-male, male-female, male-male, and all the combinations.

This is something like „sex-sexuality“ for me. When I’m mentally or
discursively in „gender mode“ I begin to think of all the
specificities and intricacies involved in the sense of sexuality which is the interesting one: for me „gender-sexuality.“ Also, when you were pointing out the liberty inherent in your position as a gay male in terms of leading a detailed discussion of sexuality, you also acknowledged some of the different disadvantages a person of a different „sex-sexuality,“ as I’m defining it, would face. My point is completely lost somewhere along this strain of (meta)(il)logic, but…

Did you say that the only distinctively female (or was it feminine)
aspect to sexuality was fear of pregnancy? Could you please set me
straight on what it was exactly that you said, and maybe expatiate a bit

[Earl: I was trying to think of anything at all that could concretely be considered an aspect of the „experience“of sexuality that could only be a woman’s experience. And so I came up with fear of oneself becoming pregnant – and that’s what I said – since fear of the woman becoming pregnant could also be part of a man’s sexual experience, but his experience could never be affected by a fear of himself becoming pregnant. I’m not saying that this is necessarily a part of all women’s experience of sexuality but it’s the most obvious one I could think of that didnt lend itself to essentialisms and mystification of gender as sex.] What do you think happens if we categorize modes of sexuality as
discursively and maybe real-ly specific to your distinction between sex
and gender
? [Earl:Jordan! Please say more about this – this is interesting! Quite a cliff hanger!] Is that something I just did? What the hell?


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