Trouble Shoot Six

Trouble Shoot Six
NB: Earl’s responses are luscious in lime.

Trouble shoot six

[A first response – my response – and a response]

As this is the very first e-mail I have sent, I hope it finds you well and
in good health. The readings we have been doing have left me all but
overwhelmed, and I’m less than sure about how to respond. My knowledge
of Freud is limited to my pop exposure (which I will refrain from listing)
and two classes here at UCSC: Lit 101 Feminist and Queer Theory, and Troy
Boone’s Sense and Sensuality, which touched on the subject a bit. So,
with all due respect, I shall employ my own method of „free association“
in this my first response. However, I do not wish to be held accountable
for my use of that phrase as a strictly Freudian one.Good – distinguish your use of terms from other established uses, or explicitly align them with established uses. I would, however, observe that one of the goals of the seminar is to help you become critically rigorous, and thus to hold yourself accountable to your use of language and terminology, etc.]

As I perused our class material over the last week or two, what stood out in my mind was the level on entertainment „level on entertainment“? – the syntax is not English] that [„most readers?“ Where are these readers? Why are they statisticallly greater than other kinds of readers of Freud’s case histories? Where is the survey that gives you this data? What does it mean, even if it were accurate and defensible? How does this {I think completely spurious} greater numbr of people reading Freud have any relevance to us? Did anyone in the seminar demonstrate a sensationalistic motive for reading the case histories? YOur observation seems at once counter-intuitive and counter-empirical. I know of no such account of this kind of readership, and, in any event it reflects neither the tendenicees of readers outside our seminar walls nor the readers that we are. For whom is the speculation a message?] most readers seem[???] to find in these works.
Personally, I would not choose to read case studies
purely for fun [I don’t know who would], but my colleagues and friends seem to find that the
histories of these women make good bedtime stories [???]. In truth, there is
a stong narrative bent to each case study [they are narratives; that’s like saying „The trees in this garden are made out of wood.“], and most could easily be
trsnsformed into treatments for made-for-TV movies, in the
based-on-actual-events vein [As could any narrative. Narratives are structurally capable of media translation. The life of Christ can be made into a TV-movie; it does not alter the pre-adaptation significance or stakes in whatever the life might have meant to certain cultures. Even saying this, however, the Freud’s case histories seem exciting because of the intellectual adventure he sets us on and his own particular gift for story telling and empathetic speculation. Viewed in terms of „plot“ and „thril,“ none of the case histories have enough sex or violence or gossip to interest any Movie-of-the-Week impressario or audience. Nothing happens in the Dora analysis. The action of the Wolf Case History is the totally imaginative reconstruction of an unrecoverable event in the analysands infancy, an event Freud himself admits probably never happened anyway. And the contemporary illness of the Wolfman, the reason he was in therapy with Freud, is left out of the case history! Don’t build arguments by imagining things that seem plausible in haste. Even if your conjecture had been more plausible it would have said nothing to the texts or our actual engagement with them.]

The only snare in these stories is the
extensive use of footnotes that gives away [gives away? you mean he „lets the cat out of the bag“? Freud never kept it a secret that he aspired to having psychoanalysis recognized as a science!] the scientific approach and
basis for the narratives [If, by „narratives“ you mean „ficiton, fiction seldem has footnotes. And fiction has little to do with scientific treatises (at least supposedly). But more importantly, the traditonal scientific treatise usually avoided narrativizing the explanation, in order to, among other things, convey the explanation as if it were a timeless truth, independent of the process of its „discovery“ and articulation, and one that would have manifested in precisely the same way regardless of the subjective specificities of the scientists in question. Look at my narrative theory and ideology bibliographies, for texts on the ideological functions of narrative types and textual practices. ]. If only these by-the-way comments were
incorporated into the text, the style would merely be [„would be without footnotes? It’s a perfectly eloquent and mannered German style, nothing about it vaguely reminds one of any „stream-of-consciousness narrative at alll! And why does Freud’s retrained yet rich (but always crystalline in its presentation) German resemble Faulkner’s psychomythic, feverish, obsessively self-foreclosing labyrinthine texts? (Faulkner did not use footnotes in his fictional narratives, either by the way. But i’m curious as to what you were thinking that led to this extraordinary comparison.]
stream-of-consciousness and rambling on tangents[As a literary practice, „stream-of-consciousness“ has nothing to do with „rambling on tangents“ Do you know how much multilayered structure and control is imposed upon and within Joyce’s Ulysses ?. Please think about what you’re saying, and try to connect it with actual real life examples. You seem to believe that any pronouncement is valid if typed.] By using footnotes,
Freud gives the illusion of having justification for these digressions,
whereas if this were fictional, his of-topic comments would be genius in
the style of Faulkner [This is not an English sentence, but even guessing what you may have meant it is simply bizarre. And Faulkner didn’t use footnotes. And Freud was elaborating material, his use of footnotes is completely in keeping with the scholarly and scientific conventions of his time. And what they would have to do with the unbridled Jeremiads of Faulkner’s unhappy narrating consciousnesses I could begin to imagine.] The way each psychical symptom [] manifests itself
physically seems almost too contrived, like the symbols in Hawthorne as [no antecedent – whose symptoms? Faulkner’s? Freud’s? And you’re criticizing who about the believabilitiy of the symptom? Dora? Elizabeth R. or Freud and Breuer? Either choice leads you into a different Byzantine dead end. I can describe each to you if you like but I hope I’ve already made my point.]
they spell themselves out to an unwilling reader [Who reads Hawthorne „unwillingly“? The book latches on to a hapless reader and spells itself out to them? HOw did we slide from hysterical symptoms to Freud’s footnotes to Faulkner back to symptoms to Hawthorne and his presumed unpopularity with readers who for some reason read him anyway?]. The case studies Freud
explores are put together almost too well to be believable, but perhaps
that is because they are truthful [WHAT!!!! YOu call Freud a quack and a liar through two full response papers and then decide that the case histories were „truthful?“ – a claim Freud himself would have refuted?!! Here is basically what you conclude with as your position: „Freud’s case histories are so well put together they’re unbelievalbe so I believe them, even though I have denounced everything I think I heard he stood for. I think he demeaned women and made up the case histories. And they seem like lies. But nevertheless they must be true because I believe them, although I do not believe in psychoanalysis or Freud“.]. To end on a cliche and truism,[Why would you want to end with a cliche and a truism? You’re admitting the sentence is a meaningless form but do it any way? And what is truth here? and fiction? and strange?]? truth
is often stranger than fiction.


YOu write that you believe in the case histories because they seeme artificial and not true and that might be „perhaps because they are truthful.“ -If there’s one great thing psychoanalysis has acccomplished, it is its contribution in destroying the conceivability of Truth. – This is an interesting preface to a response, but so far you haven’t written a response. I can be more specific if you like, but general overviews of how other people may or may not read the case histories do not form an engagement with the texts. Since none of us in th seminar are reading them as if they were „tv movies of the week“ I do not see the object of the observation. And criticizing the ways others read in place of supplying one’s own reading is more than frustrating. In other words, this is the first step, please take the leap. I think the seriousness with which we have taken the case histories so far contextualize the use of the word „entertainment“ and „story teller .
more soon.]


Student Responds to Earl

That my first response was
really a non-response. I suppose I was a bit nervous about the
requirement to have something to say when I’m really only comfortable
with listening at this point. However, I know that my full
participation is also a requirement, so I will indeed say something. Keep
in mind, I still am aprehensive about having the right thing to say, and
though I’m very interested in engaging this material, I am still
acclimating to the texts and the class. I would definately be one of
those interested in an internet workshop, as an aside.

Earl:[Fair enough, all points well taken! 😉

I meant to write you back much sooner than this, to tell you that if i seem brusque on email I don’t mean to be – I just want to get us all „in gear“ or on the same wavelength etc (can’t think of an appropriate metaphor) – so I know that the manner of directing people in this medium may seem a bit careless – but believe me it isn’t and it isn’t meant to be bossy or to impose a „class mind“ on anyone – I’m just trying to exercise people’s critical faculties – and if there are times (online or in slowtime interface) i seem annoyed or incredulous – it’s about the student who triggered – but usually about wondering what teachers were doing in the student’s prior educational history – now that last comment in way reflects any of my reactions to your work – i’m just telling that as a related piece of information about my teaching agenda and idiosyncracies – thank you for understanding the spirit in which my „calling you“ on your first response was given. I would point out though, sure you’re doing this because it’s required, but also because you’re capable of it. And you’re finding out how capable you are because it’s required.] earl

To Anonymous One
To Jacob One
To Module One