Postmodern Culture

Everything you want to know about postmodernism, postmodernity, and postmodern culture. Your guide to achieving postmodern literacy from The Notorious Dr. Rog and the class of ENG 335 at Rollins College.

Monday, November 27, 2006

ginny t. 10/31

(ok, this is the last last-ditch blog effort)

Thank God I came to class last week, otherwise I'd still have no idea what Louis Althussur was talking about.

"Ideology represents the imaginary relationships of individuals to their real conditions of existence." (C 44)

Me thinks Althusser must have spent some time exploring either American high schools or the "typical" American office--office life is just like high school, only with smoke breaks--in order to come up with this theory. While that is probably not the case, he sure did he nail the cultures.

Both the high school and office cultures are about organizing individuals into neat, clearly labeled categories that force us to function obediently inside whichever group we are placed. At school, ideologies take the shape of cliques: the jocks, the preps, the drama freaks (that was my particular pigeon hole), etc. In the office people are divided not only into categories by rank--director, manager, the lowly admin assistant (me again)--but we're categorized by department as well.

In high school, ideologies only work if people allow themselves to be dictated to by the ideologies...and, they do. It's good practice for when we're introduced into the working world, when we have less of a choice about subscribing to ideologies. In the office, you either conform to the ideology that governs you, or tragedy ensues.

The hapless middle-manager Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) from The Office is a perfect example of what happens when people step outside the roles set for them by ideologies. He is always getting into cringe-worthy predicaments when he blurs the lines between manager and subordinate; when Michael steps outside his ideology as a manager to cavort with his staff, instead of tragedy, we get hysterical buffoonery.

ginny t. Herman & Chomsky

(note from 11/27/06: thus commences my last-ditch effort to not kill my blog grade)

Wow. Reading this text yesterday made me experience one of those weird, blinding moments of clarity in which I was actually able to see outside of myself and my little sphere of awareness to realize that the lives of a good portion of our (post)modern Western society revolves completely around money. These people aren't trudging to a factory every day, toiling away at producing tangible, actual commodities...I'm talking about the people who go to work every day to trade stocks and analyze markets and invest dividends and orchestrate corporate takeovers. Every day, millions and billions of dollars are being made and traded; something that doesn't even exist in reality...just as a concept (and supposedly there's supposed to be the tangible gold that backs up the value of the dollar, but no one ever sees it...) I never really thought about the ephemeral nature of our economy. But maybe that's because I don't really have a whole lot of money myself....

I guess since I have spent the majority of my work life sheltered in the non-profit community, I never really gave these professions much of a thought. Sure, I know money is out there, that it's a thing that people bust their asses to amass, but I never really put much thought into the business of making money. The concept itself seems to absurd to me. The fact that money has no real value other than what we ascribe to it seems criz-ay-zee. It very well may be that I have no idea what I'm talking about...but that, my friends, is why I am a Psych major.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Captain PMS, 11/14

Captain’s Blog Stardate 11/26

Currently Deep Thunder is in our kitchen explaining feminism to his eight-year old daughter. He is much more diplomatic on the subject when presenting it to her. You should hear his definition of the patriarchy, it’s downright enlightening.

The class with the experiment was interesting to me because of the extreme differences of opinion within the class. I always think it illuminates some of our societies helplessness when you see how differently twenty people can feel after experiencing the same event. Its all in your perspective. I can side with no one in the class’s opinion because my perspective is unique, as is each of yours. How can we do anything except acknowledge all of our differences and agree to disagree. The most interesting thing about the class to me though, was the fact that we have discussed some of the most sensitive issues such as, race, politics, and religion, and nothing has heated up the room like the basic differences between men and women. The subject just inspires debate because we can never understand the perspective of the other. We cannot possess hormones that we don’t, and the fact is we are very chemically driven. It is as difficult as asking a duck to feel like a penguin when he has never even seen the snow. Or something. Whatever, you think of something better. Penguins and ducks…that’s what it boils down to for me.

Well on that brilliant little gem I’m off. I always say leave them with a bang.

Beam me up ROG. I’m out.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Deep Thunder- 11/14- The Estrogen Revolution

OK, ladies, I’m sure that you would like me to admit that after this class experiment I am enlightened as to how you feel as women being silenced. Um, sorry, but, not so much. What me and the other men (all fine specimens of manly manliness, I might add) learned from this experiment is that being instantly and completely marginalized is a horrible thing to live through and that power can corrupt in an amazingly short period of time. For you ladies that were surprised at our reaction, please take the phallo-logo-centrism out of the equation here, you would have acted the same way. In addition, it was our last class to discuss anything and although I appreciate Dr. Rog’s genius, the timing was bad.

Also, I must say that I am disappointed in a few things, Ladies. For one, you were entirely too happy to oppress. One of you “others” even asked if you should let the men speak at all, recommended that you “take a vote on it.” How democratic of you. And the anger that you let fly at us was a bit unwarranted as we do not sum up the patriarchal control apparatus; we are just as subject to it as you are.

I have to add that through the experience of the class I have gained tremendous insight into reality as we know it, and even though you (my classmates) never show up for the study groups you announce, I have enormous respect for your intelligence and insight (even you, ladies j/k). I think that we have moved far beyond the party, sex, and racial lines and identified our common interests and needs. If we could teach this to the world, perhaps, we would not sound like such freaks when we attempt to discuss these topics outside of class.

I wish you all the very best.

JOH The Lost Blog

Greetings ~

I missed a blog, I think the first one of the second half, so
when I heard a news report on the way to work this morning, I figured I would pass on the example.

Earlier in the year we discussed the PoMo characteristic of view them, or OTHERS, or the ALTERITY as having less value, or deserving of less consideration than we Americans. Relating to Zizek's statement:

"It is surprising how little of the actual carnage we see [...] in clear contrast to reporting on Third World catastrophes [...] The real horror happens there, not here" (M 232)

a clear message was sent yesterday in the realm of U.S. military justice. Check out this bit of information -

[A US marine has been sentenced to 18 months' jail in a Californian military court over his role in the kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi man in April.
The sentence of John Jodka III was reduced yesterday after he pleaded guilty to his part in the killing of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52, in Hamandiya, west of Baghdad. The military judge in the case, Lieutenant Colonel David Jones, said five years in prison and a dishonourable discharge were appropriate, but due to a "very fortuitous pre-trial agreement", the sentence was reduced. Jodka III is one of seven marines and a navy corpsman accused of kidnapping and murdering Awad, a retired Iraqi policemen, in April this year. The crippled man was picked up, taken to a roadside hole and shot dead. The soldiers later conspired to cover up the incident.
The 20-year-old soldier, the youngest and lowest ranking member of the squad, had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice, while charges of murder and kidnapping were dropped. As part of his plea deal, he has agreed to give evidence against the other defendants in the case.],,1949429,00.html



Life really doesn't mean as much over there. I was shocked this morning while listening to the report. LOOK, I am in real touch with the idea that I have NO IDEA what pressure U.S. soldiers are under over there. I can imagine that being over there could be close to a living hell. I got it. I also know that humans are capable of some f'ed up stuff under duress, pressure, and out of fear. Got that too. Additionally, I know that the media can alter the perception of the message in order to achieve the impact they are aiming for. Yet this incident appears to be about a man, a human (yes, though he's from the land of sand and the AK-47, he is human) being abducted, murdered, and the attempted cover up.

The sentence was reduced, from ~5-8yrs to 18 months, because he said "Ok, ok, I did it. That was bad. Oops!" No dishonorable discharge?!

How might this trial/sentence look if the group of American soldiers abducted, say, Bob Jenkins from Plymouth, MA, out of Toyota Camry, took him to a roadside hole, shot him in the back of the head, and tried to cover up the story - obstructing JUSTICE to save their own ass, preserve their code?

Now, I do have this in perspective. I do not plan to chew my day with anger over this. It is just interesting to see some more of this theory in action. What an intriguing (frightful) experience it would be to have, for a minute, or hour, but not much more, a glimpse of foreign emotion when considering cases such as this one. I wonder how Arab-Americans feel when they see this subjugation of human value.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

ix. Final Blog

I came up with this blog while I was eating sushi, so probably ideas of other (regarding to food) and exotic probably coursed through my subconscious and I grabbed a napkin and wrote down these thoughts, which I am reproducing here:
Is being attracted to the Other only a sociological defined imperative or could there possibly be some physiological basis for such proclivities in societies. In a fairly recent medical journal, I think it was in JAMA or some such journal??, a test was conducted where several women smelled t-shirts men had worn around for a couple of hours. The objective was for each woman to choose a shirt from the samples that she thought smelled “best/good.” Having compiled all the date, scientists found a pattern that the women tended to designate best/good to shirts that belonged to men whom were more genetically dissimilar than the individual designating woman.
Of course sometimes the “Other” is so sociologically implanted as too different, that it can be unappealing. I remember the scene in The Gods Must Be Crazy where the bushman protagonist spies the white female anthropologist undressing behind some bushes and she quickly covers up her body from his “gaze.” The irony is that the whole time he was looking at her he was merely reflecting how unattractively maggot-colored this woman’s skin was.

That’s all folks. And I must say, that it has been…

Monday, November 20, 2006

PetalswiththeWind 11/14/2006

In Tuesday’s class some of my fellow human classmates, Shaun, and Kyle, were infuriated at the point, why men of their generation are getting flak because of their forefathers? And meanwhile, R.B., kept on probing, “What’s the solution?” Not to mention Steve-O’s ranting and raving down there in blog cyberspace! It is so obvious, Feminism and the “Other”, are still controversial topics. Their questions and commentary have been floating in my head ever since class, and I can't shake it off. First, recognizing there is a problem instead of always shaking it off is one of many steps to multiple solutions. I mean there is a “problem” isn’t there? Can we all at least acknowledge that? Or are we all just arguing about nothing? Furthermore, alternatively there is not just one solution, as the patriarchy has led us to believe.
I suppose we’re all tired of the limited roles that the signs of the patriarchal hegemony has gagged and bounded us to: man, woman, girl, boy, Black, White, Hispanic, straight, gay, heterosexual, homosexual, facts, science, lies, truths, answers, hypothesizes, possibilities, assumptions, potentials, weak, strong, red, yellow, white, green, blue; face it, these are just defining noun heads with its describing and limiting parts of speech “crafting our reality for us”(Dr.John DeNigis,Leadership and Management Class Lecture).
There are flaws in this metanarrative structure of the patriarchy, it has a binary system that destroys the nature that science can’t hide: man/woman, male/female, hermaphrodite/hermaphrodite; thus, this is where the system falters; this is where it hesitates and exposes its flaws, for the whole world to see, through the speech of the patriarchy. hooks declares, the present narrative of racism in western culture has been socially converted not transformed:
"And even though the focus is often on the ways that this past was “superior” to the present, this cultural narrative relies on the stereotypes of the “primitive,” even as it eschews the term, to evoke a world where black people were in harmony with nature and with one another. This narrative is linked to white western conceptions of the dark Other, not to a radical questioning of those representations"(M 370).

A social reform of the Other can not take place until the language used to represent human beings as a whole is altered. Macherey affirms hooks declaration, by acknowledging the presence of prejudice already embedded in language, transcended to us through speech and writing:
"A prejudice is that which is not judged in language but before it, but which nevertheless offered as a judgment. Prejudice, the pseudo-judgment, is the utterance which remains imperceptibly beyond language. Yet this proposition has two meanings: speech evokes a prejudice as judgment; but equally, by the fact of evocation, it holds it up as a prejudice. It creates an allegory of judgment. And speech exists because it wishes for this allegory whose appearance it prepares for" (C 19).

Human beings often miss out on all types of opportunities for love, be it romantic or platonic; due to what only appears to be minute vocabulary;however,really are astronomical monstrous ideologies lurking and hiding behind those little itty bitty words(now that sounds like a bully to me)…
He let go…
For only I alone could find the essentials elements of me…
And even though it was there all along; the outside space had displaced my real insides…
Positioning of the political undermines us personally!
Alterity, tear off the construction smothering our realities…
The Ones’ that stifles our individualities…
and binds them to Generic Type Personalities...
Trapping and holding our mentalities to a degreeless SEVERITY…
And then, has the audacity to claim that’s rational sanity?!?
“Crazy”, “paroles” the untamable and the under-domesticated!
Even the “materialisticities” have a higher subverted place in our realities…
Brand Names: Persons, Places, And Things…
I let go, and stopped hiding behind those signs, you know!
Nor, will I allow them to hang signs above my head so low…
That hanging STILL takes the life out of me..
Without my instincts I’m brain dead, ya see...
So we let go, in order to embrace and accept love in its many forms, at love’s fullest capacity, without barring or limiting its potentialities!
Each reality is an individualized masterpiece, not a generalized photocopy!
Only we have the ability to paint our own realities.
The only “CULTure” that accurately represents the human race is humanity.

May Peace Be With You All!

TyG - Hebdige - R.I.P. Common Sense

According to Dick Hebdige (spell it, maybe; pronounce it correctly, never), ideology's normal, healthy home is "beneath conciousness," that it's transformed into what is popularly referred to as "normal common sense," the underlying personal but societal map that each person follows unconsciously. The idea that this ideology, this so-called common sense, may hide from daylight sounds likely: although he disparages the idea of ideology as "world view"(148), I rather like that term for the thing -- as I understand the concept, our world view functions much as does a pair of eyeglasses, influencing (focusing or blurring) our perceptions and affecting our interpretation of everything we encounter -- EXCEPT that we do not consciously don our worldview, it's more like RK surgery done while we sleep.

So, why do I feel common sense is dead? Many years ago, a boss complained to me of the difficulty he had finding workers with "common sense" (he was not criticizing me, he was happy with my "rare gift"). I replied that common sense had died out long ago, and that what is necessary today is to clearly and unambiguously outline for employees exact, measurable expectations, then to follow up with periodic check-ups, and, finally, to tweak instructions as needed (thank you, Philip Crosby). He hemmed and hawwed, and I went away before he could find something wrong with my performance.

Common sense, per Hebdige, is one thing to the ruling order, and another thing to each of the subcultures or counter-cultures around that hegemony -- in effect, common sense is no longer "common" between the ruling class -- ie employers -- and the ruled class -- employees. My "rare gift" was a product of my family upbringing, my race, my education, all the things that comprise what I know as worldview and Hebdige titles ideology. Others that this middle-class white male had hired were less similar to him, and their "common" did not match his. The only solution, besides hiring only people who pass the "just-like-me" test, is to draw a clear picture of job requirements and follow through on the process -- or maybe to keep hiring "losers" so you can complain loud and long about what the world is coming to...

R.I.P. Common Sense

Sunday, November 19, 2006

RB, Bourdieu

The media’s “audience ratings mindset” (333) is little different than corporation’s shareholder appeasement mindset. In fact, audience ratings are important in order to create ad revenue which is important in order to appease shareholders. Bourdieu writes that journalism has a distinguishing characteristic: “it is much more dependent on external forces than other fields of cultural production, such as mathematics, literature, law, science, and so on” (333). This is disturbing considering mass distribution of information is, arguably, more important than anything else on that list. After all, the media is a filter through which math, lit, law, science, and so on pass.

However, someone once told me that the media is a good indicator of how free a society is. The more the news is openly critical of hegemony, the freer the country. Though US news isn’t without propaganda and censorship, it isn’t without criticism of hegemony either: corporate media control is no secret, Bill Moyers still works for PBS, and people accuse our president of engineering the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Even Fox News outfoxed itself in a segment meant to disprove accusations of water boarding being torture. In the segment, soldiers tip an anchorman’s head back and pour water on his face and the anchorman says something like, “This isn’t so bad.” Then the soldiers begin to cover his face in saran wrap, and the anchor reacts the same way most humans would react to torture—he freaks out.

TyG – Foucault – The Panoptic Classroom

As this blog is waaaay belated, I have the luxury of scanning back over other entries:

“On my honor, I have not given, nor received, nor witnessed any unauthorized assistance on this work.”

Uh-oh, did someone already discuss this angle of things? If so, am I in violation of the Rollins Academic Honor Code? What if the repetition is inadvertent or sub-conscious on my part; what if I simply don’t REMEMBER a point being made before me: am I still guilty? Dare I go on? Will I be pilloried for an innocent mistake?

George Orwell’s Big Brother, as was definitely mentioned before by ginny t, is certainly WATCHING all of us here at Rollins College.... every one of us has been forced into the position of “snitch” so as to uphold the “honor” of our illustrious academic institution.

Now, don’t misunderstand me; I believe the concept behind the AHC is commendable. But does it go over the edge in drafting all students into service for the hegemony? I, for one, was not offered a choice in this matter when I “signed up” – does this situation mirror that of working at a business that changes hands here in Florida, a Right to Work (right to be fired!) State – “either sign this new non-compete document, or hit the road, Jack”? Why can’t I simply promise to watch out for MYSELF, to not give or accept any “unauthorized assistance”? Who am I to judge what is or is not “authorized” in someone else’s behavior? More importantly, what about a paranoid and inexperienced zealot who brings havoc into my life by “witnessing” my “violation”? What about misinterpretation? Maybe I was asking someone for a date, or telling them their fly was open... do I now have to go through the embarrassment and aggravation of explaining my actions? Why can’t I simply be treated as the adult I am, and TRUSTED to do the RIGHT THING without copying a pledge onto every assignment?

We are presumed innocent in our society; this mandated “good citizenship” tilts the scale towards the presumption of guilt: we must all carefully scrutinize our neighbors, because we expect them to be doing wrong. This creates an unhealthy and paranoid environment – even if you know you’re not cheating, you must now take extra care not to cross the line into even the appearance of rule-breaking.

Michel Foucault is alive and well and directing traffic from the panoptic tower on Holt Avenue.

ginny t. 11/14

Controversy! What a polarizing class lecture!

So I've spent the majority of my adult life thinking I didn't know a whole lot about feminism,…I certainly didn't go around calling myself a feminist (not that it's a four letter word;…I just have a hard time even calling myself a "woman" because I still feel like I'm about 12 -- 15 on a good day.) But after the lecture, feminism to me is less about fighting for equality and more about recognizing our differences and opening up dialogues with men, and even other women.

I really had no idea how ingrained in our society gender difference are until we started talking in class. Things that I have always taken for granted as "normal" or "accepted" or "the way it is" comes across as covertly discriminatory. For instance, I recently had to take a personality test (the Myers-Briggs) at work, and my results came out 50/50 for ISTJ (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking,Judging) and ESTJ (Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging). I was told I had to choose which one was more accurate, and although I identified better with the ESTJ, I was reluctant to take up that banner, as that personality is the characteristic "ball-busting" type (I could write an entire blog on the meaning of that phrase alone, but I digress...…) The ESTJ is strong, assertive, opinionated, a take-charge kind of person, and I shyed away from identifying with such a strong personality, for fear of being seen as too "manly" or "unfeminine." Surely a man would be probably not even hesitate to accept such an attractive personality assessment, but as a woman, I have been taught from birth that "good girls" are the quiet, submissive types, and to act outside of that preordained role would be inappropriate, or worse yet, scandalous. And I didn't even grown up in a traditional household! As a strong, single mother, my mom raised me to be self-reliant and confident; she always supported me and told me there was nothing I couldn't do. And yet, the concept of what it means to be a "good girl," well-mannered, nurturing, caring, soft, & sweet, seeped in through society, family, tv, literature, everywhere and stamped their imprint onto my brain. It's a never-ending dance, shifting identities between "feminine" (read: socially appropriate) and "unfeminine" (read: masculine, i.e. out-of-my-league/scope of knowledge).

This last class discussion, though, has helped me to open my eyes to the fact a lot of "rules" that dictate social behavior and set roles for men and women are rooted in oppression. Again, I'm looking at what is not being said, and starting to ask why.

(Oh, yeah, and I totally chose ESTJ as my personality of choice. I am woman!! Rwaarrr!)

AS 11/14

I’m deciding not to comment on last Tuesday’s class. Primarily because it’s done its job well, and I’ve been talking with various classmates this entire week about the class and Dr. Rog’s experimentation in subverting the hegemony. I have nothing to add to the topic that my brilliant classmates haven’t already covered in their blogs. I do want to discuss what I’ve learned. First, what I don’t know -- I’m still not sure exactly what PoMo is other then everything that everyone has ever said about it. Infuriarating and disturbing, yes, but also insanely exhilarating. I am now unable to watch television uncritically, advertisements cause my circuits to fry, and lunch is no longer a simple matter of eating. No, PoMo intrudes even upon my enjoyment of a Cuban sandwich. I went to a Cuban café this weekend. It’s a cute little shop tucked away on a side street in Winter Park. I walked in, skirted several large woven baskets filled with fake loaves of bread, ordered at a stainless steel counter, and sat at a table with a glass top covering a burlap sack with the words “Authentic Cuban Café” stamped in large, no-nonsense black letters. Huh, I thought to myself, authenticity is at the authority of anyone handy with black spray paint and a stencil. Niiiice. This thought went through my head on a breezy, lazy Saturday afternoon when all I was trying to do was grab a decent meal. PoMo strikes again. The hegemonic bricolage of the culture industry assaults my senses wherever I go. Now that I know the signs, I can no longer escape the signification.

PetalswiththeWind hooks

As an ordained “Other” in more than one linear sense, as I was reading bell hook’s Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance, it was hard not to think about my own experience in my relationship with another, “Other”.
I told my man once…
“Babe, we’re the same! I just have more pigmentation in my skin than you, baby”.
Squinting through long clumplike strands of hair, curly deep dirty blonde hair, falling right in front of his face; he looked straight at me with his big lightest blue eyes, pursed his pink lips, peered right into mine, then, smiled from there to eternity. No parole contained in any langue could express his response as he did nonverbally. For him and me, it was a small victory for humanity! Recognizing first and foremost we are human beyond any of the identities condemned upon us by the ideologies of society. Gratifyingly enough, we’re in love and not looking for any mainstream transformations; but, circumstantially due to our appointed social roles; our personal is the political.
hooks recognizes, “Whether or not desire for contact with the Other, for connection rooted in the longing for pleasure, can act as a critical intervention challenging and subverting racist domination, inviting and enabling critical resistance, is an unrealized political possibility” (367). In other words, political opportunity to reverse generalized stereotypical, prejudiced ideology of the patriarchy.
The patriarchy admits that they are at fault for the present mundane condition of mainstream society, due to their inditement of sameness in Western culture. hooks reveals, “from the standpoint of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, the hope is that desires for the “primitive” or fantasies about the Other can be continually exploited, and that such exploitation will occur in a manner that reinscribes the status quo”(367).
If the “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” desires for their hegemonic system to remain intact by finding new ways of exploiting the Other, by proxy they are admitting due to the present patriarchal ideological structure in place “the mainstream white culture is so dull” (366). The over civilization of human beings in the throes of mainstream society has become monotonous, and this “revival” brings Caucasians closer to the parts of themselves that is the suppressed underside of tyrannical hegemony; which then brings them closer to their natural state of being, in whereas domestication leads astray. Therefore, by allowing the commodification of the “Other”, permits mainstream culture to break the monotony of the machine without interrupting the lavish lifestyles of the powerful patriarchy.

As Janet would say...
"That's the End?"

Steve-O They all lived happily ever after!


What A Long Strange Trip It Has Been!!!!

Before I talk about the brutal silence of last week’s class, I must help Cixous and her warped mentality on a heterosexual male’s thinking on homosexuality. Cixous writes, “Why does man fear being a woman?” (M 159). For me, it’s not being a woman I fear…Rather, it’s “the scepter’s great shadow” I fear!!! For good reason, there is NO God-given place for the “single idol” to go on a man’s body. When a straight male is thinking about sex with another man, he undoubtedly is thinking about the disturbing visual just described, Not, what being a woman might mean emotionally or even physically. If god gave man other orifices, who knows…BUT HE DIDN’T! Once again, we find a female theorist trying to rationalize topics, which could never be rightfully understood as an “OTHER.” She is making Huge generalizations and, mostly, is just under analyzing the greatest and most obvious concerns when it comes to guy on guy sexual relationships.

METROSEXUAL— a young, urban, heterosexual male with liberal political views, an interest in fashion, and a refined sense of taste.

Just wanted to put that out there for my readers to ponder, because if you read any of Cixous, you will find randomly placed or awkward wording. This is me being a woman…Cixous that is.

And let’s go where most of the male readers have been waiting for, Lesbianism- it just seems easier if not altogether a RIGHT thing for ladies to do. I think I will have to keep this observation short, I will just say, girls have an inherently more natural “Nature/Mind” for bisexual tendencies; that being said, “Femininity and bisexuality go together,” (M 160). I couldn’t have expressed it any better myself.

Is Cixous saying that for women to escape phallic authority, to refuse the patriarchal, to deny the other, they can resort to bisexuality?

I’m sure Cixous’s psychiatrist is a rich man/woman! Feud could have a riot with her grand generalizations on the plight of women. And if our in class experiment was to prove her case, Our POMO-Women would have not lived up to the hype. Yes, by not letting the men speak, the masculine ear was, or at least it seemed, attuned to the voices privileged to speak. However, in my opinion, I was listening more to what the in-class ladies had to say before the experiment then during. By taking away our right to speak, my want to listen was removed. I found myself in Cixous’s idea that “You never give something for nothing” (M 161).

And what good does writing do if it has to pass a bunch of empowered women before it is published. By giving the women the power to filter our comments, they felt they needed to enforce this power. If R.O.G. would have said, guys have to write, but nothing about the ladies having to agree with what was being said, things would have been different.

The good thing to come out of the experiment for me is a realization of perspective. It’s always a great thing to be able to see the “Other,” whatever that other may be. For change to take place, we must experience…

This semester has been one gigantic experience. I learned so much and I will continue to use the tools and ideas found over the last 15 weeks to deconstruct the Postmodern elements I come into contact with. Our classes have been amazing grounds for opinion, debate, growth, and insight…I enjoyed getting to learn with you guys…YOU ALL ROCK!!!!


Saturday, November 18, 2006

sardine -- 11/14 -- be quiet

Once upon a time, in another life, for a short time I was a femme au foyer. It was a life in waiting. It was a life of being quiet. It was a life of being criticized for staying in dependency.... Tais-toi, I am working. Tais-toi, I am writing. Tais-toi, I am being.

My children scream tais-toi at each other when they fight. I shout it at our dog when she barks. I bellow it while driving when my children start rocking the car in their fighting over Gameboy. Is it more polite to tell a person to be quiet in French than to say shut up in English? I, a failed housewife, suppress free speech.

I failed miserably in my attempt to be the traditional housewife, or even an adequate housewife. I dusted and cleaned, burned the food, broke the dishwasher, quieted the children, and smiled the smile of silence. Silence in English. Silence in appalling French.

Cixous states “every woman knows the torture of beginning to speak aloud” (163). Suppressed for so long, there is no knowing the outcome of speaking; will it erupt and overtake the situation? Will there be witnesses to condemn or to pity or to humiliate? Will speaking cause momentary embarrassment? Or will it just be ignored? Will it fizzle into nothingness?

To speak aloud of long suppressed desires for identity and experiences of the long concealed. The torture is in that moment before, in the indecision, and in the outcome of disregard. The torture is using a language not one’s own. Suppressing the self becomes the role. Suppression becomes the identity.

Did you men in class get pleasure from your silence and momentary woman-ness? Or did the frustration of being ignored and discarded, evaluated and found needing cause discomfort? It is an ugly experience to be silenced. It generates an unbearable resentment that overwhelms and must be forced down with a smile or a laugh or sarcasm or a smirk. Did you think your reactions went unobserved?

Mony Post -Class Feminism.

I am so sad that I missed last Tuesda's class. Feminism is one of my favorite topics. I heard it was an female dominated discussion. I did go back and read the blogs - interesting stuff

I read Sardine’s blog and her comments about the negative terms associated with women. She said that one of the most insulting things that a woman can be labeled is a “bull dyke”, and I agree, that is low, but then I was reminded of something that I was told by a man a few years ago that deeply hurt me…he said to “stop acting like a cunt”. This was a label that I still do not understand. What does this word mean? And why has it become a horrible term that is associated with women, and at the same time a word that is often seen as empowering in certain circles? This is the ultimate undefined label.

I decided to reflect on my personal incident again and really dissect what this male had said. First, he chose to use the word “act” in connection to something that does not “act”, and second he decided to use a word that is negatively associated with females and female genitals in order to get his point across. He got it across all right. I left. But if one of my girlfriends had said this to me, I probably would have called her one right back.

There are books, a play, numerous paintings, and a song tilted after the wonderful “C” word. Women made the majority of these creations. Talk about the paradox of a man using this term compared to women. I actually bought the “C’ book because I thought it was empowering. Hmm…I am a walking contradiction. I was deeply hurt when a male used the world to insult me, yet at the same time I consider it a “hip” neo-feminist term. Help!

Mony Pre -class Butler.

“ The political assumption that there must be a universal basis for feminism, one which must be found in an identity assumed to exist cross-culturally, often accompanies the notion that the oppression of women has some singular form discernable in the universal hegemonic structure of patriarchy or masculine domination.” – Butler (191)

I hate the fact that every women’s studies course I have taken, whether it is literature, humanities, or history, states that we are living in a post-feminism era and the concept of feminism and feminists are dead. Ahh…this statement upsets me. I work in a male dominated field and I can tell you first hand, that I have to fight for equality in the workplace, for without my endeavors; I would have little or no professional movement. The glass ceiling would stop me dead in my tracks.

I know that when I call myself a feminist in a social situation, or the workplace, I will automatically repel quite a few men and women. “Oh no – not another scary feminist at the dinner party.” Why does this word have such a negative connotation? Why do some assume that because I am a feminist, I don’t shave my legs, I am a bull dyke, I hate men, or I sit around listening to Ani Difranco and the Indigo Girls all day. This is not the case. We live in a patriarchal society, and yes, I agree that women have come a far way, but we still remain blind to this hegemony. Look at politics - any woman who is slightly challenging, is labeled a bitch, or is considered too “polarizing”. Hillary Clinton and Sandra Day O’Connor come to mind. After graduating at the top of her class from Stanford Law, O’Connor was only offered legal secretary positions; she had to beg a firm to hire her as an attorney. Yes, times have changed, but not fully. We (men and women) must continue the fight for equality. I promise, women are not yet equal.

Steve-O And a Right Hook to Bell

“it is this willingness to transgress racial boundaries within the realm of the sexual that eradicates the fear that one must always conform to the norm to remain ‘safe’” (M 367).

So white on white sex is the ONLY safe sex? Prophylactics are thrown out the window in the discussion of “racialized sexual encounters.” As Bell makes her argument, she bypasses the more obvious Otherness found in genitalia and decides to include skin color as an addition to sexual opposition. Bell is encouraging biracial encounters in an attempt to challenge the racist dominated white supremacy. To prove her argument, sex with Others is needed. I love how she cleverly calls a person’s sexual preference: “one’s mainstream positionality.”

Now to the world of fucking for experience, I think Bell’s decision to use blond-male-jock-boys as her study group undoubtedly has created generalizations on top of stereotypes on top of poor test subjects. Firstly, I think it would be safe to assume most Yale students come from the sheltered lives of prep schools and privilege (hmmm, can we say A&S). In many ways, as the socioeconomic rift between the uber-rich and middle and lower class grows, there is a separation of real life experience and commonality with the majority. I would not doubt that the rich Yaley African American males where talking about getting inside of as many white girls as they could as well….and they wouldn’t even have to leave campus to New Haven…how nice. The Yale boys transformation from innocence to experience is not analogous to every other white male in America, In fact it gives the other white males the sense of being “Others.” Can’t we all be an Other to someone? Are these boys really calling upon other-race women to witness and participate in their rite of passage, or are they just horny? And Ladies…I know you have a conquering type mentality as well. Any woman reading this blog is, or knows, someone of the same gender who tries to shop for sex in the same way. The difference is that those ladies don’t feel more experienced; I think they feel more powerful. There is a sense of sexual possession that infects their mind and makes them hungry for more material acquisitions [sexual experiences]. Ladies, do you agree or disagree? (Please comment). And what about the submissive sexual partner, male or female, regardless of race, are they “Others”?
Back to Bells test subjects and the Yale boys “affirmation of cultural plurality” through sex with the “Other”. In the mind of those not so fortunate (as to be a Yale jock…if you would call that fortune), to experience cultural plurality would mean to get rich and travel the world, not have sex with hot Asian ladies! Although, if that happened along the way…

Furthermore, I disagree with Bells assumption that the boys aren’t attuned to the racial domination of their forefathers…I wonder if there were any Jews in this group of jocks? Again Bell weakens her argument through blatant stereotypes and generalizations. Accordingly, how can she attest to the change in mental perception once “Other” sex has taken place? Did she question these Jocks after they succeeded in their quest for Otherness?

Would it be plausible for a man to make the case for the exploitation of “Others” as being a way out of the shade of Un-Other?

Are Holt Students seen as Others?

Do you feel Otherish?

PetalswiththeWind 11/07/2006

Newsflash coming to you live here from Central Florida, “We’re In The Dark!”

Media is used as a presence to keep hegemonic ideologies intact. With this presence forever perpetuating itself through broadcast promulgation, citizens embody and reflect the permeated hegemonic mindset. This limits individuals within society from thinking on their own, and prevents them from finding new ways of doing things, leaving them with the only choice of replicating the culturally set precedent. Bourdieu speaks about the affects of the psychosis of hegemony, “Things happen that nobody wants but seem somehow to have been willed” (329). He calls it, “the danger of simplistic criticism”. The hegemony only wants its citizens staring long enough just to glance at the broadcast or headlines of the media, in order not to see past their camouflage. The Media points only to the parts of reality too obvious to hide, thus, partial truths are amplified to a whole within its entirety. Since there are fake particles mixed in with the one real cell of actual reality, as Baudrillad advises in his theory; suggests society should wait for more parts of the whole to come in focus in order to accurately assess bigger pieces of the picture and then start to consider several possible hypothesizes. Not just the obvious one dimensional signs that stimulates only a small percentage of their brains that the media “sells”;without being aware of the innumerable dimensions surrounding their language that keeps people in the dark oblivion, which is the present state of existence. With the hegemonic power subverted through the media, one’s mind goes into a lull of nothingness that the signs of consciousness from all media bring to a head. The depoliticization of society is a way for the leading dominant influences to neutralize the power of their competition, who in turn are their very own suppressed citizens.

sardine -- pre 11/14 -- cixous

“Writing is the passageway, the entrance, the exit, the dwelling place of the other in me – the other that I am and am not, that I don’t know how to be, but that I feel passing, that makes me live – that tears me apart, disturbs me, changes me, who? -- a feminine one, a masculine one, some? – several, some unknown, which is indeed what gives me the desire to know and from which all life soars. This peopling gives neither rest nor security, always disturbs the relationship to ‘reality,’ produces an uncertainty that gets in the way of the subject’s socialization. It is distressing, it wears you out; and for men this permeability, this nonexclusion is a threat, something intolerable” (Cixous, 160).

I feel moved by this passage in Cixous’ manifesto. It describes the alienation of subject identity women feel without their voices, but it gives a direction to hope for more. Writing down the barriers in the phallologocentric society is a means of personal escape and escape for humanity. It is not only women that are entrapped in the world of binary opposition and fear of castration. Men are also entrapped in “phallocentric narcissism.” Men are obedient to socially defined traditions of masculinity – profit, power, virility, money, and pleasure (Cixous, 161). For Cixous, writing enables the woman to write through the body, to become for than the prescribed feminine, to facilitate bisexuality in creation.

Women trying to speak in a a phallologocentric environment is painful, angering, resented. We are quiet because we are advised to “shut up.” We blunder in our high pitched need to express our body / emotions / thoughts. We are labeled hysterics, anxious mothers, bitches, sluts, ugly, or worst of all the final betrayal, dykes.

Behave women! We are trained to be obedient. We do not raise our hands in class because we are not called upon. We fall silent while our fathers and later husbands and sons speak because we are ignored. When we become angry and scream our futility and wretchedness, we embarrass the man in the man’s confine, and women note by example how they should not behave.

Cixous gives hope through writing to develop into more than just the mother / daughter / sister / wife. To create an identity more fluid, and unfixed. To free the subjective-identity, the self, the unconscious, the woman, the man, the culture.