Infancy and History Giorgio Agamben. Comments on the Society of the Spectacle Guy Debord. In Chapter 6, Copjec looks at how a politician like Ronald Reagan can repeatedly tell lies and get away with it: The strongest chapters beyond the introduction are the 3rd and 6th. People want that love above all else, and it is this illusion of love that he gives them in return — whether he lies or not is thus irrelevant.
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It was worth the effort. In Lacanian psychoanalysis, by contrast, the subject is something that fails to come into discourse, that is detectable only by the hole that it leaves in language. That is the essence of Chapter 1. Again, Copjec shows that this conception of the subject as the product of the gaze of the law means that the subject is located purely within the realm of the symbolic.
For Copjec, psychoanalysis continues to subscribe to the principle of sufficient reason, but it differs from the usual scientific assumptions because the actual cause is never directly representable to consciousness except as an absence. Copjec interweaves these pictures with a meditation on how utilitarianism and functionalism have changed architecture buildings are now defined primarily by their use , an attitude that spills over into clothing, and then into the functionalist definition of humanity itself, which now becomes defined by useful work - clothing, in this perspective, becomes merely a decorative and inessential supplement.
Copjec brilliantly shows how utilitarianism begins from an erroneous assumption about what human beings ought "rationally" to want, a logic that it then uses to justify tyranny the tyrant, out of a perverse sense of "care," commands subjects to learn to do "what is good for them" and imperalism with the colonizer using the same tyrannical logic on colonized peoples. Chapter 5 shows an unexpected link between stories of vampirism and the championing of breastfeeding.
In Chapter 6, Copjec looks at how a politician like Ronald Reagan can repeatedly tell lies and get away with it: because the people love something that is beyond truth about him. People want that love above all else, and it is this illusion of love that he gives them in return - whether he lies or not is thus irrelevant.
It is a desire that cannot be rationalized: people want love regardless of whether what they are actually given is good or bad, true or false.
This leads to a meditation on the figure of the detective, a figure who, unlike the policeman, has learned to disregard the outward signifiers of a speaker like Reagan and instead has become an expert at reading the irrational desire that makes people follow his message.
Chapter 7 contains a masterful analysis of the "locked room" paradox in film noir. This involves further ruminations on detective fiction and its connection to statistics and the probable. Again, Copjec argues that the policeman is too literal, too stuck in the literalness of the symbolic, whereas the detective locates desire at the point of the real, where the symbolic fails.
The final section, Chapter 8, is an extended rumination on sexual difference via Judith Butler and Immanuel Kant. She demonstrates how the subject comes into existence or rather, fails to come into existence in two different ways that somehow translate into male and female. I understand the failure part, but I remain baffled as to why this equates to sexual difference.
A difference of desire? A different way of approaching authority and the symbolic order? But sexual difference?
Read My Desire
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