October 26, 2006

Too far behind to even begin list of reading. But this made me laugh recently...

from Slavoj Zizek's essay "Neighbors and Other Monsters: a Plea for Ethical Violence" in the Neighbor: Three Inquires into Political Philosophy.

Today, we seem effectively to be at the opposite point from the ideology of the 1960s: the mottos of spontaneity, creative self-expression, and so on, are taken over by the System; in other words, the old logic of the system reproducing itself through repressing and rigidly channeling the subject's spontaneous impetuses is left behind. Nonalienated spontaneity, self-expression, self-realization, they all directly serve the system, which is why pitiless self-censorship is a sine qua non of emancipatory politics. Especially in the domain of poetic art, this means that one should totally reject any attitude of self-expression, of displaying one's innermost emotional turmoil, desires, and dreams.True art has nothing whatsoever to do with disgusting emotional exhibitionism--insofar as the standard notion of "poetic spirit" is the ability to display one's intimate turmoil, what Vladimir Mayakovski said about himself with regard to his turn from personal poetry to political propaganda in verse ("I had to step on the throat of my Muse") is the constitutive gesture of a true poet. If there is a thing that provokes disgust in a true poet, it is the scene of a close friend opening up his heart, spilling out all the dirt of his inner life. p. 135

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