eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
[personal profile] eruthros
So I was reading a New Yorker article about Krystian Bala, a Polish author accused of murder, and I came across the following paragraph and was just -- boggled. One of these sentences is not like the others, guys:
Bala cast himself as an enfant terrible who sought out what Foucault had called a "limit-experience": he wanted to push the boundaries of language and human existence, to break free of what he deemed to be the hypocritical and oppressive "truths" of Western society, including taboos on sex and drugs. Foucault himself was drawn to homosexual sadomasochism. Bala devoured the work of Georges Bataille, who vowed to "brutally oppose all systems" and who once contemplated carrying out human sacrifices; and William Burroughs, who swore to use language to "rub out the word"; and the Marquis de Sade, who demanded, "O man! Is it for you to say what is good or what is evil?" Bala boasted about his drunken visits to brothels and his submission to temptations of the flesh. He told friends that he hated "conventions" and was "capable of anything," and he insisted, "I will not live long but I will live furiously!"
Now, okay, I'd like to smack the author of this article for other reasons, yes, but the sentence there that begins "Foucault himself?" Dude, what does that have to do with this paragraph, which is about things-Bala-read-that-he-liked? Did he READ about Foucault's sex life? No evidence of same here! What then does Foucault's sex life have to do with Bala reading about limit-experiences? Nothing, except that this is already an article about the ways Bala was influenced by postmodernism to ignore "truth" and "morality" and only do language games and thus kill people, and sadomasochism seems similarly edgey, dubious, and weird.

Date: 2008-03-04 02:26 pm (UTC)
ext_841: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
But aren't all the examples writers who imagined and tried to *live* limit experiences? So, I read it as "Bala was influenced by Foucault, Bataille, de Sade. All of these guys theorized and wrotre about limit experiences. All of them experimented with it in RL. Bala did the same." ???

[I mean, that still make the underlying argument deeply suspicious, bc Foucault playing in the dungeons is a far cry from Bala killing someone (I'm assuming that's where the analogy's headed, right? The RL/fiction excessiveness thingy?]

Date: 2008-03-04 02:55 pm (UTC)
ext_841: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, no. That makes sense then. Bc in this paragraph the wrote about/tried in RL analogy made sense (though, again, given that he's accused of murder there are other false analogy issues at work!), but ifd all other analogies remain on the fiction/language level?


Date: 2008-03-04 03:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*blinks*. Um. That sentence totally brought me up short too. How bizarre.

Date: 2008-03-04 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
wow, it just JUMPS right off the page, doesn't it? Fuck off, New Yorker writer.


eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)

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