Thursday, July 12, 2012

JOANNE LIMBURG'S THINKING WOMAN.

To express the incommunicable is a gift, a gift which Ms Joanne Limburg possesses abundantly. The fact that the narrative is an account of inchoate personal experience renders her memoir 'The woman who thought too much' doubly genuine. We read many memoirs about mental health,. 'The bell jar', ' Girl interrupted', 'An unquiet mind', 'Darkness visible' come to mind yet before Ms Limburg's  compelling account a good memoir, indeed a good narrative of ocd was hard to find. This is partially attributable to the hierarchization and gradations of mental illness. With bipolar and depression and schizophrenia in one trajectory and panic attacks, ocpd, ptsd on the other, ocd lies in the interstices neither given requisite popular attention nor fully and contemptuously disregarded. Yet given its ambivalent position within psychiatric circles ocd is considered in the real world with contempt, unmitigated disdain, and unflattering sanctimony.

Joanne Limburg sculpts her prose into such droll, beautiful, artistic poetic whorls that the lyricism inherent in her work is seamless and natural. Her wit and dark humor recalls Margaret Atwood. Ms Limburg laces her narrative not as one that is studded with events and vignettes to underscore her thematic concern but fuses the narrative of a chronological life with stream of consciousness interjections of disquiet, stippling a seemingly harmless encounter or stable emotional surface with unnerving ripples and forebodings.

And while the medicalized nature of her ailment is addressed the existential tone of apprehensions, fears, obsessions is never absent. When she describes her premonitory fears taking on grotesque proportions and imperiling the performing of the smallest quotidian task she demonstrates the frangible human mind, its egotisms, deceptions, neurochemical concerns and humanist prepossessions. In limpid prose Ms Limburg's narrative comes across not as an overcompensatory rationalization or expiation seeking. It is a self contained, inviolable narrative that makes a point through the delineation of her life which as it unravels makes larger cultural observations on societal stigma and incomprehension.

But the biggest battle for Ms Limburg is the sifting through the maze of obsessive thinking, the self defeating thoughts, reduplicating , the deterrent such thoughts become, the hurdles they are when even a small task is to be done. The psychological self stigma, the internalization of worthlessness and the attrition of years of convoluted spirals of thought are counterpointed by her unfaltering honesty in seeing her ailment for what it is, to grasp the social layers that encompass it and to navigate through her travails . And this memoir, is a palpable actualization of a strong will, noble conscience, unwinking intelligence and luminous soul.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

THREE VARIANT FORMS OF LOVE AND MIRRORS.

(1)

I glanced into its silvered deep
And saw there, reflected, you
I recognize your visage in sleep
As we our journey traverse through.

You amplify my sense of me
And validate a sense of being
You, within the gaps, let me be
And let the impassive world unseeing.

I could say i see you as an extension
For you unravel from my core
And all the treacheries and dissension
Leave, in me, indelible scars sore

But i hold on to the blueprint i discern
And from it emanates my prerogative concern.

(2)
The reflection bespeaks an illusion
And undulates the aureole of deception
As the mirror tells a lie

Scintillate bodies syncopate
To the arpeggios of simulacra
The reflection bespeaks an illusion.

The conception of the other descends
Through a delusional aegis
As the mirror tells a lie

Contradictory revelations jostle
The gloaming imbued dusk conceals
The reflection bespeaks an illusion.

The flesh ricochets, lubriciously
Yet the souls, remain unjointed 
As the mirror tells a lie

Desire's facsimile is insufficient recompense
For the continuance of togetherness.
The reflection bespeaks an illusion
As the mirror tells a lie.

(3)

However, i can safely say that you
Reduplicate me because you emerge from
Me. You are the eve of my self,the jutting rib
Transformed into a human form. Yet when i
Glance at the pool/mirror, my gelatinous
Integument refracts, sparks of orgasms
As my tear besmirched countenance
Becomes , before the mirror, a defacement
I make into a face. I do worry over
You as my own sufficiency is enclosed with yours.
But the mirror reassures me , principally of
The endlessness of human desire
And the inveterate self deception.



THE POLITICS OF GAY PORNOGRAPHY

The sight of spunk splattered all over the face, the frenetic blowjobs, the brutalized anal sex and the rictus of grimacing pleasure on the faces of porn stars induces sordid titillation but by virtue of its impersonal reduction into its constituents de eroticizes, kitschifies and discombobulates. These heraldic emblems of pornographic positionalities are both conformist and subversive and acknowledgement of this dual aspect is a necessary accompaniment to the process of deconstruction.

Pornography, including gay pornography is said to de particularize and de universalize larger, exigent realities and circumscribe the graffiti of sex into a purely functional mode. And it is this distance that is said to divest it of social appurtenances and focus unambivalently on the sex act. Yet why does the tableaux of twinks, blacks, daddy bears, schoolboys, bears exert such an irresistible attraction. What corporeal orgasmic plenitude do they proffer that our own flanks tintinnabulate with a responding throbbing, our engorgement fill with the excitement of rushing blood. Clearly the reason lies culturally.

Postmodernism divorces the individual from collectivity. Yet the collective consciousness of gay men vibrates with fantasies which pornography seeks to actualize. A huge penis, a hairy physiognomy, slim nubile yong men, black men, asian representations all are invariable components of the fantasy sexual dreams of gays along a lateral continuum. Moreover the nature of the fantasy, its accoutrements may differ but a singular component of their compendious concatenation is irretrievably interlinked to our cultural psyches. When the sex act is visualized it is disconnected from emotional significations. It is purely mechanical and untainted by feeling. The nature of pornography is gratuitous recompense, a recompense rendered ironic by virtue of its unconsummated nature. Masturbation is the inevitable restitution for the images that inundate the spectator's psyche. It is depersonalization redoubled, both of the object of desire and the cognitive subject.

The prick alert and poised to penetrate uses variegated sex positions. Semen becomes a sacramental offering, to be ingested as a holy symbol, the anus becomes the fringed hole where the brutal cock weaves in  and out. Sex, with its intimations of transcendence is stripped of sanguine romanticism and made purely quotidian. A certain brutality, a rationalized violence is an attendant phenomenon. The more violent the penetration, the more assiduous the blowjob the more intense is the pleasure.

Stereotypes of communities are validated through pornography. And it is here that the irrefutable irony of porn is underscored. Indefatigable fucking for its own sake reaffirms cultural myths. The black man is imbued with a huge , bulging knob, the dildo is indisputably gargantuan., the hairy bear is incontrovertibly, exaggeratedly masculine. The twink is often uncircumcised and has a smooth, gelatinous skin, anal excitation has its essential vulgarity enhanced as it becomes an uncharacteristically subversive act. The schoolboy has sex with the teacher, dads fuck son, blacks fuck blacks and whites. Incest, the incontestable taboo becomes in the world of porn a material reality. Because pornography operates in the mode of fantasy and the pleasures it incites are private a hushed concealment , the spectator's complicity is assumed. Private sexual obsessions, common to all are indulged in all their perversity. Every rococo, baroque combination finds visual expression. All apparatuses are personalized.

In its simultaneous affirmation and disavowal of its cultural moorings gay pornography is ineluctably subversive. Yet its transgressive possibilities are defused and attenuated because they lie embedded in the aroused psyche of the viewer. Eventually a momentary excitation yields a momentous pleasure yet eventually it resides in the mind, unactualized, unrealized. It initiates an entrance into the sexual domain and is educative about the sex act but its violent nature underpins its educative aspect. Porn is an inevitable component our lives and a judicious, measured partaking tempered by cognitive awareness is the only way to circumvent its harmful effects and initiate a self determination, constituted but transcended of sexuality.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

POSTMODERNISM IS A HUMANISM

At first sight, two putatively incongruous terms, seen in conjunction, demonstrate a certain pliability in their application. Yet postmodernism works self contradictorily. In validating relationality is gives the individual supremacy and self determination. Yet, this same relationality renders intransigent definitions suspect. Therefore, the two aforementioned terms needn't necessarily be antinomies but extensions and mirror images of each other.

When everything is subjective and truthfulness resides by negotiating pre existent notions of morality and ethics then to affirm a communality becomes an act of subversion, a form of decontextualization. As contingent individualities proliferate it seems that collective shared discourses recede. My argument is that precisely this contextualizing affirms humanism.

If everything is relative then an individual being is relational. There can be no relationality by itself. An interlocutor is a necessary adjunct. Nor can unvarnished subjectivity reside in a void. For its uniqueness to be acknowledged an 'other', a 'you' is necessitated. This is a ratification of human collectivity because human plurality manifests itself through the unalterable, unequivocal reality and presence of a signifier and signified and process of signification is the fulcrum where they congregate.

Moreover, a conglomeration of subjectivities has certain common denominators. To use another postmodern argument i would posit that if there is no singular 'i', if identity is a chimera and if our responses, reactions, realities , in short the compendium of events constituting our lives is already predicated on a prediscursive reality then it would follow that humanism, the point of intersection, assumed ontologically is an invariable component of our lives. Because, to take the cue from postmodernism it precedes us, we can only retroactively recapture an evanescent life but its constituents have already been established. Therefore within the interstices of our contexts, already pre existent, shared, common aspects are ineluctable. The actualization and manifestations of these may depend on the way one conducts oneself but even that is part of a larger humanism. It then follows that the more vociferously we hold on to our sense of self as self realizing the more we blend indissolubly with a larger human cycle. Under an undifferentiated canopy our infinitesimal lives unravel, our morphologies take forms, our realities unravel. Yet incontestably we remain ourselves by being outside of ourselves, beyond ourselves.

Relationality binds me to you. You validate me and materialize my tenuousness. You metamorphoses to we. What we, in a reductio ad absurdum denounce as stereotype is merely a reinforcing of prediscursivity. Therefore postmodernism doesn't repudiate but superimposes, through its own convoluted rationalizations the indisputable fact of our togetherness.