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October 13, 2005


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Beautiful post. So there would be a work of friendship that would be like an ascesis of the other, in which what remains would come forward as bare life?

Perhaps, too, it is in our own bare life that the other might be met. Strange sharing where what is borne in common remains after everything else. Strange work that supplements what is normally thought as the work of friendship (the confirmation of mutuality, reciprocity).

The unworking of friendship, perhaps. Friendship unworked, attenuated, until what remains is the bare life of each. Until we meet only when we are stripped of everything. But when did we meet? Have we met yet?

For it is not today that we encounter each other thus, and it is not tomorrow. Only at the threshold - perhaps at the beginning of an affair, perhaps as we meet at the threshold that is adolescence.


Lars, thanks so much for your comment. This does seem a strange work of friendship, doesn't it, and perhaps thinking it as an unworking is more productive insofar as it challenges all the contexts, passions, fantasies, and contingencies out of which friendships are made. And again I wonder: about the attachments formed in traumatic encounters where people are reduced to bare life; about attachments to the very young and the very old, to the sick; perhaps thinking about bare life and friendship gets away from ethics of naturalized duty and socially determined obligation, into something perhaps libidinal or visceral that is still very hard work.


I remember Philip Goodchild asking himself about 'what matters most'. He answers, if I remember rightly, the suffering body. Suffering matters, he says. It matters and it *is* matter.

There is something marvellous about the simplicity of this formulation. Suffering: as you say the sick, the old, and even the young. Only what is suffered by me is their suffering, the fact that they suffer. What a marvellous beginning for politics! A poor beginning - abjection, fragility - but a marvellous one nevertheless.

But perhaps it shouldn't be called the beginning of politics, but its interruption, its conscience (feeble word): ethics.

Patrick J. Mullins

It is interesting that no indication whatever of what the book is essentially about is given, but that's neither here nor there. We're all opportunists, and when our book is cited, perhaps we should not be surprised if the least representative .02% of it should be completely lifted out of context and depersonalized (THAT'S BARE LIFE!). Even though this is a new book, it perhaps is still not so strange that the least representative part of it would be the most useful within certain contexts (this site), but the way the post is written, one would get the idea that this review had something thematic to do with the whole book, which it does not except insofar as it is about cinema and forms derived from cinema; or rather, this single review alone is concerned with the subject of bare life; and although I've been interested in bare life, it is subordinate to cinema and its relatives here. Nevertheless, it would be different if this were an old and well-established and publicized text from which one would be quoting from. In no way does this current statement on my part attempt to belittle the subject of bare life or any discussion of it, here or elsewhere; what it does is force into place the proper proportions on one's own work, although this not an effort to interest anyone in the rest of the book. It is purely to clarify: It is to point out that bare life is not even one of the subsidiary themes of the book as a whole; the 'Reviews' section is one of 4 chapters and contains 16 reviews; the text is surrounded (accompanied?) by numerous 'cine-portraits' by Swiss painter Christian Pellet. Even within the review itself, bare life is contrasted with excess, which we've been discussing here in other posts. Along those lines, it does occur to me that perhaps moderation finds a place roughly between excess and bare life, but that there can something excessive with lingering with the idea of bare life too long. The reality of bare life may be something quite different, of course, and can occasionally be completely time-consuming, obviously.

The brutality-equality business is related more to Derrida than to Agamben, although I did not cite Derrida. This is in 'A Taste for the Secret' when he makes the difference between violence and brutality. The violence is in his own taste for specialness and separation; brutality is the kind of mob-like phenomenon that occurs when lowest-common-denominator-style equality holds sway--something that seems best reserved for emergencies and situations absolutely requiring self-control to prevent a surge of chaos. Derrida's own narcissism is quite transparent, and in making this brilliant difference between the violence that separates the thing that stands out and the brutality which kills off the thing that stands out, he used this narcissism to good effect.

Lars--As for the talk of Goodchild's 'what matters most' is 'the suffering body,' I suppose that's legitimate discussion for you and others, although I think the idea as having any kind of pre-eminence is completely worthless. The suffering body is only one of many phenomena, and it is unhealthy to single it out as being any sort of focus of concentration except to relieve its suffering.

Physical symptoms should be concentrated on when there is no choice, but they do not need to constitute some new kind of ideal or starting place for anything.

Even the review of this particular film itself is about the importance of natural attraction, which sometimes needs to exclude attraction to suffering bodies: In the case of people being attracted to people in comas, and developing 'intimate relationships' with them (if they didn't know them before), it is very little different from contracting a disease from them. Professionals attending to people in comas do not do this, or they are being unethical. Family members who stay with the comatose patient are different, and a different kind of ethics can take place (and also become unethical.) The next step is surely necrophilia, for which there is the Canadian movie 'Kissed' from 1996, if anyone wants to suffer through that one. I was hinting at the nightmare of necrophilia and slightly less morbid and life-hating forms with: 'With the new forms of bare life showing their new species every minute, is it not possible that any number of phenomena heretofore defined as '"inanimate' or 'buried' so that must mean dead"?' {of course necrophilia is nothing new, although I can think of nothing more sickening.)

What is important is the happy body; the suffering body of itself is of no use, and attempts must be made to make it happy. These fail much of the time, and all of them fail eventually, but grazing around extreme suffering needs to be tempered: A superb girl I know is one of the most gifted aid workers in the world, and to balance out the enormous amounts of suffering she has the courage to spend long amounts of time with, and the extraordinary medical work she does, she requires substantial amounts of real live COCK to balance it out. I find that quite normal, and incredibly admirable.



Yes, it is "unhealthy" to single out the suffering body -- the suffering body is outside of health. I don't know anything about Goodchild, but I don't think I would adopt his position.

But it seems that you are prepared to go completely in the other direction, and exclude the suffering body entirely from the realm of "what is important".

This seems mistaken to me. As a human being, I have a body, which is sometimes happy, and sometimes suffers. And sometimes, oftentimes, both at once. If we exclude all moments of suffering, I think we exclude what is human. (Just as, if we exclude all moments of happiness, we exclude what is human.)

Patrick J. Mullins

Hugh--no, I am not, and I cannot see anything in my lengthy comment that indicates this. I was responding for the several reasons I gave: 1) that Jodi's original post offers an interesting number of propositions and a few quotes from the very small portion of my book she cites. 2) The comments by Lars are then the ones that take things all the way to the extreme of 'suffering as special profundity'.

When I said the 'happy body is what is important', I didn't mean that the happy body had more inherent value than the sick body, which would depend on the person according to some--or various ideologies and -isms would decide they are all equal,with some deciding that pampered ones should be punished since they must be thieves of some sort, even if indirectly--these are just a few examples, not exhaustive, you could go on endlessly.

We are a few steps removed from my original review of 'Habla con Ella', and Jodi hasn't seen the original film, in which a male nurse impregnates a comatose girl. In 'Kissed,' which I have not seen and never intend to, the 'heroine' talks about the different 'auras' to the dead bodies she fucks. ('Kissed' is written up in the 'Inventions of Death' issue of 'Angelaki' about 6 issues back, I believe.)

Even the dead body should be respected and honoured (the 'distinctively different charms' the heroine of 'Kissed' enjoys in each of the corpses she embraces (or whatever she tries to do with them) is a form of 'abjection and fragility' to the point of rape.) Necrophilia is obviously rape, just as a male nurse fucking a comatose girl is rape. So that if the dead body must be gently honoured, then obviously the sick and deprived body should be honoured; but the most important is that all attempts be made to alleviate its suffering. If these attempts to alleviate the suffering are not made and instead ideals of suffering 'in itself' are somehow celebrated, you just have an especially precious, self-pitying and maudlin form of irresponsibility.

But talk of a 'beginning of a new politics' from 'abjection, fragility' may mean something to others, but to me it just means a masochistic celebration of weakness, and probably a thinly concealed advocacy of depression.

Much of this kind of talk, I realize from several of the remarks here, is in a realm where I do not care to function and don't. This 'unworking of friendship' stuff is all right, but I just go ahead and work through all my relationships and deal with whatever I come up with; sometimes there is good faith that eventually is proven to have existed enough for a friendship or lovership to blossom into something extraordinary which would include the deepest (and 'barest,' if one needs to call it that) aspects of experience shared between two--or more. Experience shared between very unlike people that is a result of being thrown together in difficult circumstances is extremely valuable too, as when, for example, I've worked at hateful offices and learned to find the areas of mutual understanding with people I would not have chosen in the most direct way--but this is not superior to just choosing someone for the most superficial of reasons (my best friend at the moment is the direct result of a previous 'love at first sight' moment, so that's alive and kicking, among other modes) There are all kinds of relationships, and part of the silliness of political correctness is pretending we don't prefer particular types of people--with all the differences of all kinds that this implies--to others. We have to learn how to reach out of our familiar bodily home to those we are not immediately attracted to, but only rarely does the desire to help, say, a very poor homeless man or woman on the street translate into wanting to share one's whole life with him, almost never physical intimacy. We all know there are white people who prefer black people as sexual partners and others that have to have partners who are only close to their own kind; and also that that there are those who will go so far in forcing adjustment to someone they are not naturally attracted to that they will let Reverend Moon pick out their marriage partner (I have met one of these Moonie couples, and they seemed to be doing okay, although the wife admitted to me that her Moon-chosen husband was 'not my type.')

That doesn't even cover it. Frankly, since this derivation from my own material, probably the least representative of the entire book, was cited without giving even the slightest description of what the book is about required that I make these remarks; just giving the title does not really reveal a thing, since a new term is being coined anyway. It is fair enough that this may be the single part that might most have interested Jodi, but this needed to at least include maybe one sentence saying that the book itself is primarily involved with other matters, but 'this is the part that struck me...' etc. As Jodi has written it, nobody could even imagine that I hadn't written a whole book focussed on bare life, rather than 2 pages. When that is known, then Lars can do all his dreamy things about 'unworking of friendship' that are like Greek to me even though I am sure he's sincere, and I can respect that he's got to do them that way (in fact, having read a number of 'Spurious' posts, I would not expect him to seize on any other elements as particularly attractive); but the dominant context of the book had to be described--something an author usually does not have to step in and do himself. There was one other review of the book in this blog constellation (at a gauche) and a few people read the book and that more comprehensive review in this group of blogs, but that does not mean that people who came primarily to this blog would have even the most meagre idea that the book is primarily about many other things: It is like in news coverage. No matter how hot the Plamegate story is, every new article about it gives some back-up; none of them start 'Judy Miller is thought to have perjured herself when speaking of other sources to Patrick Fitzgerald.' It's not like they don't always do an intro about Novak, Wilson, Plame herself, Libby, Rove, etc.


I wasn't 'reviewing' your book; the post is clearly not a review. Why this is a problem, however, isn't clear to me. From where I sit, it's a tribute to someone to think with them, to move from their thoughts or be moved by them. I don't think that somehow I had an obligation to describe the whole of your book. For me, these passages were interesting as matters of reflection, to jump someplace else, a jump I would not have made without them. Isn't that complement enough?

Patrick J. Mullins

Jodi-- of course, it is a tribute to think with someone due to something they suggested. But it has nothing to do with ‘compliments’ of any kind.

It is just that one sentence would have done to clarify the proper proportions. Not doing this made it so that I eventually arrived at not caring to 'think with somone, to move with their thoughts,'etc.

In fact, you were not obligated to do anything with or about the book. However, once you did, since it is not an established text, you misrepresented my book by not given it at least a one-sentence description. Lars's comments seem proof enough of that. Since his view of things is so far from mine, there was proof positive that clarification had to be made, because even my views on bare life had been lost.

Some possibilities would be something along the lines of 'in reading some texts of Patrick Mullins, a regular participant at icite'; or 'Patrick Mullins wrote some interesting comments on bare life in a recent book called 'Day of Cine-Musique' that is reviewed in a more comprehensive way at a gauche.'

Frankly, I didn't even notice it till Lars's comments came in, and you ought to be able to see that his remarks are legitimate within the framework of your post alone, and that they then cancel out the book itself, which would have, under the circumstances, been better left unnamed.

How you can possibly think that naming of an unknown book and extracting the least representative part of it, without a single clause to indicate the nature of the whole book (I think that hardly constitutes a demand for a review, or even any specific coverage of any other part of the book) was not misleading is mind-boggling. Not so much that you didn't think of it at first, but that you still don't see that there was any point in it.

Books should be cited in tiny fragments in this way when there is a general knowledge of what the whole work is--not when the book has barely been introduced and is virtually unknown. This was not 'The Critique of Pure Reason.' It obviously leads one to think that the book was primarily about bare life--or not to care what my contribution to the thinking was, since my contribution was even completely hidden until I made it explicit: You named the real context, but gave not even the merest indication of what the context was—but you did definitely point toward the likelihood of a context, a structure of something, that was the polar opposite of the case.

A book that takes 4 years of research and a massive amount of editing and condensation is not the same as a blog post, which you well know as a writer of published books yourself. What therefore happened was that you turned a book into a blog post, albeit a mostly intelligent one, and it was then turned into a comment thread.

Mainly, you didn’t even say it was a book. It could have been anything. And, yes, it does matter that it was a book, not something else. But no matter, I certainly don’t want anything else written.


Lars was commenting on some ideas I raised. I found his thoughts interesting. In fact, what I like about blogging is the unpredictability, the way that an author of post or comment or whatever is cited is thrown into the open, the ideas out there, to be eaten, to be carried away, to be left alone, to be combined with other ideas, to be utterly transformed. In blogging the reality of writing and speaking, that we do not control the conditions under which our words appear, their reception, and their circulation, appears in full clarity.

Years ago, Christopher Hitchens reviewed my book Aliens in America for the London Review of Books. I don't think he read it because the review lumped the book into false memory syndrom accounts, a way of thinking about recovered memories of sexual abuse. I had criticized these accounts and distanced my work from them. This was easily the stupidest review that appeared. But, it was clear to me then and is clear to me now that there is a mighty gap between the text that I wrote, the book that appeared, and the book that Hitchens did or did not read. Did he 'misrepresent' the text. In my view, yes, but I think he misrepresents far more important things than my text. More to the point, in writing, one gives up control.

Patrick J. Mullins

'Did he 'misrepresent' the text. In my view, yes, but I think he misrepresents far more important things than my text. More to the point, in writing, one gives up control.'

This makes little sense, and just reduces to a form of stonewalling. When I sent 5 or 6 copies of the book because I wanted 'intelligent readings' I never asked anyone to review it, although truly catty comments were made by one of the people I sent it to on the blog of the person who did make a review (these catty remarks were made in a prior post).

Bad reviews or no reviews were acceptable.

Good readings may or may not have been done, but it really does seem if a work is going to be 'eaten,' you ought to know what you are eating. But you obviously disagree, thinking that all this 'throwing into the open' without even minimal citation is the 'way of blogging.'

I assume you did not know Christopher Hitchens (although I don't know), which does not excuse what he wrote about your book if it was irresponsible and the result of probably not even reading it. However, you don't know precisely what he did with your text. You know precisely what you did with mine, and even 'knew' me somewhat.

So--you teach me a lesson in that
'in writing one gives up control.' It's not a lesson I didn't already know, nor is it, in fact, more true that in writing one gives up more control than in many other forms.

What you really teach me, ultimately, is a kind of bad faith action on your part in which you take something from someone you 'know' and do not submit it to any kind of appraisal (again, this was not called for, and the post came so late after you received the book I didn't expect to see anything about it except in comment threads, which would have been all right, as would have been an unfavourable review) except a totally distorted one that you thought I would leave alone for you to use for your own purposes. You try to keep it this way, of course, because in removing my ideas on bare life from their context, you really just steal the text, since without even a nod to my general context my own ideas are completely falsified: it is quite true that my ideas were just a stepping-off point for you, and they inspired things you'd rather hear than my own.

You have named a work of mine in your post, you knew it came from a larger and mostly unrelated text, you made direct quotes from this text (required, of course),you seem to be interested in these quotes, with no interest in the author's intent (a popular concept for a few decades, but still sometimes appropriate only, as here, for bad faith practises).

In short, you do a kind of falsification that could be likened to a 'covert plagiarism.' This is thoroughly legal (and certainly not worth bothering with even if it had been identified yet), and some much more overt internet plagiarism is supposedly legal as well, as was recently on display at Sphaleotas, who found someone doing it in London.

This was a choice you made, and it has to stand as being legitimate, because there are no laws about something so minor, although almost as minor seem to be the 'cyberstalking laws' I've recently heard invoked in these interconnected blogs; or rather, they at least here seem minor, where they are taken possession of to be used by the primarily paranoid and silly as well as for those who might actually be threatened. The case I am referring to, pounced and agreed upon by so many prim types, is clearly based on hypocrisy and not wanting to be interrupted in one's various academic-discipline dream-time (Obviously, my differences with Alphonse van Worden were often great, but I ended up realizing that, however possibly conflicted (who isn't?), she could not make herself be small-minded, and certain policies she practised are easily the most noble and gutsy of any of the bloggers in this sphere I've yet seen. She pissed me off, but she also stood by her guns and proved integrity.)

Whether or not I like it, this is all cool on the internet, populated as it is with so many Lilliputians as Tina Brown, floosie-hag writing at the Washington Post today says, so that this sort of stinginess may be a way of 'laying bare' so you and [insert whoever 'sensitive person'] can do your 'unworking of friendship'.

Such formulations as 'unworking of friendship' just seem like new terms you are fond of such as 'racialization' and 'heterosexualization'. You'll use the terms 'racism' and 'sexism' and 'nationalism', but have already policed out the fact of 'race' itself, of 'sexual difference', whether in just the difference of the sexes or of sexual preference. This is all barren, effete stuff that has no consequences even in the areas it purports to desire to have effects.

This has all to do with cronyism in the academic blogging community that is very little different from any other political cronyism, left, right, or center. Since this has relatively little to do with real life (although not less than other forms of clubbishness, I suppose), the emotional attraction to 'works of bare life' ['sensitive persons' cases], as opposed to reporting on bare life (my case) would follow quite logically.

So that, in these deeply thought-out, if hardly deeply-felt tones, the glories of wannabe bare-life enthusiasts become 'unworking of friendships' which most people just call 'death of friendship,' 'end of friendship,' 'loss of friendship,' with all their attendant details.

This post is long, but ought to be able to reduce my own direct investment in bare life--surely what I've earned after all this intellectual mangling I've been subjected to.

Patrick J. Mullins

'the way that an author of post or comment or whatever is cited is thrown into the open, the ideas out there, to be eaten, to be carried away, to be left alone, to be combined with other ideas, to be utterly transformed. In blogging the reality of writing and speaking, that we do not control the conditions under which our words appear, their reception, and their circulation, appears in full clarity.'

Is 'Aliens in America' a 'post' or a 'comment' or a 'whatever'? So you accept the fact that since Hitchens 'utterly transformed' your whatever, even though you think it was a 'stupidest review.'Did Hitchens write for the London Review of Posts, Comments of Whatevers?

You're as credible on this as Judy Miller is on her notebook at this point, and not entirely unimpressed with the idea of a Ms. Run Amok Syndrome, as long as it fits within the acceptable threshold of your immediate constituency.

Patrick J. Mullins

'I assume you did not know Christopher Hitchens (although I don't know), which does not excuse what he wrote about your book if it was irresponsible'

should read:

'I assume you did not know Christopher Hitchens (although I don't know), which does not excuse what he wrote about your comment, post or whatever...'

I'll do my part of the 'unworking,' all right.


Patrick, as I said before, in my view, to think with someone is to give them a tribute. If you decline this, clearly that is for you to do. But I feel no obligation when thinking with 'writing' (and by that I mean parts of texts) to give an overview. I credit the one who thought, who occasioned the new idea. You seem to be demanding more. That I cannot give.

What's so odd is that I had thought you would like the post. I has also thought that more would follow, over time, again, thinking with and through different ideas and images and moves from the book because only that sort of over time, momentary, imagistic approach, would work for something that functions on multiple registers.


By the way, I'm not sure quite what your comments on Hitchens mean. My point was simply that readings happen and that they are beyond are control, that we may like them, respect them, or not.

Patrick J. Mullins

More of the same.

I won't post any more on this site unless there is another comment made on this post, which I will peruse therefore every couple of days.

I intend to have the last word on this particular post at all times, because you didn't respect a single point I made once the comments thread revealed how you were operating to begin with. You negated whatever may have stimulated you to begin with by showing no respect thereafter, when it became clear that what first met the eye was not what proved to be underneath.

Your post on 'Infidelity' a while back was something I broke the ice with by talking about the picture of the lurid-looking Las Vegas Steak and Prime Rib place; no one talked about your sexual escapade, although putting it on public view was slightly astonishing, and most would say unnecessary. That's by the by. This may have freed people to then talk about your 'infidelity' with your hairdresser. What I then got was a long comment (by someone using the name 'bill wilson') berating me for how my food habits didn't match my liberal politics--although the commenter did not happen to be interested in the number of years it might have taken me to rack up all those filets, it hardly seemed the place to be giving ME sermons; although I thought it admirable and impressive that nobody gave you any for having a perfectly good fuck. And I have several guesses as to who might have written such horizontal prose saying they were 'worried about me , due to my taste for steak, ribs of beef,' and then 'what next, veal?' 'foie gras'? Somebody very inside. But possibly also someone who writes these long flat lines of prose.

Anyway, the answer to the veal and foie gras, since I didn't give it at the time is yes, whenever I can get it. Fucking live with it, whoever.

Aside from that, I think everybody wanted to make it easy on you even though saying 'it was great, I felt invigorated' was a bit 'de trop'. Somehow now, after this matter of intellectual property, I would no longer care to make it particularly easy on you, even though that post was obviously something you and your partner would have agreed upon to do.

Your stubbornness about the right things earned you my trust and respect; your stubbornness about things that are none of your business has earned you my distrust.

However, I won't be posting on any of the other near-related blogs anymore either, although there may be one distantly related but mostly forgotten one I'll eventually use most likely, but I don't think anyone in this constellation still connects with it, so you wouldn't see it.

It's not all your fault. I'm an artist and my thinking is primarily an artistic sensibility. Yours and the others is in the realm of philosophy and theory which I fell into because I'd read enough to be able to follow but not to be as expert, and not by nature willing to go that far. Your review of 'History of Violence' is highly coloured by your studies and your field, and that sort of analysis does not interest me in the realm of art. That's why what you say might have happened in the future with elements of my writing is unconvincing; it would be exactly as it was this time, which is to say that it would be about something of my own which is too far removed from any important ways in which I perceive it myself.


Patrick, you protest too much. Jodi commented on an aspect of your book that interested her. Surely not the only aspect, but one about which she felt she had something to say. Lars then commented further on her observations.

You (like any other author) have every right to disagree with her reading (and Lars's reading of her reading) as you wish, pointing to other aspects of the book that you also feel deserve attention.

But now you're now policing her reading--and policing her blog, by insisting on the last word.

I think that's rather problematic.



Well, this is quite bizarre. I can only assume that your are misreading my 'infidelity post' in order to exemplify the horrifying treatment you feel you have received at I Cite. That post was written in what was supposed to be a humorous way; it was only about the haircut. I tried to capture the sense of obligation and fidelity some of us may feel with hairdressers. That was all the infidelity that went on. What's supposed to make the post funny or amusing is the slip, the move, from one to the other, when the reader discerns the nature of the infidelity. But, insofar as the joke relies on the slip, I open myself up to readers who may prefer to jump to conclusions, make judgments about my sexual behavior and what I choose to reveal about myself, and thus not get the joke at all. That's part of the risk or writing.

Patrick J. Mullins

Jodi--I 'misread' your 'Infidelity' book or whatever at the time, and just re-read it again. While I am glad you clarified it, it is nevertheless written in such a way that there is no reason whatever not to think you are referring to a sexual adventure--and that the addition of the haircut was just another form you were 'comparing' it with.

Since I had nothing against such sexual infidelity, had it occurred, I did not judge it in any negative way, if anything I found it rather delightful but wondered why it was being discussed in public. I assumed that you had talked about all this with Paul so that he agreed it should be placed on your blog if you wanted to.

The so-called 'slip' is not apparent at all if you talk about how 'it was great. I felt invigorated;' and then proceed to talk about what a BAD haircut it was. Obviously everyone else must have gotten it (or just chose not to comment), 'discerning the slip.' I simply read it as 2 perfectly legitimate different kinds of 'infidelity,' (even though I thought you were actually married at the time) and the hairdresser part was amusing, but was, I thought, a separate thing. The photograph of the lurid flame-broiled restaurant further confused me (making me have to practise reserve when I wanted to campily use the term 'tubesteak', which is then what my comment was alluding to), but again I don't judge people's sexual behaviour if even for the most selfish reasons because I'd never dream of being sexually faithful--since when I did dream of it when I was 18, I found being sexually faithless distinctly more satisfying in terms of the quotidian. Given my misinterpretation, the only element I found strange was putting it on public view, but still that was a matter of taste, and this case was hardly a candidate for high dudgeon.

Since I thought that was the case, I wrote the first comment about the restaurant so as to be somewhat protective of you and hopefully deflect any possibly mean comments, corny as that sounds, since I'd thought you'd made this confessional thing that I thought left you too open. My little comment about the New York restaurants and rich cuisine was part fantasy and part fact, since I've never been to the Bull and Bear, but had perhaps 4 filets over a 6 year period; it's true, now that we're concentrating so hard on verisimilitude, that I left out Le Cirque, and therefore that ought to be included.

None of this had anything to do with this current post, except for that absurd rambling bullshit comment, atrociously written, about 'certain gentlemen advertise their taste..' etc.,and the 'veal' and 'foie gras' were mentioned because they had been specified in some post, some comment, or some whatever.

'That's part of the risk or writing.'

Thank you once again for your kindly tutelage. I would have never guessed alone.

Jon--Jodi can police her blog or not. She can delete my comments, block me, or argue with me on this post alone. As for you, you can just mind your own fucking business and do be your guest about finding it 'problematic.'

Jodi can tell me about how you 'can't have control', but who is she or you to tell me I can't have it if I can get it? To some degree, I definitely have it, and will keep as much as I deem necessary.

In this matter, I have control just by refusing to agree to any of the conditions the two of you have so kindly laid out for me. If I force her to block me, I still get the last word on something that, at an early stage, belongs to me and not her--in the same way as a baby belongs to its parents when it is newborn, albeit not completely. Later on, anything newborn goes more into the public domain--unless, perhaps, if the 'whatever' is just an e-book. But among 'friends', special care is usually taken--hence the 'brutal unworking' for which you both have such a stunning double standard.

I'll police my book if I want to and she can police her blog if she wants to, and you can police your own pretentious ass, Jon.

By the way, Jon, is it 'entirely problematic' or just 'problematic,' I certainly think that is a crucial question for the world's navel-gazers.

To reiterate, Jon:
'But now you're now policing her reading--and policing her blog, by insisting on the last word.'

I'm glad you included 'policing her reading' because, considering she has not even the consideration (which is what it should be as opposed to her cop-out with 'I have no obligation'--of course she has 'no obligation')to describe what the hell 'Day of Cine-Musique' is, and has not moved one inch since her original stance she is clearly not capable of policing her own reading and personal appropriations of other people's texts well enough.

Given the determined stonewalling, why would you really think I'd change my own stance?



I find it very sweet that you were trying to be protective. Thank you.

The haircut that I didn't like was from my regular stylist. She could tell immediately that I had gone to someone else and so took her revenge on me. I liked the original haircut (it was invigorating). (In the comments, Lynn and Kim seemed to get fully the point of the post). So, the idea of the post was hairdresser's revenge on me for being with someone else. (I actually thought the 'hairdresser switch' might have been a theme on Seinfeld since it strikes me as a not uncommon element of a certain contemporary experience).

Jon, thanks for coming in in my defense; it was kind and I appreciate it.

Patrick, since you are pouring tons of time into keeping this thread alive (your way of maintaining some fantastic sense of control, which is interesting in itself), why don't you go ahead and describe your book? As I've said, I thought I showed you consideration. You disagree. Even if I had an inclination to write something (as I mentioned before a couple of comments ago), I certainly wouldn't do it now. Nothing will satisfy you. So, I offer nothing.

Patrick J. Mullins

'Patrick, since you are pouring tons of time into keeping this thread alive (your way of maintaining some fantastic sense of control, which is interesting in itself), why don't you go ahead and describe your book? As I've said, I thought I showed you consideration. You disagree. Even if I had an inclination to write something (as I mentioned before a couple of comments ago), I certainly wouldn't do it now. Nothing will satisfy you. So, I offer nothing.'

What a nasty, petty paragraph.

I am sorry I sent you the book, except that I've discovered thereby how philosophers and theorists definitely consider themselves able to judge art and assess it delicately. And when they don't feel that, they don't even bother to address it as art, but just put it into another category--just like Kate Marie tried to put your blog into her context.

They are wrong. If Heidegger and Adorno could only halfway do it, then I shouldn't have expected much of such a sphere. I am pleased that Jared Woodard was an exception (and one unnamed source whom I shall not identify given the loss of control I would surely be offered--oh yes, things like that you definitely do offer, and you offer them as if they should be fucking welcomed), and that Schopenhauer also could understand something. The most unconvincing thing Nietzsche ever tried to pull off was turning on Wagner, because the minute you hear Wagner, Wagner turns Nietzsche right out.


Strange. I thought that your complaint this whole time was that I didn't judge and assess your book/art, delicately or not. Now you say that you see how theorists consider themselves able to do this. Presumably, this makes sense only applied to someone else, since by your own admission I didn't assess your book. As I see it, I drew from it ('thinking with'). That's what I do. You don't like that. Ok.

Patrick J. Mullins

I already addressed that in the previous comment:

'And when they don't feel that, they don't even bother to address it as art, but just put it into another category--just like Kate Marie tried to put your blog into her context.'


Patrick--typepad is screwing up a bunch of stuff; I'm going to delete a bunch of the repeats; my intention is not to prevent you from having the last word or delete any single postings, just to clean up the mess.

Patrick J. Mullins

'As I see it, I drew from it ('thinking with'). That's what I do.'

Yes, I do like that. But what you like is not all that should be considered when someone else's work is at stake--or you can also not like it. The effect was a cancellation of the emphasis of the work and a production of a new reality--quite like what the Bushies do except in right wing politics.

(Are you re-posting the same comment 3 times on purpose?)


Zizek's readings of everyone produce something new; some would say that his Deleuze, say, or even Hegel, is virtually unrecognizable.

Patrick J. Mullins

They only say that about texts that are known of, usually even also pre-read, and identified by more than a mere title except as, in your examples, the authors are well-known and need no introduction.


Actually, it's more complicated than that. Z mentions operas, soviet melodramas, Macedonian films, and texts by little known philosophers. Deleuze, although people know the name, cannot be said to be 'well known' in the sense that people easily associate a specific view or position with him. So, it is in fact that case that he uses partial examples of little known texts to make his own points. (Shoot, he even did that with Aliens in America...)

Patrick J. Mullins

Well, I suppose that gave you a flutter.


Patrick, I wasn't trying to lay down any conditions for your responses. I was merely responding to the suggestion "Post a comment" found near the bottom of this page. Rather, it is you who seems to want to circumscribe commentary, both Jodi's (which in fact I find remarkably generous) and my own.

If you want to engage in a two-way dialogue with Jodi, well, take it to email.

Any reading, or at least any serious reading, is to some extent an appropriation, an attempt to make the text "yours." Obviously, though, there's a tension between that desire for intimacy with a text and a recognition that it is, still, always irreducibly other.

A similar situation holds in speech or writing, especially published writing: your language, your text, is both yours and no longer yours.

Patrick J. Mullins

'Patrick, I wasn't trying to lay down any conditions for your responses. I was merely responding to the suggestion "Post a comment" found near the bottom of this page. Rather, it is you who seems to want to circumscribe commentary, both Jodi's (which in fact I find remarkably generous) and my own.

If you want to engage in a two-way dialogue with Jodi, well, take it to email.'

Coy, hypocritical, incredibly boring, worthy of no further note.


Jon, thanks. I like very much the way you describe the tension, particularly your language about a desire for intimacy with a text. I think that, sometimes, and at those times necessarily pathetically, I get idiotically overinvested in interpretations of Z. Your language suggests to me a 'why' that I hadn't thought of, like somehow my intimacy with a text is threatened or called into question by another's intimacy with that text. It's like the stupid jealousy of an immature lover.

Patrick J. Mullins

'It's like the stupid jealousy of an immature lover.'

Precisely. You really are such an obviously selfish person, and cared only about Jon's flattery.


"You really are such an obviously selfish person, and cared only about Jon's flattery."

"What a nasty, petty paragraph."

"Coy, hypocritical, incredibly boring, worthy of no further note."

Patrick J. Mullins

Oh, you're butch all right.

Patrick J. Mullins

I just realized I can go on and do 'The Last Word' which will mean that nothing will necessitate my clicking back into this place again, subsequent comments notwithstanding. I suppose I can think of their possibility as a kind of exquisite undiscovered bare life which is full of absence and the possibility of presence which might not be there! What tension and wistfully, superbly failed depression there could be if I would only not avert my eyes! I can hardly wait for these precious moments to start blooming--got to be better than all this blight. Even so, a dyed-in-the-wool Alabama Communist is pretty exotic and you don't find them every day.

Anyway, I had qualified saying that I was sorry I had sent you the book, except that...etc.

I'll just copy and paste these last few comments and that will constitute the document for Christian Pellet to assimilate. He was a psychologist for a long time before becoming a professional painter, and is good at sending this kind of thing back in an elegant pre-digested form.

Too bad.

But THE LAST WORD in which I have any interest is that I really am sorry I sent you the book.




You will be missed.

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