March 29, 2007

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The complete asshole The inimitable Dominic Fox offers a clear conceptualization of a matter long of concern to many women--the complete asshole. In the comment thread he writes: I'm in touch with my feminine side, and therefore able to manufacture my own assholeosity by feeding off my own independent source of emotional energy. This virtuous circuit of auto-parasitism suffices to make me a complete asshole. What makes this formulation so compelling is that it includes contemporary, understanding, seemingly supportive feminist men, the kind that are maddening and nearly impossible to deal with because they think that they have already surpassed their nasty hairy-legged simian brethren and not only know what women want but actually care. So, unlike the unevolved who feed off women's emotional energy, secreting a deadly poison that damages and stain everything it touches, the complete asshole's self-righteousness is autonomous, or, in Dominic's words, auto-parasitic. But, is such auto-parasitism possible? That suggests a completeness not unlike the images of self-fellatio that have circulated in years past all over the Web. And, here is the kick: insofar as these are images of self-fellatio we must also factor in the gaze. The camera sees, those of us hapless enough to click on the proffered link see the act; the fellatio, then, may be done by the self, but it is also done for another, for a gaze. The complete asshole, then, is not as complete as he likes to think. His very sense of completion depends on acknowledgement, on a gaze. To be...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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