Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Body, Family, Jesus, America Pt.1
If we do not privilege the gaze of the Red, what is the purpose of talking to them? Yet, if they constitute half of “America,” even a deconstruction of America (with an eye to finding a livable space around it) must include (if the heteroglossia of digital text is to be enacted or, ironically, embodied) Red voices. This is one essential contradiction of the new praxis I am attempting to forge from, and with, I.T. A closer look at “The Red,” which privileges neither the gaze of the Blue nor the Red (voiced, as it is, from generalized perceptions), will be relevant as a base of shared consciousness. I have noted an American ideology of competition. It has also been pointed out that, where Red America (made metaphysical) is concerned, this ideology is displaced from commodities onto bodies. Bodies become signifiers-in-themselves; the grossly physical is privileged as a primary mode of status, power, and the effacement of Otherness. However, ideological displacement of commodities onto Bodies does not end with individual bodies; there is a ripple effect, of which a privileged Body is the first circle. Three other essential ripples issue from this initial one: beyond a privileged Body, there exists the Body of the Family, the Body of Jesus, and the Body of America. All these things are embodied and perpetuated in the singular Body; all are felt as a physical presence and a physical impulse. This impulse manifests the American competitive ideology as a physical emanation: “my Body stands for myself, my family, Jesus, and America.” There are variations within this ideological framework; but general types, flawed as they are, suit the purposes of this discourse better. “America,” as it stands, is a generalized linguistic sign; the America around “America” will also deal largely in generalities, for better or for worse. Dealing in broad strokes, for a directly politicized discourse, is, to an extent, unavoidable; primary facts of consciousness (phenomenologies) are elided, in the hopes of the appearance of a utilitarian use value, which evinces characteristics of both Democratic and Communist ideology. Communism will not be anathematized (or embarced) in this discourse.
What is the relationship of Body to Family? Family units, in and of themselves, issue from Bodies. Bodies need protection and maintenance; Red praxis ordains that a patriarch oversees this. This process is manifest physically, rather than verbally; the Body-as-signifier acts as a human shield to any commensurate (thus threatening) Other. Yet a competition ideology made physical offers no defense against speech acts, speech-as-text, and print. Bodies can only refer back to themselves (if they are mute); disembodied voices cannot be silenced. What defends Bodies-as-Families is a complicit compact to elide any disembodied voices that chafe against the confines of Bodies. Bodies, beyond being protected and protective, are fetishized. This happens in the enactment of a double function— Bodies protect and give pleasure, are agents of force and feeling. In the context of Family, Bodies are a locus of pride, stability, and continuation of implicitly affirmed praxis. The Bodies of mothers, particularly, are fetishized by both sons and fathers as an embodiment of the precious and the sacred. Maternal ideologies manifest in the maintenance of a well-fed, “armed” (potent) male Body, developed to the most perfect (which equals heroic, armed for victory) extent possible. Here, competition ideology is directed towards a meticulous and unsparing keeping of the Other out. Only gazes within the charmed circle of the Family are privileged— though this family can extend outwardly to include friends, religious figures (preachers, Jesus), and, in the abstract, “America.”
“America,” as such, cannot be made concrete if this brand of ideology is to be maintained; Others beyond the merely commensurate are too frightening to be acknowledged and, if they are acknowledged, are anathematized. Physical proximity, for the Red family, is commensurate with successful maintenance; ideological proximity is, as has been stated, implicit. Commodities exist to furnish Bodies; yet nothing is made to endanger the authority of the Body as an entity-in-itself. It is only the perceived (deemed to be perceptible) Body of Christ that is privileged above the Body of the patriarch— Jesus’s Body is the only Body that, in its embodiment (or its disembodiment, in the manifestation of Jesus’s assumed words) is not a direct threat. Yet Jesus is dangerous in his capacity for effective thought and judgment— his Body is situated in an abstract realm of “Above,” where Bodies must be left behind. Knowledge of the Body’s obsolescence is stored within the Body, where it prompts the Body to follow the dictates of a disembodied voice, which enacts its own embodiment in individual subjects. Jesus alone is allowed to be both embodied and disembodied. Why is this? Why is Jesus allowed to “double” while individuals must remain bound to their own physicality? In the answer to this question may exist the secret, ineluctable difference between Red and Blue metaphysics.